How do I find local farmers and good food?

Many thanks to Jeff Allen for his write up on our farm in “Dirt” Charleston City Papers guide to local farms and food.  Check our listing below as well as all the other wonderful options for connecting with your local farmers…


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Pears are in season – relish recipes

Pear Relish from Elise B. Bennett, of Smoaks:

1 peck pears

6 red bell peppers

6 green bell peppers

5 or 6 medium onions

1 Tbsp salt

2 lbs sugar

2 Tbsp tumeric

4 cups white vinegar

2 Tbsp whole pickling spice, tied in a cheesecloth bag


Cut bad spots out of pears but do not peel.  Cut into pieces.  Grind pears, peppers, and onion.  Mix with remaining ingredients in a stockpot.  Boil stirring occasionally for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove spice cloth.  Put in clean jars and seal. 


Of course, we had to tweak it to use what we have fresh in the garden right now so here is my ingredient list:


½ peck pears

3 jalapeño peppers, seeded

8 sweet banana peppers

3 green bell peppers

3 sweet onions

½ Tbsp salt

2 cups sugar

1 Tbsp Tumeric

2 cups cider vinegar

1 Tbsp pickling spices


I will probably use red onions and an extra jalapeño next time just to make things interesting.


Here are a couple other recipes you might try as well.


Tennessee Pear Relish – Jane Williams of Charleston

16 pears

4 large onions

1 whole bunch celery, including leaves

4 bell peppers

1 tsp celery seed

1 – 2 tsp salt

3 cups sugar

2 cups vinegar


Grind first five ingredients.  Mix well, sprinkle with salt, let drain 2 hours.  Boil sugar and vinegar.  Add pear mix and return to boiling, continue to boil 5 min.  Pour into sterilized jars.


Nell Harvey’s Pear Relish

4 qts pears

3 red bell peppers

3 green bell peppers

6 onions

3 cups sugar

5 cups white vinegar

Salt to taste


Follow same directions as Tennessee Relish





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Lowcountry Local First farm tour

Here are photos from the farmer incubator group tour of the farm:  summer 2011.  Thanks for sharing Nikki!

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A couple of bath and body recipes

August 2011 – Current happenings here at the farm…Its still summer and despite the intense heat and humidity, the milk is still flowing heavy and sweet (and hopefully at your farm too).  If you don’t have your own milk source please call or email us to connect with some fresh goat milk.  Then you too can try your hand at some handmade bath and body products.


These recipes were given to me from a couple of old friends of the farm.  They had great success but like anything else in life, your success will vary based on conditions.  I personally have not taken the time to try these yet – (Tim is the soap maker at in our home, but I am inspired to give it a shot just typing out the recipes and yes, I have added them to my to do list right after making some cheddar cheese, having the new kitchen cabinets installed, trimming the goats feet, painting the barn, scrubbing the milking parlor, painting the back porch and outhouse, fixing fence, mucking the barn, and, and, and…).  Now that Susan has agreed to host a class, I have a date and no more excuses to not make some soap myself.  I am making cheddar today and the cabinets are being sanded as I type…




Crock pot or dedicated saucepan or microwave safe bowl to melt waxes and combine oils

Spoon to stir ingredients

Whisk, hand held electric mixer, or blender

Molds or containers to hold soaps or lotions (this can be something as simple as a bread or cake pan, pvc pipe, a clean wooden box, etc)


Blender No Cook Goats Milk Soap

Modified from

4oz coconut oil

4 oz vegetable oil

8 oz olive oil

2.2 oz Red Devil Lye

7 fl oz fresh goat’s milk


Make this recipe in a blender.  If any of your oils are in solid form they must be melted first.  Wear thick rubber gloves, goggles and a smock when working with lye (safety first). The lye mixture becomes hot as it is mixed and can be dangerous.

Step One – Dissolve the lye in cold milk and wait until it cools. Make sure you are wearing goggles and gloves when handling lye. Never pour milk or water into lye. Only pour lye INTO milk or water.

Step Two – Carefully pour the oil and then the lye solution into the blender. Be careful not to splash or spill the lye on yourself or others.

