Farm News/Communication

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Posted 8/8/2010 4:46pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Howdy everyone on these blazing sunny days. 

As it is summer time, this is really the only time and the best time to eat the types of vegetables and herbs that are offered at The Arugula's Star Farm On-Line Store this week.  Just think of how long you have waited since last summer to endulge in Juicy Tomatoes, Crunchy Cucumbers, Slender and Snapy Okra, Sweet Roasted Summer Scallopini Squash, and Hot Peppers and Herbs for flavor.  If you do not take opportunity now, you might find yourself sitting at the tables this winter wondering why you let all these great seasonal summer vegetables pass you by.  The tomatoes are even great to freeze or jar, so you can pull out to enjoy in the winter months when there are not any real outside grown tomatoes for miles.  Then how about pickling some of your cucumbers and okra to enjoy at a later time as well.  If you have never tried Okra non-fried and are wondering if you would like it, then please try ours as it is the best tasting Okra you will ever enjoy in many ways other than frying.  To read more about Okra click on the More Details part at the On-Line Store.

Here is an idea for a Cool Summer Marinated Heirloom Tomato Soup that was made this past week that was delicious and refreshing...

2 lbs of Heirloom tomatoes, cored and quartered, DO NOT PEEL
1/2 cup of tomatoe paste
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tsp of celery seed
3 T of extra virgin olive oil
2 T of sherry or red wine vinegar
22 basil leaves
~1/8 tsp of finely minced Ring of Fire Hot Pepper ( more or less depending on how much of a spice you are wanting your chilled soup to have)

Combine all ingredients in a food processsor, taste for seasoning.  Put in the refrigerator and let cool for 2-24 hours for the benefit of a more ripened flavor and cooler soup.

So many times I will think of recipes and ideas of food combinations myself, or I will completely alter a recipe to fit a rendition of what I had in mind with what in season ingredients I have to work with, but this recipe actually came out of a Patricia Wells book called Vegetable Harvest.  If you are looking for a great new cook book that will give you all kinds of inspiration for in season vegetable eating I would highly recommend it. 

We hope you are enjoying your summer vegetables from last week and if you have not tried any yet, maybe we will see you this Wednesday the 11th at either Elmington Park in Nashville or On Farm.

Posted 8/1/2010 3:34pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

According to our Farm Journal we have now entered our 47th day of above 90 degree weather, since it started being extremely Hot and Humid back in June.  Then now, we are saying hello to August and are only wondering what could be in store for this month??

No matter what is to come with the weather, at least the summer vegetables can withstand the heat and are hanging in and looking quite lush to say the least, which means we can count on having some great summer produce coming forth in the month of August.  Our Tomatoes have started ripening up so you will have available the great and juicy summer fruits available at the On-Line Store.  The Purple Beauty Peppers are as well looking darkish purple and full, alongside the Star of David and Louisiana Green Okra, so these will be other new items to eat on as well.  This week’s Arugula’s Star Farm Certified Organic On-Line Store really has a wonderful selection of vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, and eggs, so it really makes sense to think about making a point to order, as then all you have to do is show up at Elmington Park in Nashville or On-Farm.


We will be offering beautiful Tiger’s Eye Sunflower Arrangements with slips of Sorghum Grass to brighten up your eating table that you will be enjoying all your organic vegetables and fruits on. 

We will also still be having the Cucumbers, Summer Squash & Zucchini, Wax Beans, and complimentary herbs of basil, summer savory, coriander, and oregano.

Thanks for Keeping up and we do hope you will place an Order with us.

