March 24th Clermont Farmers’ Market

The market on March 24th was certainly an eventful one! The day started off normal enough; although, we were worried about a rainy day due to the overcast skies. Our wwoofer, Liane, and I decided to go to the market together and leave the boys at home to work on farm activities. It seemed as soon as we had everything set up, looking good, and the delicious kale salad samples she made on the table… the winds started picking up.

Our usual array of kale: red Russian, curly, Ethiopian, and dinosaur (aka: Lacinato, Tuscan)

Our usual array of kale: red Russian, curly, Ethiopian, and dinosaur (aka: Lacinato, Tuscan); broccoli and broccoli greens at the far right.

And then picking up even more!! Finally, we were literally holding down the fort from blowing away. When we got a break in the gusts, we took down our tent. The winds continued. Our tray of kale samples flew to the ground and down the street, as did some fliers and business cards and kale leaves. Our neighboring vendors lost breakable items which the wind swept off their tables. Things were flying in all directions Dorothy-style and getting a little scary. Luckily, our friend, Greg, came by and suggested we move about a block down and across the street, where somehow the wind couldn’t reach as mightily. We did and were able to stay much more anchored down; although, our display was not as impressive with our single table and wind-whipped-looking vegetables.

Our swiss chard and let

On the positive side, we were glad to be able to supply our  steadfast customers with fresh-picked veggies, and I was SO immeasurably grateful to be well enough to attend market for the first time in two weeks! We were delighted to see our neighbors from Lake Catherine Blueberries at the market! Their farm is just under four miles down State Road 19 from ours! The blueberries they brought were just picked the day before, and absolutely delicious! I see a tradition of blueberry snacking at the markets in the making. I told Lake Catherine to definitely expect us for their U-pick this year… at least a few times.

Thank you to all of you who braved the wind yesterday to come out to the market! And if you didn’t make it out last week, you can always buy fresh from the farm at 18404 SR 19, Groveland, FL 34736. Right now, we have tons of red Russian kale, curly kale, dino kale, lettuce, bok choy and BAMBOO!

Farmers’ Market March 3rd

Our second farmers’ market went well. I was lucky enough to have our first two wwoofers, Liane and Anthony, with me to help out this week. Setting up was a breeze once we had the tent set up with the additional help.

Anthony and Liane keeping warm behind our table.

Anthony and Liane trying to keep warm behind our table.

This week we brought more kale (red Russian, Ethiopian, curly Siberian), bok choy, arugula, broccoli, Swiss chard and beet greens. It was great to see repeat customers and hear “See you next week”s. Though it was very cold, we had a great market! We met a couple into food fermenting who were interested in coming to my next fermentation class and two ladies interested in my kitchen revamp. Making new connections and networking is working out better than expected at the markets – I was just expecting to share some delicious fresh veggies! With continual improvements to our set up, I’m already excited for next week’s market!

Our red Russian kale and bok choy. <3

Our red Russian kale and bok choy. <3

Winter Park Urban Farm Work & Learn, Massaged Kale Salad Take Two

I had a great time last Thursday leading a group of gardeners and veggie-lovers in making a raw massaged kale salad at the Winter Park Urban Farm. Judging by the “mmm”s and compliments to the meal, I’d say it was a success! I loved getting my hands dirty pulling weeds, harvesting vegetables and massaging kale for our meal; however, I think my favorite part was meeting all of the wonderful folks that attended! Here is what we did:

  1. Harvest or purchase fresh local kale. We used red Russian, but any variety will do.
Siberian kale from The Food Forest.

Siberian kale at The Food Forest.

2. Inspect for creepy crawlies or do a quick rinse.
3. Roll leaves “burrito style” and chop at an angle to get small pieces.
4. Add leaves to a large bowl, drizzle with olive liquid (the juice in your jar of olives). Alternatively, you could use olive oil and salt.
5. Massage! Really squeeze those veggies to get the cell walls broken and a wilted texture.
6. Add any other chopped veggies you’d like. We added carrots, snow peas, garlic chives, basil, rosemary, nasturtium, and probably much more. 
7. You can also make a dressing. I like tahini, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, and mustard all mixed or blended together.
8. We then wrapped our massaged salad in a large kale leaf to eat as a wrap. You can also use a whole wheat flour or corn tortilla as a wrap.
Winter Park Urban Farmers and guests creating a delicious massaged kale salad wrap.

