Turtle Bend Farm is a sustainable vegetable farm in Polk County, Georgia. Adam and Mecca Lowe are growing vegetables on approximately 7 acres of family farmland using ecological methods without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides or herbicides. Our goal is to produce clean, healthy, fresh vegetables for our local communities while protecting and enhancing our local natural and social resources.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Fall on the Farm

Broccoli growing on white plastic. The plastic was amazing at conserving moisture during our very dry year, not to mention the benefits of keeping the weeds down.
Adam harvesting turnips in one of several turnip patches.

Scarlet Queen Turnips!! Beautiful and delicious.

Swiss rainbow Chard growing beside our old stand of corn.

Cabbage plants growing on white plastic. The white plastic reflects more light, so the ground is not heated up like it is with black plastic. Amazing how the plants adapted to this environment and did better than similar plants not planted on plastic.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Late Summer pictures by Judi Jackson

squash plants catching some rays

Adam in the Okra

Adam in the collards before the inch of rain we just received!!


Collards! and broccoli and cabbage...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Plan to Plate: Chicken Cacciotore!



Turtle Bend Farm would like to introduce a new and exciting business in Atlanta, Plan to Plate! Ms. Ashli McMahon has been preparing Turtle Bend Farm CSA Vegetables during this late summer season and here's a recipe from her that you won't want to miss! Please check out her website and see if her business could help your family prepare fresh, homemade meals with more ease and efficiency, not to mention flavor! Read Ashli's column below!

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Another week of sweet, beautiful tomatoes leads me to an old classic, Chicken Cacciatore. Many recipes that you will find call for canned tomatoes, but I had no need to grab my can opener. These pink beauties are full of juice and, paired with fresh basil and oregano, effortlessly make this Italian dish sing. Of course, my fiancĂ© and I had to add our own little twists while we built this meal in our kitchen. He’s a Price, and I am a McMahon. Our friends have always called us the “McPrices”, so this is Chicken Cacciatore: McPrice Style. Hope you enjoy!
For more recipe ideas or to have me plan diverse ways to utilize your CSA ingredients, contact me at ashli@plantoplate.com.
Happy cooking and eating,
Ashli

Chicken Cacciatore: McPrice Style
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 – 4 boneless, skinless breasts of chicken
2 small or 1 large onion, sliced into rings or thin strips
2 small or one large green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 jalapeno, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
½ C of wine (you can use red or white)
3 - 4 large ripe tomatoes
¾ C chicken broth
¼ C basil, chopped plus basil ribbons for garnish
1 sprig of fresh oregano, leaves minced (save some for garnishing)
pinch of sugar
juice of ½ a lemon
your favorite pasta
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet with EVOO in the bottom to medium high heat. Season your chicken breasts with salt and pepper. When the oil is nice and hot, add the chicken to the pan. Seal in the flavor by cooking for about 3 -4 minutes on each side. The outside will become golden brown, but the inside will not be cooked all the way through yet. When both sides are browned, remove the chicken to a plate.
Turn your heat down to medium, add the onions and peppers, and season with salt and pepper. Allow the veggies to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, before adding your jalapeno and garlic. Cook another minute and then deglaze your pan with wine. Allow the wine to cook out and then add your big, ripe tomatoes, broth, fresh herbs, sugar, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. (You can use dried herbs here instead of fresh, if that’s what you have on hand. A teaspoon of dried Italian seasoning will do the trick.) Let the liquid come up to a boil, and then turn your heat down to low. Allow the flavors to combine and the liquid to cook down for about 15 minutes. When you are happy with the thickness of your sauce, taste it and adjust the seasoning to your liking. Next, add the chicken breasts back into the pan, turning to coat them with the sauce. Allow them to finish cooking in the sauce, about 15 - 20 more minutes.
Meanwhile, cook up your favorite sauce-soaking pasta to al dente.
To finish, put some pasta into your bowls, top the pasta with chicken, and ladle on your sauce. Grate some fresh parmesan cheese over each bowl and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Buon appetito!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Summer photographs

One more post with a few more photographs courtesy of Mecca's mom, Judi Jackson of J Jackson Photography.

Above: Adam holding a Rocky Ford Cantaloupe.

Above: Pink-eye purple hull peas flowering.

