Robin Crist and Wicker Bill of Robin’s Rockin’ Outdoors because interested in the farmers’ market concept by attending various markets, including the Capital City Farmers’ Market (CCFM). They had always gardened in a “big way” for individuals and friends. After visiting markets and receiving encouragement from friends and vendors at the CCFM, they decided to become vendors as well, starting in 2013.
Between their full-time jobs, Wicker is a fishing and hunting guide while Robin is an RN in a hospital setting, they find time to farm an acre of land. Within that acre, they grow potatoes, sweet corn, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, winter squash, pumpkins, melons, some of the most beautiful and well cared for beets I’ve ever seen, among many other items. Neither of them has a favorite item to grow, but they are each unofficially in charge of certain vegetables, according to Robin. “Wick really enjoys the corn, potatoes, garlic, tomatoes, and melons. I focus on the beets and pumpkins. We tag team the rest.”
Tag team they do! Somewhere within their busy schedules, they find time to preserve produce for winter months. Both of them understand and appreciate the importance of eating locally and trying to live off the land. Robin’s favorite thing to can is pepper jelly. “It is so beautiful and delicious! It also makes great Christmas gifts.” For convenient “heat and eat” items, they process winter squash, cabbage, and pumpkin. They roast pumpkin or winter squash and then add items like nuts, butter, etc. before freezing in quart-size bags. “Super convenient in the winter,” says Robin. These two don’t shy away from pressure canning, either. They pressure can potatoes which Robin says “work especially well for mashed potatoes, potato salad, soups, or fried potatoes.” And, last season they began roasting Roma tomatoes with a little salt and olive oil, pulsing in a food processor, and then freezing in quart-size bags. “Oh my, so flavorful!” says Robin.
Robin and Wicker love meeting customers at the CCFM. They especially enjoy families that come with children and actively encourage their children to select the vegetables. “That is so fun!” says Robin.
They urge people to come to the CCFM and experience fresh farm to table vegetables as well as other great home-produced items. Robin says “It doesn’t need to be complicated to make a delicious, wonderful meal. Fresh food is good for your body and your soul! We so appreciate the community support of our efforts.”
Here are a couple favorite summertime recipes from Robin and Wicker!
Swiss Chard & Rice
- 4 slices bacon, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, grated
- 7-8 Swiss chard leaves, rough chopped
- Nutmeg, to taste
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp smoked paprika or sweet paprika
- 1 cup long-grain rice (not Minute Rice)
- 2 cups chicken broth
- Cook bacon over medium heat until crisp. Add garlic & stir for 1 minute. Add Swiss chard and seasonings.
- When chard has wilted by about half, add the rice and stir 1 minute.
- Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 40 minutes in a covered pan.
- Fluff with fork and serve.
- 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 zucchini, sliced
- 1 large onion, sliced into rings
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Coat bottom of 1 1/2 quart-size casserole dish with olive oil.
- Heat 3-4 Tablespoons olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat. Saute eggplant until soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add garlic & parsley, saute 1 minute.
- Season with salt.
- Spread eggplant mixture in bottom of casserole dish. Sprinkle with a couple Tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Spread zucchini in an even layer over the cheese. Lightly salt & sprinkle with a little Parmesan. Keep layering with onion, bell pepper, and tomatoes, sprinkling each layer with a little salt & Parmesan. (Do not sprinkle the top layer until 10 minutes before dish is done.)
- Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes.
- Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving.