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P. Allen Smith's

NATURALLY Jan/Feb 2018

Detox with a Ruby Smoothie

Grow Your Own Tea Garden

Ready, Set, Order Your Seeds Today!




Joy in the “In Between” While most consider spring to be nature’s awakening,

I believe it starts much earlier than that. As the sun comes up on a new year, the garden is slowly opening her eyes, blinking away the sleepiness of last year’s winter. Outside it may seem still and stagnant, but minute by minute the days are getting longer, and while the changes may seem almost imperceptible, there is a revival occurring all the same. This first two months of the year hold a special place for me. The busyness, richness and indulgence of December is behind us and the dramatic reveal of spring is ahead. But right now, in this hushed pocket of time, if you’re very quiet, you can almost hear the roots stretching out their stiffness, daffodils and tulips shaking off the chill, and the tunneling earthworms aerating the soil, creating a welcome opening for seed. So whatever your resolution - to be lighter in weight, spending, or spirit - I hope you find enlightenment and inspiration here in this time and spread the joy of what’s happening underground above to all your friends and family.


P. Allen Smith's




Alexandria Cantrell EDITOR

Stephanie Matthews DESIGNER

Katherine Laughlin SOCIAL MEDIA


Beth Hall Mark Fonville Jason Masters Steven Veach STYLIST

Lori Wenger



Table of Contents

Growing Your Own Tea Garden 6

Ruby Smoothie 12

Ralston Family Farms 16

Rice Pudding 20

Ordering Seeds 28

Weddings at Moss Mountain Farm 36

CONTACT For advertising inquiries, email jjones@pallensmith.com. For editorial and general feedback, email smatthews@pallensmith.com.

Growing Your Own

Tea Garden

I just love a soothing cup of tea, particularly when I’ve grown some of the ingredients myself. Having your own tea garden allows you to be creative with flavor combinations—herbal, floral, citrus, the possibilities are seemingly endless. Most plants that can be used in tea are easy to grow in containers or raised beds.

Tea Pics



Tea Pics


I suggest sitting your tea garden close to your kitchen, either in containers, raised beds or in the ground so you can harvest your herbs while the water boils. Also, have a planting plan. Know what plants you want and the dimensions of your space. Some of my favorite herbs and flowers to grow for tea are: • MINT: For a refreshing and uplifting flavor, go

• LEMONGRASS: This plant makes quite a statement

with a mint, like peppermint or spearmint. Or try

growing in the middle of an herb garden. You just

a mint with a twist, like chocolate or sweet mint.

tear off a leaf and bruise it to release a wonderful

Another great thing about mint is it helps soothe

lemony flavor—it’s so refreshing. Lemongrass thrives

an upset stomach. Mint can spread like wildfire,

in full sun, even in the hot South. It also needs rich,

and this plant is known for being a bit of a thug.

well-drained soil.

One of the ways to keep it from taking over your garden is to plant it in a container and then plant

• LAVENDER: This is perfect for a calming, aromatic

the container in your garden bed. This will keep the

tea, and the fragrance always reminds me of my

roots contained.

time spent in the English countryside. In my humid, mid-South garden I’ve had the most success with a


lavandin called ‘Provence’.

looking for a citrus flavor without growing your own fruit tree, give lemon thyme or lemon verbena a try.

No matter the type, all lavenders thrive in growing

Both brighten and complement many other flavors.

conditions similar to their native habitat along

Lemon thyme can also double as a groundcover—

the Mediterranean coast. They prefer moist, cool

make sure it has well-drained soil.

winters and hot, dry summers. Well-drained soil and a full day’s sun are also essential for robust


• •


plants and plentiful blooms. In the humid South, try Spanish or French lavender.