Arugula's Star Farm


Posted 7/25/2010 4:53pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
We are excited to say that the first Wax Snap Bean harvest will be this week.  As I grew up picking green snap beans as a child every summer, I always look very forward to our first snap bean harvest.  Snap Beans are so snapy, sweet, and delicious it is hard not to snack on them when picking down a long row.  The greatest part of these snap beans that will be ready for first picking are wax snap beans of yellow and yellow-purple stripped color, hence the variety names of Gold Rush and Dragon Langerie.  When you click on Wax Snap Beans at our On-Line Store you will be able to find out more information on them there, so please take a peak and place an order.  We also have all the summer crops back that were offered last week like the cucumbers, summer squash and zucchini, and herbs. At the on-line store, you will notice that on all the vegetables there will not be a count on the amount remaining, so do not let that confuse you as being zero.  The only item that will still have the count available will be the eggs.  Another interesting item that if you are a Radish fan you will love is the Snapy Radish Green Pods.
When I was looking back at the Basket Journal's from 2009 I was reminded of how many vegetables that we normally have that we just do not have this year because of the flood, as they were all washed away, so we just like you have missed having carrots, beets, fennel, and greens as part of our late sprng and early summer eatings.  Nonetheless, you will have opportunity for all these great vegetables in the fall as we just got our first round of fall seeds out last Friday that consisted of Broccoli, Carrots, Leeks, Celery, Cabbage, and Rutabagas.  These are all of the fall crops that need to go out by the end of July or they most often have trouble developing great size before the daylight time starts deminishing in the late fall.  With the extreme temperatures that we have been having it was hard to imagine that it was actually time to start getting fall crop seeds out into the field.  As every growing season brings changes and surprises, I will say that this years' summer has had the longest run of Hot, Humid, & Sunny days that I can remember since the summer seasons back in the late nineties.  Last year, we can remember many picking days of clouds and rains, which has not been the case this year at all.  
Let me now let you know what you have to look forward to in the coming weeks... the fields should start producing other ripe summer fruits of  tomatoes, okra, and sweet melons, so you will have the selection of what we are having now plus these new additions.  
We hope everyone enjoyed the Coriander last week and we hope many more of you will continue to try it as we will have it every week for next while as we have dried a good amounts of it.

Until next time, keep up the organic /local eating!

Allison Mills Neal

Posted 7/18/2010 9:13pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Coriander, Basil, Summer Savory, Oregano, Cucumbers, Summer Squash and Zucchini, Dried Hot Peppers,and Eggs are the available organic items this week from Arugula’s Star Farm. 

You probably have never had local-organic coriander seed before so we would highly recommend the limited amount of coriander that we grew this year. The one fact that most do not know is that the dried ripe Coriander fruits(seed) comes form the plant of Cilantro. We harvested our Cilantro plants this year that fruited and have had them drying in the barn until just this last week when we starting hand removing all the dried seeds.  Coriander seeds are an excellent spice that sport a fragrant flavor reminiscent of citrus peel, sage, and are both sweet and spicy. Coriander can be available in groceries both ground and whole, but whole is always preferable as once the seed is ground the essential oils dissipate rapidly.  Whole coriander seeds are easy to grind by means of a mortar and pestle, spice mill, or an electric coffee bean grinder.  Coriander is a mainstay in chutneys, curries, and the spice blend called Garam Masala that many of you might be familiar with.  It makes a natural partnership with cumin and sweet spices like cinnamon, all-spice, cloves, nutmegs.  It also goes well with ginger, garlic, and fresh green herbs.  Coriander seeds are extensively used in cuisines of Asia, China, Latin America, Spain, and North African countries like Morocco.  The flavor of coriander combines nicely with zucchini, summer squash, beets, onions, potatoes, beans, cucumbers, and many most all meats. 

The greatest notion of using many herbs and spices in ones dishes is the aided nutritional benefits they can add on top of adding so much extra flavor.  The essential oils of coriander seed make it an effective carminative (a compound that relieves or expels gas), digestant, and stimulant. Modern scientific studies have focused on its antimicrobial properties, antianxiety properties, and cholesterol lowering effects.  These studies appear to confirm many of the historical uses. 

We have been using the coriander seed in many dishes lately that have been comprised mostly of squash, cucumber, other green herbs, eggs, and chicken.  One wonderful dish that was made was a Moroccan type of dish that incorporated lemon wedges, garlic, French Round Zucchini, Coriander, dried hot pepper, raw cheddar cheese.  I used one of those large Le Crueset  braising pots that I had used the night before to roast some of our chickens in covered with basil, which was great as it had chicken dripping in and on it.  I pulled the already cooked chicken from the night before off the chicken and pulled it into shreds and the set aside to add back into the dish at the end.  The lemon wedges I used had already been squeezed out and used in a cold squash and cucumber salad for lunch, so they had nicely marinated in the remaining lunch vinegar, oil, coriander, and chopped basil.  Basically all that remained was chopping the zucchini into cubes, mincing the hot pepper, grinding the 2 T of coriander, mincing garlic, and adding it all into the le creuset, along with a bit of olive oil, uncoverd on medium heat to stir, cook, and sautee about.  After all smelled aromatic and the squash was about at the desired texture, I added the shredded bits of chicken so it could warm and soak about the other flavors in the dish.  I served in a bowl and added some raw cheddar cheese and it was that fresh ground coriander that took us to another world! 

