Growing the good stuff in Athens, GA since 2006

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Roots Email Got Hacked!

Okay folks, so if you didn't already hear about it, Roots Farm email got hacked and phony emails got sent out in our name saying I was in the UK and had a sick relative and got mugged and needed money sent Western Union to me. IT ISN'T TRUE. I'm here in the U.S. of A. and no family of mine is elsewhere, nor did I get mugged, nor do I need you to send me $2000. I mean, I always take donations, but it's not an emergency and I'm not in dire need. My sincerest apologies. Jeeze louise.

The rat bastards who did this deed also read old emails and specifically addressed folks on my behalf requesting money. And they created an account called rootsfarms@hotmail to which replies were getting sent. And they locked me out of the account so I couldn't do anything about it.

The result of all this is that a lot of stress was created for both us here on the farm and our friends and customers. I REALLY hope no one sent money anywhere for my sake. And, any emails that anyone tried to send us in the last two days have disappeared into the unknown.

  • If you got a phony email from us, please check and make sure that rootsfarms@ hotmail --that's farms with an s-- is not where your replies are now going. You can block any incoming messages from this sender through the security options that your mail provider offers.
  • DO NOT send any money to us via Western Union or anywhere else. In fact, always verify this kind of request by calling friends of the person possibly in need and making sure the info is valid. Try contacting through varied channels--phone, email, alternate email, facebook, call friends, whatever. See if the reports check out before money leaves your account.
  • NEVER, EVER, EVER give out your or anyone else's password via email. If you get mail from "hotmail" or "windows" that looks official and says they're going to close your account if you don't provide the info, IT'S A LIE. Hotmail, windows, and all those folks will NEVER ask you for your info via email. Don't do it! It's a phishing scam. Save yourself, your co-workers, your friends, and your customers a headache and disregard this crap.
  • If you do make this mistake, IMMEDIATELY get back to your account and change your password. If you're locked out already, go to your provider and verify your id and request a password change through the channels they have available for dealing with these issues. Do this ASAP! My gratitude goes out to windows live and hotmail for getting us back in action in a timely manner.
  • If you tried to contact us via email in the last two days, try again. I can now receive and reply to your messages.
  • Please be patient. We're trying to manage the damage while in the midst of our first week of harvests, so things are a little hectic around here.
Again, my sincerest apologies to anyone who got the phony crap and worried, or who has been trying to reach us unsuccessfully, or who just had to deal with the fallout. Bummer. Lots of rocks on the office side of the road this year. But on the positive side, the fields are looking GREAT! More food coming in Friday . . .

Monday, April 26, 2010

CSA Pickups -- Week 1

Roots Farm CSA

Week 1 -- April 27 & 30

This Week:
-Bright Lights Swiss Chard
-Kale: Winterbor or Red Russian
-Oakleaf Lettuce: Jamai (red) & Panisse (green)
-Radishes: Easter Egg
-Sweet Onions
-Herbs: Dill, Rosemary, or Mint

It's That Time . . . Yay!
Wow! It's the first week of pickups already! How did we get to this time of the season so fast? Ah well, we must have known this time would come when we planned, because the fields are full of veggies waiting to be picked and the land just looks beautiful. Spring is upon us and the irises are blooming, the blackberries are in flower, lettuce heads fill the rows and radishes swell in the dirt. It's a good time to be on-farm -- not too hot yet and the weeds haven't overrun us. Everything is green and growing -- including us! What that means is that our CSA isn't quite full yet, so if you know anyone interested in joining in on our vegetable adventure, send them on our way! We need a full CSA to meet our budget as well as to make sure all our amazing veggies find a good home. Orphan veggies? Not for us. Help spread the word.

CSA Opening Potluck!
An announcement for ya -- this weekend we're hosting a POTLUCK for our members -- that's you! SUNDAY, MAY 2 @ 5PM we're gathering here on the farm and laying a feast for each other so we can meet and share a meal and celebrate the beginning of another wonderful season of the freshest, tastiest, veggies mama earth (with the help of your friendly Roots farmers) can provide. Bring a dish to share, bring yourself, your friends, a picnic blanket, and a smile. It'll still be nice and light out on the farm, so it's an excellent opportunity to walk around and check out what's in the dirt and what's coming soon to your baskets! See ya here!

