Last farmers market ever

Posted by Lisa on April 25, 2013
farmers markets, Richmond, spring / Comments Off on Last farmers market ever

hear ye hear ye

Many of you (hopefully most of you!!) know that we’ve been at Richmond farmers markets throughout the winter season, selling our pork and eggs and occasional vegetables. We Moussallis moved up to New York about a month and a half ago, but our longtime crew member and even longer time friend Joseph has been staying at Frog Bottom and selling at market in our stead while the farm is on the market.

In good news for all, the summer market season is just around the corner. Over the next several weeks market tables everywhere will be creaking with the ever-increasing weight of turnips, cooking and salad greens, scallions, green garlic, peas, rhubarb, radishes, asparagus, maybe the first strawberries and peas and summer squash. Most chickens, done with their main winter work of staying warm, are turning again to egg laying, so you’re probably seeing more of those cartons on market tables too. And as more of you shed your winter woolens and head outdoors with a spring in your step, more vendors will be there to meet you.

But it also means it’s time for us to really and truly say farewell. This Saturday marks our very last Virginia farmers market ever. You’ll find us from 10 to noon at the South of the James Market, in the parking lot of the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, 3411 Semmes Avenue at Forest Hill Avenue. Joseph will have spinach, fresh oregano and sage, fresh eggs, and pork.

We’ve got some specials lined up: 10% off any pork purchases over $25, $1 off sausage and eggs when you buy them together, and/or 2 dozen of the finest eggs in Richmond for $8.

The farm is still on the market and so every little bit truly does help. We hope you can make it!

In related news: since we won’t be at market anymore, we’ve got a whole lot of hens looking for homes. We’re thrilled that the Richmond City Council just voted to allow backyard chickens! Chickens are quite a delight, not too much work, and they give you delicious food (almost) every day! We’ll be writing up a longer post soon about our chickens, but if you’re interested in buying some, give us a call at (434) 248-5525 or send us an email at info (at) frogbottomfarm (dot) com.

Leaving Frog Bottom

Posted by Lisa on November 14, 2012
autumn, Frog Bottom Farm recommends, Richmond, the family, the farm / 12 Comments

Big news tonight. After many many months of number crunching, brainstorming, research, heartache, hope, and deliberation, we have decided to leave Frog Bottom. Ali has accepted a farm manager position at Keith’s Farm, a certified organic vegetable operation about 65 miles west of New York City. He and the crew will tend to vegetables on about the same acreage as we do here at Frog Bottom and sell them at the Union Square Greenmarket in NYC.

We considered all kinds of changes in hopes of keeping our farm: more pigs, more chickens, a bigger CSA, a smaller CSA and more markets, renting land for beef cattle, even starting a micro-dairy. But in the end, the smaller changes to our model didn’t seem big enough, and the bigger changes seemed too risky. Our vision for our family has always been to earn a living wage from full time farming, without supplementing with off-farm income, and we just couldn’t find a way to do that here.

This was a very, very difficult decision for us to make. When we bought our farm, we certainly intended to be here for the long haul. It probably goes without saying that we love this land – its gentle hills, the Eastern red cedars and black locusts and sycamores and wild persimmons of our windbreaks, the tiny south creek and the bigger west creek, the hawks and woodpeckers and cardinals that keep watch as we hoe carrots, plants beets, pick cucumbers, squoosh potato beetles, wash eggs, scratch a pig snout, wipe sweat from our eyes.

We also love this part of Virginia. With its warm summers and mild winters, it has a fantastic climate for growing vegetables. It is strange indeed to think of a summer without homegrown okra or a fall without homegrown sweet potatoes – things that don’t grow well up north. But we’ll adjust to that, we hope – we hear we’ll be able to grow greens all year long in New York, and at least half this farm family is excited about parsnips.

What is stranger and much sadder to think about is farming without y’all. It has been our honor and delight to get to know our market customers and colleagues and our CSA hosts and members over the last four years. You taught us how to make a mean caponata, and you joined us for a crazy pickling party when the cucumbers threatened to take us over last year, and you made us pickled eggs and hot sauce. You told your friends about us. You wrote about us on your blogs, and you invited us on your radio programs, and you shared our food with your neighbors. You welcomed us into your schools, your churches, your driveways, your front yards. You watched us grow from an earnest family of two to a young family of three. Every Wednesday and every Saturday, you made us love our work all over again.

There are some really wonderful things happening around local, seasonal foods in Central Virginia. Please support them as much as you are able.

A few more details, and then some photos from what has been one of the most pleasant, stunning falls in our recent memory.