Winter Park Urban Farmers and guests creating a delicious massaged kale salad wrap.        Photo credit: Jennifer Moon

Thank you for having me Winter Park Urban Farm, and I’m looking forward to our next work and learn on March 14!

Massaged Kale Salad

With the bounty flowing from our garden this time of year (one thing to appreciate about Florida-living), I can’t help but enjoy delicious salads daily. I posted on my Facebook last night “Kale: It’s what’s for dinner” and it was!

Homegrown massaged kale salad.

Homegrown massaged kale salad.

An old friend asked me for some kale recipe suggestions. There are lots of great ways to enjoy kale: finely chopped in salads, juiced, steamed with garlic, in a fruit smoothie. However, my favorite way to eat kale is massaged. Kale is a bit tough, and the variety that I harvested from my garden last night, Siberian kale, is a bit prickly, so massaging is a way of giving the kale a wilted effect while still enjoying it raw. What began last night as an overflowing harvest of kale became, after some massaging, a healthy serving for my partner and I. He created a homemade dressing using tangelo juice, tahini, garlic, grated kumquat, olive juice, apple cider vinegar, and agave nectar.

The garden: arugula, kale and lettuce, and broccoli beyond.

The garden: arugula, kale and lettuce, and broccoli and red Russian kale beyond.

A close up of the vibrant lettuce and prickly kale.

A close up of the vibrant lettuce and prickly kale behind.

On to the recipe!

1. Wash and finely chop kale. I’ve found the easiest and quickest way to chop leafy vegetables is to grab a large handful and roll them in a cylindrical bundle the best you can. Then begin slicing finely from one end the the other. I found this youtube video which shows very nicely what to do; although, you don’t have to be as precise as he is in the video.

2. Add some kind of salt to the kale. You can use dressing, olive juice, sea salt, soy sauce, etc. Add it slowly a little at a time to taste until you get a feel for how much you need. You don’t want your salad to turn out too salty. Take into account the salt content of any dressing you plan to add.  The salt will help break down the cell walls of the kale to make it easier to wilt.

3. Begin massaging. With clean hands, dig into the kale, squeezing and massaging. It only takes a few minutes to become nicely wilted.

4. Finish salad. That’s your basic massaged kale salad. Add any other toppings you’d like such as lettuce, olives, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, onion, garlic, etc. I like to add crispy greens to go with it like lettuce, arugula, or bok choy to make it a more crunchy salad.


Cool Kale Pesto

One of the neat things about my workplace is that there are raised garden beds surrounding the building in which employees grow flowers, vegetables, herbs, or whatever they wish. I signed up for a plot (and adopted one) soon after I began work in August. I grew kale! I planted a variety called Ethiopian kale; a friend gave me the seeds back in Jacksonville, FL a few summers ago.

The kale did so well this fall in Richmond; however, we are having such an unseasonably warm winter, that it has begun to bolt!

I decided to harvest the last of it before either, A) “real” winter comes or B) it becomes too bitter since bolting. I picked the now tiny leaves before I left work today.

First, I thought I’d steam them. Then I considered sauteing them with coconut oil. Thanks to my coworker, Deb, for the coconut oil gift! I noticed that the Spectrum coconut oil she gave me smelled like delicious coconut, much more so than the Tree of Life jar I’m almost finished with. I remember being surprised upon opening Tree of Life that it didn’t really smell like coconut. Anyone have a favorite brand? My dear friend Elizabeth, who is studying nutrition at the same school I graduated from, loves coconut oil. She keeps a jar in her medicine cabinet and a jar in her kitchen.

In the end, I couldn’t bare to put heat to these tender little greens, so in the spirit of Raw Summer, I decided to make a kale pesto. I happened to also borrow a little parsley from someone’s garden at work. My recipe was something like this:

Peel kale from tough center stalk and put in food processor.

I added about 4 cloves of garlic, a lot (maybe 1/3 to 1/2 cup) of olive oil, a few sprigs of parsley, a few fresh basil leaves from my window plant (which is doing so well!), a touch of salt, and hit the blend button.

I had to scrape the sides of the food processor pretty often because the pesto would stick to the edges:


I was a little worried that it would be too bitter… It was delicious! I ate it on toast, and it smelled wonderful!

Pesto: a nutritious, versatile, raw, tasty, meal or snack.