Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Summerfield Farms

Summerfield Farm 097

Summerfield Farms is that hidden gem that everyone wishes they lived close to.  And much to my surprise I do live quite near and only recently discovered it!  It’s located just outside of Greensboro in the beautiful North Carolina countryside in Summerfield N.C.  It’s a picturesque  working farm dedicated to raising grass fed beef, growing seasonal and sustainable organic vegetables and flowers, and has a market where you can buy these products along with a wide variety of fresh, local, artisanal goods, unique gifts, products made in North Carolina and other goodies. Every item in their  store has been hand-selected.   And it’s incredibly charming. 

Summerfield Farms Market bldg

The market is housed in a renovated barn and the windows can be rolled up like a garage door.  I love that concept of being able to roll up the windows and letting the outdoors in. 

 Summerfield Farm Market

This is a “Farm to Fork” market offering the grass fed beef raised right there on the farm and the sustainably raised vegetables grown in their garden.  In addition to this they carry certified organics including grass fed milk and other certified organic dairy products, eggs and they partner with other farms with the same philosophy.  The vegetables are grown with out any herbicides or pesticides and the beef and poultry and eggs are raised without antibiotics and no added hormones. 

And let me share with you one of my favorite parts of the d├ęcor in the Market building itself.

The light fixtures! 

Summerfield Farm 062

My eye was immediately drawn up to the ceiling when I walked into the Market building.  Old farm buckets turned into light fixture and  turned upside down hanging from the ceiling provides much of the lighting along with some skylights and a gigantic oversized fan also hangs from the ceiling in the middle. 

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After my first visit there, I went home with a pound of grass fed ground beef and  a dozen organic eggs.

Summerfield Farm Eggs

I made a batch of Mexican Beef Nachos with the beef and I used the eggs to make a Boursin and Spinach Quiche.  It tasted delicious.   If you are looking for a quiche that is more than delicious and has great eye appeal this one might be your ticket.   Get the organic eggs.  They really do make a difference. 

Summerfield Farm Cow

So why grass fed beef?

 Summerfield Farms Cows

Well, to start it’s so much healthier for you and it tastes great too.    The cows raised there are eating what nature intended them to eat.  GRASS. Not genetically modified corn and wheat which is so difficult for them to digest,  but GRASS.

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I was surprised but happy to learn that grass fed beef is considered Nutrient Dense with a perfect balance of essential fatty acids. Omega 6 : Omega 3 proportion mirrors the health benefits of wild salmon!  The cattle are pasture raised and the farm uses sustainable grazing practices that keeps both the cows and the land healthy and happy.  And because their cattle are raised on a natural grass, they are healthier and less susceptible to disease so there is no need for antibiotics.  Makes for happy cows if you ask me.

“We consider our beef to be beyond organic, as our cattle are raised without added hormones, antibiotics, or steroids.  We would never dream of feeding them animal by-products; they are raised on mother’s milk and grasses alone- no grain ever!”

And Summerfield farms considers themselves to be “Certified Transparent” which means they welcome any and all questions about how their beef is raised  and invite you to come take a look if you so desire. 

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The Market is filled with carefully selected and when possible,  locally sourced products.

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“Seasonal vegetables are sustainably raised on the farm and offered for sale within The Market.  The produce offering is also supplemented from local partner suppliers using the same or similar production methods.”

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And ALL produce in their Market is grown without pesticides or herbicides.

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 And look at the baking mixes I spotted from The Old Mill of Guilford.   I can personally recommend the Corn Bread Muffin mix.   Add some cheddar cheese and minced up jalapeno peppers….Delicious!   They are so good this time of year with a bowl of soup or chili.  I’ve visited this nearby mill.   You will feel like you took a step back in time if you stop for a visit.   It’s a fully operational and historic 18th century water powered grist mill in Oak Ridge, NC.   Very happy to see their products here at the Summerfield Farms Market.      

