Spring Greens in the Kitchen

When we think of Spring, we think of warmer days, cool rains, wildflowers, trees blooming and leafing out, and an abundance of green gracing us with its return. We also think of new beginnings, shedding off the cold of winter and the old, and welcoming back warmth and the new. Spring brings forth so much possibility for the year and its seasons ahead, and we celebrate that at Heartstrong through the produce we grow, the dishes we cook, and time spent roaming the land and sitting together enjoying mornings and evenings on the porch.

With last weekend’s rain, our spring crops are super happy and are producing an abundance of greens, and with great greens comes great (culinary) responsibilities. For dinner tonight, we cooked up some of our favorites – broccoli rabe, collard greens, red beets, Sweet Valentine heirloom romaine, arugula, and Dubuisson endive, for a light and flavorful dinner.

spring greens
Harvest of spring greens, beets, green garlic from our friends at Red Roots Farm, and some red clover for the table


Three Leaf Beet Salad
plate spring greens
Deliciously light dinner with tender spring greens and sweet red beets

Buttered Collard Greens in White Wine

Flavors: Sweet, savory, pungent.

2 cups collard greens

1/2 onion sliced

1 tbsp butter

4 tbsp white wine

Salt to taste

Add butter to a hot pan. Once melted, add onions and cook until they begin to brown and caramelize. Stir in collard greens, turn to medium heat, and let sit for 3 minutes. The collard greens should be nicely wilted down, but still a vibrant green. After 3 minutes, add white wine and turn heat to low and simmer for another 5 minutes, or until most of liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, and salt to taste.

Spring Pasta with Broccoli Rabe

Flavors: Buttery, earthy, and spicy

1 cup of pasta (we liked using penne)

2 cups of water

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbsp olive oil

2 cups broccoli rabe

2 green garlic bulbs or 1 garlic clove

Red pepper flakes

Parmesan cheese

Bring water to a boil and then add pasta. Cook for about 7 minutes (refer to instructions on your pasta of choice). While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in sauce pan. Thinly slice garlic and add to pan on medium heat. Cook until garlic begins to brown around edges. Add broccoli rabe and turn to lower heat. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 tsp salt and as many red pepper flakes as you fancy. Stir in cooked pasta, cover, and turn heat off. After 3 minutes, uncover, top with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Three Leaf Beet Salad

Flavors: Spicy, bitter, and sweet

2 cups arugula

2 cups romaine

2 cups endive

1 cup beets peeled and sliced

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper

Combine arugula, romaine, and endive leaves in large bowl. Add beets. In separate bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper. Add dressing to salad, toss, and serve.







April Showers & Spring Collards

It’s been a rainy couple of days. On Earth Day, we celebrated the bounty of our Mother Earth with our first farmers market on a beautiful sunny morning. Come afternoon, the skies darkened, the rain began to pour, and it is still pouring 48 hours later. Though we have clay soils, notoriously known for flooding, we are grateful for our red clay soils which hold minerals and nutrients while also providing good drainage.


Though the rain keeps coming down, our spring crops still appear to be quite happy especially our leafy greens. One of our favorite spring greens are collard greens, which are readily available most anywhere in the South. This year we are growing an heirloom variety called Champion Collards, which are tender, mildly sweet, and hold onto other flavors quite well.

Deep Run

We looked to one of our new favorite cookbooks, Deep Run Roots, to get some inspiration for a flavorful collard recipe – doing away with notions of collards as being a simple stewed down green. We were drawn to Vivian Howard’s Gingered Collards and adapted the recipe to what we had in the kitchen, which led to the creation of Sweet and Spicy Turmeric Collards. The collards turned our deliciously sweet and spicy with full body flabor, which we paired with a farm-grown salad of radishes and arugula tossed in olive oil with sea salt, some savory canned Lima beans, and a hot bowl of chicken and dumplings to warm us up during this rainy cool spell. We hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Collard dinner

Sweet and Spicy Turmeric Collards

2 teaspoons butter

1 teaspoon vegetable oil

2 tablespoons turmeric

1 pound collards (we prefer slicing the whole leaves into strips, but you can remove the stems if you fancy)

4 garlic cloves thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup water

2 teaspoons brown sugar or maple syrup

1/2 cup orange juice

Heat a large cast-iron skilled or saute pan over medium heat. Add butter and oil. Once it begins to foam, add turmeric, and then the collards. Spice up the pan with garlic, salt, and the cayenne pepper. Avoid the urge to shake or stir the pan (this was hard for us, as we are so used to tossing and stirring every few seconds!) so that the collards can sizzle down and become deliciously browned around the edges. Once the collards begin to caramelize, shake the pan and toss the collards to even things out. Spread them out in the pan and let them sit and caramalize for another 5 minutes on medium to low heat. Once the collards have wilted into a rich green color with some brown spots, as the water, brown sugar or maple syrup, and orange juice (it seriously is a game changer). Cook until liquid evaporates, and then serve warm. Enjoy!




Beckoning Spring

Dear friends,

These warm spells have notes of Spring dancing through the grass and singing through the trees, early as it may be. Daffodils have blossomed and the buds are adorning tree branches and making their way up through the soil. The Heartstrong farmers have been busy planning this season’s bounty, building our greenhouse, preparing fields, and reaching out to our community. We cannot wait to meet you all this season – our first growing season – and share in our new journey with you. We are still seeking folks to join us in this new stage of our lives through our CSA. We have shares available for this year’s harvest, and we cannot wait to share in its goodness with you. All are welcome here.

With gratitude and in hopefulness,