Day 61–Coon Rock Farm

Lately I have been buying produce and eggs from Coon Rock Farm, a family owned farm on the Eno River in Hillsborough. From Harukai turnips to fresh carrots and tatsoi greens, everything I’ve purchased has been delicious. At the Western Wake Farmer’s Market a few weeks ago, I tried a sample of their chorizo (it is impossible to pass their tent without trying it since you can smell it cooking and for “some reason” I am always hungry). It was amazing. I keep forgetting to add it to our rotation, but maybe next week.

Coon Rock Farm (www.coonrockfarm.com) is the epitome of “farm to fork”. The Holcomb family not only operates the farm (which dates back to the 1800s), they also operate two highly reputable restaurants, Zely & Ritz in Raleigh and Piedmont Restaurant in Durham. Both restaurants feature the vegetables, fruit, eggs, lamb, beef, pork and eggs produced on the farm.

According to the Holcombs, farm produce is all organic and mostly heirloom varieties (which explains why my carrots were unbelievably “carrot-y” in flavor). All animals are pasture-raised and grass-fed, with no hormones or antibiotics. I love that this is a family all working together to bring us good food while nurturing the young farmers who will continue to feed us into the future.

Coon Rock Farm sells at three local farmer’s markets–Midtown Farmer’s Market at North Hills, Western Wake Farmer’s Market in Cary and the Chapel Hill Farmer’s Market. They also have a CSA which you can read about on their website.

As for the name? Apparently, the name Coon Rock Farm comes from a large rock that juts into the Eno River and has the historical name of “Coon Rock”.  Regardless, the food produced by this family is wonderful, sustainable, healthy food, and I for one am looking forward to some chorizo on Saturday!

Day 51–Sweet Harukai Turnips

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Every once in a while on my trek through the farmer’s market, I find a new vegetable or fruit that causes me to veer from my shopping list and take a chance. This week I was at the Coon Rock Farm tent and saw what I thought were the prettiest white “radishes”. I found out that they weren’t radishes at all. Rather, they were Harukai turnips, also called Japanese baby turnips. You may have tried these already, but they were new to me. The folks from Coon Rock Farm suggested sautéing them–they are so small that they don’t need the heavy-duty roasting or boiling that large turnips require. Cute and easy to cook? Sold!

We were going to have them Monday, but I just couldn’t wait, so I made them as a side to our braised beef ribs. I washed the greens and turnips and cut the greens off and reserved them. Then, I halved the turnips and sautéed them in about 1 tbs. of olive oil until they were mostly soft. When they were about done, I added the greens and a little kosher salt and pepper and sautéed them for about 3 minutes more.

Not only were the turnips really cute (yes, I’m a sucker for mini vegetables), but they had a mild, delicious flavor that would pair well with many dishes. I’m glad I didn’t add any extra seasonings or garlic because these turnips are so mild that extra ingredients would have overwhelmed the flavor.

This is a definite “do again” at my house! If you happen to see these little, white turnips, give them a try!

Have you had success with new or unusual vegetables?