• HIBISCUS: These flowers lend a tart flavor and beautiful color to teas. Use flowers that are fully open. Remove the stamen and rinse the petals before using the flower. Hibiscus requires plenty of direct sunlight and prefers rich, fertile, loamy soil that is well-drained and moist. • CALENDULA: These flowers are commonly referred to as “pot marigolds,” because, as you may have guessed, they grow well in containers. These annuals are easily grown from seed. To ensure a long flowering season, pick the flowers every few days. • STEVIA: There is a good reason why stevia is commonly known as sweetleaf. Its dried leaves are 10 to 15 times sweeter than sugar and a glycoside extracted from the leaves is 300 times sweeter than sucrose. If you grow your own stevia, dry and crush the leaves before using as a sweetener. It’s best to plant stevia in late spring or early summer when all danger of frost has passed. Stevia

When it comes time to brew your tea, you can use dried or

is finicky about soil drainage; excess moisture,

fresh herbs depending on the season and flavor preference.

especially right after planting, is the kiss of death.

Dried herbs will last longer and are a little more potent,

The roots are shallow, so apply a layer of mulch or

while fresh herbs generally taste more vibrant and, well,

compost on top of the soil to protect keep them

fresh. If you prefer dried herbs, an easy way to do it yourself

from drying out.

it to bundle your harvest by the stems with twine and hang the bunch upside down to dry, out of direct sunlight.

• CHAMOMILE: There are two types of chamomile— Roman, also known as Russian or English

The amount of each herb you use depends on how strong

chamomile, and the more commonly planted

you want your tea. If using crushed dried herbs, start with 1

German chamomile, which grows upright instead

teaspoon per cup of hot water. If you’re using fresh herbs,

of as a groundcover. Like most herbs, chamomile is

triple that amount. The real key to brewing the perfect cup

pretty easy to grow from seed or transplants in the

of tea is water temperature and infusion time. The general

spring. Chamomile will grow in full sun but prefers

rule of thumb on water temperature is the darker the leaf of

a bit of shade. You won’t have to pay it much

the herb, the hotter the water needs to be. Start with your

attention once it starts growing, and it’s drought

water around 200 degrees F and steep for 4-5 minutes.


Depending on your herbs, you may need to adjust. Just experiment until you find interesting and tasty combinations

Chamomile is believed to help reduce stress, regulate sleep, and boost the immune system.

that suit your palate. 9



“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” —Lao a






WIth the holidays behind us, many of us are looking for ways to feel lighter. There’s no need to go to extremes. By adding more fruits and veggies to your diet, you’ll start to have more energy, and those junk food cravings should start to wane.




Ruby Smoothie The Ruby Smoothie gets its beautiful color from beets, blood oranges, and raspberries, among other fruits and veggies, which also pack in a big dose of vitamins and minerals. The flax and hemp seeds are loaded with fiber, which will help fill you up and keep your cravings at bay. Sub this smoothie for your usual breakfast or lunch every now and then for a lighter option.

INGREDIENTS 3 blood oranges, peeled and sliced 3 navel oranges, peeled and sliced 4 carrots, peeled and diced 2 beets, peeled and diced ½ cup fresh raspberries 1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled 1 teaspoon flax seed 1 teaspoon hemp seed ½ cup vanilla Greek yogurt ¼ cup cranberry-pomegranate juice INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a juicer, juice the oranges, carrots, beets and ginger. 2. Pour the juice into ice cube trays and freeze overnight (the recipe makes more than you need, so store the rest in a freezer safe ziploc bag for smoothies any time you want). 3. When you’re ready to make the smoothie, add a handful of the juice cubes to a blender, then add the rest of the ingredients and blend.



The Story of Ralston Family Farms



For Tim and Robin Ralston, farming is in their blood. Even

Their adult children and their spouses are all heavily

before the Ralston ancestors settled in Pennsylvania in

involved in the business as well. Tim and their son

the mid-1700s, they were farming in their homeland

Matthew each have a background in agriculture and

of Scotland, while Robin’s side of the family has been

oversee the farming business. Along with Matthew’s

farming in Arkansas since the 1830s. Today, they

wife Brittani, they handle all aspects of farming, from

sustainably grow, harvest, mill, and package traditional

the farm’s crop production to working with Duck’s

and aromatic rice on their 5,000-acre family farm in

Unlimited on their environmental stewardship program

Central Arkansas.

that the Ralstons were asked to participate in.

