Get to Know: The Farm Table Blogger and a Giveaway!

13 Jun

As part of our Get to Know series, we would like to introduce you to our Farm Table Blogger, Michele Schwartz:

I am originally from the Pacific Northwest (a proud Oregonian and OSU alumnus), and made my way to Richmond nearly two years ago after spending 6 years in the Sonoran Desert, where my husband completed his graduate work at the UA in Tucson before taking his current position at VCU. I spent 10 years serving survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and 6 of those years at The Southern Arizona Center Against Sexual Assault before taking on my new role as a stay-at-home Mom for our 4-year-old daughter, and 18-month-old son; we are eager to greet our newest family member, another son, this September. I have been blogging for 4 years, and joined The Farm Table at the beginning of this season.

I became a Farm Table member last year when a neighbor encouraged me to sign up. I was pleased with the variety of food that came each week, enjoyed the exposure to new produce, and the challenge of trying out seasonal recipes which have sparked my creativity, and improved the way we eat in our home. My husband is an avid gardener, so between what we receive in our box each week, and what he harvests from our garden, we enjoy the bounty it brings and our ability to share it with others. While I am not too keen on the actual gardening part of food production, (I like the idea of it, just not the actual humidity and mosquitos one must endure while putting in the work), I really enjoy cooking what comes out of the garden. 

We encourage our daughter to participate in the preparation of our food, and although as a 4-yea-old she insists she “doesn’t like” most of the food we pass around the table (regardless of whether or not she’s ever tried it!), we know that the exposure to whole foods, and family participation in preparing it will pay off in a big way someday. This is what we’ve enjoyed most about being members of The Farm Table.

Among many other favorite dishes, we enjoy our weekly homemade pizza night, Escabeche (my husband’s signature dish — a recipe we’ll share with you in the future), and our go-to recipe, Red Beans and Rice. In leaner times, when we were just “getting started,” this side was a staple in our home. We typically pair it with some kind of grilled sausage or chicken, a salad, and homemade corn bread. The lemon juice counteracts the chili powder, so don’t be afraid to try this recipe if you have an aversion to spicy food.

I especially like preparing Red Beans and Rice with Santa Cruz Chili Powder from Tumacacori, Arizona, a spice I found during our time living in Tucson. Used in many Mexican dishes, this Chili powder is bright orange in color, and offers a rich flavor to most dishes. A dear friend from the desert sent me a carton recently, along with an extra one to share with one lucky Farm Table member.

To enter to win this giveaway, please follow our blog by entering your email address under the “Follow The Tractor” heading on your right ,and then comment on this post to let me know you are following the blog by 9:00pm (EST) on June 17, 2012. The winner will be announced by June 24th and the Chili Powder will be added to your Farm Table delivered box.

Congratulations to Joi Lenczowski who was randomly chosen to win our blog giveaway. The Santa Cruz Chili Powder will be routed to your Farm Table delivered box. Thanks everyone for participating!

Tumacacori Red Beans & Rice


  • 2 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup medium or long grain white rice
  • 3 Tbs Chili Powder (I say more!)
  • 1 Tbs chopped Basil
  • 1 Tbs chopped Oregano (or substitute the Basil and Oregano with a few tsp of fresh Cilantro, but not too much as this will overpower the dish)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (1 can)
  • 1 can dark red Kidney Beans, rinsed and placed in a bowl
  • Half of a large lemon, juiced 


  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium, add onions and saute until translucent.
  • Add garlic and rice, stirring often, careful not to burn the garlic and rice.
  • Add the Chili Powder. I suggest starting with 3 Tbs, but I prefer more – make the rice dirty! Add half of the basil and oregano.
  • Add the chicken or vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and simmer on medium/medium-low, until the rice has absorbed stock, about 20 minutes. Add water if the stock has cooked off and the rice seems under-cooked. It is important to keep the rice covered the entire time to allow the rice to cook properly, and not to cook it too hot, as this will burn the rice and leave you with a messy skillet.
  • While the rice is cooking, pour the lemon juice, remaining basil, and oregano over the kidney beans, allowing the beans to marinate in the juice.
  • Once the rice is cooked properly, pour the kidney bean mixture evenly over the rice, and cover for a few more minutes, then stir everything together, making sure the bottom of the skillet comes clean. Again, add a touch of water if you need to and cover if the rice is still a tad under-cooked.
  • Feel free to play with the measurement of the herbs and spices to make the dish to your liking. I generally eyeball the measurement, and go back and forth between using fresh and dry herbs. 

Enjoy and thank you for reading!

We look forward to introducing you to our Twitter and Pinterest account manager, along with more highlights of The Farm Table’s Neighborhood Coordinators. Stay tuned!

17 Responses to “Get to Know: The Farm Table Blogger and a Giveaway!”

  1. joi lenczowski June 13, 2012 at 10:41 pm #

    I am a farmtable subscriber now following your blog. I used to make New Orleans style red beans and rice all the time (college in NO) and enjoyed looking at your recipe.

  2. Rebecca June 15, 2012 at 10:08 am #

    I am a follower already. I also follow you on pinterest to get ideas about what I receive in my weekly boxes 🙂 Thanks so much!

  3. STephanie Barr June 15, 2012 at 10:11 am #

    looking forward to all TFT has to share!

  4. Andrea Stapleton June 15, 2012 at 10:15 am #

    I hope to see healthy kids recipes. I am lucky to have a child that enjoys fresh vegetables.

  5. patty June 15, 2012 at 11:22 am #

    Count me in! Looking forward to trying your recipes.

  6. Amy Klingensmith June 15, 2012 at 11:32 am #

    Signed up to follow the bog and on pinterest. Love all the great recipes

  7. Megan June 15, 2012 at 12:02 pm #

    I’m following here now, as well as on Twitter! Looking forward to the posts to come. 🙂

  8. brbgallifrey June 15, 2012 at 12:04 pm #

    I’m now following here as well as twitter, and looking forward to the posts! 🙂

  9. Tiffany Coffman June 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Following!!! Look forward to tips 😉

  10. Jess gavin June 15, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

    Looking forward to some recipes too! Our family is on a grain free diet so if you have any veggie only meals we are all ears!

  11. Shaun June 15, 2012 at 4:26 pm #

    Signed up to follow the blog – and am eyeing the yummy red beans and rice recipe…

  12. Stacy Abbott June 16, 2012 at 12:45 am #

    Signed up to follow your blog. I have a small raised garden and anxiously await my heirloom tomatoes 🙂 Not a member yet, but will be looking into it.

  13. Sara Buckheit June 16, 2012 at 11:13 am #

    Hey I just started following you ! I have started to turn over a new, local-friendly leaf in my attempt to revamp my diet and thought this would give a good source of ideas and shared experiences. Can’t wait to see what comes next! Sara

  14. Lisa Love Viramontes June 16, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    Just started following your blog. Found out about you through a friend on FB and a LivingSocial deal. So excited to finally have fresh produce deliveries!

  15. Suzy June 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    I just signed up for The Farm Table on Living Social and I’m following your blog. I am very much looking forward to the first delivery. I very much believe in the concept of purchasing local foods and products. I look forward to trying the red beans and rice recipe. Thanks! 🙂

  16. joi lenczowski July 8, 2012 at 7:13 pm #

    Thanks so much–the chili pepper came in this weeks box and we will soon delve into to add a bit of spice!

    • The Farm Table July 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm #

      So happy to hear it! Let us know what you end up fixing!!

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