Kayla to Host New Video Series!

Friends, Kayla has been asked to host the new video series Perfect Pairs from The Bend Magazine!

Each episode will feature top regional chefs and mixologists. Kayla will guide guest chefs through their recipes to showcase their skills, expertise, and wonderful creations.  This series is filmed and edited by Ryan Chipman, a fantastic local talent who is producing some really nice work.

Let the folks at The Bend Magazine know if you like this series by liking or sharing this video.  Thank you for supporting local in your food, art, and entertainment!

 

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread with Kayla

a post from Kayla:

The dog days of summer are coming to an end. In our little corner of the world, that means the temperature drops a few degrees from hotter-than-Hades misery to sweat-in-the-shade unbearable. The last of the summer vegetables are barely holding on. And after this long year, so are we.

But there is a silver lining to those puffy white August clouds. Fall is around the corner and so is our resolve to enjoy the rest of 2020, despite its many, M-A-N-Y pitfalls! This decadent dark chocolate zucchini bread is the perfect intersection of summer and fall–and of looking back with relief that it’s over and ahead with a hopeful resiliency.

Why This One’s Better (And Better For You)

Let me be plain: this Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread is the business. Higher in antioxidants and lower in fat and sugar than your garden variety loaf, you can relish this melt-in-your-mouth goodness without remorse. Splurge on organic zucchini or better yet, squash from your chemical-conscious farmer down the lane, since you’ll be using the skin (and no one needs that pesticide nonsense when we’ve got COVID to worry about). Greek yogurt adds moisture and flavor without the fat. Olive oil is a heart-healthier alternative to vegetable oil. This bread uses a reduced amount of brown sugar, which adds a richness to the crumb.

Pleasant eating, my lovelies! Hugs and love, Kayla

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Makes 1 loaf

Prep time: 7 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients:

2 medium zucchinis

¾ cup brown sugar

¼ cup olive oil

¼ cup plain yogurt

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup dark cocoa/cacao powder

½ tsp salt

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 cup dark chocolate chips (at least 60% cacao)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a loaf pan (8” x 4” x 2”) with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Remove ends of zucchini and grate over a colander. Using the back of a large spoon or spatula, press zucchini against the colander to remove excess fluid.
  3. Transfer grated zucchini into a clean bowl. Add in brown sugar, olive oil, yogurt, eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients.
  5. Mix wet and dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in ½ cup chocolate chips.
  6. Transfer batter to prepared loaf pan. Top with reserved chocolate chips.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Here Comes the Sun

Arctic Sunrise

There has been plenty of news since Hurricane Harvey destroyed our farm, but none of it good.

I have written more than 150 magazine articles and radio programs since the hurricane, but nothing here.  This space was only meant for joy, for light; but there was no light.

Driving into the farm the morning after the storm, the world went dark.  It was not darkness like I had known before, what Abe Lincoln called his ‘melancholia’ and Winston Churchill called ‘the black dog’.  It was that particular shadow plus the darkness of witnessing your dream and life’s work of twenty years destroyed in a single night with no hope of recovery.

The darkness came down like an Arctic winter, which I now know something about.  In the winters of the far north, the days are black and the nights are black and even the snow falling out of the sky is black.  The snow is black because there is no light to illuminate it, but still you feel it pelting your face and stabbing like needles when the wind is up.

I worked in that darkness for years, walking through snow drifts and sheets of ocean-deep ice with chains on my boots, peering into the black for the aurora borealis, green and white and glimmering, the outline of the oil rig crystalline in the distance, the darkness always upon me.

The aurora borealis is not light but false light.  The particles are phantoms, ghosts of the sun.  The glowing green flow, usually not there at all, is simply a reminder that the sun is shining somewhere in the world—but it is not shining for you.

But now I know the truth–and this is my first good news to report–even the darkest winter ends.

The light has finally returned, slowly, slowly, like the first Arctic sunrise after a long winter, orange and yellow and red on the horizon.  Then the circle of the sun suddenly appears with flames around the edges.

This light comes to me like a thrilling surprise.  Every time I turn and look away and look back it is still there, another thrilling surprise.  Everywhere above me the sky is blue.  I keep playing the same song over and over on the truck radio, the only one I can turn up loud.

The sun is shining, at long last.  I can see again and it is glorious.

Join us on Kiii Channel 3 News Tuesday Morning!

Friends, join us on Kiii Channel 3 Tuesday morning between 5:00am and 7:00am for tips to keep your garden and potted plants healthy all through the summer!

We will Skype in for multiple segments throughout the two hours of the morning news broadcast.  Send me your gardening questions in advance and we will try to answer them on the air!

Salatin’s Visit to Four String Farm Netted $2,790 for South Texas Farmers

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm

Joel Salatin’s visit to Four String Farm raised $2,790 for Hurricane Harvey relief for South Texas farmers.  This money was raised through donations at the on-farm event, ticket sales at the dinner, and book sales from Salatin’s books.  Thank you so much to all who participated in this wonderful event!