Wash Yer Veggies!
We process your veggies here on the farm minimally to maintain freshness and quality, therefore it's important for you to wash them yourselves at home before eating them. Don't be surprised if you find some dirt clinging to the food we provide you -- that just lets you know it's fresh from the ground. Consider our produce unwashed, if you will, and proceed accordingly. Thanks!

Greens & Onions
It's spring, and that means lots of greens--kale, chard, arugula, lettuce, & such. We'll provide some recipes to help you along as you get all your good greens in. And speaking of greens, the onions we've got for you still have their green tops attached and we highly recommend using them. Just chop them up and use any place you would chives--yum!


This week, arugula is in the spotlight. We've got lots of it and it's a tasty treat. Kinda new on the scene among Spring greens here in the Southeast, arugula is fast developing a following. So whether or not arugula is a new acquaintance or an old friend of yours, I've got some recipes for you to check out. The Joy of Cooking lends us this tidbit, "Also called Italian cress, arugula has tender dark-green leaves and a pungent, peppery bite. The spiciness of arugula intensifies as it ages. Arugula is delicious alone or as an accent in mixed green salads." I recommend it in fresh salads, but that's not the extent of what this wonderous green is capable of . . .

Arugula & Warm Mushroom Salad
4 cups arugula leaves
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
salt & fresh ground black pepper
1/2 lb mixed mushrooms, quartered or cut into wedges
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
freshly shaved Parmesan cheese

Put the arugula in a large salad bowl and drizzle the lemon juice and 1 Tbsp of the olive oil over it. Toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside. In a skillet, heat the remaining 1 Tbsp of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and let cook undisturbed until golden on the bottoms, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and thyme, stir, and continue to cook until the mushrooms are tender throughout, about 4 minutes longer. Stir in the vinegar and let cook until the vinegar is mostly absorbed. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Spoon the mushroom mixture over the arugula. Top with a few curls of shaved Parmesan. Serve at once. Makes 2 servings.

Arugula makes a tasty, pungent bed for the warm mushrooms in this salad and creates a delightful contrast of textures and flavors. Enjoy! From Serving Up the Harvest.

Chard & Arugula Salad with Strawberries
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp salt
2 cups chard, large stems removed
2 cups arugula
1 cup sliced strawberries
freshly ground black pepper

Make the vinaigrette first. Add the red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, and salt to a salad bowl, then gradually add the oil while whisking until emulsified. Add the chard and arugula to the vinaigrette and toss gently. (If your greens are larger than baby sized, I recommend chopping them into bite-size pieces or ribbons.) When greens are lightly coated, transfer to salad plates, top with the strawberries, and finish with a generous grinding of pepper. Makes 8 servings.

Note: to easily create ribbons with your greens, try the chiffonade technique. Stack your greens in a pile, roll them up, then slice the roll thinly and voila! Beautiful delicate ribbons.

Arugula with Fresh Tomatoes & Pasta
6 cups chopped ripe tomatoes
1 cup cured pitted black olives
1/3 cup basil leaves, cut into thin strips
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced
salt & freshly ground black pepper
6 oz arugula, roughly chopped (~8 cups)
1 lb rotini, shells, penne, or other pasta
freshly grated Parmesan (optional)

In a large serving bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, basil, oil, garlic, and salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to mix. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for 4 hours or up to all day if more convenient. Do not refrigerate. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Place a large colander in the sink and put the arugula in it. Cook the pasta in the boiling water following the package directions. Drain the pasta over the arugula in the colander so the hot water wilts the arugula. Add the hot pasta and arugula to the tomato mixture and toss gently. Serve at once, passing the Parmesan at the table. Makes 4-6 servings.

Fresh, juicy tomatoes, barley cooked greens, deeply aromatic basil -- this is one of the many great dishes of summer. I know it's not summer now, so keep this gem in mind when we hit the hotter days. Enjoy! From Serving Up the Harvest.

For more arugula recipes, click here. We've got our back records online for your convenience now. Enjoy!

Final Details & Comments
As always, if you've got any questions or need advice on your veggies, please email us here at and we'll try and help you out. Also, if you've got any great arugula recipes you'd like to share or feelings of excitement about your CSA basket this week, please share your comments with us--we'd love to hear them. See you soon and have a great week!