 The other wonderful herbs we have this week are Summer Savory, Oregano, and again the delicious basil.  All of these herbs have many positive medicinal medicinal effects as well.  Basil has been shown to be a digestive aid, mild sedative, helps in treatments of headaches, increases circulation, dilates blood vessels, an antibacterial, and an anthelmintic(antiworm).  Basil also contains orientin and vicenin, which are two water soluble flavonoids that protect cell structure as well as chromosomes from radiation and free radical damage.  As such, basil provides important anticancer benefits.  Oregano and summer savory share many of the same medicinal effects as basil, as they are as well in the Mint Family.  Oregano though has scored the highest in antioxidant of any herb or food tested, ranking even higher than fruits and vegetables known to be high in antioxidants.  Oregano as forty two times more antioxidants that apples, and four times more than blueberries.  The active component in oregano is rosmarinic acid, which , as its name suggests, is also found in rosemary as well as other mint family herbs.

With all this being said, you now should have the initiative to add as many delicious and in-season herbs as possible to at least one prepared meal a day, if not more! 

Please head to the Arugula’s Star Farm On-Line Store to add some of these herbs, spices, fresh cucumbers, summer squash, and zucchini to your weeks food repertoire.

Oh and as we are having more quantities than what are selling though our on-line store we started selling to Whole Foods in Green Hills last week, so if you do not get a chance to make an order with use for some reason then you might be able to find some weekly available organic vegetables and herbs from our farm at Whole Foods.  Nonetheless, it is always preferable if you make the effort to order from the On-line Store so we can see you in person on an ever so weekly basis.

 Thanks and have an enjoyable week.

Allison Mills Neal



Posted 7/11/2010 2:34pm by Matthew and Allison Mills Neal.

To see this article go to and look in the June 2010 issue.

Posted 7/11/2010 2:29pm by Matthew and Allison Mills Neal.

As was reported about a month ago, Arugula's Star Farm summer vegatbles were growing right on up, so here we are now a month later and the vegetables are all ripening up and they are already starting to be ready and avaialble for purchase.   The first classic summer vegetable that has produced is the summer squash and zucchini.  We also have the wonderful herb of basil, both cinnamon and genovese.  Our summer squash is not just the basic yellow crockneck or green zucchini, we have a mix of exciting varieties that consist of Golden Zucchini, Round French Zucchini, and Benning's Green Tint Patty Pan/Scallopini Squash.  To read more about the Summer Squash and Basil please have a look at the Arugula's Star Farm On-line Store and we hope to be seeing you this week.

Allison Mills Neal

Posted 6/20/2010 5:37pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Hello everyone.

We just wanted to let you all know that the greens have finally seen their end of the season, so therefore we will not be having any produce offerings till around mid-July.  You will know when we start having the great summer squash, cucumbers, green snap beans, okra, tomatoes, sweet melons, and herbs when you start receiving the weekly e-mail again. 
The chickens as well seem to be laying lower on their egg production, as the heat has set on and they are getting ready to go through their first molt.  We will have some available eggs on a weekly basis, but mainly this will be for you of whom are our local neighbors.  If you are in this category please just give us a call or an e-mail so then you can stop by to pick up a dozen here and there. Or if you are someone that gets eggs from us on a regular basis and feel like making a drive, we might have a dozen to offer over if you let us know you will be in our neck of the woods. 

Arugula's Star Farm
Posted 6/13/2010 11:58am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Please take a look and try some of our greens at our on-line produce store for the June 16th Delivery/Pick-Up. 
Arugula's Star Farm On-Line Organic Produce Store

Rememeber... raw salads are the way to go when you think of summer and the heat.  Chopped Chard leaves and stems mixed with the lettuce leaves and a little borage makes for the perfect greens base for your weeks worth of salads, so stock up and we will be seeing you on Wednesday the 16th.

