Sweet Potato Pancakes

The farm has now harvested sweet potatoes. There are countless ways you can cook up a sweet potato, but this is by far my favorite way. The recipe for these sweet potato pancakes comes from Tupelo Honey Cafe, which is a fabulous little joint based out of Asheville, North Carolina. The sweet potatoes mixed with cinnamon and freshly ground nutmeg here add the perfect hint of sweetness and a whole lot of warmth to the pancakes. No maple syrup necessary! Top them off with honey butter and Tupelo Honey’s spiced pecans for the perfect fall weekend breakfast.



Serves 5

For the pancakes:

  • 2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 1/2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 Tbs. baking soda
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 1 large sweet potato, roasted
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh nutmeg

For the spiced pecans:

  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. honey
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt

For the honey butter:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 generous Tbs. honey

How To:

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, and melted butter, and then add this to the dry mixture. Peel and mash the sweet potato, place it in a bowl, and then add the honey, cinnamon, and nutmeg and mix it well. Add this mixture into the pancake batter. Let the batter stand for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, make the spiced pecans. Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add all the ingredients and cook until the pecans are lightly brown and caramelized, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cool, and store in an airtight container.
  3. Next, make the honey butter by adding the honey to the butter until smooth and well incorporated. Leave in the fridge until ready to use.
  4. After the batter has sat for an hour, heat a skillet over medium heat. Add batter by the ladleful and cook the pancakes, in batches, until golden brown on each side. Serve immediately with spiced pecans and honey butter.
  • Pro-tip: This can be cut in half, but accurately measuring the ingredients this way can be tricky (especially the eggs).
  • Pro-tip: To save time, bake the sweet potato the night before, or even make the batter the night before.
  • Pro-tip: To roast a sweet potato, poke it with a fork a few times and pop in an oven pre-heated to 400 degrees.

Farm Update


Happy fall, farmers. I hope you all have your flannel shirts, boots, and PSLs ready for the day it gets below 90 degrees. It’s almost time to sport those fall fashions, though I’ve seen quite a few students jumping the gun on it.

Autumn is my favorite season, largely because it’s so centered around FOOD. There always seems to be a reason to cook something up. It’s Thanksgiving. Gotta roast this turkey. It’s chilly out. Gotta make some soup. I have an exam tomorrow. Gotta bake some pumpkin muffins. But it’s not just the abundance of food that I love, it’s the warmth of all the fall flavors too. The squash, the pumpkins, the sweet potatoes, the veggie casseroles all warm the soul. Soon a host of delicious fall recipes will be available on the blog.



If you’ve stopped by our farm stand on campus recently, you may have noticed we now only have a small variety of produce available. This is because of the weird in-between phase of summer and fall. There are a few of the very last fruits of summer  hanging on, but we’ve cleared a lot of farm space for our fall planting and are now awaiting the plant beds to produce. So though we currently do not have as great a variety for sale as usual, there will be a large selection to choose from come the cooler season.

Here are some things you can expect to find in the upcoming month(s):

  • Beets
  • Broccoli
  • Bush beans
  • Carrots
  • Collard Greens
  • Garlic
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Onions
  • Pole beans
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Sugar daddy snap peas
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • A variety of herbs

This Wednesday the farm stand will be moving to the East mall (MLK statue) from 10-2 for Campus Sustainability Day. This is a part of the larger, week-long Campus Sustainability Week. There will be other stands in the East mall that Wednesday as well for the sustainability fair, so come check it out and learn something new!

There’s A Bin For That: Composting 101

It can sometimes be confusing where exactly is the best place to toss your waste. Between specific recycling bins, and plain old trash cans, where do you put your a-little-too-mushy vegetable waste? Coffee filter grounds?


functional, yet wonderfully aesthetic…

A composter, of course! Composting is nature’s recycling. Composting fertilizer not only contributes to reduced waste, but enhances plant growth due to it’s nitrogen rich bacterial flora. As vegetation piles up, the center of the pile gets hotter and hotter, promoting bacterial growth and breakdown.


cause we all need a little love to grow

What exactly can you compost? A good rule of thumb to go by: If it grows, it goes! A good compost pile has a solid mixture of “browns and greens”, such as

  • coffee grounds
  • vegetable scraps
  • wood chips
  • yard trimmings
  • leaves

Home compost bins, as well as ours at the farm, should avoid meat/eggs/dairy as these items are harder to break down, and can often smell and draw unwanted animal attention.