Uncertain Beginnings, A Sad Farmer's Rant

It's the week that our CSA begins and for the first time in 4 years, our membership isn't full at the beginning. It's always been full before. We didn't do anything different this time. We did the same things we always do to advertise and promote. I thought we did a good job last year. What gives? It's kinda disheartening. Just when I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of managing vegetable production, the distribution end of the line bites me in the ass. 12 full memberships short is like, $7000 worth of veggies. That's a substantial part of our budget. Sigh. Do I have to learn marketing now? I have no idea how to go about this. Do I have to beg and plead? Do I need to commit more hours of time to seeking out a hungry customer? In the midst of a full-swing farm production, do I now have to learn a new skill and bust my ass to move the veggies we've been working so hard to produce for the last 3 months? I know, I know, marketing is a key element of a good business plan, but hey, who knew that we'd have to approach it in a new way this year? I don't have an answer for this one. I'm just frustrated. And afraid. This is unexpected and creates a lot of uncertainty about how my year is going to pan out. I don't like the look of the implications.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Hilling Potatoes & Recipes Finally Online

Summer is on the way. This week, we seeded corn and beans. Already! I know it's mid-April, and we always seed corn in mid-April, but wow, is it really that time already? I guess so. Spring Treat corn and Blue Coco pole beans are in the ground. Corn, beans, squash -- all three sisters are present on-farm now. Hard to believe.

In the greenhouse, we seeded more tomatoes, basil, cukes, and summer squash. In the field, we transplanted basil, and we've got another round of summer squash ready to go in.

Also in the field, I finally realized a dream I've had for over two years now of hilling potatoes. I love potatoes. Love love them. Any form of potato is an extremely edible one for me, and I tend to savor them on a weekly basis. With that in mind, I've been pushing for us to grow more potatoes and we have -- up from one row to two, from two to three, and our space is kinda maxed out at three. So now what? We go vertical. I've heard of hilling potatoes being a method that helps increase the amount you can get from a single planting, and last year, I found out first-hand that it will probably make digging them easier, so this year we schemed and developed a new planting method. After tilling their proposed planting place, we ran the subsoiler (a big steel shank about 3 feet long) down the row to create a deep furrow. Then we hoed out the sides to make a ditch and planted those spuds deep. For a while, I worried that we may have planted them too deep, but a couple of weeks ago they began sticking their leaves up out of the ground and yesterday we had some over a foot tall! So I decided to begin phase one of hilling. I took a traditional hoe and hoed the sides of the ditch in to pull the dirt up around the plants and lo and behold my dream is a reality -- hilled potatoes! And this is only round one. Round two is when they grow another foot high and I take the tractor through with the single disc implement and hill them some more. Pounds of potatoes, here I come!

And another victory this week is in relation to my recipes project. I finally got my recipes files online! So now, you can go to our website, go to the recipes page, and just click on a vegetable and it'll bring up a whole list of recipes related to it! Finally. User-friendly. Print-able. Google docs have made this all possible, that and my friend Sarah Sapinski's technical assistance. God bless them both.

Ahhhh. To see a dream become reality, to see a plan fall so neatly into place as you hoped it would, is indeed a gift that I am grateful for. And one that farming seems to offer in abundance.

Fill 'er Up!

Last week, we began planting in the first of our two big new hoop houses. By the end of Saturday's workday, that puppy was FULL. That's 6 rows, each 120' long for a total of 720 planted row feet if I did my math right. 2 rows of summer squash, 2 rows of cucumbers, 2 rows of tomatoes, and some 50' of basil. That's also over 14 varieties of veggies now under cover, and we're already casting our eyes upon hoop house number two, planning our planting schemes soon, soon.

Our greenhouse is also bursting at the seams. We seeded the second round of eggplants and peppers, first round of melons, fourth round of lettuce, and potted up tomatoes.

And in the field, there's more arugula, cilantro, radishes, turnips, dill and more! We also transplanted outdoors kohlrabi and parsley and lettuce.

Wow! Busy week. But I guess that's the norm around here. It was the first week I've felt overwhelmed quite a bit this season, but luckily, we had an unexpected infulx of volunteers on Wednesday afternoon and they helped us bang out some direct seeding, weeding and mulching, sifting of soil mix, and lettuce transplanting, not to mention weeding the potato rows--an amazing un-hoped-for bonus! I LOVE volunteers!