We’re here through the winter — at least through March, and probably into April. Come find us every other Wednesday 4pm-7pm at the Farmers Market at St. Stephen’s, every other Saturday 10-noon at the South of the James winter market at the Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, and at the special pre-Thanksgiving Carytown holiday market this Sunday, November 18, from 11 to 3. We anticipate having carrots, sweet potatoes, several kinds of greens, occasional other vegetables, pork, and eggs. We’ll have all the exact dates up on our farmers market page soon.

For sustainably grown produce from small family farms in the Richmond area, we recommend without reservation our friends at Tomten Farm, Crumptown Farm, and Broadfork Farm.

Finally, if you’re ever in New York City on a Saturday between late May and Christmas, please come on over to Union Square and say hi to Ali. It will make his day.






I really really REALLY love kabocha squash.





Turn on your radios!

Posted by Lisa on July 27, 2010
CSA, farmers markets, food policy, Frog Bottom Farm recommends, Richmond, the farm / Comments Off on Turn on your radios!

This gal swears she’s a great radio voice.

Last Wednesday Arlo and I traded the juicy tomatoes and the excruciating heat of the farm for some blessed A/C and delightful conversation at the WRIR studios in Richmond. (Don’t get us wrong: we love the farm! But the cool of the studio was something else.)  We joined our good friend Eli of Eli’s Greens and Sunny Gardner of Lightly on the Ground for a great chat about farm life and local food systems.

Have a listen!

Lightly on the Ground radio interview, 21 July 2010

To market, to market!

Posted by Lisa on May 03, 2010
CSA, farmers markets, Richmond, the family / 1 Comment

My word, Richmond!  You really pulled out all the stops this weekend.  That weather!  Those irises in your front yard gardens!  The heady scent of paulownias along the Powhite!

Best of all, of course, were the smiling faces and open arms at the opening weekend of our farmers market.  We could not be more delighted to be back in the swing at St. Stephen’s.  And introducing Arlo — now a hefty six months and grinning ear to ear! — to our community there was nothing short of joyful.  Thank you so very, very much!

For those of y’all who are market customers: we’re just doing the Farmers Market at St. Stephen’s this year.  This market is in its second year and is loads of fun.  It’s expanded quite a bit since last year and if you’ve never been, come see us next week!  We’ll have vegetable, herb, and flower starts for your garden.  A bit later in the month we should have some lettuce and maybe scallions.  More vegetables start coming in around the first of June.  There’s loads at market to tide you over until then, though: meats, cheeses, eggs, preserves, pastries, granola, coffee, ice cream, prepared foods, jewelry, handmade clothes, and lots more.

If you’re considering joining our CSA, St. Stephen’s is a really fun spot to pick up.  It’s our biggest CSA site so you’ll meet lots of other members, and you can make a whole morning out of a visit to the market!  (We’ve also got pick-up sites in Ginter Park, Church Hill, and Midlothian.)  We’re accepting registrations for just another few weeks; forms can be had here!

CSA Info Session at Central Montessori next Thursday, April 1, 4:30pm

Posted by Lisa on March 26, 2010
CSA, Richmond / Comments Off on CSA Info Session at Central Montessori next Thursday, April 1, 4:30pm

Curious about Community Supported Agriculture?  Interested in meeting your farmers?  Keep meaning to sign up for this season’s CSA program?

Well come on over!  We’ll be at Central Montessori School (directions here) in Richmond next Thursday, April 1, at 4:30pm for a Q&A session.  We’ll bring photos from the farm, talk about the CSA model of eating fresh local vegetables, and have lots of details about our farm’s CSA program.  Come ask about eating purple tomatoes,  squishing squash bugs, and managing a fridge full of kale.  Bring your friends!

We’d love to meet you.

(We’ll also be bringing our very smoochable 5-month old.  We’re just sayin’.)

Daily Farm Photo: eatin’ local!

Posted by Lisa on August 27, 2009
daily farm photo, Frog Bottom Farm recommends, Richmond, roadside Virginia / Comments Off on Daily Farm Photo: eatin’ local!

Richmonders, do you know the little slice of heaven that is Jimer’s Frozen Custard, just a half hour southwest of y’all on 360/Hull Street Road?

As a once-upon-a-time Pennsylvania gal who spent many a summer down the Jersey shore, I can say with considerable authority that this stuff is the real deal!  It’s rich and creamy and cold and delicious.  There’s no better treat at day’s end, after a hot and sticky afternoon delivering vegetables, than a chocolate/vanilla twist on a wafer cone — particularly if you’re seven months pregnant, particularly if the humidity finally breaks as you sit at the picnic table slurping at the cone, particularly if Jim the owner has time to come out and chat with you about mountains and road trips and good neighbors.