All of the revenue raised at the event was donated to farmers in South Texas who were impacted by Hurricane Harvey.  Kayla and I did not keep or make any money from the event.  We were thrilled to pass this money to our Farm Share partners to offset losses from the hurricane:  Spirit Pioneering FarmWhole Earth FarmTurkey Hollow FarmPalo Verde Cattle Company, Future Focus Farm, and Groundswell Farm.

Thank you again to Joel Salatin for making this event possible!  We have been so inspired by your visit!  And thank you to sponsors Dr. Mohammad Emran of SpringCure Foundation, Oh Goodie Designs + Events, Water Street Seafood, The Bend Magazine, , and Hester’s Cafe, for creating such an amazing day!

Joel Salatin Visit an Overwhelming Success!

Joel Salatin Leading Farm Tour

Joel Salatin’s visit to South Texas last week was an overwhelming success.  I can’t think of anything that would have made this day better or more special.  We are so thankful for Joel Salatin and our wonderful sponsors for making this event possible, and for the many good folks who visited our farm and shared dinner with us.

Joel refused payment of any kind, not even an honorarium, for making the trip.  He said his spirit would not allow it.  Joel Salatin is the most well-known farmer in the world because of his ideas and his vision for the future of sustainable farming.  Now, after getting to know him, I am even more impressed by his humility, his servant’s heart, and his passion to make this world a better place.

You can find more pictures from these events on our Facebook page. We invite you to tag us in your post and add your own pictures as well.

Farm Tour and Talk at Four String Farm

We had about 150 visitors at our farm on Friday afternoon.  This would be an impressive turnout at any farm in Texas, but is particularly special in the middle of a school/work day in our little town, which is still recovering from the hurricane.  Thank you to the sponsors who made this possible (please see them listed below and visit them soon—they are great people!)

I believe most of the small-scale farmers in South/Central Texas were with us on Friday!  There were farmers from Austin, Houston, Sealy, Nixon, Cleveland (about six hours away), San Antonio, Victoria, Cuero, Beeville, Brownsville, and one very special farmer who came all the way from Louisiana.  There were many students from TAMUK, who came with their soil science professor, Dr. David Ruppert.  Most of the folks who came just wanted to support a good cause.

Originally, I had planned a farm tour with Joel Salatin to start the day.  You may laugh, but I was expecting maybe five or six really committed small-scale farmers would be there to join us.  Instead, we had 150 people surrounding Joel as we started the tour!  It was the shortest farm tour in history.  I led Joel to a high spot by the lake where he began to answer questions.  After a short time in the hot sun, we led everyone back under the tent to continue the discussion.  Joel talked and answered questions for three straight hours.  He never stopped or slowed down, it was quite impressive.  His talk was inspirational and perfect for the occasion.

Justin Introducing Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin Presenting at FARMATASTROPHE HEALING

Sold Out Dinner at Water Street Seafood

The sold-out dinner was perfect.  The decorations, the music, the ambiance, the wonderful people, everything was beautiful, and the food was amazing.  The farmers who grew this food were honored at the dinner, and there was huge applause as each of them was introduced.  Carol Koutnik gave Joel the gift of one of her paintings from the series Fantastic Garden.   Richard Lomax, Director of Operations for Water Street Seafood, announced the partnership of Water Street Seafood with the Farm Share going forward.  It was an unforgettable night.

Table Arrangements of Fresh Produce for Guests to Take Home after Dinner

Seed Packets for All Guests

Jo Anne Howell, Joel Salatin, Justin, and Kayla

Thank you to Joel Salatin and Our Wonderful Sponsors

Thank you Joel Salatin for visiting us in South Texas.  We hope you know how welcome, appreciated, and invited you are to return!  We hope to bring you back to view our raft gardens, hügelkulturs, and lake muck fertilizer in action!

We are so thankful for the support of SpringCure Foundation, led by our friend Dr. Mohammad Emran.  Because of the generosity and vision of Dr. Emran, the afternoon farm event was FREE and open to the public.  Dr. Emran is leading a health revolution in South Texas, we are excited to tell you more about him soon.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors Water Street Seafood, The Bend MagazineOh Goodie Designs + Events, and Hester’s Cafe for your generous support!  If you have an event of any kind, ever, from a wedding to business luncheon, please call Jo Anne Howell of Oh Goodie Designs + Events.  Jo Anne is so completely buttoned up, professional, creative, and tasteful, and she can turn any room (even the woods of our farm!) into an elegant setting.  Jo Anne donated her time and brilliance to make this event a success.  We could not have done it with her.

Of course, we must thank the farmers who made the dinner possible:  Spirit Pioneering FarmWhole Earth FarmTurkey Hollow FarmPalo Verde Cattle Company, and Groundswell Farm.  If you met any of these good folks, you know how completely blessed we are to work with such amazing people.  They lift and inspire us every day, they are truly the salt of the earth.