A farm, of course, is more than just planting, growing,

Their daughter Jennifer has a degree in design and

and harvesting. It’s business too, and for the Ralstons,

uses her talents by managing the Ralstons’ social media

family is at the core. “We all have our strengths, and

accounts, in addition to her other responsibilities. She

it’s rewarding, from a parent’s perspective, to see

also is the office manager. Jennifer’s husband Willie is

those skills come together when we’re brainstorming

the Mill Quality Control Manager and a “perfect fit for

and working on implementing those plans. Everyone

this job,” says Robin.

is secure and grounded in what they do and we all get along exceptionally well,” says Robin Ralston, the matriarch of the family. She and her husband Tim are at the head of the family business.











Their daughter Ashley and Robin work together

They also offer a one-of-a-kind variety called “Nature’s

on all outside and Internet sales. Tim and Robin’s

Blend.” It is naturally pollinated out in the field and

grandchildren are involved with the farm and the mill

includes varieties of aromatic purple, red, and traditional

as well. “We are all passionate about the business, the

brown rice. Since this is naturally pollinated and not

product, and giving back,” Robin says.

blended by hand, no one else has this variety. “We have had so much interest in this blend and couldn’t be

“We are committed to donating a percentage of our

more excited about it,” says Robin.

rice to charities and food banks,” Robin says. They’re currently working with Feeding America and Feed Communities, based in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Ashley, who has a Master’s degree in liberal arts and a background in education, is spearheading those efforts. She also is working on an outreach program to educate schools and other organizations about the family’s rice mill and agriculture. You won’t be hard pressed to find plenty of family rice farmers, especially in Arkansas, which leads the nation in rice production. What sets the Ralston Family

“We’re unique in that all the rice is grown in the same

Farms apart, though, is the varieties that they grow.

place where the mill is located. From the field it’s grown

The Ralstons currently grow over six varieties of rice,

in, to the bin the rice is stored in, it’s all in one place,”

including traditional and aromatics, such as basmati,

Robin says.

jasmine, and beautiful purple rice. 18


The Ralstons’ rice is sustainably grown with irrigation

One of those opportunities is Ralston Family Farms’

from surface water out of the Arkansas River. Ralston

partnership with Ben E. Keith Foods, a broadline

Family Farms also is certified by the Non-GMO Project

foodservice distributor. The company is taking steps to

and are certified Gluten Free and Kosher (STAR-K).

provide their customers with local, fresh, sustainable food throughout their five-state reach in the mid-

That commitment to sustainability is what led the

South region. “Ben E. Keith Foods is thrilled to partner

Ralstons and P. Allen Smith to form a partnership this

with Ralston Family Farms to help tell their story and

past year. “I’ve always admired the Ralston family’s

promote their rice to meet the demand for locally

authenticity and commitment to sustainability, so our

sourced ingredients,” says Yvette Parker, director of

partnership is a natural fit. I am excited to continue

marketing for Ben E. Keith Foods.

working with them as they grow and deliver a great product that is produced in such an earth-friendly way

Now that the mill is finished, the Ralstons are looking

and gives back to those in need,” says P. Allen Smith.

forward to more of these kinds of opportunities that will add even more value and longevity to their farming

“Allen has been so supportive, and he’s passionate

operations for future generations. They are also in

about the rice, our family, and Arkansas. That’s what

the process of expanding their team, which will help

endeared him even more to us. Thanks to Allen, we’ve

create local jobs. Between donations to help feed

met a lot of wonderful people and have had some

food insecure Arkansans and the outreach programs,

amazing opportunities,” Robin says.

the Ralstons are hopeful that they can make a positive impact in their community and throughout the state.