Arugula's Star Farm
Posted 6/6/2010 6:21pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Hello to everyone as we have made it into the month of June, and thus here soon to be summer. Since writing last, it seems as if the "Heat that was On" then has for certain decided to stay. Despite the extremely warm days the evenings have offered a well needed reprieve from the heat and we hope everyone has appreciated the pleasant evenings and fireflies! Speaking of golden lights, you can find some golden colors at our On-Line Produce Store by way and means of purchasing some Golden Chard Bunches mixed with the beautiful Red color of the Ruby Red Chard. To go along with the Chard Bunches, you will also find Lettuce Heads, Borage, and Eggs.

In light of all the damage that was done here by the flood, we feel as if the fields and landscapes are slowly but surely starting to look back to normal. Our cover crops of buckwheat and sorghum are growing on up and creating young lush carpets of green.  Hills are popping out sweet melon, watermelon, cucumber, winter squash, summer squash, marigold, radish, dill, and basil seedlings. Rows of beans and tomatoes are on there way, soon to be followed by the peppers plants, eggplants, sunflowers, and okra seeds. It for sure has been a month of repair and fixin, but I will say we are getting there.

We hope you will try some of the tasty greens by ordering at the on-line store and that we will be seeing you on Wednesday the 9th for delivery at Elmington Park or On-Farm Pick-up.

Thanks so much...Arugula's Star Farm


Posted 5/23/2010 3:37pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

“And the Heat is On”…the hot late spring weather has finally come to be here in Middle TN. So with the warm weather here and all, there is no better time to be tossing raw salads up, chopping herbs, and eating refreshing organic strawberries. As this week is looking warmer and drier, we might actually be able to get into the Windmill field to move around the shifted and flooded soils, get some cover crops out and about, and by the end of the week in the great 2nd Quarter and Scorpio sign we will hope to get out some vine crops, beans, and herbs and flowers. Because of all the alterations that the Flood brought on here for the farm’s fields and planting agendas, we will not have any new produce available till late July or early August in our best prediction. Although, for the next couple of weeks we will still be offering the lettuces, endive, chard, borage, sorrel, spinach, and strawberries that were resilient enough to survive, but after that is gone we will be waiting on the summer crops that have been even delayed more than normal. Nonetheless, we will be planning on having melons, winter squash, summer squash & zucchini, snap beans, dry beans, tomatoes, peppers, okra, cucumbers, and herbs when the time comes around.  Here is a good picture of comparison of how high the banks of the Leipers Creek flooded, kind of a then and now type of picture.  Also, there are the tomato plants that will still make it into the field for a good crop of tomatoes.

As far as this week goes, at the On-Line Store, you will find the Supreme Spring Green Salad Mix again, Borage, and first come first serve Strawberries at pick-up (meaning… limited amount will be posted, and then the remaining that we are able to harvest off the plants will be available on a first come first serve basis at the pick-up on Wednesday)

As this will be our third week of our strawberry harvest, the plants are still producing and looking great, so please support the production of Organic Strawberries by buying Organic/Local Strawberries. There was a wonderful article that came out in this months ACRES publication that spoke of the terrible impacting roll that Conventional Strawberries have played in positive environmental ecosystems structure and function, and human health. There is really nothing wonderful at all about enjoying fresh strawberries when they have been conventionally grown, so just remember that next time you see a beautiful display of seemingly perfect conventional strawberries, and this goes for local non-organic strawberries as well! Moreover, as not to just speak of Strawberries, but this same statement is true for any conventional produce really. That is why you as a consumer have such an important role in buying food that is having a positive effect on all living ecosystems and human health, as opposed to the counterpart of purchasing conventional foods and products that are having broad scoping negative effects on environmental ecosystems and your health and other human’s health.

Along with the wonderful supreme salad mix, the other featured item this week is Borage, and if you have never tried Borage, you really should as not only is it tasty like described at the On-Line Store, but it is one of those wonderful healing herbs that can be used and should be used in regular cooking preparations.

Borage parts used: Leaves, flowers, and seeds

Phytochemicals and Nutrient Content: Beta-carotene, romaine acid, silicic acid, tannin, calcium, choline, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C.

Actions and Uses: Acts as a adrenal tonic and gland balancer. Contains valuable minerals and essential fatty acids needed for proper cardiovascular function ad healthy skin and nails.

To get ideas on how to use Borage please click on the more information option at the On-Line Store.

We hope everyone enjoys this first spurt in the hot weather and hope to be seeing you on this Wednesday the 26th at Elmington Park or On-Farm.


Arugula’s Star Farm




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