Summerfield Farm 069      Summerfield Farm 074

 Summerfield Farm 073     Summerfield Farm 070

The Market considers itself a lifestyle food market offering quality products sourced locally whenever possible.  If you are concerned about what you and your family are eating this is a great source for the best and most wholesome food you can find.

 Summerfield Farm 083     Summerfield Farm 078 
              Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese                              Two Chicks Farm Sauerkraut


And of course you know I have to mention some of the  local and artisanally-made cheeses they carry like cheeses from Ashe County Cheese in West Jefferson, Holly Grove Goat Cheese made in Mt. Olive, NC, and  Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese from Winston-Salem, NC (Got a very good report on the Red Clay Pimento Cheese.  Haven’t tried it myself but was told and I could see by looking in the container that it was very cheesy and not too much mayonnaise.  Just enough to hold it all together.)

I also have to mention that I took home a jar of the Two Chicks Farm Sauerkraut made in Hillsborough N.C and it is truly the best sauerkraut I’ve ever had.  Honestly!  Really tasty.  Fermented foods are very good for you and your digestion! 

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And if there is a wedding or another special event in your future and you are looking for a venue to have it, consider Summerfield Farms. 

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It’s the perfect Carolina country setting and they have everything you need for a big celebration, a company event, or a smaller party.

Summerfield Market Barn 2

So there you go.  I simply cannot say enough good things about The Market at Summerfield Farms.  We are so lucky to have this in our area and I wish them great success.  Next summer I hope to buy their organic cucumbers for my summer batch of pickles.  

The Market is open Monday – Friday 11:00am – 6:00pm and Saturdays 9:00am – 6:00pm.

And you can even get Pickles (sauerkraut) and Cheese there.  Makes me happy.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Carolina Panthers Game

Panthers 6

Today I got to go to my first Carolina Panthers football game in sunny Bank of America Stadium in sunny Charlotte, NC!

The last and only time I was at an NFL football game was back when the Detroit Lions still played at the Pontiac Silverdome.  Sad but true.

Panther Stadium

Attention Ladies!!  It was right about here that I learned something very important that I would like to share with you so that it doesn’t happen to you!  The NFL had decided for security purposes that you cannot bring a purse or handbag in with you to the game.  Of course I didn’t now know this so when I got to the gate, I wasn’t allowed in with my bag!!  Had to WALK back to the hotel and drop my purse off.  The things I wanted to bring in with me had to be placed in a see through plastic bag that they were more than happy to give me.  Too much walking in very uncomfortable but I have to say extremely cute sandals and my feet have borderline blisters.  It felt like it was 100 degrees! 

Rickshaw cabs in Charlotte, NC

And a huge thank you to the Pedicab or bicycle driven pedestrian taxi like this one from R & R Pedicab CompanyWalking back to hotel did a number on my feet in those cute sandals I was telling you about.  So……..Rickshaw cab to the rescue!  Took me back to the stadium in no time flat for a very reasonable fee.  : )

Panthers 5       panthers 4

This was not a planned event for my weekend but you know I have learned and have started to embrace and love the things, people, and activities that come my way seemingly out of nowhere.  Two free last minute tickets to the Carolina Panther’s game on a very hot Sunday afternoon. Ummm….OKAY!

    Panther Tailgate

  Started the morning at a tailgate.  I got to see firsthand how serious a large part of the population take their football.  And I’ll be shopping for the Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix asap.

Bloody Mary Mix     Bojangles

Usually I don’t really like drink mixes…..this one was awesome!

And what respectable southern tailgate doesn’t have at least one box of Bojangles  chicken and biscuits? 

