Now is the Time to Join our 2018 CSA!

Here is the link to join: 

There are plenty of good reasons why you should be in a CSA, Community Supported Agriculture.  First, you are much more likely to eat nutritious food if you already have it in your fridge!  Getting a beautiful bag of fresh fruits and veggies every week ensures that what is good for you is in your fridge, ready for you.  One of our long time clients loves that she has one less decision to make each week – her veggies are already in the fridge and the only decision is in what order to eat them. We are so concerned about the health of our community, that we even offer personal health coaching, as well as CSA veggies.  Coaching is by Jay Ross who was trained at Duke Integrative Medicine.  We believe that food is the cornerstone of health.  Your health and the health of your family is well worth the investment. 

Secondly, produce tastes better (and is possibly more nutritious) when it is fresh from the farm.  Remember how great Grandma’s home grown tomatoes tasted?   That amazing flavor comes straight from the farm and can’t be bought at the grocery store.  If you like fresh tomatoes, wait until you try fresh picked lettuce, fresh cut asparagus, or blueberries picked yesterday.  There is nothing like it. Dr. Mark Hyman suggests:  “we must put the right raw materials in:  real, whole, local, fresh, unadulterated, unprocessed, and chemical-, hormone-, and antibiotic-free food.” At Bells Best, we’ve got that!

Lastly, it is good to be a part of local foods and contribute to your local economy and community.  Local farmers are what stand between you and giving up your entire food system to an industrialized food system.  We need our local farmers to keep farming.  The only way to keep them farming is to support local farms by buying from them (and then telling your friends to do the same!).  I don’t know about you, but I want to know where my food comes from and I make every effort possible to buy as much of our family’s food from local providers.  Ideally, from people I know. 

Check out some of the cool things we have planned!  CSA starts April 1st!

These cool season crops are planned for early spring:

  • Several types of kale grown to mature size (Curly kale, Lacinado kale,Red Russian Kale, and Siberian Kale)
  • Several types of kale harvested while young (quick sauté or salad?)
  • Asian vegetables such as pac choy and tatsoi.
  • Young Asian vegetables for quick sauté or salad
  • 3 Types of beets (red, golden, and candy cane)
  • 2 types of turnips (sweet Japanese and purple tops)
  • 2 types of carrots (purple and orange)
  • Fennel that can be harvested mature or at baby stage
  • Young spring leeks
  • Young spring onions
  • Mixed radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Parsley
  • Dill
  • Arugula
  • 4 Types of lettuce (red leaf, green leaf, romaine)
  • Rainbow chard
  • Beira kale for juicing (produces 5 times the amount of juice!)
  • Napa cabbage
  • Green cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Asparagus

Here is what we have planned for summer:

  • Blueberries of course!
  • Blackberries
  • Strawberries from our friends at M&M Farm
  • Peaches from our friend Chris Yonce
  • Mixed colors of gourmet salad tomatoes
  • Several types of peppers
  • Eggplant
  • Cucumbers
  • Squash and Zucchini
  • Basil
  • Sorrel
  • Snap beans (red, green, or yellow)
  • Heirloom Dragon Tongue beans
  • Longbeans
  • Malibar spinach
  • Okra

If we missed something that you love, let us know!  Want to come out the farm?  We would love that! 

Eat your veggies!
Jay and Robin


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Common Threads Between Degenerative Diseases

The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr Dale Bredesen and The Metabolic Approach to Cancer by Dr Nasha Winters are two of my most recent reads. In his book, Dr Bredesen outlines the causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s. Based on the learning of a lifetime in research in this field, Dr Bredesen describes what can be done to prevent, stop progression of, and even reverse the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s. He has determined that the problem or cause is multifaceted. In fact, there may be more than thirty six different contributing agents. To stop cognitive decline in its tracks, you have to address these causal agents. These agents include, but are not limited to, inflammation, environmental toxins and a lack of good nutrition. Dr Bredesen reports on various clients whom he has worked with and demonstrated success.

Dr. Winter’s book, The Metabolic Approach to Cancer, describes the root causes of cancer in most cases. She then addresses the ten areas in our life that could help prevent cancer and even addresses how improving these ten areas can work towards curing cancer. In both books, if you look closely at the areas that these learned doctors point out as areas of concern, you will see that, with few exceptions, they are the same. Both Alzheimer’s and cancer can be addressed with the same focus. Both conditions, from each doctor’s perspective, would be considered a chronic disease. So, if we choose to be cognizant of these areas, and act upon this knowledge with healthy choices, we reduce the chance of contracting these diseases.