So wonderful.  Click here for directions.  Coming from Richmond, it’s in a gas station parking lot on your right, just after the turn-off for Chesterfield Berry Farm, and just under a half mile before the Chesterfield Berry Farm Market.

Hie thee!

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I was in Richmond all day yesterday and didn’t post a photo.  So check back for a second Daily Farm Photo later today!

Teri: an extraordinary partner

Posted by Lisa on July 21, 2009
CSA, guest post, recipes, Richmond, squash, tomatoes, zucchini / 1 Comment

We are so very pleased to introduce y’all to the creative and generous Teri, CSA host extraordinaire.  She welcomes Midlothian-area CSA members to her home every Wednesday, and she has been the kind of partner farmers like us only dream of finding.  Teri kindly agreed to write a guest post about why she offered to host the pick-up and what draws her to the CSA model.  She also offered two delicious recipes!  As the hungry recipient of her squash tart one hot Richmond afternoon a few weeks ago, I can only say: hie thee to your kitchen!  There’s no time like the summer for meals where fresh veggies take center stage, and these recipes are perfect examples.

And now, here’s Teri!

Midlothian-area CSA host Teri unloads the afternoon shares

I have always looked at my Californian family and friends with a touch of envy.  Don’t get me wrong; I love Virginia and plan to live here until I’m pushing up daisies.  It’s just they seemed to have the advantage of having large groups of like minded people working together for the common good.  I remember reading about a CSA there and thought — that would be so amazing, to pick up a box of produce and try to figure out what everything was and what to do with it. I really liked how it changed the dynamic of what’s for dinner.  Instead of trying to figure out what to make (you know most people recycle the same 10 meals over and over and over = boring) you have all this stuff and just have to figure out what to do with it.  That’s where the fun begins!  Zucchini tart = amazing.  Summer squash and cornmeal pizza crust = not so much — but at the very minimum, not the same old thing again!

Me hosting a pick-up happened completely by accident.  I went to a hooping workshop (as in hula hoop) at the Carver Healing Arts Center and saw a brochure for Frog Bottom Farm.  It was beautiful.  I left it there because it was the only one and thought, I hope I can remember that name.  A couple of days later I looked it up online, and amazingly, they were looking for a Midlothian pick-up.  I flipped out.  I was so excited at the prospect of hosting.  Not only would this really cool thing be happening in Midlothian, but I would be a part of it!  My California friends and family (who by the way are Midlothian transplants) thought it was really awesome too!

What I have found is there are like-minded people here and probably everywhere who want to eat locally grown, freshly harvested foods, and have a connection to the people who grow it.  They get excited about seeing what each week brings.  Some anxiously await tomatoes while others dream of ratatouille recipes.  I have noticed personally I didn’t eat enough vegetables.  And, when you do, you feel great!  I am so looking forward to the rest of the growing season.  The interesting people I have met.  The adventurous recipes I have yet to try.  They all make me look forward to each and every Wednesday with a smile and excitement so big I feel like I have to pinch myself.  What an awesome ride.

Below are two recipes from Teri that highlight ingredients you’ll find in your CSA share right now: zucchini and tomatoes.  The Zucchini Tart — which would be equally wonderful with any of our summer squash — tastes somehow fresh and rich at the same time.  Teri warns that “you’ve really got to be in the mood to look at and fool around with zucchini for quite a while —  it’s a labor of zucchini love!” and so she also offers a quick crowd-pleaser recipe for Tomato Pie.

Zucchini Tart with Feta

Adapted from a recipe in Saveur magazine, May 2006
Serves 6

Lynne Curry serves this tart by the slice from her stand at the Matakana farmers market in New Zealand.

1 10”x13” sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed and chilled
12 small zucchini (or other summer squash) (about 2 ½  lbs.), trimmed
3 Tbsp butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
10 cherry tomatoes (or better yet, Frog Bottom Farm tomatoes of equivalent amount), finely chopped, strained in a sieve, excess moisture pressed out
1 cup (4 oz) crumbled feta cheese
½ cup ricotta
2 Tbsp chopped basil
Freshly ground pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350°.

Fit pastry into a 9”x12” baking sheet, pressing it against the sides.  Score around bottom inner edge of pastry (beside crease where bottom meets sides), being careful not to cut all the way through, with a paring knife.  Prick bottom of pastry all over with a fork, line with a sheet of parchment paper that fits the bottom only, and fill with pie weights or dry beans.  Bake until edge of crust begins to puff and color, about 25 minutes.  Remove weights and paper.  Bake until bottom is golden, 6-8 minutes more.  Let crust cool.

Grate 4 of the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater into a large bowl.  Add 1 Tbsp of salt, toss well, and set aside to let weep for 30 minutes.  Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and wring thoroughly to remove moisture.

