- Cullman, Alabama

July 24, 2013

Summer veggies straight from the farm

By Loretta Gillespie
The Cullman Times

— This week's guest cook is Jennifer Boyd of Fairview. The Boyd's farm on a fifth generation farm, harvesting nature's bounty to feed their family, to sell at the Festhalle Market Platz, and for the customers on their Customer Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The customers on this list receive a weekly box of home grown produce, whatever is in season at the time. The Boyds deliver the boxes to members in Cullman on Fridays. They also serve members in Birmingham and Arab.

In the past week or so, for example, the Boyd's provided green tomatoes, ripe heirloom tomatoes, squash, zucchini, okra, green beans, fresh basil, a variety of peppers, eggplant, and cucumbers. Members make a monthly payment and receive one weekly box.

The Boyd's will participate in the upcoming Farm-to-Fork dinner, where they will dine with a table of guests so that those attending will be able to learn more about the people who grow their food, and be able to shake the hand of the people who diligently work to provide wholesome, nutritious foods for all of us.  

It's a great way to promote local farms and food as well as local restaurants who support buying local. "This is part of the whole movement of knowing who grows what you’re eating," said Jennifer. "I read recently that only in the past 60 years or so have supermarkets come to be. Before then, everyone grew their own food or had a neighbor that did. I guess that’s the interest recently and it’s growing bigger every day, the local food movement: ‘know your farmer, know your food’."

Here are some of Jennifer's tried-and-true recipes using homegrown foods from her garden. Her children love them, and of course, we are all looking for ways to get our children to eat better quality foods.  


"My view of cooking is to try to be simple," says Jennifer. "For years, I thought cooking was some unattainable skill that had to be precise and that I needed exact instructions. Over time I’ve learned that throwing things together really is the way to cook with ease and less pressure. We’ll just bring in from the garden extra veggies that we didn’t sell or just gather what we see, chop it up, season it, and cook it…either baked in the oven or sautéed or fried (we try to limit that, but you can’t have summer veggies without frying sometimes!) Here’s a look at our favorites. I feel like they’re just good ol’ staples that everyone probably knows how to cook, because they’re so simple, but this is how we do things. Cooking vegetables doesn’t have to be a long, detailed process, and more often, needs to be simple and quick so that one doesn’t have to spend hours in a hot kitchen on a beautiful summer day!”


Fried Green Tomatoes

Green tomatoes

Oil for frying



All-purpose flour



In small bowl, mix half-cup cornmeal and quarter-cup flour. Season with salt and pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat. Slice green tomatoes to desired thickness. Dredge in buttermilk, then coat with cornmeal/flour mixture. When oil is hot, place battered tomatoes in oil. Fry until brown and crunchy. Flip and fry other side. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with kosher salt.


Summer Vegetable Favorite

(use all or some of the following veggies)

Green tomatoes







Oil for frying


Heat quarter-cup oil on high. Dice all veggies into half-inch pieces. Coat with cornmeal. When oil is hot, pour in lightly coated veggies. Do not stir. Cook until brown, then lightly stir to cook other side. Stir minimally, just to cook all to same. Drain and sprinkle with kosher salt.


 Baked New Potatoes & Onions

Yukon Gold potatoes


Olive Oil


Heat oven to 425º. Dice potatoes. Slice onions into long strips. Place on large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally. Salt to taste.


Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes



Garlic cloves



Dice 5 large potatoes and place in pot of cold water. Boil over high heat until tender, about 20 min. Drain water. Add half-stick butter, quarter-cup buttermilk, 1 tablespoon kosher salt (or to taste), pepper, 2 cloves garlic minced. Mash with potato masher until smooth.


Fresh Tomato Salsa

Ripe tomatoes


Jalepeño peppers (or other hot peppers)





Blend up tomatoes in food processor or blender. Let sit for 10 min. Chop onions, peppers, garlic, cilantro. Drain liquid off tomatoes to keep only meat of tomato.  Add all other ingredients to desired consistency. Add kosher salt to taste. Keeps for a few weeks in fridge or make a big batch and use boiler water canning method to can.


