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Mama Needs a Brand New Wok

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Courtesy of the modern day equivalent of the Sears catalog. It’s greens season and my wok started chipping. Not good for a non stick surface.

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Out here Amazon seems to be the new Sears or Spiegel. When I can’t easily get something locally or from a small business, Amazon is the simplest. Better than that 35 mile round trip to Bed, Bath and Beyond. Especially if I can cobble together enough to get free shipping.

A simple stainless steel wok. To deal with all the greens coming from the CSA. This week and last week.

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Today I picked up eight items in our next to last week of our summer CSA. Looking quite a bit like fall in that basket. Greens galore. Broccoli. Spinach. Tatsoi. Arugula. Add to that some large Beauregard sweet potatoes. A red butterhead lettuce. Butternut squash. Green and yellow peppers.

Last week’s basket was pretty fall like also. I never got around to posting about it. Here is what we got then.

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Red bok choy. Spinach. Radishes with greens (I did a swap to get two of them). Eggplant. Green beans. Celery root. Tuscan kale and broccoli.

So many of these items make perfect stir fry ingredients, so I am glad my wok arrived this morning.

Customer Appreciation

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How many of us have our food suppliers throw us a party. With craft beers, burgers, hot dogs, chicken wings, and bratwurst. All served using The Breadery’s rolls. And, give us pumpkins to carve while socializing.

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Friends and Farms did that Monday night. With grilling. Corn hole. Pumpkin carving. A chance to meet new people who love regional foods. A chance to see what is behind that warehouse door. And, to break bread with the owners. Phil and Tim.

Phil manned the grill. Tim made sure everything else was running smoothly.

How many of you can say you know the owners of your food sources? You know, those Royal Ahold people who run Giant Food.

We met lots of friendly Howard Countians. Had a good time. Took a salad as the pot luck side dish. Using my arugula. Larriland beets. Firefly farms chevre.

It’s times like these that make me happy I live here. Where there are committed people who provide us with awesome baskets of food every week.

Like last week’s basket.

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That individual basket. Perfect for an active retired couple. Acorn squash. Carrots. Kale. Sweet potatoes. Garlic. Bay leaves. Jalapenos. Asian pears.

Plus,the perishables.

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Yogurt and eggs this week for us. With an extra request. Those amazing ravioli, from La Pasta.

Proteins were pork butt and chicken wings. Want a picture of a perfect dinner?

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Chicken legs. Ravioli. My garlic scape pesto. Fresh. Tasty. Easy.

Change who supplies your food. To one of the best local suppliers.

Rocks Beneath Our Feet

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Literally.

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You know what they say about vines struggling, and producing great wines? This is the epitome of that quote. The land under RdV vineyards. Before they built the winery.

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The caves are under the left wing of the building. The rooms with the vats and barrels, are to the right. The building itself, a work of art and architecture.

Rutger de Vink, a former Marine (pictured above on the left) wanted to show that Virginia can make world class wines. The kind that rivals Bordeaux. He now has close to 900 people who buy his wines on a subscription basis yearly. Because they are that good.

Release party for the 2011’s was yesterday. A beautiful day. We had great wine. And, goodies from some local food trucks.

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Crab and lobster salads. Awesome BBQ. Burritos made from scratch. All served up with Friends and Families.

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The quote does sum up how we feel about this small ambitious winery in the Shenandoah foothills. Thanks to Rutger and his team for giving us a little taste of Napa and Sonoma in our backyard.

Wines to save for anniversaries. And birthdays. Wines to put Virginia on the international map. This locavore/locapour loves them.

ABC’s

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As in apples, beets and cider. What I did today at Larriland.

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I have not been to Larriland since strawberry season this year. We just had too much in the garden and too many berries in our CSA fruit share.

But, I can’t resist picking apples.

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Or at least trying to pick apples. I think there were more on the ground than in the trees. People obviously don’t read the instructions. Unfortunately, in no time at all, little critters chomp on the ground fruit, or people step on them.

And, don’t let me get started about beet etiquette.

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Ever try walking in the rows, where people just dump beets they don’t want. Or, trying to step through all the greens that were cut off, in order to make a lower weight. People do amaze me with how they waste good food.

