Vegetable Spotlight: Collards

Maybe you’ve heard of them…..some southern movie scene where you’ve heard them ordered in a restaurant or cooked up for a homemade meal. Maybe your grandma makes them best? Whichever stage in your “collards” relationship you are in, I am excited to share with you the ins and outs of this powerhouse plant.
Collard greens are part of the cruciferous vegetable family. In this family you will also find bok choy, brussels sprouts, broccoli, kale, cabbage, turnips and rutabaga.  This family of vegetables tend to be high in nutrients and low in calories. Sounds like a win-win to me! 

So what are the health benefits of eating them?

Nutrition Basics

One cup of boiled collard greens contains :

63 calories

5 grams protien

1 gram of fat

11 grams of carbohydrates

8 grams of fiber

1 gram of sugar

It provides over 250 % of a person’s daily needs for vitamin A, over 50 % of vitamin C, and 26 % of calcium. Collard greens are also rich source of vitamin K.


Skin and Hair

By eating collards and other cruciferous veggies, you are promoting healthy complexion and hair and increasing your energy. This is because  because of a high vitamin A content. Vitamin A is needed for sebum production, and this keeps hair moisturized and is also necessary for the growth of all bodily tissues.

One cup of boiled collard greens provides over 50% of a persons daily needs of Vitamin C as well, which is needed for the building of collagen. Collagen provides  structure to skin and hair.

Hair loss is commonly caused by an iron-deficiency in the body. By eating foods such as collard greens, spinach, eggs and tuna you will be doing yourself a favor by adding iron to your diet.

One cup of boiled collared greens also provides over 100% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K ….. 1 cup! This vitamin improves calcium absorption in your body. When a low intake of vitamin K is present, you are at a higher risk for bone fractures, and with our daughter just getting her cast off from breaking her wrist…it is our hope to stay as far away from a cast as possible in the years to come. Calcium is so important for the body.


Diabetes and liver function

The recommended intake for fiber for women is  22.4 to 28 grams of fiber a day and 28 to 33.6 grams a day for men. 1 cup of boiled collard greens provides about 8 grams of fiber. Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes consuming high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels. Better levels of blood sugar, lipids and insulin may be present in those with type 2 diabetes.

The antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid, that is found in collard greens can also lower glucose levels and aids in regenerating liver tissue in the body.


Collard greens are high in both fiber and water content. I think we all know that these 2 things help to prevent the dreaded constipation while promoting regularity in the digestive tract.

Your mood and Sleep

Feel-good hormones, also known as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine are so important for our mood. They also regulate sleep and appetite within the body. Folate, which is found in collard greens (specifically in the choline in the greens) may help with depression and prevent excess homosysteine from forming in the body. Too much of this stuff can interfere with the production of those necessary feel-good hormones.

How should you eat them?

Collard greens should have firm, deep green leaves. Smaller leaves will be tenderer and have a milder flavor. Collard greens can be kept fresh in the refrigerator.

Steaming collard greens for 10 minutes or less means they will still have their nutrients. Peppers, chopped onions, herbs, and spices can be used to season them.

They can be enjoyed raw in salads or on sandwiches or wraps, braised, boiled, sautéed, or added to soups and casseroles.

A handful of collard greens can also be added to a favorite smoothie. An easy way to add more health benefits without strong flavor.



Wow! What a powerhouse. It almost makes you WANT to eat them more, am I right? I shared an tutorial on how to use collard greens as a wrap in our week 1 share post…so I’ll leave it here for you as well:) I hope you all have a great weekend and are enjoying all of those school year-end activities ! Until next time…. go try some collard greens!!

IMG_4692 (500x333)Collard Wrap Tutorial


~Janine, The Farmer’s Wife


Information found for this blog found at : healthyeating/  (World’s Healthiest Foods)


What’s In Your Box? Week 1

Good morning!  It’s finally here…..your produce list for week one of the CSA shares. I hope you guys are as excited as I am … the school year is coming to a close, it’s really starting to feel like summer around here!