Step Three – Lock the blender in position, secure the cover, place a towel over the top of the blender for safety, and process at the lowest possible speed. Make sure you are wearing your goggles when you process the soap mixture and make sure the towel is in place to avoid any accidental splashing of the lye/oil mixture.  Stop the blender and check the soap often to watch for what is called a thin-trace stage. This is when the soap mixture just begins to thicken.  Most folks that use fresh cold goat milk don’t wait for the trace they just proceed (when you try it let me know your results and we will add that to the info, thanks) Each time you stop the blender, wait a few seconds before removing the cover. Sometimes the soap “burps” when it stops as trapped air comes to the top. At the thin trace stage, stop the blender and stir the soap to check for tracing and to allow bubbles to escape.

Step Four – At this point you can add any essential oils, colorants or fragrances as well as any other ingredients such as oatmeal or herbs. Blend these in for a few seconds and then stop the blender.

Step Five – Pour the soap into individual molds. Cover it with a blanket for insulation. Let the soap set for a day or two and then after popping it out of the molds cut it and let it age for at least three weeks.


The following are tips on making soap in the blender:

Benefits of making soap in a blender:  Although using a blender does not allow for big batches of soap, it has four major advantages:

1) Blending your soap mix makes for a much shorter time to the thin trace stage. Instead of 15 – 40 minutes, it might require only minutes or even seconds.

2) Since liquid fat and oils can be used at room temperature, no thermometers are required. For solid fats simply heat them until they are melted.

3) The blender effectively whips the lye water into the fats producing a much smoother mixture so the chances of your mix separating are greatly reduced.

4. Your soap bars will be creamier in consistency and should float due to the air that is whipped into the solution.  (Use small one-pound batches only).


Goat Milk Lotion

1 ½ Tbsp beeswax

2 Tbsp palm oil

2 Tbsp pumpkin seed oil

3 Tbsp sweet almond oil

1 Tbsp apricot oil

1 Cup warm goats milk

Essential oil/fragrance oil to your taste


Melt beeswax and palm oil together.  Remove from heat.  Add remaining oils and blend well.  Either by hand with a whisk or with a blender, slowly add the warm goat milk.  Continue mixing and add the essential oils as mixture begins to thicken.  Keep mixing until the mixture cools and thickens to good pouring consistency.  Pour into containers.  When using fresh goat milk consider adding a preservative to prevent spoilage.  I have not found this to be necessary because of the heat created from the lye.



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Get ready for the fall garden

Farmer Tim, the resident veggie man, here at the farm has compiled the following list to help you plan your fall garden.  He is in the preparation mode right now, beginning to prepare the beds, deciding what to plant where and how much to plant in the space we have available.  He keeps great records of the varieties that have worked well for us over the years so get motivated.  Hitch up your shorts, pull on the gloves, slap on the hat and take up the turning fork – fall is just around the corner!

Crop Cultivar Spring Planting   Fall Planting  per 100 ft OP
Beans – snap Blue Lake 3/15 – 4/1 9/1 – 9/15 1# yes
  Roma II 3/15 – 4/1 9/1 – 9/15 1# yes
Beans – pole Kentucky Wonder 3/15 – 4/1   3/4# yes
Beans – Lima Jackson Wonder 3/15 – 4/15   1# yes
Beets Detroit Dark Red 12/15 – 1/30 9/1 – 9/15 1 oz yes
Broccoli     *** Packman transplant 2/15-3/1 transplant 9/1-9/15 no
Cabbage     *** Early Flat Dutch   ” 12/1 – 1/15    ” 9/1 – 9/15   yes
Carrots Scarlet Nantes 12/15 – 1/30 9/1 – 9/15 1/2 oz yes
Collards Georgia   8/15 – 9/15 1 oz no
Cucumber Marketer 3/15 – 4/1   1 oz yes
Lettuce Blk. Seed Simp. 12/20 – 2/5 9/1 – 10/15 1/2 oz yes
  Red Sails 12/20 – 2/5 9/1 – 10/15 1/2 oz no
  Deer Tongue 12/20 – 2/5 9/1 – 10/15 1/2 oz no
Okra Family Heirloom 4/1 – 4/20   1 oz yes
Peanuts Va. Jumbo 4/25 – 5/15   1/2 # no
Peas garden Green Arrow 1/1 – 1/30   1 1/2 # no
  Little Marvel 1/1 -1/30   1 1/2 # yes
Peas southern Mississippi purple 3/15 – 7/15   1 # yes
Peppers     *** All transplant 4/1-5/1      
Potatoes sweet Puerto Rico slips 5/1 – 7/1      
Radish Crimson Globe 1/1 – 4/1 9/1 – 11/1 1 oz yes
Spinach Bloomsdale 1/1 – 1/20 10/1 – 11/10 1 oz yes
Sweet Corn Honey and Pearl 4/1 – 4/30   4 oz no
  Golden Bantam 3/15 – 4/30   4 oz yes
Squash summer Yel. Crookneck 3/20 – 4/10 8/10 – 8/25 1 oz yes
  Black Beauty 3/20 – 4/10 8/10 – 8/25 1 oz yes
Squash winter Waltham Butternut 3/20 -4/10   1 oz yes
  Acorn 3/20 – 4/10   1 oz yes
Tomato     *** All 4/1 – 5/1      
Turnips Purple Top 1/1 – 3/1 8/25 – 10/15 1 oz yes
Melons All 3/25 – 4/20      
      ***  Start seeds 6 – 8 weeks before transplant date.      
     PH between 6.0 and 7.5        
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More on ice cream