I harvested eight pounds of beets. About five were beets. Two were greens, and one pound of waste. Yep, I paid for a pound of things I culled out while cleaning the beets. Does it bother me? NO!

I also picked 25 pounds of apples.

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Four different varieties. Mostly enterprise. A few pounds each of Braeburn, Fuji, and Suncrisp. There will be crockpot spiced apples made this weekend. This time, though, I will be putting it in ice cube trays to freeze. I like this method of making yogurt ready sizes.

I also picked up a few gourds and baby pumpkins to decorate our dining room table.

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One more week to go. I may be out there buying more apple cider. I like their version of it, and they say we can freeze it. I may be freezing ice cube sized cider cubes to use in cooking. It works wonders with cabbage, or in soups, or with chicken or sausage. Or, as a dressing base.

A lovely weekend ahead. If you get a chance, visit the farm. It’s a beautiful location.

What to Do?

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This weekend. There are so many things happening around here. Almost too much to write about. It is the height of fall foliage season.

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This is the view from the farm right next to the Living Farm Heritage Museum. They are across the road from the Howard County Fairgrounds.

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The museum has hayrides Sunday. With costumed characters and treats for the children.

How about apple picking? Or pumpkins? Or a corn maze? Larriland is still open until next weekend. I will probably be there tomorrow stocking up on cider, and picking some apples, and maybe some beets to pickle for the winter.

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Maybe my own personal favorite farm in the area. Sharps at Waterford. They have a huge corn maze. Pumpkins. Their fall fun day open house is on the 1st of November, but they are open this weekend too.

Have you ever done a corn maze? This is the time of year we have them all over the county.

While you visit our local farms, pick up some cooking pumpkins. Or some apples and cider. Or jams, jellies and apple butters.

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Fall is a special season . Lots to do around here.

Soup People

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Some are. Some aren’t. We obviously are. Considering the number of times I have blogged about soup.

Particularly, a good quick soup.

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Like bean soup, without all the preparations I used for the one above.

This one was simple. Because. It is cold and rainy. I didn’t feel like roasting a chicken today as I was out of the house too much.

But, I have my trusty pantry.

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You know. You can pull a couple of cans of beans. Today I used the cannellini beans. Two cans. I had chicken breasts cooked.

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I always have chicken in the freezer, from my two sources. Every week I find a day to bake or poach chicken breasts. To have them ready for lunches or dinners. They get eaten quickly.

Then, a little flavor. Today it came from a box of Pacific condensed cream of mushroom soup. And, a couple of cubes of my latest pesto. Right out of the freezer.

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Dump it all in a crockpot. With a little bit of water. Dinner in a few hours, with no stirring or pot watching. I did tonight’s batch on a high setting. It was perfect after two hours in the pot. Served with some naan. And a salad. And, of course, a glass of Linden chardonnay.

Test Drives

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Fall. Winter. Spring. The seasons where there aren’t as many options to get local, regional, seasonal, fresh foods. The farmer’s markets, one by one, shut down in early November.

There are options out there, though. Here in Howard County, there are year round choices. Like Friends and Farms, who uses Individual Quick Frozen (IQF) foods from a New York farm to supplement those winter root veggies, and who contracts for citrus from the Southeast.

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Foods like these. Or their tomato puree. I started with Friends and Farms in January last year. Bought a four week subscription, a small basket. Now I am buying a 13 week subscription and using an individual basket to supplement my garden and my CSA.

My CSA, Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative, has a seven week fall extension. The individual share is only $20 a week, for fresh organic vegetables.

Like these from last week.

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Fennel, radishes, leeks, cauliflower (white and green, the green was in the swap box), romaine, green beans, sweet peppers and red beets. Seriously. Nine organic vegetables averaging $2.20 each. You can’t come close to this pricing in any natural food store.

Other options around here. Some we tried and liked. Some we haven’t. Love Dove Farms offers an eight week fall CSA. Breezy Willow, a spring option from March until May. Zahradka Farm, delivers a winter option to your doorstep from January through April.

If you ever considered one of these for the winter, check out the links on my Local Resources page.

Or, keep your local food sources alive by hitting the weekend farm stands, or the weekend markets that are year round. The Howard County farmer’s markets may be closing soon for the season, but you still can find small farms and businesses to supply you with the best vegetables, fruits, meat and dairy.

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