Anyone else doing the happy dance that we got a little rain shower last night? With the intense heat the past week, its definitely a boost of energy to see the plants get a little break. Some love the heat….others…not so much.

As late spring usually looks in Michigan gardens, the boxes next week will be full of greens. It’s a great time to start getting familiar with a few items you’ve may have never used in the kitchen before because these staples usually make their way into boxes throughout the summer.

Here’s the lineup:



dinosaur kale

curly kale



swiss chard

Bok choy


(possibly your own wheatgrass container depending on when my seed arrives, but that’ll be next week for sure)

Some of you love this time of year…while others just sort of  barrel through it knowing that the summer harvest of variety is on its way….here’s a fun little article I found about greens and why we should be eating them.

Why we should all be eating more Leafy Greens

Dark Leafy Greens are one of the most nutritious, inexpensive and easy to cook real foods! You can almost always find leafy greens like Kale, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Collards and more at most Farmers Markets. Here's how to cook leafy greens along with some nutrition facts...

Below I have also included recipes to help give you ideas of what to do with your goodies this week. I LOVE to hear what you make with your goods…so please share them with me as you make them! It’s fun to share ideas with each other to inspire ways to utilize our boxes the best we can.  Also, please check out our website to see the best ways to store and prepare some of the produce you’ll be receiving here: The Farmer’s Wife CSA

Bok Choy 101

Grilled Boy Choy with Sesame Maple Marinade

Roasted Potato and Kohlrabi Salad

Roasted potato and kohlrabi salad from @sweetphi

Kale and Kohlrabi Salad


Sauteed Swiss Chard

Collard Wrap Tutorial

IMG_4692 (500x333)

Energy Boosting Green Smoothie

I am looking forward to hitting the ground running with you all next week. Excited to seeing familiar faces and meeting new. Thanks again for being part of our farm, I love my job and owe it all to you! Make it a great day, friends!

~Janine, the Farmer’s Wife


Hang on while I overthink about it….

Good Morning! I’m writing this on a beautiful Friday morning and it is LIGHT out before 6 am …..which means, Welcome Summer!

These long, sunny days have been so nice after the gloomy and wet stretch of weather we were in. Today’s topic is about trying new things.

Have you tried anything new lately ? Out of your comfort zone? Against the “norm” of what you consider your daily routine? If you said yes, that’s great! Hopefully your are reaping the benefits of feeling accomplished or inspired…but it is possible you are feeling the “ouch factor” of a plan gone wrong, or not the way you had intended it to go. It happens! What matters is what you learn from it and how you respond to the situation.

I am a recovering people-pleaser AND overthinker.  Double whammy….but if you think about it…they can go hand in hand. What if they don’t like what I have to say? What if they don’t like me? What if the project doesn’t turn out ? How is that going to look? yada yada yada………

I have one of those catchy felt boards in my kitchen….you know, where you can change the letters to make them say something inspiring or quirky? A while back mine read, “Hang on while I overthink about it,” as a humble reminder to myself to NOT overthink about it. I am a work in progress.

So what does this have to do with gardening or farming…or anything you might be following this blog for???

If you are local, you’ve probably seen that we were running a sale at our farm this week on the over abundance of vegetable and herb starters we had planted for our garden. It has been so fun meeting many of you and catching up on life, while doing the usual “garden talk.” I have heard so many people say….” I’d love to have a garden but I don’t know anything about it,” or ” I would never eat that.” I totally get it. Perhaps you’ve tried a garden before and simply didn’t enjoy it…THAT’S OK! Besides, I have a job because people allow me to grow food for them in our garden:) My hope, however, is that you don’t “not try” something just because you think you can’t. Just so you know…there is NO PERFECT WAY to grow something. Mother nature, among so many other factors, play a huge role in our gardens year to year….no season is the same. Some years certain things thrive, while other years they struggle. We do a little reading, rotate and companion plant, and try it again! Either way, I usually learn something along the way.

