What the heck is a hoop house? And a recipe … Green Beans with Walnuts, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese

Green beans with walnuts

Imagine the TSA Officer’s surprise when he opens a backpack during a security check to find bags full of …

green beans, garlic scapes, cabbage, jalapenos, fennel pesto, and more.

This is what happens when your friend is a farmer and she comes to visit! Yes, recently I was graced with bags full of delicious, organic veggies when my dear friend Molly came to visit Atlanta.  Molly is the Founding Director of a wonderful organization in St. Louis, EarthDance Farms. And when your friend runs a farm, you get free veggies brought safely through TSA security. 🙂

Working at a non-profit myself, I love to highlight non-profit organizations doing great work and EarthDance is no exception.

Currently they are conducting a hoop-a-thon, and if you’re like me, you are currently asking, hoop-a-what?? I was quickly given a lesson in hoop houses by Molly and now I’m in the know.

HOOPing it up at EarthDance

Have you ever wanted more home grown food even in the winter time?  Would you like to know how to grow greens and tomatoes when everyone else is only getting food trucked in from long distances that doesn’t have the best taste?  Building a hoop house might be a good idea for you. A hoop house is a structure similar to a greenhouse that allows for extending the growing season by providing an environment crops can grow in during the winter months. It gets its name from the half-round “hoop” shape that covers the garden beds.

Our friends at EarthDance Organic Farm School are raising funds for a hoop house at Hoop A Thon STL to extend the growing season.  EarthDance is a non-profit organization operating an Organic Farm School in St. Louis, Missouri.  Once they get the funds, they will be building the hoop house and creating a video so others can learn how to build one and how to use it. 

The campaign is a little more than half way through and the end date is fast approaching, August 2, 2013.  To date EarthDance has raised $1,247 of their $8,500 goal.  Let’s help them with a big push to get things started so that they can produce more quality organic locally grown food while helping others learn how to do this too!

On July 20, 2013 EarthDance will be hosting their annual Pesto Festo at Ferguson Farmers Market.  There will be a pesto contest, great food from local vendors, crafts, massage from the Bloom Connection, and a hula hooping performance to go along with their Hoop A Thon STL theme for the campaign to raise funds for the hoop house.   Please join them for a day of fun and great local food from 8 am to noon. 

If you’re in the St. Louis area I hope you can attend Pesto Festo! But, anyone can help fund the hoop house and lend a hand to helping not only EarthDance, but others that will learn from their educational video and instruction.


Now… on to that delicious bowl of green beans. Yes, please!

I love green beans because they are so easy and versatile. This is definitely one of my favorite combinations and it’s done in 10 minutes!

Simply wash and trim 1 pound of green beans. Bring about 1/4 inch salted water to a boil in a large skillet and add the beans. Cover and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and transfer to a bowl. Toss with chopped walnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese (or omit, for a vegan dish). Drizzle with olive oil and season with S/P to taste.

Serve these as a side to a lean protein such as fish or chicken, or add tempeh to the mix for a vegan entree. There you go, a complete whole-foods meal in no time. Like a boss.

Green Beans Walnuts2

Coming soon …

Molly brought me garlic scapes, which I had never tried before, and I made a garlic scape and swiss chard pesto that I devoured. To be posted …

garlic scape pesto