Panther Boy Scouts

These were the smartest and most enterprising Boy Scouts I’ve ever seen.  They were selling bags of popcorn for their troop.  Fun popcorn like jalapeno cheddar!  And of course caramel corn.  Get a bunch of hot and hungry football fans who are eating and drinking to pass the time before the game starts and ask them if they want to buy a bag of popcorn.  I’ll bet they set a troop sales record.  : )


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So the game was big fun.  It was way too hot….I was melting.  The Carolina Panthers beat the Houston Texans 24-17.  Took a rickshaw/pedicab back to the hotel before the game was over because feet were still a hot mess as was I from baking in the sunshine.  I have to work on my football fan skills.  They are seriously lacking.  Remember, I grew up in Michigan.  Football is a cool/cold weather sport.  I’ll get better at the football fan thing.  I just need a bit more practice.  : )

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Low Country Boil

Shrimp Boil

For years I have wanted to try and make a Low Country Boil and serve it to a large crowd and preferably at the beach! I was a subscriber to Coastal Living Magazine for years which is where I found the basic recipe that I used to make mine.  There I saw and read recipes and stories about Low Country Boils and always wanted to give it a try.   I finally got my chance. 

Favorite kind of vacation for me….hands down….is to spend a week at the beach.  The Outer Banks in North Carolina continues to be one of my favorite spots on the earth.  But this year, now that the kids are older and more spread out location wise, I found a place to stay that was easy for everyone to get to and so for the first time we met on the Beautiful Isle of Palms,  in South Carolina.

And I had a crowd to feed which made me very happy!

I looked at a lot of recipes and each of them a little bit different from the other.   Which made me realize that this too was one of those great recipes that is never the same exact thing twice or that you can easily put your own signature on.  It’s one of those ”throw whatever you have on hand into the pot, feed a lot of hungry people, and it’ll all work out just fine” kind of suppers.     



This is how I made mine.

Low Country Boil

Equipment and Ingredients: 

Very tall pot.  A Stock pot works great or even a canning pot would work. 

News papers, and lots of paper towels!  Forks optional.  : )  This is the ultimate finger food kind of dinner.

Water, I filled the stock pot up about 1/3 of the way with water so that I had enough room for all the ingredients. 

4 Heaping tablespoons of Old Bay Seasoning  (add more or less depending on your pot size.)  Don’t worry about precise measurements.  It’ll all work out I promise!

If you don’t want to be eating at midnight, I suggest you start to boil the water with the Old Bay added to it right away.

Turn your burner on High and put a lid on the pot to bring it all up to a boil.  Chop your vegetables and seafood while this is happening. 

Red skin potatoes, leave the skins on, cut in large chunks for even and quicker cooking.  I figured about  2 potatoes for each man and 1 for each woman.  How’s that for science?  The potatoes need more time than some of the other ingredients to cook all the way through so add them to the pot first and then cut up the rest of your ingredients.

3 to 4 Onions, cut into large chunks

1 to 2 Green Pepper, cut into large pieces

Corn on the cob.  Shucked and each piece broken in half.  I figured one ear per person and threw in a couple of extra. 

Raw Shrimp,  The shrimp still in their shells have more flavor but you can use whatever kind you want.  Peeling with your fingers is part of the fun.  Just have lots off napkins or paper towels on hand.  I used 2 pounds of shrimp and was able to feed 7 people.  But I also did not have any other seafood in the pot.  Many people like to add crab legs or chunks of fish.  The next time I make this I would love to add some mussels. 

I did not add my seafood, in my case the shrimp, until the pot was at a full boil.  Then I added my shrimp and set the timer for 10 minutes.  Perfect.  The shrimp were cooked but not over done or tough.  They were nice and tender. 

3 links of Sausage, cut in small chunks.  Any kind.  I used beef sausage from Hillshire Farms because it was buy one get 2 free!  Buy what you like.  Next time I think I’ll try kielbasa.  A smoked sausage might be nice in this too.

Butter , melted for dipping the seafood in and makes buttering the corn cobs easier.

Salt and Pepper

Sliced Lemons (optional)

Cocktail Sauce Crosse and Blackwell is my favorite brand. 