Here is another fast and easy ice cream recipe that I modified from my moms old (pre 1965) Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (pg 196).  I found this one the other day when it was 90* outside and I did not want to turn on the stove and cook anything.  We had fresh ice cream before we were done milking the goats.  Hope you enjoy it as much as we did. 

Today my son turns 15 (yes, we plan on being at the DMV this week getting the learners permit – wow time flies), so I will be trying this one in chocolate (probably by making a paste of cocoa powder and a bit of milk/sugar and adding it to the egg/sugar mix prior to adding the milk).  This recipe is so easy it begs for you to experiment.  I might do toasted coconut for Tim later this week since we have so much milk right now.

Coffee Ice Cream

4 Eggs

1 ½ cups sugar

8 cups goat milk

1 ½ Tbsp coffee extract

½ tsp salt


Beat eggs until light.  Add sugar gradually, beating until mixture thickens.   Add remaining ingredients; mix thoroughly.  Freeze in ice-cream freezer.


The original recipe is:

Vanilla Ice Cream

4 eggs

2 ½ cups sugar

6 cups milk

4 cups light cream

2 Tbsp vanilla

 ½ tsp salt

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Shortbread & Pie Crust Recipes

I love sharing recipes and food stories.  Today I was visiting with a new friend here at the farm and we got to talking about cooking.  She insisted that she is a failure at pie crust and so fresh peach, blueberry or even tomato pie are not on the menu at her house.   It’s summer in Charleston, the fruit is abundant and of course we are trying to eat locally and seasonally (so dont ask why I was drying apples today instead of last January). 


Anyway, It  got me to thinking of my mom.  She was an awesome baker and made everything seem so easy.  I honestly think the trick was that she chose recipes that were simply and literally foolproof.  So in memory of my mom, Gail Cannon, here are two of her easy button recipes.  You can use either as crust for fruit pies depending on if you want baked fruit, stove top cooked fruit or raw fruit in you pie.  Get bold, try something new today – I am making “egg pie” (aka quiche) for dinner at my house, with fresh basil, peppers, onions, tomatoes and squash from the garden.


Scottish Shortbread


3 cups cake flour (or 3 cups all purpose flour less 6 Tbsp)

¾ c powdered sugar

¼ tsp salt

1 1/2 cups softened butter


Preheat oven to 325*.  In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut butter into small pieces.  With hands, knead butter into flour mixture until well blended and mixture holds together (like pie crust).  Pat dough evenly into 2 (8 inch) round cake pans.  Pierce dough in many places to make a festive pattern, and release steam as it bakes.  Bake 40 min, or until golden.  Remove from oven and cut each pan into 16 wedges.  Cool in pan on wire rack.  When cool, carefully remove to cookie jar and keep refrigerated.


Foolproof Pie Crust


4 c all purpose flour

1 3/4 cup lard or shortening

1 Tbsp sugar

2 tsp salt


1 Tbsp vinegar

One egg

½ c cold water


With a fork, mix together flour, lard, sugar, and salt.  In a separate dish, beat remaining ingredients.  Combine the two mixtures, stirring with a fork until all ingredients are just moistened.  Then with hands, mold dough into a ball (it will be sticky).  Chill at least 15 minutes before rolling into desired shape.  Dough can be left in the frig for up to 3 days or frozen until ready to use.  Makes 2 (9”) double crust pies and 1  9” sheet for decorating with shapes and such.  Dough will remain soft in the frig and can be taken out and rolled at once.  Bake at 425* for 10-12 minutes.

