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Category Archives: Day Trips

Behind the Scene

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This week I think I am spending almost as many days at the Howard County Conservancy as I did on my job before I retired. Sunday. Tuesday. Thursday. Saturday.

The Fall Festival was an immense success. As usual. Lots of my Facebook friends went. Loved the hayrides. Pony rides. And all the other things offered. I was there early to set up.

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Putting up the apple peeling, and apple cider tasting table. Thanks to MOM’s for their contribution, and to Harbin Farms for their collection (labeled) of all the varieties available here in the MidAtlantic.

Then, helping with the tent (which we took down because it turned the welcome area into a wind tunnel)

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then checking out the “bee people”.

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The honey is awesome, by the way.

After about an hour helping set up, I went off to tend to my garden. Today, I returned to spend time harvesting food bank vegetables.

Thursday I am there for the new kindergarten program, for Northfield Elementary School.

Saturday, I can’t wait to hear about bats. A free program presented at 10 am.

Such an asset to the area. The Conservancy really does have universal appeal.

Butcher Shops

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The place to find the best tastiest cuts of meat, to round out the other items in my freezer, and to make winter cooking so much easier.

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Like today. A perfect crock pot meal. From beef short ribs, purchased at Wayne Nell and Sons. We took a field trip this morning. To visit a new to us Amish market, for comparison. To hit an orchard or two. And, to check out the main supplier of meats to our Friends and Farms basket.

I was on a mission. For ham hocks. Lamb. And, kielbasa. I found two of the three at Wayne Nell. And, on the way home, at Mt. Airy Meat Locker. I found the lamb I wanted to use for a number of winter specialties.

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The Amish Market was our destination for lunch. After we checked out an orchard and the butcher. We found the market to be good, but not as large as the Shrewsbury market.

When I came home, I took the lamb and made six vacuum packs for the freezer. As for the short ribs that ended up in the crock pot, they just looked so good I had to buy them.

This was a simple crock pot meal. Put in the pot at 1 PM on high. Dinner at 6:30. One can black beans. One onion. A large bunch of spinach. Browned ribs and some dry rub. A little salt and garlic powder.

Go watch the Orioles beat Detroit. Sit down to a lovely meal. Served with a very impressive Delaplane Cellars meritage style wine.

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An interesting wine which includes tannat. Not a common grape grown in the area. Soft, elegant. A great complement to the beef and beans.

Between our chicken share from the CSA, the protein in the Friends and Farms baskets, and a few well spaced trips to family owned butcher shops, I can keep the freezer stocked without having to buy factory farmed meats.

Fall Festivals

It’s festival season. The changing of the seasons and the leaves brings out the best of this area. The best weather and views in Howard County.

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The leaves are already starting to turn color. The month of October is full of festivals, and mazes, and pumpkin picking, and more.

My favorite, of course. The fall festival at the Howard County Conservancy.

Hay rides. Pony rides. Crafts. Animals. Story telling. Basket weaving. And so much more.

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Definitely something to do this coming Sunday.

As for other festivals. There are certainly many of them out there. Highland Days. The corn maze at Sharp’s Farm. Pumpkin picking and more at Larriland.

I am certainly looking forward to many fun days out and about. Enjoying the weather and the colorful leaves.

Linden Al Fresco

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My favorite winery. A lazy, hazy Monday morning. The view, spectacular.

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There’s lots going on down in the vineyards, and the tasting room, and in the vines. Let’s start with the vines.

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The Chardonnay vines turn 30 this year. Original to the planting of the vineyard. Just outside the front entrance to the winery. There was a very informative article on the front page of the Washington Post food section last week, about the wine, the vines and the master of it all. Jim Law.

Jim also got a new building this year. There is a new barn you see as you drive up the steep entrance driveway.

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Built to use for maintenance and storage of all the equipment and machinery needed to tend the vineyards. Unofficially called the man cave by a few of us.

Other changes.

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Renovation of the second floor to include large windows to drink in the views. Front and back.

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The back ones, on the left, are harder to see around the trees. This newly renovated space will be used for those specialty events now held in the small addition off the tasting room.