Above: Golden Zucchini in the golden sunlight!

Above: Our intern, Kevin, carrying a half-bushel of french green beans across the field.
More summer photographs courtesy of Mecca's mother, Judi Jackson of J Jackson Photography.
Above: Butternut squash growing on plastic mulch.
Above: Rattlesnake pole beans climbing high.

Above: Mecca harvesting cucumbers.

Summer Photographs by Judi Jackson

Mecca's very talented mother, Judi Jackson of J Jackson Photography, has been generous enough to take many pictures of our farm this summer. Here are a few in several posts.


Above: Charleson Grey watermelon growing in the field

Above: Five 300 foot rows of Okra! Our intern, Kevin, in the background.

Above: Adam proudly holding a Charleston Grey watermelon on the farm.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fall Vegetable Subscription Full!



Thank you to all of our loyal customers and to the new folks who are trying out our program. We are now FULL and are excited to start the late summer and fall subscriptions. You can still find us at the Marietta Square Farmers Market on Saturdays, The Sandy Springs Farmers Market on Saturdays, and the Rockmart Farmers Market on Thursdays! Please email us to join our weekly newsletter and stay on top of new developments with our farm, including options to buy locally during the winter months!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Late Summer/Fall Vegetable Subscription

We are now taking applications for our late summer and fall season of vegetables. We will offer 12 weeks of seasonal vegetables from our farm and occaisonally from neighboring naturally grown/organic farmers. Beginning in August, members will receive at least 5 varieties of seasonal fruits and vegetables each week. The cost is $22 per week for a total of $264. Deliveries and pick-ups are arranged at the Rockmart Farmers Market, Marietta Square Farmers' Market, Elrod's Garden Supply in Dallas, Kennesaw State University, Rome, Vinings and Buckhead area. New drop sites can be arranged. Please email us for application and information sheet at turtlebendfarm(at)gmail.com and we will reserve your spot.

Thanks,
Adam and Mecca


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

More summer pictures


Pink-eye purple hull peas!


Baby watermelon on the vine


Surprise tomato harvest! Mecca didn't have a basket with her while strolling through the tomatoes.


Beautiful Summer squash and golden zucchini harvest

We have our photographer in residence to thank for all of these wonderful pictures of the farm- Mrs. Judi Jackson of J. Jackson Photography!! (Mecca's mother).

Summer Pictures on the Farm

Rattlesnake Pole Beans climbing high.


Drip irrigation at work on Rattlesnake pole beans, summer arugula and okra.

Checking on the beans and squash.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Update From the Field: New intern and field activities


We would like to welcome Mr. Kevin Hebert to our farm this season as Turtle Bend's first Intern! Kevin is from New Hampshire and came all the way down to Rockmart, Georgia to learn about sustainable agriculture and see a new part of the country. Sofar, Kevin has enjoyed being outdoors and working hard on our farm, as well as the new sights, sounds and most importantly, tastes of the beautiful Southeast! Kevin is interested in pursuing a masters degree in Sustainable Agriculture and also joining the Peace Corps. We look forward to working with Kevin this season and hope that most of you will get a chance to meet him at some point. Here is a picture of Kevin and also a video of him helping lay drip lines on our farm with narration by Adam... enjoy!

video

Fried Green Tomatoes


While waiting for the tomatoes to ripen, it's hard not to pull a few off the vine and fry them up. Of course, green tomatoes are good in other ways (throw them in a stir-fry, make green tomato pie), but we couldn't resist frying them. Here's my recipe.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Basil Lemon Mayonnaise

3-4 Green tomatoes
1 cup all purpose flour
2 eggs
Salt & Pepper
1/2 cup oil (vegetable oil)
8 inch iron skillet, (another type will do, but a larger skillet will require more oil)
2-3 sprigs fresh basil
1/2 lemon
2/3 cup mayonnaise (may cut mayo with some yogurt if desired)

Slice Green Tomatoes 1/4 inch thick. Break and beat eggs in a small bowl. Place flour in a bowl. Salt and pepper green tomatoes on both sides. Heat oil in skillet over medium high heat until a pinch of flour thrown in the skillet sizzles upon contact with hot oil. Dredge green tomatoes in egg mixture and then in flour and place in hot oil. Fill up the pan with one layer of tomatoes. Tomatoes will fry quickly. Flip over, giving each side 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a plate with a paper towel on it.