Ashley, Jennifer, and the team are putting the finishing touches on their website, www.ralstonfamilyfarms.com. There you will find a store where you can order Ralston Family rice, farm news, a list of restaurant partners, and a blog from both the members of the Ralston family and Arkansas chefs with recipes. You can follow the Ralstons and the farm on Facebook and Instagram. 19

Rice Pudding








½ cup Ralston Family Farms basmati rice


3 cups milk

1 cup walnut halves

1 cup heavy cream

pinch sea salt

¼ cup sugar

1 Tablespoon butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 Tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon unsalted butter ½ teaspoon cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a small cast iron skillet over medium-


low heat, melt the butter, then stir in the

1. In a large, heavy saucepan combine rice, milk, cream,

maple syrup.

butter, cinnamon and sugar. It will look like a lot of liquid, but it will cook down. Rice pudding has a fairly creamy consistency. 2. Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the

2. Add in the walnuts and cook, stirring constantly, until walnuts are coated and syrup is caramelized, about 5 minutes. The walnuts can burn easily so keep your eye on them the whole time.

rice is tender and the milk and cream are reduced. This should take about 30 to 40 minutes. It is important to keep an eye on the pudding while it cooks and give it a good stir occasionally to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan, especially toward the end of the cook time when the mixture begins to thicken.

TEA-SOAKED DRIED APRICOTS Soak dried apricots, as many as you need, in hot chamomile or chai tea for 15 minutes, then remove the apricots from the liquid. This helps to rehydrate the apricots and adds lovely flavor.

3. When the pudding is done, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Serve immediately sprinkled with cinnamon and the topping(s) of your choice! Rice pudding may also be served cold. 23

daffodil days LUNCH TOURS







“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that have never been.” —Rainer Maria Rilke




PLAN YOUR SEED ORDER FOR A SUCCESSFUL CROP We may still have a couple of months before we can get out and start digging in the soil. While we’re waiting, there’s plenty of planning, and even planting, that we can focus on now!



‘Takara’ Peppers

‘Red Robin’ Tomatoes

Think about what you want your garden to look like this year. Are you planting raised beds or in rows? Will you be mixing edibles and ornamentals? Also, you’ll want to make a list of things you like to eat and come up with a plan for growing those fruits and vegetables. Over the next couple of months, you can start growing seeds indoors, so you’ll want to make sure you’re prepared. Have a list of the seeds you’ll need to order and figure out when you need to start them, based on days to maturation and the last frost date in your area. This year, I’m making sure to plant plenty of tomatoes and peppers to get me through the summer and into fall. I get excited just thinking about eating a juicy tomato in the heat of summer. But, I can’t let that get the best of me. Tomatoes need to be transplanted in warm soil, so it’s best not to start the seeds too soon. For now, I need to make sure that I order enough. I’m going to be placing an order for ‘Red Robin’ and ‘Sweet Treats’ tomatoes. ‘Sweet Treats’ Tomatoes 29

The ‘Red Robin’ tomatoes mature early, so I’ll be able to use these in Nicoise salads pretty early in the season. They grow well in containers and hanging baskets too. Start seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date in your area. Harden off seedlings outdoors 1-2 weeks prior to transplanting. Make sure you have consistently warm soil before


transplanting. Grow in full sun. I like to eat my ‘Sweet Treats’ straight off the vine. This globe-shaped

CONTAINERS: seedling flats, peat pots,

cherry tomato has a beautiful deep pink tone, smooth texture, and an

or egg cartons for a DIY option. Make

excellent rich flavor. Start seeds indoors 5-6 weeks before the last frost

sure to poke holes near the bottom

date in your area. Harden off seedlings outdoors 1-2 weeks prior to

of the containers so excess water can

transplanting. Make sure your soil is around 75-80 degrees F before


transplanting ‘Sweet Treats.’

