Farm News/Communication

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Posted 5/18/2010 11:38am by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Hello to everyone!
First off, we apologize for the delay in e-mail this week and the to be altered delivery day but we have a story and reason behind these changes.  Last Friday our phone line was struck by lightning and thus we lost all of our phones and it fried our computer.  As the Leipers Creek Library does not run open hours on Sundays or Mondays, today Tuesday, was the first chance I had to get onto a computer. 
Therefore, that is why you are just receiving the e-mail today and is why we will push our delivery day till Friday the 21st.  Friday will mimic the same format as Wednesdays, so there will be nothing different except for the day.  As we will not be able to check e-mails regularly this week, if you have any questions then please just give us a call as our phone is up and operating again, even though our computer is not.   931-682-3314.
I hope this works out for most still, and it might even allow for some that normally cannot make Wednesday to be able to enjoy some delicious produce from Arugula's Star Farm, as you might be able to make it to a Friday pick-up.  
We really have a great selection of vegetables, fruits, and herbs this week available in our
On-Line Store.  Our strawberries are still coming in full on and we hope everyone loved their strawberries last week, and will be back for more this week.  I think Matthew, I, and the two interns might be developing a slight red hue as we have been eating so many of these bright red, ripe, and sweet berries...yum.  We have a wonderful supreme salad mix with a high array of different greens that you will really love.  The crunchy and snapy sweet peas are back and lastly but not least, we also have a European herb called Borage that you can read about and try. 

Thanks for understanding and we hope to still be able to see many of you this coming Friday the 21st. 

Arugula's Star Farm

Allison Mills Neal  

Posted 5/9/2010 3:52pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Good day to everyone and we hope all are having a sunny Mother's Day.  Despite all the happenings I was able to break away, thanks to Matthew and the Interns, and come visit my family in East TN for Mother's Day.  It seems that even though there was plenty of clean-in and fix-in up that has been going on every day this whole past week, we still are having to let the flooded fields dry out enough to be able to get in with equipment to try to move around the washed top soils that were deposited in different spots throughout the fields.   Then to follow up, we will plan on cultirotating the exposed soils and will try to get cover crops planted so we can start re-building the soils that were lost.  It seems as if we might still try to get some summer crops out, even though we lost all of our most favorite spring crops.  Amazingly, we did have a section of spring crops that hung on, even though there was still some damage done upon this area.  The spring crops that are still alive are some of the escarole, cilantro, sugar snap peas, chard, and lettuces. This was a crop strip row that was farthest North of the overflown Leipers Creek, so they were able to somehow pull through as there was not as much of a forcefull water flowing over top.  The sugar snap peas pea plants are wonderfully full with peas, even though they are not standing as high and proud as they were before the floods.  The best survivor was the strawberries and those have been great to enjoy as they just started ripening the day after the flood, and we have those to offer this week as well.  Please have a look at the On-Line Store as we actually have a great offering this week.  Before ordering the strawberries please read the details by clicking on more details under the strawberry offering, and there you will learn how those will be offered on a first come first serve basis at the actually pick up spots at Elmington Park and On-Farm. 
Also, we really appreciated all the words that were sent letting us know that many were thinking of us...thanks! 

Hope to be seeing you this week, May 12th, at the Wednesday drop off. 

From all of us here at Arugula's Star Farm
Posted 5/2/2010 4:07pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

The Flood of May 1st & 2nd of 2010 at Arugula's Star Farm.  As we are certain everyone has had to deal with the high waters in some way or the other over the past two days, we just wanted to let all know here at the farm our waters got up very high.  We thought we would pass along a few pictures that were taken as the rains slowed down on Saturday evening showing how one of our main fields that we call the windmill field turned into a river.  Not only did it do this yesterday, but today on Sunday we have had flood number two.  All crops that had went into the ground have most likely been washed away, so unfortunetely all the wonderful produce that had been mentioned last week, plus vegetables like fennel, dry beans, and snap beans that went in the ground this past week all have as well been lost.  Fortunetly, the chickens were up on the bald so they have stayed dry and well.  The strawberries were in another field that is not getting the brunt of the flood so hopefully we will still have our berry crop to offer unless there is to much dampness and standing water that might have a negative effect, but we will see.  As there will be much clean-up this week and in the coming weeks, we will not be making our weekly delivery at Elmington Park.  We are very sorry to say that we are not sure how all will pan out, as we can not fairly asses the damage that has been done to the bottom field's, meaning not just loss of crops and cover crops, but how to correct shifts in top soil and loss of topsoil.  Currently, we are still experiencing flood #2 and the rains continue to fall.  For those who have been to the farm, you will be able to see how high the waters have really gotten by looking at the pictures.  Matthew, myself, and Max were all out trying to save some fencing and parts and pieces of the water system and when we were out in the windmill field water was running so much like a river through that field that in parts one could have really been swept away.  Our shade structure was completely standing out in the expanded creek(now river), but luckily it is holding. At the highest point the water had risen to about 40 feet from our back wash room area, which was just unbelievable to see really.  This could be the first time that the Leiper's Creek Valley has exeprienced a flood like this in at least the last 50-70 years.  To see more pictures please go the the photo gallery.
Allison and Matthew Neal