When it comes to trying new varieties of vegetables….have you tried to prepare something multiple ways? While I never want to sound like “the mom forcing everyone to eat their vegetables,” or to proclaim that my family never has takeout pizza night or the occasional trip to McDonalds, I do know that by eating a wide variety of vegetables from the garden I feel my best and love the satisfaction of knowing I’m taking care of my health. I have learned to love so many different vegetables in the past few years that I had never heard of …simply by trying new ways to prepare them. Yes, there are a few things that I don’t prefer…but they are all worth a TRY. Besides, if you are trying to encourage the little ones in your life to eat healthy, they are going to be watching YOU to do the same.

This spring weather was a doozy. Cold, wet, cloudy….not the perfect recipe for a happy farmer. I feel for the large farms, running out of days to get their corn and soybeans in the ground as they depend on so many long sunny days for growth ….while most farmers are in the same boat, it is still so frustrating! For me, however, I can control a little more of that but creating spaces within the garden I can cover or raise the beds where it gets too wet. I did, however take a gamble this spring by starting things about 4 weeks earlier than I usually do to really make sure we had a jumpstart on the season. The week after I planted our tomatoes the weather was in the 40s and we saw rain for 5 days straight. What in the world did I do? Well…fast forward a few weeks and Thanks be to God that they have all pulled through and are actually thriving! It doesn’t always happen like this , but I took the chance (and I did think it through just enough to pull the trigger) . I knew that if I failed I had more tomatoes to replace them with, but I wanted to try.

Maybe this is a silly analogy…but to me it’s relative to my life right now. There have been situations I have lost sleep over; worrying, wondering, over-thinking. But I am slowly learning to simply educate myself, make a valiant effort, and pray for the best. That’s all we can really do sometimes. So obviously, I want to encourage you all to try to grow something or try something new in the kitchen….but if that’s not “your thing” then what’s something else you can take a chance on today? Is there something you’ve been given a passion for but have spent too much time thinking about all of the ways you could fail? STOP! Stop doubting yourself. If there’s anything I’ve learned and believe with my whole heart is that we have not been given desires or dreams by chance. There’s a reason we were created the way we were and we all have a passion for something. Stop overthinking and take the leap. It might not always be perfect or beautiful…but is anything, really? I sure hope not because I don’t think a “perfect” life would be fun for anybody.

I’m looking forward to a sunny weekend here and will be paying my respects to those who have fought for and/or are continuing to fight for or country. Also, thank you to those who stopped at the sale yesterday…we are open today from 12-4 🙂


Janine, the Farmer’s Wife



All About Beets

Oh hey! It’s Friday!

I’ve literally been thinking its been Thursday for some reason this entire day…anyone else with me?

Tonight we’re talking beets…… Why eat them? How can I cook them?



I was 28 when I tried my first beet. For real. They were rarely ever served anywhere that I would have been eating and there’s no way I’d ever buy one from the store!? What do I do with one and I hear they just taste like earth!? I also heard they leave a nasty red mess all over your counter…..

If you are in this same boat, I’d like you to know that there is still hope. Nowadays, I am a beet-loving fool and am sure to add them to dishes I cook for my family throughout the week. If health facts perhaps sell you on the idea of trying them…let me throw some fun facts out there to ponder…and a little warning for your first encounter with them….

  1. Beets are an excellent source of several vitamins and minerals, including folate and manganese. Folate helps to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia.  Folate is also important for synthesizing and repairing DNA as well as helping with cell division and growth, such as during pregnancy or infancy.

    Due to high levels of iron, folate, and betaine, beets are sometimes referred to as “crimson spinach” as they pack the powerful nutrients that fill Popeye’s favorite meal.

  2. Cardiovascular Disease The nitrates in beet juice which are converted into nitric oxide in your body, which helps you relax your blood vessels. This, in turn, can reduce blood pressure, lowering your risk of cardiovascular disease.


  3. Fighting Inflammation The betaines (pronounced like bee-ta-eens) within beets helps protects cells from environmental stress. Betaine is unique to beets and this nutrient helps to guard cells, proteins, and enzymes from environmental stress while fighting inflammation in internal organs and preventing all sorts of inflammation-based chronic diseases (i.e., cardiovascular disease).