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This room, used for meetings and library tastings, and other events is limited to ten people. The second floor will be a more open space, and we can’t wait to see what they will do up there.

Some other changes coming too. New doors and a new layout of the tasting counters will be coming soon.

All in all, it reflects that saying on their website. “Never content”. Always trying something new.

Monday we spent a lazy two hours there. Enjoying the view. Tasting the 2012 Chardonnay. Comparing the two versions of the vidal blanc and Riesling pairing. One sweet, one more acidic. We like the acidic one. Perfect for Asian foods.

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Some Firefly Farms goat cheese. Smoked salmon. Baguettes. Wine.

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Earthquake. The ash veined cheese from Everona. Lovely cheeses. And wine.

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With this as the view out the doors.

Believe me, it is worth the 90 mile trip from here. Just to sit and savor and enjoy one of the best wines made on the East Coast (and even beyond).

#hocofood

Strawberry Season

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Officially opened today at Gorman Farms. You do have to check to see when they are open. They had some hail damage.

As for us, we got strawberries Thursday from Miller Farms in our Friends and Farms basket. They are also open for those who live south of us.

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These berries made it into three different meals already.

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Strawberries with greens. Such a simple great salad. I used arugula, romaine and the pea shoots from our baskets. A very easy yogurt dressing. Scallions from my garden.

The second use.

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Berry yogurt. Besides some of the strawberries, I used a few defrosted blueberries. The plain yogurt from Pequea Valley. A little agave for sweetness. That small care package in the fridge went with my husband for his 12 hour shift in an amateur radio contest. A few hardboiled eggs, and some penne pasta I made the other day.

The last of the strawberries from Thursday? I ate them. What can I say. I love fresh berries.

Besides Gorman, there are other pick your own farms around here. Depending on where you live, you can find one not far away.

Like Larriland, or Baughers in Westminster, or Butlers Orchards in Germantown. They are all saying early June opening.

Berries are a fruit that we enjoy picking. Our freezer was stocked with berry syrup cubes, and frozen berries.

We will as usual go out to Larriland and pick at least 20 pounds. You can’t beat the price.

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#hocofood

Mother’s Day Stuff

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Like tea and scones at the Conservancy. Or azaleas at Brighton Dam. Or brunch somewhere.

What are you doing for Mom’s Day?

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What could be more enjoyable than a leisurely stroll through all the gardens at the Conservancy while drinking tea and eating scones (some of them are mine!)? Garden clubs and volunteers are there to show you the beautiful flowers popping out in the gardens. Tea is being served in the historic farmhouse. This is all on Saturday the 10th.

On Sunday, you could head out to Brighton Dam to see if the azaleas finally look like this.

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We were there today. The azaleas are coming along, but this winter did freeze a fair number of buds so they aren’t as magnificent as other years.

Whatever you do, the promise of spring time temperatures and flowers galore should take you outside to enjoy this lovely weather.

#hocoblogs

All Markets Are Not Created Equal

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Some of them are truly awesome.

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Like the market in Manheim Pa. We have been there once before, in the winter. Today, with great temperatures and lots of sunshine, we headed back north to look for a few things, and to enjoy the early spring weather.

I wish we had a market with 89 years of history. What started as a poultry market has evolved into a huge 200+ vendor flea market, auction, produce market and all around interesting slice of Americana.

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You can still attend the poultry auction as well as a produce, flower, and shrub auction every Tuesday, year round. About 100 minutes away from Columbia. A good destination. Particularly for things like this.

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That’s my pit beef sandwich from Hess BBQ.

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When we were here a few months back, the outdoor vendors were closed. Today, vendors and flea market stalls were hopping.

I did end up buying a few Time Life Foods of the World books, on Middle Eastern and Latin American cooking, for a buck each, out on the flea market sites.

I almost splurged on the asparagus.

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Yes, I know many of the vendors bring things up from the South, or even use wholesalers, but still, fresh produce is so great to see.

And, yes, I found some oatmeal raisin cookies, chewy, fresh baked.

Want to take a day trip and have market envy? Head up I-83 and east on US 30, then northeast to Manheim.

And wish we had something this much fun around here.

#hocofood

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