Posted 4/25/2010 3:26pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.


Winds abound all around, as the tree seeds all fall down.  The tall grasses and cover crops in the fields are ever blowing today in the sunlight.  The wind on a sunny day with the tall grasses and cover crops really highlights the different colors and textures of the plants.  After you see tall grasses, legumes, and grains growing tall it might would even inspire a few of you to let your yards grow up to it’s tall lush self of beauty.  It would also let the grass produce some of its own seed, as most of the time it never gets to. 

We are getting extremely excited here, as here in a few weeks we will be having lots of red juicy, organic strawberries to offer.  We have over 1,000 plants that were started last year, in which we picked their flowers off last year to let them put all their energy into their roots themselves, and there surrounding soils, as opposed to producing berries.  Because of this, for this year and into the next few years our berries should last as loner, healthier fruiting perennials.  As we are looking as if we should have a large crop, we hope you will spread the word to your friends letting them know that Arugula’s Star Farm should be their choice for the Most Sweet & Genuine Strawberries this spring.  Once they start coming in, we will put them up on the on-line store and then it will be there that yourself and any others can order.  If you need to pass on our Arugula’s Star Farm On-Line Store to any friends please send them this e-mail letter, which will have a link here to our Web-Site and the On-Line Store.

We thought it would be a good idea to pass along a slideshow of pictures of the fields, plantings, and berries, so please have a look.  Over the last couple of weeks we have really gotten a lot of crops in the ground, and all on the appropriate sign of course!  To give you an idea of what all we have started and what you will have available for you at the On-Line Store in the coming months, we will share what all has been planted thus far….

Sugar Snap Peas, Lettuces, Endive, Cilantro, Chards, Beets, Leeks, Onions, Radishes, Carrots, Arugula, Kale, Dill, Sage, Cabbage, Broccoli, Summer Squash & Zucchini, Wax Beans, Tomatoes, Eggplant, Peppers, Tomatillos, Thyme, Oregano, Sweet Marjarom, Lemon Balm.  We hope you will choose to look forward to the weekly On-Line Store offerings so you can fill your body with nutritionally dense, genuine, organic vegetables, fruits, and herbs!

Until the strawberries, greens, and snap peas start coming in, the on-line store will be limited to French Sorrel, Grass for juicing and Eggs, but these are still three wonderful items to add to your weekly eatings! Have you ever heard of a Green Gravey, with Roasted chicken, French Sorrel, and Raisin Biscuits... all organic of course, if not, and it sounds interesting you should have look at the Recipe in the Arugula's Star Farm Recipe Bank. 

Thanks from all of us at Arugula’s Star Farm!

Posted 4/18/2010 2:34pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Delie the Delaware Chicken says "How Do" from up upon the bald at Arugula's Star Farm.

Sadly enough, even though the Brassica Mix has been a top seller, it is finally being taken off the shelf as it has started to it's next state of life...flowering, seed production, and then to be churned back into the soil.  
Nonetheless, we will be having more Kale and Brassicas to offer in about a month or so that have been spring planted. 

For this week's offering at the On-line Store you will find French Sorrel and the Leek/Scallion Bunches, plus the hard to catch Golden Eggs!
As I mentioned the other week, this time of the year is the best time for the French Sorrel and it really is a green/herb to try.  I would recommend reading all about the French Sorrel, by going to the On-Line Store and clicking on the product option of More Details.  It can be used in so many different culinary applications and those have all been listed to give you ideas on how to go about using it.  Also, I have added a new French Sorrel recipe in the Arugula's Star Farm recipe bank that really is worth trying, so please take a look. This French Sorrel Sauce calls for both the French Sorrel and the Scallion and Leek Bunch, which you can get both here from the On-line store.  Also, this sauce does not have to be just used for asparagus and apples, it can be used as a sauce for any vegetable or meat.  I also like turning it into a dressing for salads. 