  4. Detox Beets have often been a staple of a detox diet, and are a great help to your liver. You’re getting plenty of antioxidants from beets and the betains (Bee-ta-eens) found within beets will help your liver better process toxins.





    ::: WARNING ::: One other thing you should know. The red colour compound in beets known as betanin, is NOT broken down in the body. High concentrations may mean that things are going to be a little colorful at the end of the day (in your bowel movements). Don’t be concerned though, the red color of your stool is harmless and will cease once the beets are completely out of your system. (this always makes for a fun conversation with your kids:)


“Ok great…so I know they are good for me….but how the heck should I eat them ?”

Beets can be prepared in so many different ways….sliced, raw, cooked , pickled…you name it! Here are just a few recipe ideas to try ……

How to Roast Beets Perfectly Every Single Time

Coconut Oil Roasted Beets (Vegetable Candy)

Coconut Oil Roasted Beets recipe. I like to call these beets Vegetable Candy! They are perfect sweet and caramelized. I could eat the whole bowl myself! Beets have amazing detox properties--this is a great way to eat them!

Beet the Cold Power Smoothie

Beet the cold power smoothie filled with beets, blueberries, lime juice and chia seeds. The perfect healthy & refreshing detox smoothie.

Beet, Arugula & Goat Cheese Grilled Cheese

Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Beets

Honey-Glazed Brussels Sprouts and Beets with walnuts and gorgonzola - a healthy side dish

Ok there we go! Just a few different ways to prepare beets. If you already love beets….awesome ! We are looking forward to multiple varieties in the garden this year. If not…which recipe are you going to try next week? Would love to hear your feedback! Just remember….that color passing through your body….totally normal . 

I hope you all have an awesome weekend! We are so thankful for each and everyone of you. Blessings!



You Can Eat That…..

Good Morning ! It’s Friday….which means time for another post. Hope you’ve all had a great week! I am currently enjoying the most beautiful sunrise this morning….the calm before the storm I suppose?

Our plants have been loving these humid and wet days. Perfect for growth for plants AND weeds…but hey…beggars can’t be choosers.

Today I wanted to talk about the parts of the plants that we may tend to throw out after preparing the usual parts that we are used to eating. In short,  we are going outside of the box just a smidge to take a look at some new ways to eat veggies that might be worth a shot.

Plants are split up into groups by the “parts that we eat”. For example….

We eat the ROOTS of beets, radishes and carrots

We eat the FLOWERS of broccoli, artichokes and cauliflower

We eat the LEAVES of spinach, lettuce, swiss chard

We eat the STEMS of rhubarb, celery and asparagus

We eat the FRUITS of tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers

We eat the SEEDS of snap peas and sunflower seeds

Leafy greens are a great way to start thinking outside the box when it comes to considering different parts of the plant being edible.

Radish Greens tend to be pretty underrated. They are both edible and fast growing. Most radishes take just 24-28 days from seed to harvest!  Their flavor is subtle, with a a slight hint of radish which is awesome if you don’t like the spiciness of the actual root.  It’s best to harvest the greens before a radish develops, which would only be about 12-16 days for baby leaves. For a twist on a common recipe…try these greens in your next batch of pesto instead of basil leaves!

Looking for a substitute for collard greens? Try Broccoli Greens!  They carry a slight broccoli flavor and are relatives to collards, kale and cabbage…which are all in the Brassicaceae . Harvest the greens in the early spring on young plants when the leaves are tender. Use them as you would kale or collards in any of your recipes.

Sweet Potato Leaves are other plant part then seem to get overlooked. I actually just read that these leaves are a staple to many dinner plates around the world.  They can be used as you would any other tender green and taste similar to spinach. These leaves are packed with nutrients and rich on protein. …. give them a try!


Herb-Infused Vinegars. While some can be found in pricey markets, infused oils are actually pretty inexpensive and easy to make at home. They can be used in dressings and marinades, but also straight from the bottle atop raw tomatoes from the garden. Common herb flowers used for a simple vinegars would be chives, thyme, basil or oregano. To make, simply use a small saucepan and warm your favorite vinegar over medium heat to a simmer. Fill a jar with your flower blossoms of choice and pour the warm vinegar over them. Let the oil steep out of direct sunlight for two weeks and enjoy!

