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Acadian Family Farm featured in Edible OKC

Edible OKC was kind enough to feature us in their November, 2018 issue.  Check out the link below:

http://edibleoklahomacity.ediblecommunities.com/food-thought/support-your-local-everything

Acadian Family Farm      

“I’ve been on these farms now so long that it’s in my blood, I guess.” Rod Ardoin is, if nothing else, the salt of the earth. The digger plods along, turning up row after row of sweet potatoes, all organic, all hoed by hand, and all brought into the world with tremendous love and labor.

Holiday season is synonymous with sweet potato season, but sixty percent of the nation’s sweet potatoes are grown in North Carolina, visited so recently by Hurricane Florence. There, sadly, this year’s crop is in dire straits. But the one at Acadian Family Farm is a sight to behold. Bins are brimming with the orangey-skinned tubers, some awaiting their turn in the wash and others curing in the still-warm temperatures. That’s what brings out their sweetness, Rod explains. Like most good things, there’s no use rushing the process.

The Ardoins moved to Oklahoma seven years ago by way of Austin, where they farmed ten good acres to supply the local demand for organic produce. “When I started back in Austin,” Rod recounts, “everybody thought that all this organic boom was just for small farms. Organics were here way before I came along. I have friends who were in it way back, just the little hippie farms, you know, mashing the garlic to spray for bugs.”

It’s no secret that industrial-scale farms are cashing in on organic now, too, and squeezing out smaller operations across the country in the process. The work on small, family farms is hard—unbelievably hard—and the payoff is more often in knowing you supplied wholesome food for your community’s table than in any grand-scale monetary sense. “The fun part of the business,” Rod smiles, brushing off the system-wide troubles, “is giving people good food.”

By the look of the heaps of sweet potatoes gracing the barn, there is no shortage here. As the holidays gear up, orders from local grocery operations start pouring in, although Acadian sweet potatoes can be found at farmers markets as well. Nanette, Rod’s wife, helms recipe development at the farm, and my ears perk up at the mention of sweet potato biscuits. The namesake ingredient imparts an extra sweetness, Nanette explains, and under no circumstances should they be served without butter. Organic, if you have it.

 

Acadian Family Farm featured in Edible OKC2019-11-06T05:50:37-06:00

Sweet Potato Biscuits

Regular biscuits from scratch are wonderful in themselves, but Sweet Potato Biscuits are really extra special!  If you have never had a chance to try them, you simply must take the time and make a batch!  These are great on their own or to accompany a meal.

Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 ¾ lbs. Sweet Potatoes

2 t. Baking Powder

½ C solid white shortening or unsalted butter

1 t. salt

1 ½ C All purpose flour (you can sub ½ C. whole wheat, but no more)

¼ C. sugar

Boil whole, unpeeled Sweet Potatoes in water in covered pot (or bake) till tender when pierced with fork.  Drain.  Remove skins and mash.  Measure enough to make 2 C. mashed (save the rest for another use).  With a spoon, beat the shortening into the Sweet Potatoes til blended; cool.  In medium-sized bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt & sugar.  Add the Sweet Potato mixture & work together until blended.  If dough is very sticky, add a little flour sparingly.

Roll out ½” thick on floured surface and cut with round 2 inch cutter (I make a rectangle, as in the photo, and cut with a floured pizza cutter).  Place slightly apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven till medium brown, about 15-20 min.  (Bottoms will be dark, but will not taste scorched.) Rush to the table while they are still hot and serve with plenty of real butter and a drizzle of honey, if desired.

 

 

Sweet Potato Biscuits2019-06-04T21:51:28-06:00

Baby Sweet Potato Cakes with Pecans & Caramel

This is a special dessert that can be made any time of the year (I usually make them around the holidays), as they make a very pretty presentation that will impress, and everyone will love them!  Recipeis below.
  
BABY SWEET POTATO CAKES
 
1/2 C. Butter, softened 
1 C. Sugar (I use dark brown)     
2 C. cooked & mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 large Eggs                                    
1/3 C. Buttermilk (you can sub 1 T. plain Greek yogurt & milk)
1 1/4 C. All purpose Flour                    
1 t. Baking Soda                            
1/2 C. chopped pecans, toasted or plain
1 t. Vanilla Extract                          
Caramel sauce (I use the Mexican “Cajeta” or “Dulce de Leche”)
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 t. Cinnamon
1/2 t. grd. Ginger                          
(optional:  Whipped Cream or Vanilla Ice Cream)
 
1.  Beat butter & sugar at med. speed with mixer til smooth.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, blending til blended after each addition.
2.  Combine flour & baking soda.  Gradually add half of flour mixture to butter mixture, beating at low speed til blended.  Add remaining half of flour mixture; beat til blended.  Add vanilla & salt & spices, Sweet Potatoes & Buttermilk, beating at med. speed til smooth.  Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups (coated with
oil spray), filling only half full.  
3.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 min. or til wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan on wire rack 5 min.  Gently remove warm cakes, placing upside down on plates.  Sprinkle with Pecans & drizzle with Caramel sauce.  Try to eat while still warm. 
Caramel Sauce:  Melt 2 T. Butter in thick pot & melt.  Add 1 C. Cajeta and 1 T. water. (I like to add 1/2 t. of instant coffee granules, too) Stir.  Heat on low till smooth.
Serve warm on warm cakes. You can top with whipped cream or ice cream, too, but it is excellent without.
Baby Sweet Potato Cakes with Pecans & Caramel2019-06-04T21:51:28-06:00

Sweet Potato Pancakes

Gluten-free, Oatmeal Sweet Potato Pancakes 

I wanted to share the following recipe, as I know there are many people now who are having to eat gluten-free – I being one of them. Pancakes are a real comfort food for me, and I enjoy them as much for supper as for breakfast.
 
