Monday, August 18, 2014

Zing! Poof! Pow!... Sweet!

Visions of sweet bell peppers, jalapenos, chiles, and habaneros danced in their heads...

Zing! Poof! Pow! ... Sweet!      ... PEPPERS!!

A month from now, the downtown Kingsport Farmers Market will be filled with the many sights, smells, and tastes of local and southeastern peppers at the first annual Kingsport Pepper Festival. The festival, a fundraiser organized by the Harvest of Hope (HOH) Community Garden, will be held Saturday, September 13th 2014 from 9am to 4pm.  Admission is free; various costs for the purchase of items from vendors.

We asked one of the pepper festival committee members, Doug Hilton, to tell us more about the festival's origins, planning, expectations, etc. When asked how the Kingsport Pepper Festival originated, Hilton says "It all started in March of this year when the Harvest of Hope Gardeners (while hosting a booth at the Farm Expo) were asked had they ever thought of having a pepper festival as the nearest one was several states away."  After mulling over the idea, the gardeners began to start planning in April.  Their main reason/objective for the festival:  To raise funds and awareness (recognition) of the Harvest of Hope Community Garden.  Read more about the Harvest of Hope Community garden and its goals on the following links:

The festival, able to handle 25 vendors, is expected to draw people from all areas of the community. Vendors, restaurants, crafters, and pepper professionals will be on hand to offer workshops, food, games, and contests to those who attend.

Restaurant vendors include Buffalo Wild Wings, Longhorn Steakhouse, and possibly Earthfare.  Barberitos will even take lunch orders and deliver meals.

Talk about HOT! Contests include gnarliest, biggest, best looking peppers, best tasting pickled peppers.  The public will also have the opportunity to purchase tickets for food items, try the wings and pepper poppers, and judge them; those restaurants that receive the most votes will earn bragging rights. The Wing Eating Contest will definitely be exciting and quite official with weighing of wings before and after participants eat the wings.  You will want to join in or cheer on friends.

Children and adult games abound:  Pepper toss (platforms built by Randy Neel of Lowe's Kingsport), tongue twisters, and pin the leaf on the pepper.  The pepper toss is much like a corn-hole toss.

The festival will host several workshops and demonstrations.  The festival is hoping to have Ed Currie (or representative), record holder for the world's hottest pepper on earth! Mr. Currie will be speaking about peppers during one of the workshops.  A Jonesborough gentleman will talk about hot peppers and how to get the plants started, etc.  Learn what a Scoville unit is!

Another featured demonstration event will be canning peppers and/or relishes. Robbie Peppers (no joke) from the Hawkins County UT Extension office will speak on canning details including materials, preparation, and procedure. These are just a few of the programs planned for the event.

The entire pepper festival committee wishes to thank all the sponsors who have contributed so far (or have signed up to help). When asked if it was too late to be a vendor, sponsor, or goody-bag sponsor for the festival, Mr. Hilton says that 'no, it is not too late' and to call him at 239-9433 and/or see the website link:  

So get ready to:  Zing a pepper into your mouth. Poof it disappears! Pow, feel the spice! And Sweet, savor the pleasure of enjoying the sweet or fiery peppers and the entire festival.

Best of all, proceeds from the Kingsport Pepper Festival benefit the Harvest of Hope (HOH) Community Garden :)

Fall Planting Class / Workshop: Saturday, Aug 23rd

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

RECIPE: Fried Flower Power

Cross section of a mysterious food from your garden


'What food is pictured above?' you ask. Why it's the flower from 
the zucchini plant, battered and fried!  Why not make the most of every part of the vegetable by also using the flower that blooms just before the zucchini forms.

zucchini  with flower
yellow squash flowers & zucchini flowers before frying

Flower Power RECIPE:

1/4 cup vegetable and olive oil, mixed. (or can just use veg. oil)
6 Zucchini Flowers
(or any squash flowers)
1/4 cup egg white
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt

Heat a frying pan with the 1/4c oil on medium-high heat.
Whisk egg white until mildly stiff. Whisk in the 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, flour, and salt to make a light batter.  Shake off zucchini flowers to remove any dirt or debris.  Dip each flower into the batter, then place in frying pan.  Fry each side for a few minutes until crisp and light brown. Enjoy!
(Not a low calorie food)

You can use this same batter to make fried zucchini:

Be sure to read about the upcoming Kingsport Pepper Festival to benefit our Harvest of Hope Garden.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary....