We are so thankful for our afternoon event sponsors:  Hollie Schaub of Fed by Bread; Kimmi of Kimmi’s Fine Foods;  Grow Local South Texas and the Bawktoberfest Urban Chicken Coop Tour; Spencer of Roastorium Coffee; Jessica Gignac of Eleanor’s Coffee Bar + Market ; Ginger Easton-Smith with Texas Agri-Life; Karey Swarthout of GLOW of Rockport ; Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds; and Premier1 Fence Supplies.

Finally, we are so thankful to our neighbors Mike and Ginette Collins for letting our guests park at their beautiful property next door.  Mike and Ginette are great people and the best of neighbors.

Please visit these wonderful sponsors and find out more about them.  We have such a great community in South Texas because of these folks, we could not be more thankful for all of them.

We have many requests to hold another event like this Joel Salatin visit, and we will!  Stay tuned, we have a great event in the works!  Thank again friends for an wonderful day!

Joel Salatin to Visit Four String Farm on Fri, Oct 20!

Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm

Friends, we are thrilled to announce that Joel Salatin will visit Four String Farm on Friday, October 20!  We are so unbelievably excited to host the most innovative farmer in America right here on our farm!  Please join us for this extraordinary event!

This event is called FARMATASTROPHE HEALING (aptly named by Joel).  Joel will tour Four String Farm on the afternoon of Friday, Oct 20, to be followed by a dinner later that evening (details to be announced shortly, we are finalizing now).  Joel will speak at the farm and host a question/answer session, and he will speak at the dinner as well.

About Joel Salatin

Joel Salatin is considered “the most famous farmer in the world”.  He has been called “the most eclectic thinker to come out of Virginia since Thomas Jefferson” and “the most innovative farmer in America”.  Joel Salatin is THE leader of the local food movement throughout the world.  He is a true revolutionary for small-scale farmers and producers.  Joel Salatin is “America’s farmer”.

Joel was featured in the New York Times bestseller Omnivore’s Dilemma and the award-winning documentary Food Inc.  Salatin owns the multi-generational Polyface Farm in Swoope, VA.  Polyface Farm services more than 5,000 families, 50 restaurants, and 10 retail outlets.  Salatin pioneered the “pastured” food movement by pasturing cattle, chickens, turkeys, and hogs on his farm and teaching the world his methods through books, videos, and public speaking.

Salatin has published ten books on farming, including YOU CAN FARM; Pastured Poultry Profits; Folks, This Ain’t Normal; and Everything I Want to Do is Illegal; plus numerous DVD’s and the recent Polyfaces Film.  He travels the world speaking to diverse groups, from small-scale farmers in rural Australia to Fortune 500 CEO’s on Wall Street.

Joel Salatin to Bring Inspiration and Expertise to South Texas

Salatin will bring inspiration and valuable expertise around farming and local food to our community following the destruction of Hurricane Harvey.  Joel Salatin is my absolute farming hero–the man whose ideas we based our farming methods on–and I can’t tell you how excited and honored we are to have him visit our farm!

We will post an itinerary shortly, how to book tickets, plus all other details.  For now, please mark your calendar and don’t miss this incredible event!  Look for updates coming soon!

Our Recipe Featured in ISSUU Top Summer Recipes!

Kafta Kabobs with Baba Ganoush, Tzatziki, and Pita (photo courtesy racheldurrent.com)

Friends, our Farm to Table article in the current issue of EASTside Magazine received a nice and unexpected honor.  This article was featured as a top summer recipe on ISSUU!

ISSUU is an online gallery of tens of thousands of magazines.  Each month, more than a hundred million visitors from around the world click on ISSUU for content.

ISSUU featured our article in “5 Tasty Recipes to Finish Off Summer”.  We don’t know how this article got on their radar, but how nice to get shared around the world!  We had a huge spike in our website traffic a few days ago and thought it was a glitch—but this explains things.

Thank you Will and Ashley Bowling for including us in EASTside Magazine!  What a nice way to get started!

Justin and Kayla Picked Up by Austin-Based EASTside Magazine

Kayla in EASTside Magazine

Friends, we are thrilled to announce that our Farm to Table column will now be featured in Austin-based EASTside Magazine!  Look for our articles and recipes, along with the beautiful photography of Rachel Benavides, in future issues.  Click here for our article in the current issue of EASTside Magazine!

Thank you so much Will and Ashley Bowling and Ashley Haguewood of EASTside Magazine for believing in our work!  It has been such a joy working with you guys.  We are so excited to be part of your team!

Of course, we owe this wonderful opportunity to our friends Jordan and Kaley Regas, publishers of THE BEND Magazine.  Jordan and Kaley brought us into THE BEND family from the beginning.  With their help and guidance, we now have a body of work that includes more than a hundred of Kayla’s well-crafted recipes with Rachel’s beautiful photography to match them.  Jordan and Kaley, you guys are the best—thank you.

Austin friends, look for EASTside Magazine on-line and in venues across the city.  EASTside Magazine is a creative and clever view of Austin with some compelling stories and gorgeous photography, you will love it.

Kayla’s Kafta Kabob Recipe in EASTside Magazine

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