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Goat’s Milk Ice Cream

This is a modification of a few recipes I have used in the past.  I don’t have a cream separator so I just use whole milk.  If you want a creamier consistency try replacing half the milk with cream (preferably raw local – try Sea Island Jersey milk and pour off your own cream).  The consistency is somewhat grainy, more like sherbet since it is iced milk not iced cream.  Thanks to the fellas at Roots Ice Cream ( for the inspiration – their basil ice cream is “da bomb”!


Goat’s Milk Lemon Basil Ice Cream


7 cups goat milk (or combo milk/cream)

½ cup lemon basil leaves (approx)


1 ¼ c sugar

8 lg egg yolks

¼ tsp salt


In a saucepan, heat milk and basil until scalding.  Remove from heat, cover and let steep 10 to 30 minutes.  Strain out and compost the leaves.


Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt (till frothy or at least smooth, glossy and well mixed).  Slowly pour in the warm milk, whisking constantly.  Cook over medium heat till the mixture coats the back of a spoon (custard like – I found that the mixture was about to boil and still had not coated the spoon so you can modify this to “heat till nearly boiling, approx 20 min, stirring constantly”).  Remove from heat and chill thoroughly (several hours or overnight).  Freeze in an ice cream churn according to manufacturers directions.


We like to eat it as soon as it’s done, tastes like Trix cereal milk (yummy!).  If you have any left, freeze in a separate container for later use.  Please note that the “graininess” increases when you freeze it because there is more water in whole milk than cream and it crystallizes when frozen so it will be very hard when removed from the freezer.  I generally let it sit out a bit before serving to soften it and make it more scoop able.


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Easy cheese recipes using raw goat milk

Just in case you did not get a chance to come to a cheese class and learn the how to’s, here are the most common cheese recipes I use here at the farm every week.  If you want to come to a class or host a home cheese making party at your house, please email me – “have milk, will travel”.

Whole Goats Milk Ricotta Cheese


1 gallon whole milk

¼ cup vinegar

3 tablespoons melted butter

½ tsp baking soda


Warm milk to 206*.  Stir in vinegar.  Milk will rapidly coagulate.  Let sit a minute or two.


Pour the curd into cheesecloth lined colander.  Drain for a minute.  Place the curds into a bowl.  Mix soda and butter thoroughly into curds.  Serve immediately or place cheese in covered container and refrigerate until ready to use.  Keeps approx 5-7 days.

Yield: 11/2 to 2 lbs / 1 lb = 2 cups


Easy to make, very versatile for cooking.

Try in lasagna or manicotti instead of cottage cheese

Roll inside a dessert crepe and cover with fresh strawberries

Add some vanilla extract and stevia for a low-carb, sugar free dessert

Blend in fresh chopped herbs and a splash of milk and serve with crackers

Crumble on top of your favorite salad or spread on your favorite sandwich


Goats Milk Feta Cheese


1 gallon whole milk

1/8th tsp mesophyllic starter culture

½ tsp liquid rennet (10-20 drops if using double strength) or ¼ rennet tablet

¼ c cool water

4 Tbsp non-iodized salt


Warm milk to 86*.  Add mesophyllic starter culture and mix thoroughly.  Allow to ripen for 1 hour.


Dissolve rennet in 1/4-cup cool water.  Stir gently into the milk for several minutes.  Cover and allow to set for 1 hour.


Cut the curd into 1-inch cubes (still in pot).  Allow to set undisturbed for 10 minutes.  Gently stir the curd for 20 minutes.


Line a colander with cheesecloth.  Pour the curds into the colander.  Tie the four corners of the cheesecloth into a knot and hand to drain for 4 hours.


Take bag down and slice curd into 1 inch slices, then cut slices into 1-inch cubes.  Sprinkle with 4 Tbsp salt (more or less to taste).  Place in covered bowl and allow to age 4 – 5 days in refrigerator.   Keeps approx two weeks.


If a stronger flavor is desired, cheese may be stored in a brine solution for 30 days.  To make brine add 1/3 c course salt to 1/2 gallon of water. 