THE RIGHT SOIL. You’ll need indoor potting






This past year, I added ‘Takara’ peppers to my collection, and I have to say, I’m hooked! This shishito pepper is small and has a mild, sweet flavor. Every now and then, you’ll get one that has a bit of heat, which I think

WARMING BLANKET (OPTIONAL). If you have a spot in the house where your containers can get heat from the bottom, then you won’t need a warming blanket. I put mine on top of the

is quite nice! ‘Takara’ peppers require full sun and even moisture. Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Harden off seedlings outdoors 1-2 weeks prior to transplanting. The soil needs to be 75-80 degrees F before transplanting in the ground or in containers.


To have peppers for stuffing, I grow ‘Right on Red.’ This Hungarian


or pickling but is shaped more like an heirloom tomato than a traditional

cheese pepper has thick walls, which make the pepper ideal for stuffing bell pepper. Sow seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date and harden off the seedlings outdoors 1-2 weeks prior to transplanting. The soil should be 75-80 degrees F before transplanting.



‘Astro’ Arugula

‘Miz America’ Mustard

‘Imperial Green’ Spinach

If you’re itching to start some seeds inside now, you can plant lettuce, ‘Imperial Green’ spinach, and herbs. Keep in mind that soil temperature is important. Cool soil slows seed germination. I sometimes use an electric grow mat under my containers of seeds to make sure the soil is around 75 degrees F until the seedlings emerge. Provide an air temperature of 70-75 degrees F during the day and 60-65 degrees F at night.

Click here to view the HomeGrown Seed Collection.

SEED SOURCES All of the varieties mentioned above, as well as other plants from my Home Grown Seed Collection, can be found at: Garden Trends Halifax Seed Company (Canada only) Park Seed Company (U.S.) Rohrer Seeds (U.S.) Twilley Seed Company (U.S.)


s ho p n ow

l a rg e st g row e r o f day l i l i e s , p 32


p e o n i e s , a n d i r i s i n t h e wo r l d 33

p. allen smith’s

poultry workshop -

S at u r day



m o s s m o u n ta i n fa r m Roland, Ar $96.75 per person ( All applicable taxes included)



Be sure to support your local 4-H/FFA chapters and to visit your county, state and regional livestock and poultry shows to heritagepoultry.org

help further the cause.


Photographer: Stephanie Parsley

Plan your wedding, rehearsal dinner or bridal photography at p. allen smith's private garden home retreat






Click here to listen.


RIVER Leon Bridges


I FOUND YOU Alabama Shakes


SAVANNAH John Craigie


DOG DAYS ARE OVER Florence + The Machine




BEAUTIFUL Randall Shreve

7. EVERYTHING I DO Whiskeytown 8.



WAGON WHEEL Darius Rucker

10. I WISH I WAS The Avett Brothers 11. BLOOD RED SENTIMENTAL BLUES Cotton Jones 12. CARDINAL Mt. Joy 13. FIRST Cold War Kids 14. IT AIN’T ME, BABE Johnny Cash (with June Carter Cash)


MEET Culzean

There is a new sheriff at Moss Mountain Farm. Or, in his small mind at least! Culzean (pronounced “coo-lane”), joins elder statesman Duncan and residing princess Chatsworth as the third Scottish terrier in the “pack.” Both Duncan and Chatsworth have been charming visitors for years; no doubt Culzean will be following in their footsteps. Culzean has a distinctive and rare coat and is officially described by the breed standard as a “black faced red brindle,” as his face and paws are the traditionally Scottish Terrier black while the remaining coat is a beautiful amber-honey-topaz-quartz striation. Culzean‘s favorite preoccupations are chewing on expensive objects (as well as Duncan and Chatsworth’s collars, much to their displeasure), misbehaving on walks, and consuming every morsel of food in sight. In other words, just being a sickeningly delightful puppy! 40


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Naturally Jan/Feb 2018