For the mayonnaise- Chop basil as small as you can and mix with mayonnaise. Squeeze about half of the lemon juice in and taste, adding more if needed. Squeeze remaining lemon juice on fried tomatoes.

Serve Warm!

Below is a green tomato sandwich I made for the boys (Adam & Kevin) for lunch. It was delicious!! Basil Mayo on bread, some crunchy lettuce and the tomatoes- yum!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Summertime...






We are officially into the summer months and we can feel it out on the field! All of our spring crops are done and we are focusing on summer production. Below are some shots of the field this time of year as we begin harvesting the first crops of summer: green beans, squash, cucumbers and basil. Our tomatoes will be in very soon, along with the bell peppers and eggplant. We're watching the okra shoot up and the cowpeas start to flower. Our winter squash and melons are taking off as well and our sweet potatoes are growing like weeds (and that's something because we have some killer weeds!!). Enjoy the pictures and we will post more soon- as you can imagine we are very busy on the farm this time of year. Also, notice the shot of the new Rockmart Farmers Market, which is being held every Thursday from 4-7pm in historic downtown Rockmart (100 church street). We have had a great response and we are full of vendors selling homemade and homegrown products!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Full Swing


We are almost in full swing this year with all of our spring crops in the ground. We are harvesting many greens and expect some of our root crops to come in soon. The Marietta Farmers' Market has been open for a couple of weeks and we have been selling our kale, mustard greens, spinach, arugula and lettuce mix. People seem to like our vegetables and have been sharing some great recipes with us. The following recipe comes from an anonymous customer at our booth last Saturday with a few additions from us.

For kale, and possibly other hearty greens:
Saute garlic and a little onion if desire in some (2-3 Tbs) oil in a skillet or frying pan.
add red pepper flakes if desired.
Wash and de-rib kale and roughly chop. (1-2 bunches)
Throw into pan and coat with oil, stirring around a bit.
Once kale has some heat in it, add 1-2 cups broth or stock (chicken or vegetable).
Add 1-2 teaspoons stone ground mustard.
Simmer as long as desired, 10-25 minutes.
Serve warm, with slotted spoon or tongs if you still have liquid in the pan.

Internship Opportunity


Turtle Bend Farm is now accepting applications for summer and fall internships. We can host 1-2 people that are interested in learning about sustainable agriculture, community food systems, or southern foodways. Room and board and a modest living stipend are included during the internship. We grow 5 acres of certified naturally grown vegetables and raise pastured poultry for eggs. Work includes harvesting, weeding, planting and other farm activities. We also have a small library of organic and sustainable farming books and other interesting social, cultural and political topics as well as high speed wireless internet. Interns are expected to work a full work week with a day or two off each week. Plenty of local natural beauty, hiking, swimming holes, biking trails and more.

Contact Mecca at turtlebendfarm@gmail.com for an application or call us at 678-986-9776.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Irrigation is important...

Last year we learned just how important a proper irrigation system is for a diversified vegetable farm. I know it seems crazy to think about irrigation after all of the rain we have experienced in the past 8 months, but we can't forget last June, not to mention the previous years of drought. But irrigation ain't cheap, so we applied for a grant through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to install a drip irrigation system on 5 acres of our field. About a month ago we were awarded participation in their cost-share program, which would also include drilling a well. About a week and a half ago, Henry Duke of Abernathy Drilling in Armuchee, GA came down the old logging road into our field to drill the well. They had already come out and surveyed the road to see if their HUGE rigs could make it and decided they could do it in the drier weather. We got our well (200 ft. with 23gal/minute!), but what follows is our home video of two bulldozers who just happened to be in the nieghborhood pulling one of their rigs out of the swampy area beside the road. Just one tire ran off in the mud, but that was enough to strand the truck all day until both dozers could come and pull it out. Luckily, it was not the larger rig that got stuck! Thanks Henry Duke, Henry's son, Goat Cummings, Robin Brooks and the Rome NRCS for making irrigation a reality on our farm! video

Sunday, April 4, 2010

More photographs from Emily Dryden Photography

Check out Emily's latest visit to our farm- notice the well drilling rig in the background of the last picture. This was a crazy, hot day, but we hit water at 190 feet!
http://emilydryden.com/2010/04/03/turtle-bend-farm-project/

Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring!