Southern Style Green Beans or Fresh Peas

Fresh green beans

Chicken stock/broth

Garlic – for green bean recipe only

Butter, oil, or bacon



Snap green beans. Cover with homemade (or bought) chicken broth. Add a clove or two of minced garlic and a couple of tablespoons butter or oil or 1 slice bacon. Cook on medium-high heat until boiling. Turn down heat to medium-low and simmer until tender, approximately 2 hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Caramelized Cherry Tomato Relish

2 pints cherry tomatoes

1 onion, cut in strips

Olive oil

4 cloves garlic, sliced



Heat oil on med heat. Cut cherry tomatoes in half. Sautée onion until translucent.  Add cherry tomatoes and cook until mixture is caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add garlic. Cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt/pepper to taste. Consistency should be thick.

Note: This is great on homemade pizzas. For the pizza, spread on crust with tomato sauce, top with mozzarella cheese, then this tomato relish. Cook pizza until done. Top with fresh basil. Another way to use this relish, is as a dip for crusty breads. It’s great as an accompaniment with peas or with the Summer Vegetable Favorite recipe.


Stuffed Sweet Banana Peppers Wrapped in Bacon

Recipe compliments of Susan Sellers

8 to 12 large sweet banana peppers

1 c. cheddar cheese

1 really ripe tomato, diced

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced




Mix together all ingredients except for banana peppers and bacon. Slice banana peppers down one side and scoop out seeds. Stuff each with cheese mixture and wrap each with one piece of raw bacon. Secure with toothpick. Place on foil on a baking sheet and broil about 6 inches from the top for 10-15 minutes, or until bacon is done and peppers are tender.


2013 Community Supported Agriculture

WHAT IS IT? Community Supported Agriculture is a local farm-based food distribution system where growers and consumers both share the benefits of food production. Consumers sign up to be a part of the CSA and then receive weekly distributions of the farm’s harvest for that week.

WHY JOIN? The focus of our CSA is to produce high quality food for our community, using sustainable growing methods. Members can be confident in knowing exactly who is producing their food and what production methods are used. Our farm strives to work with the natural environment in ways beneficial to growing crops. We are committed to growing non-GMO seeds to preserve the natural genetics of God’s creation.

HOW IT WORKS: Members for the 2013 season will receive a box of the farm’s harvest for the week, beginning the first week in May. Boxes will include a varied amount of all produce picked at the farm that week. Boxes will be available for pick up on Thursdays at Cullman Festhalle Farmers Market from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or on Saturdays at Homewood Farmers Market from 8 noon. Boxes can also be picked up at the farm if members would like to sign up for that option. We will work with you in any way we can to accommodate other pick up needs.

WHAT’S THE COST? For the growing season May through August (16 weeks), a weekly box of fresh produce from our farm will cost $450, if payment is made in full up front. Membership can also be split into 4 payments of $120 each, the first payment due at registration and remaining 3 beginning June 1, with each due on the first of each month. Full membership up front results in $30 savings. Produce included will vary from week to week, with value evening out during the peak growing time.

WHAT’S IN THE BOX? Boxes used will be half-bushel boxes. Early boxes will include strawberries, greens, radishes, lettuce, spring onions, etc. Peak season boxes will include squash, zucchini, peppers, potatoes, heirloom tomatoes, beans, okra, etc.

EXCLUSIONS: Some items we produce will not be included in CSA but can be purchased separately by email order or visiting one of our markets or farm. These include blueberries, blackberries, tree fruits, eggs and meat products.

REQUIREMENTS: Interested participants should contact Trent or Jennifer Boyd at Harvest Farm by phone, email or facebook. Please direct any questions to us here as well. Membership will be accepted on first come, first served basis, with limited spots available.

256-796-8354 or 256-339-9066

On facebook: Trent Boyd Harvest Farm