Nasturtiums are a common flowering plant to be found in gardens. They are popular for attracting bees and pollinators, as well as being used as a trap crop for aphids. Nasturtiums are great companions to cabbage and broccoli to deter cabbage moths as well! These edible flowers and leaves can be considered power plants as they are high in vitamins A & C and the entire plant is edible. Due to the high concentration of mustard oils on the leaves, this fast-growing vine produces a peppery flavor Use sparingly to brighten up a salad or add a kick to garden pesto and sauces.The leaves make great rice paper alternatives for rolls.

These are just a few ideas to start thinking “outside of the box” when it comes to eating the “entire garden.”

WITH THIS BEING SAID….On the other hand, however….there are a few leaves you DO NOT WANT TO EAT. 

Nightshade Family : Eggplant Leaves and Flowers and Tomato Leaves 

These plants contain trace amounts of solanine and tomatine that could leave you with an upset stomach.  The leaves and flowers of these plants are where the toxic solanine is most concentrated. GREEN POTATOES are also on the Nightshade List

Rhubarb Leaves

While the stalks are rather tasty in pies, rhubarb leaves contain oxalic acid and anthraquinone glycosides, two compounds that are poisonous to humans when ingested. The symptoms vary depending on how much you eat, but they include everything from vomiting and stomach pain to possible seizures….so please, steer clear of these greens!


I hope some of this information was helpful and/or new to you today! I’d say when in doubt….look it up! But don’t be afraid to try new things in your gardens or CSA harvest boxes this summer.

Make it a great day everyone, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms out there!




Information for this post gathered from Garden Safe and Organic Life. 





The Way We See It

Hello fellow farm friends!

It’s been forever since we’ve had a post….but since it is halfway thru April and we are counting down the days until the first CSA share dispersal….I figured it was time.

How are you feeling?

Like, really?

This spring weather has been a rollercoaster ride, for sure. The song  that keeps coming to my mind lately is an oldie but a good from the 1990’s….

“I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna get me down.” Tubthumping by Chumbawamba  ( you’re welcome for the repetitive chorus that will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day )

For those of you familiar with our family, you know that spring is an extremely busy season for us. Jordan, “the Farmer,” runs a greenhouse business along with his brother where they grow perennials and annuals for stores across the United States. Generally speaking, southern states are warmer before northern states, therefore shipping is able to start “early” to start supplying those warmer places. This year, however, we aren’t the only ones suffering from a cold, delayed spring. Is this a fun issue? Nope. Not fun at all. Product being shipped means more room to plant to fulfill later orders in the season, which in turn means a successful greenhouse season. Does this mean that all hope is lost for the spring? Definitely not.

THE WAY WE SEE IT: This is going to be a short, intense shipping season. Product will move with a little more TLC  and cleaning , and it will all need to go….FAST. We see this as a challenge and a time for growth. As a business, as a marriage, as a team. As our kids say “Teamwork makes the Dreamwork.”

For MY business, “The Farmer’s Wife” this weird weather introduces a different set of setbacks. Crops that were supposed to be in the ground have been postponed and the heater in the greenhouse has been running longer to help our sun deficient plants along.

THE WAY WE SEE IT:  We’ve been blessed with a place to grow our seedlings at home. Even with longer hours for Jordan, I’mstill able to accomplish all of our preparations at home, with the kids, and actually find therapeutic joy in doing it. With a few years under our belts, we’ve recognized what spring looks like for us. He is usually getting his equipment in the field preparing to grow zucchini and I’m chomping at the bit to get everything in our own garden ready. THIS YEAR, we prepped everything early so that when that glorious weather decides to come around….I WILL BE READY.

With that being said…. we are looking forward to hitting the ground running as soon as this weather breaks. Which, by the looks of it….next week is looking pretty amazing! I cannot wait to start seeing your faces each week and being able share the excitement of fresh, seasonal produce with you.

In the meantime….it is my hope that you’ll find some personal sunshine in the next week to boost your spirits if that’s something your in need of this time of year.