I recently listened to an interview with Dr Joseph Kraft, by Ivor Cummings. Dr Kraft spent his entire life in research on cardiovascular disease. His conclusion after a life of study was that cardiovascular disease is the result of diabetes, a chronic disease. He also articulated what he would recommend to someone wanting to avoid a cardiovascular event. His recommendation was almost verbatim that of Dr. Bredesen and Dr. Winters recommendations to avoid their focus disease! Putting all of these recommendations in the same arena, all of these chronic conditions can be addressed by cleaning up our lifestyle. So much of our health is dependent upon us and the choices we make.

Take control of your life and your health. You should be doing your best to avoid these chronic diseases. If you would like some help getting started, please contact me.


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The End of Alzheimer’s – a review by Jay Ross

The End of Alzheimer’s by Dr Dale Bredesen

A review by Jay Ross

Dr. Bredesen is an internationally recognized expert in the field of neurodegenerative diseases. In The End of Alzheimer’s, Dr Dale Bredesen carefully lines out what causes Alzheimer’s Disease and then gives a protocol for stopping it, and in many cases, reversing it.
In his book, he describes in detail under what conditions the brain is able to function optimally, and what causes things to go wrong. When things go wrong, Alzheimer’s disease results. Dr. Bredesen has identified thirty six different mechanisms that can act to elicit Alzheimer’s disease. He describes how to address each one and has called this the ReCODE protocol.

The book covers how to test for these mechanisms that may encourage Alzheimer’s disease, and how to address each one. Dr. Bredesen considers Alzheimer’s Disease a chronic disease that results from a constant barrage of insults to the system. To correct it, you change and or remove the insults. As I read this, it occurred to me that this actually applies to nearly all of today’s common chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, and even depression.

There is also a chapter that lists many of the hurdles that his clients have faced while on the protocol, and his best suggestions for dealing with each one. This is where working with your health coach comes in. He even encourages it! We all need to be in control of our health. With lifestyle changes, we can greatly reduce our chance of contracting many diseases. If we can make these changes, then perhaps we can live Mr. Spock’s (from Star Trek) admonition: live long and prosper.


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When it Comes to What You Eat and Drink, You Are Your Own Best Advocate

Robin and I got this letter last week.

The letter explains that the Union County NC Public Works Department is notifying the public that certain contaminants in the drinking water exceeded parameters. This letter went to every household in Union County. The letter tries to answer any questions the public may have regarding their drinking water and the contaminant referenced. What it does, in my opinion, is raise many more questions than it answers.
The contaminant in question is haloacetic acid. With haloacetic acid, there is no acute health issue, meaning it will not kill you quickly. However, there is a potential chronic health issues in that it may cause cancer, in some, many years down the road. Of course, that would be long after you could blame Union County Public Works for it.
The letter asks in one paragraph heading “What should I do?” The first sentence in the paragraph states there is nothing you need to do. Then, why did the public works department send the letter? In the paragraph with the heading “What is being done”, the Public Works Department blames the problem on a neighboring county, Anson County. The paragraph also states that the Union County Public Works Department is in discussions with Anson County regarding this, and they have hired a consultant to assist. How long do governmental discussions usually take? If you are taking in water from an outside source, why aren’t you testing it on the way into your system? Instead, they are testing it on the way out and then blaming someone else for the problem.
All of this points to the fact that we alone are ultimately responsible for our health. We would all like to think that other people or groups will protect us from dangers in our food and water. We are wrong. Taking individual responsibility for our health is key. Is the water we drink safe? Is the food we eat safe? Is the food we eat nutritious? This is why my family drinks filtered water and as much as possible, eats meat, produce, and diary from local farmers that we know. In these ways, we are making a strong effort to be responsible for our own health, without having to trust a label or a government body. But we also realize not everyone can afford or has access to these choices, so we are grateful that we do.
When it comes to what you ingest, you are your own best advocate. Remember, it is your life, be healthy and enjoy it.


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Winter CSA, Sign up Now!

We are now taking sign-ups for our winter CSA. We have planted lots of beautiful cool season produce for our winter CSA, including kale, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, arugula, radish, beets, turnips, chard, winter squash and much more. Winter produce is not only delicious, it is super nutritious. We also have our new farm near Mint Hill, Rabbit Eye Ridge, in full swing, providing even more clean fresh and delicious winter produce.

Winter CSA includes the first three weeks of November and the first three weeks of December, with no deliveries the weeks of Christmas and Thanksgiving. You can order a Standard size produce bag with approximately 10 items in it, or you can order a mini bag with approximately 5 items in it. We also offer fresh eggs from pasture raised hens.