And speaking of loving volunteers, we had an AMAZING weekend workday on Saturday. Over 12 people came out! I was hoping for 8 max, and we topped that. We planted 3 rows in the hoop house, weeded and thinned carrots (a task that would have taken Patrick and I like, 2 days, to do) AND got the blueberries weeded and mulched and the blackberries weeded. WOW! Have I said yet how much I love volunteers? Because I do. We offered some homemade brunch in thanks -- vegan biscuits and soysauge gravy and farm-fresh greens! Yum! Just wonderful! Universe, I am so grateful.

Friday, April 9, 2010


Well, it was one of those days. One stolen weed whacker, two dead batteries, and three flat tires. Last week was the week to get the hoop houses finished so we could finally transplant some squashes that desperately wanted to get in the ground. So on Monday, I go out to get the weed whacker to whack some cover crops so we can till them and finish the edge and low and behold, the weed whacker is missing! AWOL. No one loaned it or borrowed it that we know of, so it's absent without permission. Stolen! Yikes!

I like to believe that the Roots Farm is a bubble of safety, insulated from things like transgression. I mean, don't the positive vibes we create generate like a force-field that those with malicious intentions are repelled by? So I thought. But no. That was a nice weed whacker. An essential tool. Part of me is ranting and raving that tool thieves should just burn in hell, and how am I going to get my work done? I wanna smack this disrespectful, irresponsible person upside the head. Another part of me recognizes that whoever stole it probably didn't realize how much we need it, how essential it is in our operation. And if they did, either they wouldn't have taken it, or they were so desperate they took it anyway. How do you solve social issues like this? Economic issues? If they're that desperate, how do we help them? If they're just disrespectful and socially irresponsible, how do we educate them? I have a lot of compassion, but I also need my tools to stay put. I want to help, but not necessarily invite untrustworthy folks into my world. What to do? In the meantime, I walked over to Jim's house and borrowed his weed whacker for the day. God bless good neighbors. God help the ones who are not.

The two dead batteries came into play later that day. The lawn mower was number one, not surprisingly, and the lift to the dump trailer was number two--bummer, but solvable.

And the three flat tires were all associated with the lawnmower. Poor mower. The two front tires deflate if you look at them wrong. And to blow them up you have to add air while pressing on the sides to create a seal so it'll inflate. Which usually involves stepping on it or wrapping a rope around it and pulling or some other inventive solution.

Let's just say that Monday was a difficult day, full of challenges to my equilibrium.

Tuesday, I went to fetch compost for our farm from a new supplier. We're still working out the kinks on that one, but there's hope.

Wednesday was AMAZING. I love volunteers! We weeded and thinned, mulched and weeded, thinned and mulched! Wow! All this work that I didn't think we'd have the time to accomplish got done, and done well. Yay.

We also harvested the last of the kale that was beginning to bolt. I've never seen kale bolt before since I usually plant it in the spring and it dies before coming around into another spring, but yep, it will indeed bolt. The flowering heads looked like broccoli, so we picked the leaves and the heads and cooked some of it up for lunch. Who knew--a new delicacy! Flowering kale looks and tastes like broccoli raab. Yummy. Eat it with butter.

Thursday and Friday were more hoop-house related days. We finished mulching the last big hoop house (yay despite the slimy leaf mess). And we got to see 3 baby rabbits in the process. I think they had a little nest (do rabbits nest? we found an indention lined with fur) near the leaf bags and while we were moving them, they ran, but not far. We got to see a couple of them up-close. Did you know that baby rabbit ears are really small! Small! Tiny little ears. These fluffy bunnies were cute as cute can be. And right before Easter. Cool.

We also finished (3 out of 4) the endwalls with doors. Halleleujah! Finally! We installed more u-channel, also called wire-lock, to the undersides of the end hoops and cut big pieces of plastic for the doors to hang from them. The plastic we salvaged from our old hoop house that came down in the snow last year. These are in the same location, so it seemed fitting that the old house is still playing a part in our fields and farm. Plus hey, we're recycling! So yeah. 2 doors for each end wall. They're open in the middle and attached to poles so when we pull the sides back it looks like someone has drawn the drapes open. And those are our new houses. Finally. Next week, we transplant . . .