Look at the roadblocks are frustrating things in your life….HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SEE THEM? How can you turn them into something good and possibly necessary for this time in your life?

In the meantime….put on your favorite winter hat today and rock it out knowing it may be one of the last couple of times you GET to wear it this season.

Walk through the produce aisle and pick 3 vegetables you’ve been waiting to try…and make something with them!

Make a fruit salad or add fruit to your water….. Good nutrition is key to happy physical and mental health.


Looking forward to a fun season! We are thankful for YOU.

Sincerely, Janine Dekker

“The Farmers Wife”

Find our Page on Facebook “The Farmers Wife CSA”

Or Follow us on Instagram: thefarmerswife_grower

Our Last Week….. 10/2

Good evening everyone! Here we are…..OCTOBER! What a gorgeous weekend we had to ring in a new month. I cannot even believe it;  tomorrow this is our last week of the CSA shares for the year! Jordan and I spent the day with our kids doing what we love to do on Sunday afternoons… around in the garden.  It has been a blast watching this space transform over the season; from a snow covered construction site to a flourishing space that was able to grow over half of our produce the season. Those of you that have been part of the CSA for a while have known that we’ve bounced around a bit with field locations and what a blessing it has been to have so much of our produce be right at home, with the rest being grown at our greenhouse locations in Hudsonville. We are thankful.

With tomorrow being the last day of deliveries, with a few pick ups on Tuesday…I just wanted to go over a couple of things before we part for the winter.

  • It would be so very helpful to me if you could keep your box from last week, as well as the final box delivered to your house to reduce the amount of boxes I will have to haul around and recycle/dispose of myself. (thank you)
  • If you have any outstanding balances for tomatoes or eggs, let me know what works best for you to settle up for the season:)


I want to make sure I take a moment to let you all know how incredibly thankful I am for ALL of you! Your kindness and support are more than I could ask for, and you make my “job” so enjoyable. It is my goal to continue to grow and learn through all that we do, and I appreciate your understanding and input as we go through the season. Thank you for considering our program and for jumping on board. Thank you for caring and being a part of the farm in which you get your food…even the crazy stuff you’ve never tried before! If I can share my heart with you, Jordan and I just had a discussion late last night about the CSA. I have a slew of ideas and dreams and sometimes have a hard navigating my way through real life situations and/or expectations. There are times where I wonder what people think about what we are trying to do with our farm, the community we are hoping to create, and if it even matters, especially when I hear feedback on what we’re doing from people that don’t quite get it.  Jordan simply asked me if I felt that 1 family benefitted from something we were doing, and I immediately felt a burst of excitement and confidence in my heart. I thought about what I had seen in some of our families this summer; kids that tried things they never have before and realizing they LOVE certain vegetables; parents taking the plunge to try new recipes in efforts to create a healthier lifestyle; togetherness with a community of like-minded people……all of those things affirmed the reason we are here….the reason I do what I do. Did you guys know that our farm also sponsors 2 amazing families in the area? You have all been blessed to be a blessing just by investing and being part of our farm! THANK YOU…..from the bottom of our hearts.

Ok…now that you know probably way too much about what goes on in my head….here’s what this week’s box is looking like:)

I’m calling this box: the GLEAN Box. Originally the plan was to have this be the last week of boxing up items, followed by a week of whoever wanted to come glean from the garden, however….the heat wave and drought last week sent us over the top. Especially now with these cooler nights,  things have drastically slowed down, leaving us to glean all that we have for tomorrow’s shares. Here are a few staples you will find in your box…with a few mix and/or match items thrown in:)

Butternut Squash










Peas or Beans


Given that produce may not be super consistent throughout , I don’t have any awesome recipes for you this week. I hope you have enjoyed those and that they have given you inspiration to try a different way to prepare the vegetables you find in your box.

I am looking forward to seeing/serving you this week and look forward to being in touch with you in the future. Stay tuned to your email for an end of the season questionnaire as well as some exciting news for next year. Have a great week everyone!!! It’s been an absolute pleasure working for you:)