Meanwhile, slice remaining zucchini into ¼”–thick rounds.  Working in batches, blanch rounds in a large pot of boiling salted water for 1 minute.  Drain and spread out on a paper towel- lined sheet pan; set aside.

Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Spoon out and reserve 1 Tbsp.  Add onions and cook until soft, 5-6 minutes.  Add grated zucchini and cook, stirring often, until just beginning to brown 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to a large bowl; let cool.

Stir tomatoes, half the feta, ricotta, basil, and salt and pepper to taste into zucchini mixture.  Stir in egg and spread mixture evenly in crust.  Arrange zucchini rounds, slightly overlapping in rows, like tiles on top.  Bake for 15 minutes, then brush the top with reserved butter.  Continue to bake until crust is deep golden, 10 minutes more.  Let cool to room temperature, then sprinkle remaining feta over top.  Cut into squares.

Tomato Pie

Frozen pastry crust
Red onion
Hellman’s Mayonnaise – about a cup per pie
Shredded Mexican cheese blend – about 2 cups per pie

Preheat oven to 350°.

Slice tomatoes and onions in rounds and layer into the crust, sprinkling with fresh chopped basil — stopping to close your eyes, smell the basil and smile.

Mix the mayo and cheese into a paste –- sort of.

Press the mayo/cheese mixture on top of the pie. Decoratively add basil leaves.

Bake until gorgeous.

Try to wait ‘til it cools to eat it or it will be a mess –- but who cares? Make 4 of them and then you’ll be sure to have one to cool that will slice pretty.

A bit of a tease

Posted by Lisa on May 15, 2009
CSA, farmers markets, Richmond / 1 Comment

Well, helloooooooo spring! You’ve been quite the flirt this year, all redbuds bursting into bloom here and Red-breasted Grosbeaks at the feeder there, only to spurn us with long cold rains in the next breath.

Well, we’re glad we stuck around.

What you see there is one bunch of Easter Egg radishes. We’ll be bringing just a few dozen bunches to our Richmond markets tomorrow. It’s a bit of a tease — just like this spring! — but we promise it means mountains of gorgeous veggies are just around the corner. We’ll also have loads of flower, herb, tomato, and other veggie seedlings at our markets for another few weeks.

Some of y’all have been writing to be sure you haven’t missed the start of the CSA season. No worries: you haven’t! Our first deliveries (and on-farm pick-ups) will be in early June; members should keep an eye on their inboxes for an email with details about the first pick-up. You should have that by the end of the weekend. Just as soon as we finish scrubbing these radishes for you.

CSA Pick Up Locations in Richmond (updated!)

Posted by Lisa on April 23, 2009
CSA, Richmond / 2 Comments

A note: since we originally wrote this post in 2009, we’ve expanded our Richmond area pickup sites. Please head on over to our main CSA page to see our current locations!

Howdy again, Richmond!  Our little love affair with you just keeps getting better and better.

We’re pleased as punch to announce we now have five Richmond-area pick up spots for the CSA:

  1. CHURCH HILL: Central Montessori School, 323 North 20th Street.  Wednesday afternoons.  Exact pick up times TBA.
  2. GINTER PARK: Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, 3601 Seminary Ave. Wednesday afternoons.  Exact pick up times TBA.
  3. MIDLOTHIAN: Journey Christian Church, 3505 Old Hundred Road S.  Wednesday afternoons.  Exact pick up times TBA.
  4. NEAR WEST END: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 6000 Grove Avenue.  Saturday mornings 8am – noon.
  5. FOREST HILL: South of the James Market, 42nd Street & Forest Hill Avenue.  Saturday mornings 8am – 1pm.

The full list can always be found here.

And we’ve still got shares available, so please tell your friends, neighbors, and co-workers!  We’re always available over the phone or email to answer any questions at all, so please be in touch.

Updated Richmond Farmers Market Schedule

Posted by Lisa on April 13, 2009
CSA, farmers markets, Richmond / Comments Off on Updated Richmond Farmers Market Schedule

Hey folks! Just popping in to say that our 2009 farmers market schedule is confirmed. We’ll be at The Market at St. Stephen’s at Grove Ave and Three Chopt Road and the South of the James Market at Forest Hill Park.

Both markets are on Saturday mornings, and we’ll be there starting May 2!! We’ll be bringing lots of vegetable and flower seedlings for your gardens.  Within a week or two our first vegetables will be in and we can all breathe a collective sigh of “At last!”  Look for lettuce, scallions, carrots, beets, and summer squash to start.  We can’t wait to meet you.

* * *

You can pick up your CSA share at either spot as well. We still have shares available so please be in touch or download an application to get started.

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We’ve got lots more news to share this week, so check back in.