Field Trip: Love Rock Farm

Last week a few of my fellow coworkers and I took a field trip to an amazing little New Berlin Farm, Love Rock Farm, where we get some of the produce for the Restaurant I’m spending my summer working for. A bit about Love Rock: Love Rock is a CSA and market garden that supplies delicious, herbicide and pesticide free fruits and vegetables to over 25 families and a handful of restaurants in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. This will be the CSA’s second season and they are excited to expand their offerings by adding eggs, poultry and flower options to the CSA shares this year.

What is CSA? It’s a Community Supported Agriculture farm where you can either use some of their land to grow your own veggies as a volunteer in exchange for food, and you can also “buy in” as a member to receive a box of produce every week, or bi-weekly for a small price. For those that don’t have the time to shop and want fresh goods delivered, this is a great option.

I knew the farm was run mostly by one person, Drew, our head chef’s brother, but I didn’t realize the size of this farm! He’s working long hours, asking for volunteers in return for produce, and hand picking and delivering produce, it’s like 2 full time jobs!


This is a view from the backside (yes, I said backside) of the farm. to the left were some abandoned crops that had life in them. Being a CSA farm, you are able to use other’s land to use as gardening space if you have none of your own at home.


The space was much larger than I had expected for being in the city. It was actually gorgeous, and on a lake.


It’s hard to tell that’s a lake, but it is.


The cucumbers were grown in this tent, to contain them. They grow fast, and spread faster.

drew in the field

Crops that weren’t quite ready yet.


Baby crops.

cabbage fields

I loved the cabbage patch. Due to obvious reasons that I grew up in the 80’s and had a cabbage patch. We have a dish at the restaurant that has grilled Ox Heart cabbage, pine nuts, and anchovy oil. SO good! If you haven’t thought of grilling cabbage, consider it.

cabbage head

This reminded me of the Little Shop of Horrors plant.

cabbage gif

Cabbage presentation.

chicken college

One of my favorite parts of the tour was the chickens! I got to hold one. There are about 20 chickens there, and one giant rooster that apparently has his “favorite girls” and you aren’t allowed to hang out with them. It’s like chicken drama. I love it.

chicken holding



There was a LOT of garlic. This barn smelled amazing and can definitely ward off vampires. Drew sells his produce at the Milwaukee farmer’s market every weekend.

pulling potatoes

This is Drew’s mother in law harvesting some potatoes. They pulled 150 pounds that day between her, another coworker, and my fiancée. It was cool to see how potatoes just fall off of the bushes they grow from when you pull them from the ground.

the fields 2

A view from the barn! There are many varieties of tomatoes, but only a few were ready at the moment.

The Barn 2

The beam sticking out of the top window in the barn is used to attach a pulley and bring produce up to the top floor to dry out.


I had to take a pic of the great vintage pulley.

the fields

Here’s the beam. We couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous day.

The farmstand 2

Here’s some of the produce at the street front farm stand. Someone doesn’t watch the farmstand, you leave money based on the honor system. It was refreshing to see people act this way in the Milwaukee area.

farm stand

Carrots and Cucumbers and Cabbage, oh my! Drew sent Matt (fiancée) home with a box of amazing produce for a day of volunteer work helping out. A lot of farmer’s offer this as a bargain for help weeding, pulling, and harvesting. It’s totally worth it, just bring water, and sunscreen. He told me that as they got hungry pulling veggies, there was plenty of fresh food to snack on.

Happy farming!

Foraging for Wild Ramps


The Ramp in it’s natural habitat.

Dating a chef has opened my eyes to many new foods. Truffle salt, sautéed kale, scrambled eggs with sour cream mixed in, and wild ramps to name a few.So, what is a ramp? The wild ramps are a wild onion in the leek family that grow about 3 weeks out of the year then they are gone. They grow wild, in parks, and woods, in moist nutrient rich soil, and if you’re lucky, you can find them in your backyard in the city. They grow sometime in the month of May, depending on what the winter was like. This year, they came later. We are lucky enough to have them grow in his parent’s backyard in Door County. We can only pick them sporadically so they come back the next year which isn’t a problem, because there are too many of them to pick them all!


All that you see that’s green are Ramps!

Ramps have a mild, onion flavor, rich in a fresh garlic scent when they are fresh from the ground. You can tell if what you have is a ramp or not when you pull it from the ground because of the look and smell. If it smells like an onion, it’s probably an onion. They grow in bunches, and you can’t just pull them, you need a shovel to pull the roots out. (This is a lot of work!) There is a white bulb at the end, and a purple stalk with a dirty thin membrane around the bulb that easily slides off for easy cleaning.


Here you can see the purple stem and when the white bulb.

What can you do with a ramp? You can cook the WHOLE thing when they are fresh! (After a while the green part will wilt and you should discard it.) Peel the thin membrane off and cut off the roots, give them a wash, and they are good to go. Chop the whole thing and put them in mashed potatoes, or grill the ramp whole and eat next to some good grilled chicken or put on a bratwurst.


The woods where we found the ramps was pretty gorgeous, even in the beginning of spring when the leaves weren’t on the trees yet.


Collecting our ramps for later cleaning and distributing.