Spring is finally here and the farm is rolling into action with more planting, soil preparation and fence expansion. In the past two weeks, we have planted approximately 800 broccoli plants, 1600 cabbage plants, 200 collard plants, 1600 cauliflower plants, and tomorrow we will plant another 1,000 onions and 400 bok choi. We are also beginning our weeding regimen, beginning with our garlic rows, and moving on to the onions next week. We are also happy to report that many of our english peas we planted before the 4 inch rain are popping up out of the ground! We are so thrilled to begin our 2010 season and are enjoying the hard work in the great outdoors. Our 24 hens are also beginning to lay and we are receiving over a dozen eggs a day at this point. We are pursuing our license to sell eggs at the farmers market, but we can still sell them from the farm, so if you live near Rockmart, give us a call or an email and we will tell you where to come pick up a dozen brown eggs from us for $3. We now have egg cartons too. Our chickens will provide a vital source of soil nutrients as we rotate them around our field in fallow areas throughout the year. We are also happy to report that our first CSA session is now FULL! We will have another session beginning in mid/late July and running for 10 weeks- this session will include a large portion of summer crops and then some early fall crops towards the end. Email us if you would like more information. Turtle Bend Farm is now in full swing and beginning in mid-May we will be attending both the Marietta Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings in historic downtown Marietta, and the Decatur Farmers' Market on Wednesday afternoons (4-7). You can find the websites for these markets here: http://www.mariettasquarefarmersmarket.net/ and here: http://decaturfarmersmarket.com/wordpress/

Next week we will also begin planting our 1800 kale plants, the rest of our bok choi, and seeding other crops like carrots, turnips, radishes and greens. Stay tuned! Pictures to come!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First Spring Planting!


What gorgeous weather we have had the past several days! We took advantage of it out here at Turtle Bend Farm and made our first spring planting. In the far right of the photograph you can see our 4,000 onion plants, including red, yellow and white onions, and 1,200 leek plants as well. This could not have been possible in one day without the help of our friends who were passing through, Maisie and Eric. Thanks ya'll!! Then, yesterday we seeded a large amount of sugar snap peas, snow peas, english shell peas, carrots, spinach and turnips. That's Adam on my dad's old ford tractor with our 5 foot tiller hooked up and running to make a good seed bed. Today, Adam went back and planted collards, more shell peas, more carrots and arugula! We were so excited and satisfied to have some seeds in the ground, and now we hope for a good amount of rain to water these seeds in the ground. Adam is now fertilizing the onions and our garlic (that we planted last fall) with fish emulsion fertlizer. We will be working on developing our trellis system for the climbing peas as well, and next week we will seed more spring vegetables. Later this week we will begin starting our tomato and pepper plants indoors. We are starting over 20 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plants of all shapes, sizes and colors!! Get ready for some yummy vegetables this year from Turtle Bend Farm!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Turtle Bend's Vegetable Subscription Now Open!


We are now accepting applications for our 2010 Spring Vegetable Subscription! This is the same thing as a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The idea is that local farmers need the direct, deliberate support of their surrounding community in order to be successful, and likewise, community members need the direct exchange with local farmers in order to fully meet their food-related needs.

The CSA, or vegetable subscription, begins during the week of May 1st and runs for 10 weeks until the first week in July.

What quantities of vegetables are included in the subscription?
Each subscription includes a weekly bag of our seasonal vegetables for ten consecutive weeks. Each week, members will receive 5-8 different varieties of seasonal vegetables. Portions will be standard sizes such as one bunch of carrots or ¼ pound of salad greens. Each week’s vegetables should be enough to provide a typical family with vegetable side dishes or main dishes for several meals per week.

