The Last Two Weeks + RECIPE: Spicy Blood Orange Margaritas

We’ve had a really exciting couple of weeks here at Raleigh’s Hillside Farm headquarters and Chez de The Leek & The Carrot.

We launched our spring seedling sale pre-order. We cleaned the greenhouse. We inventoried our farm supplies. We did our taxes. We completed the majority of our annual organic certification paperwork. I was on the radio babbling enthusiastically about salad on the same day I led the social media portion of a marketing webinar put on by Farm Fresh Atlas. I handled doing both within an hour of each other about as well as you’d expect. I got my first social media client.

And that’s just the little stuff.


On Valentine’s Day my dear Carrot officially said goodbye to any sort of full-time role at his off-farm greenhouse gig of the last seven years. After a short two weeks of work while they found his replacement, my Carrot enthusiastically dove into being fully employed by our farm. It’s been a long-time dream and a long-time coming, and we are so excited to see the way his focused energy and lack of spring exhaustion will really take our growing business to the next level.

A couple days later he drove through a blizzard to take part in the preliminary meeting of the South Central Wisconsin Hemp Growers’ Cooperative. We submitted our paperwork to become a Wisconsin hemp grower the next day. We’ve known this is something we wanted our farm to dabble in since the new Farm Bill passed in November. We already grow food as medicine, and are incredibly excited to learn how to grow literal CBD medicine for our friends and family.


On Wednesday, I learned that my NCR-SARE Farmer Rancher grant proposal has been awarded full funding. I’m going to be working with a group of powerhouse CSA farmers (and one seriously talented film maker) to create an educational video series for current & aspiring CSA farmers. The goal is to help folks who are in the early years of their business (or still defining their business) to really ask themselves some hard questions about whether the CSA model fits their skills and interests with the long-term goal of increasing enthusiasm for CSA nationally.  

On Friday, my non-profit had an all-day meeting of the minds (also known as our annual board and staff retreat) at a beautiful heritage center where I kept the agenda flowing while also sitting mesmerized as Global Health Institute Director Jonathan Patz shared his findings on climate change as a public health crisis and our board president Susan Davidson presented a recent publication on plastics’ effect on our health. I ate amazing pastries, salad and cheese throughout the day before driving across the state to visit with dear old friends and past farm crew members over tacos and mezcal palomas at The Rooted Spoon.


The next morning, I scrambled out of bed early, grabbed a giant cup of coffee from Kickapoo Coffee Roasters’ Viroqua Cafe and drove to La Crosse for the MOSES Organic Farming Conference. 

It was my first time only attending the farming conference for one day and my first time attending the farming conference alone. In our seven years of attending MOSES, my Carrot and I had always gone together. But this year was different, we hadn’t planned to go at all.

Last November, exhausted from another season, my Carrot and I made the mutual decision to take this year off from our favorite conference so we could focus in on what we knew and work towards refining that instead of pushing further forward in new directions with overwhelming amounts of new information. But I can never stick to a plan. On a whim, I decided that it was important I still go this year with focused energy on collaboration and conversation instead of education. My Carrot held firm in his MOSES sabbatical.

My conference experience was different than ever before. I hardly spent any time in workshops or on the trade show floor instead focusing my energy on round-table discussions, meeting new people and sharing my own unique vision for food systems change. It was perfect.


And somehow, in the midst of all of this, we still made time for date nights, trails and Oscar buzz.

In other words, there is much to celebrate. I’m over taking all the beautiful goodness for granted. So let’s all raise a glass to success and big dreams, to baby steps and giant ones, to success and intention, to intuition and joy. This Spicy Blood Orange Margarita has never been more worth it.

In gratitude,
Your Leek



Takes 10 minutes
Serves 2-4

1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/3 cup orange juice (1 orange)
2/3 cup blood orange juice (1-2 blood oranges)
1/2 cup lime juice (2 limes)
3/4 cup tequila or mezcal

  1. In a small saucepan combine honey, water and red pepper flakes. Heat for 5-10 over medium heat until the mixture becomes a thin syrup. Strain mixture into a quart-sized mason jar.
  2. Add juices and tequila to jar. Shake vigorously to combine and then pour over ice.


4 Comments Add yours

  1. Wow – you have been so busy and have made such wonderful strides to achieve important goals. Sounds like you two are doing what you love and making a huge difference. It’s amazing the energy which comes with engaging in activities that make your heart and soul sing…. congratulations!


    1. Leek says:

      I completely agree! I’ve always been complimented for my high energy levels. I know a large part of it comes from doing all these things that are so in alignment with my purpose!


  2. carolee says:

    Thank you for linking the two reports on climate change effects on health and plastics. A wealth of information. Best of luck in your upcoming season.


    1. Leek says:

      They are incredible resources. I feel so lucky to work with such a brilliant and well-informed board! Glad you are enjoying them!


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