We sold the ramps to the restaurant we used to work for in Green Bay, and the one that the fiancée works for now. They will turn it into an awesome cream of ramp soup, and the restaurant that he works for now does an amazing ramp pizza with white sauce and mushrooms, a dish with grilled ramps and asparagus with a fried egg, and a wild ramp risotto. The fiancée even dehydrated them and powdered them for a year round flavor additive. If you get to experience ramps at a local restaurant or from a friend, how lucky you’ll be!

Happy foraging!

Project: Backyard Garden, Part 3

I have to say, after a month or so of hard work, (mostly on the boyfriend’s behalf), the garden is looking awesome!

Garden collage 2Here’s a before and after from just a month ago, and today. I’m amazed! The pallets are growing like crazy! We already went and pulled lettuce and arugula off the top pallet shown to make a salad the other day.Garden Collage

Here’s another before and after. The bottom before and after shows the patio we re-assembled that cost me half a fingernail.

June 30 Garden 3

The onions are coming up really nicely. We got a starter pack at the Home Depot for those.

June 30 Garden 1

One little yellow zucchini!

June 30 Garden 4

Mint. I’m ready for Mojitos.

June 30 Garden 7

Those tomatoes are taller than me. Taller than boyfriend. Who is over 6 feet tall. I remember him planting them in the fall and seeing them grow to what they are now.

June 30 Garden 2

MORE tomatoes. We will soon have enough to start a small italian restaurant.

June 30 Garden 6

We built this A-Frame out of two pallets and filled it with dirt, and basil plants.

June 30 Garden 5

We built a rain barrel out of a 55 gallon food grade tub we got on Craigslist for $8. We got about $10 worth of parts at the home depot to finish it off. I’ll do a post about that next!

June 30 Garden 11

No strawberries yet, but when it happens, I can’t wait!

June 30 Garden 8

And this may be my favorite part of the yard… The patio, the path, my patio furniture put to use! I can’t wait to start harvesting the cucumbers, snap peas, strawberries, carrots, onions, radishes, lettuce, arugula, herbs, zucchini, broccoli, peppers… and the many other investments we’ve made in the yard! Happy Gardening!

Banana Muffins and Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

The cooks at work have been giving me old bananas and in return, I bring them banana bread. Not a bad bargain since they give me enough bananas to do 2 or 3 loafs at a time. Here’s the recipe I ALWAYS use, along with a new one for frosting I just found.


Ok, so seeing as how i’m a health nut, I end up substituting some things for what’s in a recipe. I’ll comment when I like to substitute ingredients.


  • 2 cups all purpose flour (I use 1/2 cup ground almond and flax seeds to sub some flour. I also use whole wheat flour.)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use raw sugar)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large, over ripe bananas (if you don’t have enough, use 1/2 cup applesauce to sub for a banana)
  • 1/4 C Milk (regular, non fat, soy, almond…)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Spices, if you like. I add a sprinkle of cinnamon, and nutmeg.


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, mash bananas until mushy. Add milk, egg, and vanilla and mix or process until blended.
  4. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just blended. Pour batter into either 12 muffin cups (greased) or an 8″ loaf pan (also greased)
  5. Bake 1 hour if making bread, or 20-25 minutes if making muffins, checking on them after 20 to see if they are done. Cool in bread pan, on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, and then remove bread (if making bread.)


Frosting! I found a recipe online for carrot cake with cinnamon cream cheese frosting from MMM! I used the one for frosting.



  • 1 pkg. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3-4 cups icing sugar (depending on what consistency and sweetness you want your icing)


In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, cream together cream cheese, butter, vanilla and cinnamon. Slowly add icing sugar until you reach the desired consistency and sweetness you want.



These also make a great healthy breakfast to go since they are loaded with goodness like almond and flax seeds. Enjoy!

The Best Coffee Drink You’ll Make at Home

So I started making this coffee drink for myself recently, and it is THE BEST coffee drink I’ve ever had. Seriously. I drink coffee with cream and sugar usually, and that’s about what this is, but better. Maybe some of you already know these tricks, and this is old news, but when I learn new things I like to share them. Here you go!

coffee drink 1

So, you start with about a half cup of coffee. You can make stronger coffee for this drink if you like, you’ll be adding a bit of milk to it, almost like a cappuccino.

coffee drink 3

Get yourself a sweetener of your choice.

coffee drink 4

Get your dairy of choice. This combination worked great for this drink!

coffee drink 2

This is honestly the best use of the Magic Bullet I’ve come up with. You need a blender, Bullet, Ninja, or frother of some kind. Even a little battery powered, hand held frother would work.

coffee drink 6

Here I added about 1 part half and half to one part coconut milk or skim milk, totaling about 1/2 cup. You can add as much or little as you want to though, really. It’s personal preference. Then add your sweetner. I like to add a squirt of honey and a tablespoon of sugar. Then, microwave for about 30 seconds. If you don’t have a bullet, you can microwave in a coffee mug, then blend for a few seconds, or froth up.

coffee drink 8

Blend up!

coffee drink 10

Once blended, pour into your coffee, and you’re done! You can lightly stir, but don’t kill the bubbles. They are the best part. I think once you heat it up, it dissolves your sugars, and blending it mixes the sugar and the milk together, adding the froth, and it’s just such a delicious drink, from home too. You can save so much money, and it’s just seconds of cleanup.

coffee drink 12

Just look at that! A café worthy cup of coffee.