Farm News/Communication

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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




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

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