What types of vegetables can we expect in the spring subscription?
Spring vegetables are often forgotten in the Southern garden, but we have a wonderful opportunity in our climate to grow both cool weather and warm weather foods. You can expect to receive some of the following foods each week: Arugula (spicy salad green), Beets, Bok Choi (asian green, good in stir-fry), Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Celeriac (related to celery, great for soups), Swiss Chard, Collard Greens, Upland Cress (AKA Creasy Greens- spicy green, native plant also grows in wild), Fennel (bulb), Garlic, Kale, Kohlrabi (related to broccoli, good raw or cooked), cut Lettuce, head Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Onions (red, white and yellow), Peas (English, sugar snap, snow), Parsnips, Radishes, Shallots, Spinach and Turnips. We will provide recipes for unfamiliar and familiar foods.
We try to give you the most variety possible so you won’t have all of one type of food. Each week will be slightly different according to what is maturing in the field.
For example, the first week’s bag may include the following:
¼- ½ lb spinach ½ -1 lb sugar snap peas
1 bunch carrots 1 bunch radishes
1 bunch collards 1 bunch turnips
¼ lb Arugula

What is the cost?
Our subscription costs $20 per week for ten weeks. We prefer that members pay the total amount of $200 prior to May 1st if possible. We have several payment options listed on the application. If these options do not suit you but you are enthusiastic about joining our subscription, please contact us directly to discuss other payment options.

How do I receive the weekly vegetables?
We are opening the spring subscription to 40 memberships this season. Our goal is to serve the communities of Rockmart, Rome, Dallas, Marietta, Kennesaw and some points in between. We offer four options for receiving your vegetables:
1. Pick up your subscriptions at the Marietta Square Farmers’ Market. This is the preferred option for members in the Marietta and Kennesaw areas. We will be at our booth at the Marietta Square Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings between 7am and 12:00pm. This is also a good way to see what other vegetables are available from our farm.
2. Form a drop-site. We are happy to deliver vegetables to groups of at least three or more subscribers. We have a couple of groups of friends or neighbors that have formed collective drop sites and we greatly appreciate it. We have high demand for our subscription and will give preference to subscribers that participate in a collective drop site. All deliveries will be made on Wednesdays.
3. Arrange a home delivery. We may be able to deliver vegetables to your home if it is not too far out of our way. We ask that you add a $20 to your total payment to help us offset our additional costs of delivery. If you are able to find several friends or neighbors interested in the subscription, you can avoid the additional charge by pooling your deliveries.
4. Pick it up from our house in Rockmart. You can pick up your vegetables directly from our house. Rockmart customers must choose this option in most cases.

If you are interested in joining our vegetable subscription, send us an email at turtlebendfarm@gmail.com and we will send you our application. Just return it with your payment and we will include you in our subscription! We expect a high interest in our subscription, so don't wait until the last minute!

Emily Dryden's Photo-documentary of Turtle Bend

Talented free-lance Atlanta-based photographer, Emily Dryden, is beginning a photo documentary of our farm. She visited us last fall and has recently posted some of these photos on her own blog. She will continue to visit and produce her creative, tasteful and artistic images of our farm. We are so excited to welcome Emily Dryden to our farm and to share with you her wonderful work. Look for more photographs from Emily in the upcoming year, but in the meantime check out her blog and the entry about our farm: www.emilydryden.wordpress.com

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What do farmers do in the winter?


Winter time is a unique time on the farm because all of our crops are finished. We did sow some winter rye on parts of the field as a cover crop and it is bright green if you can believe it. We have also been working this winter on building our infrastructure on the field and planning for the upcoming season. Our winter projects have included field clean-up, fence moving, and drainage improvement. We have been removing row covers and taking down trellises from last year's season. We are also expanding into the entire 8 acre field so we are moving our deer fence to accommodate more growing space. Some of the new space will not be in production until the fall or even next spring, but we want to begin working the soil and growing cover crops so we can improve soil structure, nutrient content and suppress weeds. We have been tearing out an old beaver dam that has clogged some of our field drainage. We have also ordered a tractor implement called a "disc bedder" that will mound up our growing beds so that plant roots can have more space and better drainage. We do have one crop growing in the field: GARLIC! We planted about 700 row feet of garlic for harvest in early summer. The next crops we will plant are onions and leeks, followed by spring peas and carrots! We are getting very excited for our 2010 season and have already ordered and received MOST of our spring and summer seeds! We will begin starting plants indoors as early as this week. We plan to have a larger variety of herbs and vegetables this year, along with a larger quantity. See our next entry (above) for information about how to purchase vegetables from us this season.