Don’t forget, we have lots of recipes here on the blog to help make good use of your Winter CSA veggies.  @organiceater and many other users on Instagram, have lots of veggie posts found under #bellsbestberries, for even more inspiration and photos for you. The speckled trout salad, butternut squash soup, and squash are just a couple ideas to get you started…                                                                                                                                          





Pick up options in Monroe, Matthews, Southend Charlotte, and Charlotte Regional Farmers Market.
Space is very limited in our winter CSA, so sign up now!

For details on prices, produce bag sizes, delivery options and to sign up:

Eat your winter veggies, 

Jay and Robin

Jay Ross 704 608-1154
Robin Ross 704 441-2810


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One Side of Your Complete Health Picture

There are many facets to your complete health picture. One of these is your physical fitness. Although we all tend to focus on a particular aspect of physical fitness, you should strive to make your fitness a complete picture. Cardio often gets a great deal of attention. Strength training is gaining in prominence. However, we should not overlook other aspects that are important in your complete health picture. Flexibility, such as in yoga, allows you to remain active and able to do other fun things. Also, not just muscle strength, but what is your level of muscle endurance? Not only how much you can lift, but how many times can you lift or use that muscle. These are all vital in your overall health picture, and then you should factor in your activities of day to day life. And finally, do not forget or ignore the Yin of the physical fitness Yang: Rest. You need to get the proper rest to allow your body to reenergize for the next day and to sort through and organize thoughts, ideas and memories. All of these important functions occur when you are sleeping! So in a nutshell, play hard and rest hard.
Contact me and lets get started! (See more info here)


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Transplanting Time!

The ground is ready for transplants! (and as of the date of this post upload, they’re already in! “plants before posts” is how it goes around here)

Yes, it is that time of year.  The time of year when the tiny, baby fall crops are put in the ground.  These are crops that are happiest in cool weather, yet they are getting planted in August and must deal with the heat and blazing sun.  As you can see from the picture above, our field is ready to go.  Just tilled it on Friday, the transplants are here and we will be getting them in the ground as soon as it quits raining!  (picture below shows what that planting day looked like!) So, I hope you all are looking forward to lots of great greens, kale and spinach especially.  These two are among the highest in lutein.  Lutein is vital in optimizing vision and cognition.  Your body does not manufacture lutein, so you must get it from your diet.  If you want to help keep your sight in good condition and you want to be mentally sharp, eating these fall veggies will help.  Of course, spinach and kale are not the only crops we plant for the fall: broccoli, turnips, beets, chard and others!  Each has its own unique and powerful nutritional profile. 
Speaking of seasonal veggies, it is almost time to sign up for our winter CSA!  Our summer CSA ends October 31.  Winter CSA begins November 1st.  We will be sending you more information about this in the next few weeks.  Winter CSA only encompasses the 1st three weeks of November and the 1st three weeks of December.  It is short but sweet and includes my favorite produce: lettuce, gourmet varieties of kale, colorful chard, beets, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and more!  This is my favorite time for fresh local veggies.  Get ready! 
Thank you again for eating clean, fresh and local.  Without your support and friendship, we couldn’t and wouldn’t be doing this.  You guys are the best!

Transplanting Day!

Thanks to everyone at the market last Saturday who were so understanding that I needed to bolt! We had a transplanting job only half done and no irrigation water running. So that meant that the plants in the ground were toasting and we couldn’t do much about it until we got the rest of the plants in the ground and got the water moving onto everything. Big thanks to Kailey Brenize who rode the transplanter with me and got the job done. She might be only 13 years old but she can outdo anyone on a transplanter!

#fieldgoals #farmhumor

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Jay Ross Health Coaching, Now Available!

Hello all,

I have been busy this year. Along with working our Bell’s Best farms, I have started a new venture!  I have always been passionate about nutrition, fitness and health, so this year I went to Duke Integrative Medicine and completed their Health Coaching Program.  I want to help people make sustainable changes in their lives, so along with growing “clean, fresh, local” food, I can help you with the other areas of health and fitness. 

Duke teaches a whole-body approach (mind, body and spirit) that unlocks your inner passion and creates a sustainable plan that empowers you to lead a healthier, happier life. I am passionately confident that we can live happy and healthy well into our twilight years and enjoy our lives fully, if we are mindful about how we approach health.  Good mental and physical health begin with good nutrition.  Most of us struggle with this and need support in reaching our goals.  Health coaching can include addressing or preventing chronic diseases, such as obesity and diabetes.  It might also mean helping you move to a place where you work out or just lead a more active life. So, if you would like to take a move toward being healthier and living life more fully, call me or email me and let’s talk about it. I look forward to hearing from you! I’m also looking forward to writing more posts and sharing information and tips here on the blog.