Old Bay Seasoning     Cocktail Sauce Crosse and Blackwell

Old Bay.  It’s a classic for a reason.       And my favorite cocktail sauce is made by Crosse and Blackwell.

Low Country Boil     Low Country Boil Isle of Palms Vacation 3

Spread some newspaper several layers thick down the center of your table.  I used a large slotted spoon to lift the food out of the broth in the pot and put it in a large bowl.  I poured the food down the center of the table.  Steaming hot.  Be careful.  The newspaper absorbs any excess broth and the food is evenly dispersed across the center of the table for a reach in and help yourself meal.  Have lots of paper towels or napkins on hand.  This is a messy but very fun business.   I had to improvise with brown paper Harris Teeter Grocery bags deconstructed with a pair of scissors and the inside of the bags face up with the  ink side face down.  It worked out just fine.

                         Coles Garlic Bread 

( I also served up one of those ever so handy frozen Coles’ Garlic Breads that you can find in the frozen bread section.  Perfect beach fare although a really great bread would be more than awesome….if you can make it easy on yourself…and you’re on vacation… it! )

This was the ultimate in beach food.  Feeds a crowd, easy and economical too. I hope to make this meal an annual event!

Sand or no sand.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Vacation on the Beautiful Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Marina 2

Having a wonderful and long due vacation on the Isle of Palms in South Carolina this week.  It’s been a long time coming.  My favorite vacation to take is one at the beach and while I think my favorite beaches are on the Outer Banks in North Carolina, we decided to give the Charleston, South Carolina area a try.  Love it here too!  We are staying the on the beautiful Isle of Palms and not a rain drop all week.  It’s been perfect beach weather.   They take their Palm Trees very seriously here.  As well they should.  There is a very beachy vibe here.  The main street as you come across the island where all the beach front cottages/beach mansions : ) are located is lined with palm trees.  We even saw city maintenance crews pruning away the dried out fronds.  Isle of Palms is a barrier island on the South Carolina coast. It lies along a narrow strip of land, hugging the beach, separated from the mainland by Intracoastal Waterway.  And Charleston is only about a half hour from here or so I’m told.  Will find out tonight.  Planning on having dinner there this evening.

Our first day here we had lunch on the top deck of a restaurant called Morgan Creek Grill which was in the Isle of Palms Marina.  How’s that for a view?! 

Creek Drinks          Marina 3

It was a bit too early for cocktails but the drink menu looked good enough for a return visit.  I’m very into Moscow Mules right now so I think I might have to order The “Gig”.  : )

Isle of Palms Beach

My camera lens and angle makes the beach look really crowded but it really was not.

Beach Pelicans and Sea Gulls Isle of Palms, SC

Pelicans have to be my most favorite kind of bird.

  Shrimp Boat    Beach Chair    Sea Gull

That’s my beach reading chair in the middle.  Toes in the water and my book and my 50 SPF sunscreen.  Happy Girl.

     Evan in water fishing     re

So I am sure you have all heard the reports of the crazy shark attacks this summer off the coast of North and South Carolina.  Well, I have to say there were very few people in the water here.  Me included.   The sharks are there I am thinking because my son caught 3 baby Black Fin Sharks in the last two days. I don’t know much about sharks or how long the Mama sharks stay with their babies but that made me kind of nervous! 

I am headed back to the beach for the day.  Got a little bit scorched by the sun yesterday so I have to take extra care with the sun screen and beach umbrella today.  I had a lot of mouths to feed the other night and did so by making my first Low Country Boil.  So stay tuned.  It was a big success!

Book Off Season Anne Rivers Siddons     Book The Girls of August Anne Rivvers Siddons

My beach read this week is Off SeasonOff Season by Anne Rivers Siddons.  And I am very excited because next week Off SeasonThe Girls of August comes out.  I took my vacation one week too early.  Look at that cover.  Either make for beach reading perfection. 

See you soon.