Sunday, April 25, 2010

Praying Mantis

It's quite likely none of you would ever have ridden in my car prior to receiving this email. It's true that it is usually jammed full of stuff- tools, tarps, 50lb sacks of seed potatoes. But after receiving this email I feel certain almost all of you would turn down my offer of a ride even if I made room for you by moving the backpack sprayer into the trunk.

Last fall I trimmed trees and shrubs around my house. In doing so I cut off many branches that had on them Praying Mantis egg casings. Not wanting to waste them I stored them outside and moved many of them to the incubator farm to try and raise the number of Praying Mantis eating bad bugs at the farm. Apparently one of those egg casings ended up under my front seat and earlier this week it hatched. I got into my car to return home only to find several hundred small Praying Mantises scouring my car for something to eat. I knew they wouldn't bite me but still, it was kinda creepy. I drove straight home and cleaned out the car. Many of them I removed and put out in the yard. Some of them got sucked out when I vacuumed. I thought the car was clean- problem solved, but yesterday I saw one still trying to make my car's interior pest free. I need a truck.

The temperatures lately have been just right for growing spring vegetables. It's been a bit dry but I've fixed that for all of us. On Saturday I ran sprinklers at the farm, not knowing whether or not it would actually rain. The result of my effort is that it did in fact rain (you're welcome) and now all the plants are happy again. With warm and sunny weather slated for early this week it will be fun to watch everything take off.

The Piedmont Farmers Market started it's new season this past Saturday. I did not attend as a vendor. I will not be there next Saturday but I will begin attending the Saturday Winecoff market on May 8th. I will have spring vegetables and SEAFOOD, probably just shrimp and grouper the first week. This is the start of a potential partnership with Flying Fish Seafood in Davidson. They make a weekly run to the coast of the Carolinas to bring back whatever is in season. I'm not sure how well it will sell at the market (it's more expensive than crap seafood from Thailand) but I'm going to give it a try. By the way I'll be down in the lawn area not under the main building (long story) so come and see me.

A big thanks to Shelley and Stacey and Erin and Ethan for coming out to the farm last week to help. It was a very busy week and their help meant more plants in the ground and more seeds sown before the rain. I haven't updated the google calender yet but just so you know we planted: straight neck and patty pan squash, zucchini, pole beans, bush beans, cucumbers, luffa sponge, spinach (one more round) arugula, radishes, swiss chard and onions. We also transplanted tomatoes, peppers and a few early eggplants into the field. Yum.

It looks like we will have enough people to offer a downtown Concord CSA pickup for the Know Your Farms mulit-farm CSA. In all likelihood it will happen on Tuesday evenings at The Old Creamery in coordination with my Phoenix Farms CSA pickup. If you've been on the fence about joining the Know Your Farms CSA send me an email and we'll talk.

Eat Well,


Sauteed Spinach


  • 2 large bunches of spinach, about 1 lb
  • Olive oil, extra virgin
  • 3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Salt to taste

Cut off the thick stems of the spinach and discard. Clean the spinach by filling up your sink with water and soaking the spinach to loosen any sand or dirt. Drain the spinach and then repeat soaking and draining. Put the spinach in a salad spinner to remove any excess moisture.

Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium high heat. Add the garlic and saute for about 1 minute, until the garlic is just beginning to brown.

Add the spinach to the pan, packing it down a bit if you need to with your hand. Use a couple spatulas to lift the spinach and turn it over in the pan so that you coat more of it with the olive oil and garlic. Do this a couple of times. Cover the pan and cook for 1 minute. Uncover and turn the spinach over again. Cover the pan and cook for an additional minute.

After 2 minutes of covered cooking the spinach should be completely wilted. Remove from heat. Drain any excess moisture from the pan. Add a little more olive oil, sprinkle with salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

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