We hope you have a wonderful sunny week and we will look forward to seeing you soon.

Thanks, Matthew and Allison Mills Neal

Posted 4/11/2010 4:22pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

As spring continues to abound all around, so does beautiful bowls of green and herb salads.  Here at the farm we are still feasting on the tasty greens that are putting forth this spring that were overwintered from last fall, but here in a couple of weeks they might have reached the end of their double season cycle so please enjoy them while you can.  This week we have some new herbs that have grown up enough to start offering. The herbs are delicious just chopped up and added to a salad, or used as a pesto-like topping on a pouched egg, or for making an herbal vinaigrette.  This herb mix is a mixture of Chervil, Lemon Balm, Bee Balm (Bergamot), and Violet leaves.  One can make a very tasty salad out of just these herbs, the French Sorrel, chopped Scallions and Bunching Leeks, nuts, Hard Boiled Egg, salt & pepper, and some oil and vinegar.  Please take a look at the Arugula's Star Farm On-line Store to see if you would like to purchase any of these items or others, to be picked up at our weekly drop-off/pick-up this Wednesday on April the14th.


All the first planted spring crops of greens and peas are coming along well as you can see the peas very well in the picture above. They are really coming on looking lush and leafy!  The spring crops that have been planted for this year should be ready for harvest somewhere in early to mid-may. It will be at this time when we will start having more diversity at the On-Line Store, as currently we are just working with the overwintered fall greens and fresh spring herbs.   We will be making a second planting of spring crops this week, which will include root crops of beets, carrots, onions, radishes and other vegetables of lettuce, cabbage, arugula, celery, radicchio, and kale to name a few.

On this coming Tuesday the 13th, we will be having the Farm Tour/Picnic Event, so if you have forgotten to sign up then please remember to do so by the end of Monday the 12th.   The weather is suppose to be very nice, so please come on out and join us for a walk through the fields. All proceeds from this event will be going to the Windfall Agrarian Initiative.  To read more about this even please take a look at our Event Calender

Also, on April 17th there is an event called Trashercise that will be picking up trash along the newly established Old Tennessee Settlers to Soldiers Trail (A discover TN trail and byway), and since our farm is located on this Trail we will be hosting a refreshment stand for those participating in this event.

Thanks and maybe we will be hearing from you and seeing you sometime this week!

Posted 4/4/2010 5:07pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.


Good day to everyone on this beautiful spring day.  Thanks to the weather, we have certainly had a productive week here at the farm and here are some pictures showing some of the works that we have been up to.  One large accomplishment was getting more cane berries planted and getting all the perennial cane berries mulched with our own forest wood chips and leaves.  The asparagus that was started last year are starting to emerge out of the soil, but we are not having enough coming up in plentitude at the same time yet to be able to offer on the on-line store.  The strawberry plants are starting to get a few blooms on them here and there and are really growing along.  We hope everyone is excited about the first strawberry harvest at Arugula’s Star Farm this year! The French Sorrel has come on even more from last week, so you will have to see about trying some of this if you missed it last week.  Also, for any of you avid juicers, we have just what you will be excited about....delicious, sweet, and nutritious wheat grass! Please have a look at our On-line store to see if anything is of interest and we hope to be seeing you on Wednesday perhaps.








Posted 3/28/2010 5:21pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

The end of March is blowing on to it’s end with ever so gusty early spring winds.  We hope everyone enjoyed the few lovely spring days last week.  For this year thus far, we have noticed the trend of not many sunny days, but when the sun does come out and show forth in all it’s energetic splendor, those days have been filled with more color and beauty than a mere average nice weather day.  On the sunny days, the lighting in the afternoon and evening has been so magical that there has been so many images in the surrounding ecosystem that should and needs to be captured in ones photographic memory.  The University School of Nashville evening class that was held here on this past Saturday had one of these exceptional sunny days, so everyone really got to enjoy the beauty and energy that the leipers creek valley beholds.   

Remember, if you too would like to come on out to Arugula’s Star Farm for a Farm Tour/Pack your own Picnic Event, please put the date of April the 13th on your calendar and let us know your are coming.

We were able to enjoy the top bald of the farm this weekend and we captured some pictures to let you see the Agrarian Interns, Max & Stephen, and their great camp that they have made their home.


