Northern made, southern grown

Sundays are for church, breakfast at Mary’s Market, and grocery shopping. My grocery of choice is locally-owned Woodman’s for their broad selection, but I found last Sunday that their selection isn’t broad enough in one particular category: dark, leafy greens and more specifically, collard greens. Next stop, Valli Produce, our Mecca of international delights and produce galore!

Not only did Valli have collard greens, but they had my new favorite brand!

Since I had picked up Pecan oil in Georgia and since my friend Hillary had shared a jar of her sweetly hot pepper jelly, I now had the critical ingredients for the Baker Farms recipe Chef Holly had prepared in the Georgia Grown booth at Sunbelt Ag Expo:

And here’s the recipe for Georgia Grown’s Pepper Jelly Vinaigrette:

Both recipes are easy, but you have to plan ahead on prepping the greens because they need a lot of chill time to tenderize. Otherwise, the steps are easy!

First, clean the collards by washing them and cutting them in half lengthwise while removing the stems. Stack up several leaf halves, roll them up, and chop them.

Using this technique (which I learned at Disney Institute’s Culinary Challenge while chopping basil for a fierce Bruschetta competition), you’ll quickly end up with a lush bowl of yummy greeness.

Next step, douse them with the oil, salt, and pepper and massage them to start the tenderizing process.

Cover the bowl and stash the greens in the fridge for a long, cold nap. I prepped these greens the night before, which allowed me to sneak out a few for my lunch and save the bulk of them for dinner.

For the final prep, simply add the onions (sweet Vidalia’s of course!), mix up the dressing…

… and serve!

Collard greens pair nicely with oven-baked, paprika and cayenne-spiced chicken wings and a bright Chardonnay.

Bon appetit!


Georgia Grown

Georgia agriculture is one of the biggest economic engines in the state and it’s fueled by a vast array of farm products. At this week’s Sunbelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia, I met cattle ranchers, sheep herdsmen, cotton farmers, peanut growers, produce farmers, and more. As a corn and soybean farmwife, I had a lot to learn and I soaked in all that Georgia Grown goodness!

My sister Mokie — who likes to enjoy my travel adventures from afar — challenged me to send selfies of me and products from the Great State of Georgia.

I started with one of the State’s most famous “food” products:

On a walk to the farm show’s field demonstrations, I stopped for some fresh churned Georgia Butter Pecan ice cream:

Out in the fields, I met a friendly Cotton and Peanut Farmer named Larry who taught me all about his crops:

The best part of Larry’s lesson, was the explanation of how peanuts are planted and harvested:

Along the way, I met two fascinating women from Baker Farms who not only taught me about their leafy greens growing and packaging operation, but took me to a cooking demonstration and shared recipes for collard greens. I hope to go back to visit their operation and taste some of the best of Georgia Grown!


I cried, “uncle”

I took on a new role at work in January and since then, I’ve had less and less time to spend in the yard. It hasn’t helped that these past few weekends of summer, I’ve traded yard work for cycling, kayaking and camping in an attempt to squeeze a bit of outdoor fun into the remaining days of warmth and sunshine.

As the days began to shorten however, I began to panic over the work undone in the yard. Unkempt flower beds, weedy fence lines, lanky shrubs, disintegrating mulch, dead flowers, fading transplants, messy sidewalk edges. All that yard work staring me down as I walked out to leave for work every morning. All that yard work shaming my Master Gardner training and standards for a perfect landscape. All that yard work weighing me down and stressing me out.

I cried, “uncle.” I released the stranglehold and called in a landscaping crew.




Watching the crew from my home office on the front porch, I could feel the grip loosening and my stress reducing. I felt a sense of achievement (and all I did was make a phone call!). I felt hope that through the mercy of professional landscapers, I’ll never cry “uncle” again.


Those annoying washouts

Our wet spring and summer meant we had to repair the lane several times. The destruction from the last gully washer in July has remained… until today.

I used our Woods HBL rear blade, turned around, to roll gravel from the grass back into the lane and then turned the rig over to Tommy for the final finessing (I know the limits of my earth-moving talents).

Next, hook up the GS72C grading scraper, fill in the ruts with more gravel, and make it look like new again.

I get to do the grading part… I’m just killing some time while I wait my turn.

Away we go!