It’s your life; be healthy so you can enjoy it!


You can call me at 704-608-1154 or email me here or sign up here. There is a lot more information about Health Coaching here on the blog  if you want to read more.

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I’m Starting to Think Microbes Rule the World!

I’m starting to think that microbes might secretly rule the world.  This week, I attended the  American Phytopathological Society annual meeting.  This is the professional organization for plant pathologists.  Plant pathologists are scientists who study plant diseases.  Yes, I am one of those geeky people. 

The hot topic at the meeting was the plant “phytobiome”.  This is the microbial community that lives on or around plants.  Believe it or not, plants need these microbes to grow and be healthy in the same way that humans need their gut microbiome to be healthy. 

It is very important to cultivate the health of the microbes in the soil, because these microbes play many key roles.  Some soil microbes are directly antagonistic to plant pathogens, nematodes, or insects.  Soil microbes can protect plant root surfaces from colonization by pathogenic microbes (bad guys), by simply out competing them for space.  Soil microbes break down organic matter into usable nutrients and can improve the uptake of these nutrients to plants.  Soil microbes even produce compounds that improve root growth and elicit an immune type of response to protect from diseases.  Wow! All of this highlights the importance of maintaining good populations of these microbes, by adding compost and organic matter, as well as encouraging microbial populations with cover crops. You can be confident we’re doing our best to do that here at Bell’s Best.


I have heard it hypothesized that these same soil microbes that help plants grow and be healthy, play a role in human health as well.  Here are some quotes taken from Dr. Mercola’s post on soil health, that you should read if you geek out on this kind of stuff the way I do.  “Soil health connects to everything up the food chain, from plant and insect health, all the way up to animal and human health.  Health, therefore, truly begins in the soils in which our food is grown.  Scientists have discovered that gene swapping takes place between your gut microbiome and the soil biome, as well as with microorganisms from other places in your daily surroundings.”  Wow.  What a great web of life.  The microbes in the soil your food is grown in actually can swap genes with the microbes in your gut and ultimately become a key part of your own health!
Keep eating healthy–clean, fresh, local.  I can’t stress it enough.  The effects of what you eat go all the way from obvious diseases and health problems, such as obesity and diabetes, to the microbes in your gut that influence a host of things we are just beginning to understand, such as mental health and immune function. Microbes rule. 
Eat your veggies!
 (and make sure they were grown in good dirt!)

Jay and Robin

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Cauliflower Rice with Bacon

The cauliflower is ripe at our Rabbit Eye Ridge farm. Those of you who have gotten it in your CSA bag probably noticed that it is a strange color (an off-white color tinged with purple). This is normal. It happens when cauliflower gets stressed, and any cauliflower grown in the Carolinas is going to be stressed. Cauliflower likes to grow in rich soils and cool climates. Our soils are not bad, however, our temperatures are challenging for cauliflower. We have had temps in the upper 80’s for the past week. That did the trick. Now we have strange colored cauliflower! No worries. It tastes great! We had it for breakfast. We made cauliflower rice pilaf with eggs on top and a kale salad. We eat fairly low carb, and try to include tons of veggies in every meal. This means we avoid grains, including rice. Cauliflower rice makes a great substitute, that is delicious. Here are the basics for a delicious cauliflower rice pilaf. 

One head of cauliflower (2 if they are small)
Bacon (1/2 pound)
Chopped Onions
Chopped Mushrooms
Salt and pepper 

Implement it:
Cut all the florets off  the cauliflower, and toss them in your food processor.  Process briefly until the cauliflower is in crumbles. If you don’t have a food processor, you can grate the cauliflower.  Then, chop your bacon and cook until nearly done. Add the onions and mushrooms, and cook until the bacon is done and the onions are fragrant. Don’t drain the pan. Add all the cauliflower and mix well. Then spread everything out on a baking sheet. Add some salt and pepper and place under the broiler until beginning to brown. My oven took about 15 minutes.  While this is cooking, soft fry two eggs per person. When the cauliflower pilaf is done, plate it up and put two eggs on top. This is great with a side of sliced tomatoes or kale salad.  It was so good, we forgot to take a picture, so if any of you make this, send us a pic so we can use it in this post!;)

Go to this post to see a another version of this recipe without the bacon, along with some other ideas for cauli rice.

Eat your veggies! Even if they look a little strange.


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