Arugula's Star Farm On-Line Produce Store

For Wednesday the 31st delivery/pick up, we will be having a new offering this week of a delicious and nutritious young greens mix of Red & White Russian Kale, Champion Collards, & Tenderleaf Hardy Greens.  Also, as the French Sorrel has started growing up just enough to make a very small harvest, we will be offering some French Sorrel in small packages. The scallions, cress, eggs, and silver maple trees will all be making a repeat, so you can find all of these items at the store again.

Hope to be seeing you on Wednesday. 

Allison Mills Neal
Posted 3/21/2010 3:37pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.

Here we are, into the new season of spring and what else could this bring?…it seems a continuation of raining showers.  The valley of leipers creek has sure had it’s fill of rain over the last 6 months.  There is always such a slim opportunity for field preparation and planting in the early season, especially when one is trying to be in sink with the moon’s phases.  It had dried out just enough two weeks ago for us to direct seed the first seeds of the season, which consisted of sweet snap peas, escarole endive, swiss chard, lettuces, and cilantro.  Then just yesterday, before the rains were to start again, we were able to get into one of the fields to cultirotate in preparation for a spring planting of cover crop.


We have decided to offer yet another Arugula's Star Farm Tour opportunity, that will not be in connection with any other institution or organization, like the TOGA tour or the up and coming USN tour.  This on-farm tour will be held on Tuesday April 13th and will start promptly at 10:30 a.m. and will last till about noon or so.  This Farm Tour is a great opportunity to see the beauty of spring, by walking through a local farm’s fields of green.  All at the same time, you will be learning more about Organic Farming, What goes into your local food production, and What it means to Taste the Truth of Genuine Agricultural Practices. This tour is open to all ages, as long as the one’s age causes minimal distraction.  This tour will be open to any questions, so please come curious. This on-farm tour would be an excellent opportunity for anyone that is involved in a small/local group or club for it be your monthly field trip;  would be a great day for an interested group of friends;  or for parents and behaved children.  If the day turns out to be a beautiful day and you would like to pack a picnic, then you would be more than welcome to stay after the tour to enjoy yourself on a brought chair or blanket.  Of course we will not be involved in your own personal picnic, so please bring bags for your trash and any other items that you will need to have an enjoyable picnic.  This On-Farm tour will cost $10.00/person and all the proceeds will be going to the Windfall Agrarian Initiative.

The Deadline for signing up will be by April the 11th.  Please contact us by e-mail or phone 931-682-3314, to sign-up. 

This week at our On-Line Store, our fields have sprung forth with some available Belle Isle Cress and some Evergreen Hardy Scallions, so please have a look!


Posted 3/14/2010 1:58pm by Allison Mills Neal & Matthew Neal.
Strawberry Hills and Greening Cover Crops of Triticale and Vetch here at Arugula's Star Farm....

Hopefully ever one is anticipating the Spring Equinox that will be occurring this coming Saturday at 1 pm.  We have sensed it's near arrival by the re-awakening and greening of the fall cover crops and by the emerging tree buds.  The French Sorrel has also started to make its way out of the ground, along with the Belle Isle Cress, and the first green leaves of the strawberry plants! 

As to create a staring point this year for a couple of our Farm’s long term goals, in the categories of creating Hands-On Agrarian Intern Programs & The Sharecroppers Exchange, we have been most fortunate to be able to have our first two full time live-on interns here at Arugula’s Star Farm.  Max Butler and Stephen McDonald  are now one in the same with all the happenings, cycles, growing, infrastructure projects, gathering, caring, sustenance, stewardship, and learning, and we are very excited for us all in this new undertaking!

Here lately we have been working on the management and rejuvenation of all the perennial fruit crops, like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and gooseberries & the asparagus that we started last year in 2009.  We will be expecting the first great gatherings of the strawberries and the asparagus this year.  These will be two if the first crop offerings we will have for the 2010 season and these are wonderful organic foods to look forward to on the on-line store.

The March 5th  Tennessee Organic Growers Association (TOGA) Farm Tour day turned out very nicely, as the weather was perfect for an enlightening farm tour.  We would like to thank all that were able to participate. The next Farm Tour and Educational opportunity will be coming up on Saturday March 27th, so to learn more about this please see our Event Calendar and click on USN Scholorship Fundraising Evening Classes.


The items in the on-line store are the same as last week and to order please click here to go to the Arugula’s Star Farm On-line Store.  If you have not tried our Golden Eggs yet, please have a try and order early, as we sold out last week.  



From all of us here at Arugula's Star Farm.....even the chickies too!


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