Grit Blogs > Like a Hair in a Biscuit

Worm Poop, Kale and Hammered Turnip Greens

BN HeardMy family and I love going to the Farmers' Market each Saturday morning in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. We get a cup of coffee, study folks’ dogs and buy things we can’t live without like boiled peanuts.

The Williamsburg Farmers Market is a wonderful place to study people, plants and poop. That’s right – poop! My gardening is limited to growing stuff in pots, but I still take every opportunity I can to learn new things.

Worm Poop
Selling Worm Poop at the Williamsburg (Virginia) Farmers' Market

On this particular morning, I studied the “Worm Poop” that the folks from the Moose Hill Worm Farm sell. The “Worm Farmer,” Bill Clark, used to be an air traffic controller, so it makes perfectly good sense to me that he transitioned into worm farming in Gloucester, Virginia.

Doesn’t it to you?

Mr. Clark, or perhaps it would be better to say, Mr. Clark’s worms produce worm poop that he sells as a soil amendment rich in all kinds of nutrients. Evidently, these worm castings help plants suck in all the essential things they need to grow bigger and faster and prettier.

Mr. Clark keeps coming back each Saturday morning, so I’d say his worms’ poop must work pretty well.

I love kale, I love making kale chips; I love it so much that I sometimes buy too much. On this particular Saturday, I was attracted to the “Dinosaur Kale.” I had read about it, but hadn’t seen it at the farmers' market before. Dinosaur kale is also known as Tuscan kale or Lacinato kale.

Dinosaur Kale
Dinosaur Kale or Tuscan Kale is sweeter and more delicate

This particular kale gets its dinosaur moniker due to the bumpy look of its leaves. It does look somewhat “prehistoric.”

Lacinato kale is often used in such Italian dishes as minestrone or ribollita (twice cooked soup). Compared to other kale varieties, it has a somewhat sweeter and more delicate taste. You wouldn’t think that something that looked like a dinosaur’s skin would be sweet or delicate.

I also brought home a nice little bunch of baby turnips. Turnips are something that some city folks won’t touch. I don’t understand it – they are scrumptious.

Turnips are also pretty forgiving in the kitchen, in my opinion.

My preference is to roast them. I started mine off in a cast-iron frying pan with butter and sugar and allowing my concoction to caramelize. Then I added a little balsamic vinegar and put them in a baking dish to roast for a little while.

Greens from Baby Turnips
Greens from Baby Turnips begging for a shot of rum

Please note that I never keep up with how much I use or how long I cook things. I use what I have, taste it and “eyeball” it while it cooks. It’s what my mama did – it’s what I do.

A couple of times (maybe just once), I spooned the sauce back over the turnips while they were roasting. When they finished, I threw in some roasted butternut squash and served the mixture over polenta. Everything goes better with grits.

Hammered turnip greens?

Sure… just add rum …

As I was cooking the greens from the baby turnips, I poured in a little rum. No recipe – it was just on the kitchen counter. The rum looked like it wanted to get in the cast-iron skillet with the greens. I added capers and some diced onions to the greens as they cooked. Right before I “bowled them,” I hit them with a squeeze of lemon. The lemon juice is my secret ingredient.

At least it was the secret ingredient on this day, because a lemon was on the counter. I do enjoy a splash of lemon on turnip and beet greens. Try it sometime …

Whether you are just hanging out, hanging in there or hanging on – do it “Like a Hair in a Biscuit.”  If you’ve ever seen one; you know what I mean.

BN Heard