When cooking Sweet Potatoes, I usually cook a little extra so I will have some for making Sweet Potato Biscuits or Pancakes. 
 
Gluten-Free, Oatmeal Sweet Potato Pancakes
 
In food processor or blender, process the following:
 
½ C. Whole Oats
 
2 whole Eggs (or 3 Egg whites)
 
½ C. Greek Yogurt (or cottage cheese)
 
½ C. Sweet Potatoes, cooked & mashed
 
½ t. Baking Powder
 
¼ t. Salt
 
1 t. Vanilla
 
1 t. Stevia or 2 t. Sugar
 
½ t. Cinnamon
 
½ t. Pumpkin Pie Spice (or 1/8 t. Allspice & 1/8 t. Nutmeg)
 
Lightly oil a griddle with coconut oil. On med heat, spoon or pour mix onto griddle. When underside is browned, flip and brown other side. Don’t cook too fast, as they need to be cooked well inside.  Serve with butter/ghee and syrup of choice. Yields about 5 – 5” pancakes. This makes enough for one person. Double for more.
Sweet Potato Pancakes2019-06-04T21:51:29-06:00

Thanksgiving harvest not just small potatoes for Oklahoma sweet potato farmer

By Janelle Stecklein/ CNHI State Reporter Nov 19, 2015

OKLAHOMA CITY — Rod Ardoin has long had a passion for sweet potatoes.

He knows pretty much everything there is to know about the root vegetable that has a sweet orange flesh and is a favorite on Thanksgiving tables.

A long-time farmer, Ardoin once hoped to plant sweet potatoes in his Louisiana fields, but never could because of the sweetpotato weevil — an arch-nemesis of potato growers across that state. The small pest had developed a tolerance to chemicals and decimated the crop there.

About five years ago the Oklahoma transplant, who has a thick Cajun dialect, heard that there was an 80-acre patch of undeveloped land for sale outside of Fort Cobb — about 80 miles southwest of Oklahoma City. He jumped at the opportunity to open an organic farm, which he and his wife of 32 years, Nanette, named Acadian Family Farm.

“We’d always wanted to raise them,” he said. “I knew it was out of the weevil zone.”

The Ardoins are among an increasingly rare breed in Oklahoma — a farmer who bucks conventional agricultural methods to grow the sweet potato using organic techniques. That means no pesticides, no synthetic fertilizer and no genetically modified crops.

This Thanksgiving, Ardoin believes he may be the lone Oklahoman who is growing sweet potatoes using this method. There used to be another woman who grew them, but the last Ardoin heard, she’d closed down.

The 55 year old isn’t surprised.

He likens breaking into the organic sweet potato market to making it big in Hollywood. It takes a combination of hard-headedness, a staunch belief in your product, taking rejection in stride and spending plenty of time pitching it.

California producers dominate the organic market through a complex distribution network, making it difficult for small businesses to compete, he said. (California boasts the highest number of organic farms in the United States, according to the Organic Trade Association.)

While the Ardoins sell their produce at a nearby farmers’ market, the profits are not enough to make ends meet, which means they rely on grocery stores to sell their product.

“It’s been very hard for us to break into the market,” he said. “We have had to fight for every potato we have sold. We’re in there right now, and we’re fighting to stay on the shelf.”

 This year, Ardoin planted 22 acres of sweet potatoes. The fall harvest, which is occurring now, should yield about 250 40-pound boxes per acre. Even the roughly 40-inches of rain that fell on the farm in May hasn’t dampened Ardoin’s enthusiasm for this year’s crop.

“These are good eating potatoes,” Ardoin said.

And forget distributors. Ardoin personally transports the potatoes from farm to store at what he believes is the ideal storage temperature — 55 to 60 degrees — to ensure the best quality.

This Thanksgiving, Acadian Family Farm sweet potatoes are on shelves in Whole Foods and Natural Grocers locations across the state and in most Homeland stores in Norman, Oklahoma City, Edmond and Yukon. They also distribute through the Oklahoma Food Cooperative, which connects locally produced items throughout the state.

Ardoin, of course, plans to serve candied yams at his Thanksgiving table year, and hopes others will consider doing the same.

“(We hope they’ll) give thanks for good Okie-grown sweet potatoes,” he said.

Janelle Stecklein covers the Oklahoma Statehouse for CNHI’s newspapers and websites.

READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE >>

Thanksgiving harvest not just small potatoes for Oklahoma sweet potato farmer2019-11-04T07:06:55-06:00