... How does your garden grow?
with weed fabric, and chat gravel,
and pretty raised beds all in a row.

Image from

New Raised Beds on Gravel

[HOH] Harvest of Hope Garden (picture taken from inside garden facing southeast towards expansion)
Above, you can see how the Harvest of Hope Garden (recently expanded to the east), now has weed fabric added, chat/gravel, and new raised beds. More fabric and gravel will be added to cover grass area (future).

The Shed

Below is a picture of how the shed looks now, before it is expanded to double the size (future construction). HOH gardeners say that the shed expansion can be done for under $300 !!  This shed currently stores tools, supplies, a wheelbarrow, etc.  With the HOH Garden expansion this past year and continuous raised bed constructions, the shed is well overdue for enlargement as well to support the efforts of the gardeners.

Lumber sits (to the right of the shed) where the shed will be expanded.
Weigh Station is on left, partially shown.

Upcoming Events

Mark your calendars for a few upcoming events:

  • Planting Fall Vegetables CLASS:  Aug. 23rd. at 9:00 am at HOH.  What to plant and 'how to' will be discussed.
  • Kingsport Pepper Fest to be held at the Farmer's Market downtown on Saturday, September 13th from 9-4pm.  The Farmers Market is located at the corner of Clinchfield and Center Streets, near the new Food City.
  • Fall/Winter CLEANUP will be Oct. 18th. at 10:00 am.


Enjoy these recent pictures, taken from left to right, of the Harvest of Hope Garden. With all of these wonderful improvements to the garden and over five-hundred (500) pounds of produce harvested so far this season, one could say that "... your HOH Garden grows quite well, Mary!"

Happy Gardening :)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Recent Harvest, Mini-Maker Faire, etc

Below are photos from yesterday's harvest at Harvest of Hope Community Garden..... a whole wheelbarrow full!

Photo was taken just before produce was transported to Kitchen of Hope and St. Paul's Food Pantry, just two of the many local charities supported by Harvest of Hope produce.  Learn more about the Feed Kingsport at  So far, over three hundred (300) pounds of produce have been harvested from Harvest of Hope so far this season.

Todays' Harvest in pounds (#) each:
Cucumber (18#), Onion (6#), Cabbage (6#), Potatoes (38#), Squash (4#),  and Beans (2#)

1st Cauliflower this season

New pathway and step to shed; keeps mud out :)

New raised bed for:  future Rasberries, Blackberries, etc.

1st Corn of the season

YMCA volunteers hard at work

HOH Master Gardeners harvesting crops

More YMCA Volunteers

On a side note, the Harvest of Hope Community Garden will have a booth at the:

Kingsport Mini-Maker Faire,
Sunday, July 13th from 1-6pm

Learn more about community gardening, hear about the upcoming Pepper Festival that HOH is organizing, and more!  See Kingsport Mini-Maker Faire for more info on the Faire.

Happy 4th and Happy Gardening!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cucumber Salsa Recipe

With summer in full swing, it's time to put those fresh veggies to good use.  Here's a recipe you're sure to enjoy.


2-3 Tbsp     reduced fat sour cream
1/2             garlic, minced
1/2 tsp        lemon juice
1 tsp           lime juice
Dash           cumin
Dash           sea salt

1 cup          seedless cucumbers, chopped
1/4 cup       tomatoes, seeded, chopped
2 Tbsp        sweet onions, chopped (variation: use green onion)
1 Tbsp        parsley, finely chopped
1/3 to 1/2    jalapeno, seeded, and minced
                   (adjust amt to your heat tolerance)
2 tsp           cilantro, minced

(note: use fresh herbs when possible)


Combine sour cream, garlic, juices, cumin and salt in medium sized glass bowl.  Add remaining ingredients (vegetables, herb, hot pepper) just mixing lightly. Serve with baked pita chips (suggest Stacy's brand) or baked.corn tortilla scoops (suggest Tostitos brand).

Makes approximately six(6) 1/4cup servings
Calories:  approximately 14 calories per serving (not including chip calories)

Recipe submitted by HOH volunteer gardener

Happy Gardening and Cooking, too :)