Yield: approx 1 to 1 1/2 lbs / 1 lb = 2 cups


Fresh French Style Goat Cheese (Chevre)


1 gallon goat’s milk

1 packet direct set mesophyllic starter culture

      (or ½ cup cultured buttermilk)

1 to 3 drops liquid rennet (use 1 drop if double strength)

1/4 C non-chlorinated water


Warm milk to between 72*- 86*.  Stir in starter culture.  In measuring cup add 1/4c water and 2 drops liquid rennet stir to mix.  Add 3 Tbsp diluted rennet to milk. Stir gently for several minutes.  Cover bowl and leave to set at room temp (72*) for 12-24 hrs or until milk has coagulated.


When milk has changed into curd, gently spoon into cheese molds or pour into cheese cloth and allow to drain at room temp for 4 to 24 hours until cheese is consistency you want.  (less time is required if you are hanging in cheese cloth and forming logs instead of using molds).  While draining using molds turn over cheeses periodically to ensure even draining and shape.


This cheese is smooth, spreadable, and easy to cut.  If the cheese is rubbery or tough, you have used too much rennet.  Reduce the amount by one drop next time or try adding less of the diluted rennet.


Finished cheeses may be rolled in herbs, cracked pepper, chopped nuts or fruit, garlic or cinnamon powder or try cracked dill, cumin,  or caraway seeds.     Yield: 1 to 2 lbs / 1 lb = 2 cups

Goats Milk Mozzarella


1-gallon milk (not ultra pasteurized)

¼ tsp liquid rennet (or up to 6 drops if using double strength, diluted)

¼ c non-chlorinated water

1 ½ – 2 ½ tsp citric acid

1 cup non-chlorinated water

1-2 tsp non-iodized salt (kosher or sea)


Stir liquid rennet into ¼ cup cool water.  Set aside.  Into a separate glass cup stir citric acid into 1-cup cool water until dissolved.  Pour 1 gallon milk into a large stainless or enamel pot.  Add citric acid mixture and heat to 88*F over medium heat.  Take pot off burner and add rennet solution, stir gently for 30 seconds.  Allow curd to set for 5-8 minutes.  Curd should look like custard and will leave clear, yellow whey when cut with a knife.  (If the curd is still too soft or whey is milky, let it set for a few more minutes) With a knife cut the curd into 1” cubes to allow whey drainage then stir gently for 2-3 minutes.  Ladle curds into a microwavable bowl and press gently into a ball with your hands.  Pour off as much whey as possible.  Microwave curds on high for 1 minute and drain off excess whey.  Knead quickly with spoon or hands into a ball until cool.  Microwave again for 35 seconds, drain, knead as you would bread dough, and reheat for another 35 seconds.  You may add salt at this point and work it into the cheese as you continue to knead and stretch it.  As curds cool, reheat as needed for stretch.  For a proper stretch the curd must be at least 135* internally.  This is the temperature where it becomes almost too hot to handle you may want to wear rubber gloves.  When the curd is smooth & shiny and stretches like taffy it is done.  Cut it into bite size pieces and enjoy hot, or cool in an ice water bath and wrap in waxed paper to enjoy later.


Yield: approx 1lb or 2 cups


Some tips:


For a firmer cheese knead a little longer and continue to pour off all excess whey.


Always reheat curds if they cool down before stretching occurs.


Never use “ULTRA” pasteurized milk. All the good bacterias required to make cheese are killed in the pasteurization process.

Be aware that most “Organic” milks are “ultra” pasteurized.  Check the label.


Good news, we have tried using lemon juice in place of citric acid with good results. Use 1TBSP lemon juice in place of each  ¼ tsp citric acid.

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Everyday Bread

Everyday Bread


I use a bread machine to do everything from mix and knead thru the first rise. 


Add the following ingredients – in order – into the bread machine pan and use the dough cycle.


1 egg – room temp

1 ½ cups whey (left over from cheese making) heated till warm to touch (approx 105-110*) not too hot or it will cook the egg

¼ c oil (olive, veggie, your preference)

2 heaping tablespoons sugar (white, brown, raw, again your preference)

1 ½ tsp salt

4 ½ cups bread flour (I use 3 cups bread flour, 1 ½ cups all purpose flour, then add however much more flour needed for the dough to form a smooth ball – can be up to ½ c or so of additional bread flour during the first mix cycle)

1 ½ tsp yeast


After the first rise I take the dough out of the machine and form 2 one-pound (approx) loaves, place them in oiled bread pans, cover and let them rise till doubled.  I then bake them for 20 – 25 min in a 350* oven.  Let the bread rest in the pans for up to five minutes before removing from the pans and cooling on a rack with a towel to cover.


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