Your home/apartment/dorm doesn’t compost, you say? That’s where we come in. Here at the Microfarm students have access to compost piles that not only reduce their carbon footprint, but contribute to local, sustainable farming! Plants grown with compost ‘fertilizer’ are happier and healthier without using chemical support.

So, bring a trash bag on out to our next work day and start reducing!

IMG_0706 (1)

Want your own compost bin? Indoor bins (similar to trash cans, but completely sealed) are available at most hardware stores, and outdoor bins are also available for purchase or DIY! Just make sure to check local regulations regarding where/how large your bin can be.


your plants thank you.

Drying Herbs at Home

If you’re trying to save a few extra dollars, looking to add more flavor to your dishes, or even searching for a fun project to try, you should dry your own herbs! Home-dried herbs are so much more flavorful and fragrant, even compared to the “nicer”, more expensive herbs from the grocery store.


Photo courtesy The Jane Austen Cookbook

Photo courtesy The Jane Austen Cookbook

When I first had the idea, I imagined having to build racks, run string all through my  apartment, wear an apron and bonnet, and be the epitome of a medieval kitchen maid maid , much like the picture to the right. But there are actually a few ways to go about it, one being racks that were used in earlier centuries. Alternatively, you can hang bundled herbs upside down in your closet. For these two methods it is important to leave the herbs in a cool, dry place. Though these old-fashioned techniques can be fun and leave you feeling reminiscent of the 18th century, it takes up to a few weeks to completely dry the herbs and runs the risk of growing mold.

Luckily there is a third option: using the oven. Here I have dried some fresh basil, rosemary, and lavender from the microfarm, along with some oregano. First you will want to gently wash the herbs (minus the lavender) and pat dry. Don’t be forceful with the herbs when you dry them, or else they will lose some of their flavor. Once the herbs are completely dry, pluck the leaves from the stems. For the lavender and rosemary, though, I decided leaving them on stem would be easier.


Space the basil leaves evenly


Ooh la la-vender

Next lay the herbs flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Place on the middle rack of an oven heated to 170 degrees F. The important thing here is to keep the oven door propped slightly open (by inserting a dish towel or wooden spoon in the doorway) to allow ventilation. The herbs will dry in about 45 minutes, although large basil leaves may take about 15 minutes longer. You’ll know they are done when you can crumble them in your hands. You can store the herbs whole or broken down in an airtight container.





One Pot Spanish Chicken and Potatoes


Tired of the usual eggplant recipes, like eggplant parmesan? This recipe from Pinch of Yum‘s blog shows a new way to incorporate eggplant into meals and is fantastic way to sneak a few extra veggies into your diet. The tomatoes, eggplant, onion, garlic, and olive oil are simmered together then puréed to create a smooth and bold sauce. As a vegetarian option, omit the chicken and double the potatoes. Another great feature is this only requires one pot! Serve alongside rice, chips, and salsa made from the farm’s peppers.

Serves 6
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 5 ripe tomatoes, cut in half
  • ½ of a large eggplant*, skin removed and diced (2-3 cups)
  • 1½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ lbs. chicken breast meat
  • 1 large Russet potato, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon all purpose seasoning (I used poultry seasoning)
  • ½ cup fresh parsley leaves

*Get this at the farm stand! Though, I’d get 2-3 of our eggplants, since they run smaller than ones from the grocery store

How To

  1. Sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Add the onions and garlic. Scoop the juices, seeds, and flesh out of the tomatoes into the pan. Add the eggplant pieces and simmer the mixture for 5 minutes or until everything is soupy-like and softened and very good smelling. Place the scooped out tomato halves over the sauce, open side down. Simmer for a few minutes until the tomatoes have steamed and softened. Break them up in the pan and simmer for another 5-10 minutes to get all the flavors real nice and yummy.
  2. Blend: Transfer to a blender or food processor, puree until mixture reaches your desired consistency, and stir in the salt. Taste and adjust to you liking.
  3. Chicken and Potatoes: In the same pan, add one more quick drizzle of olive oil and add the chicken and potato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and seasoning. Saute for a few minutes on each side until they are browned.
  4. Finish: Add the sauce back to the pan, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes or until the chicken and potatoes are fully cooked. Top with fresh parsley and serve with crusty white bread or rice.
  • Pro-tip: watch this tutorial on how to easily peel an eggplant.