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Category Archives: Farms

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.

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.

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.

Shopping at Jenny’s Market

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Only 17 more days until Jenny’s closes for the season. I will miss popping in there to get a few things.

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They have a facebook page, which will let you know what they are featuring. If you want some pumpkins, mums, cider, fall vegetables, or are like me, and pop in for weird things like lemons, oranges and bananas. I like that quick stop for the citrus I need in cooking without having to drive 15 miles or more round trip to a grocery store.

Today I wanted some apple cider, and bananas for breakfast, and scallions because, again, I ran out of them.

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Jenny’s sells Baughers cider from right up Rte 32 in Westminster. Half gallons and gallons.

I came home with what I needed, including a couple of oranges, to use my baby fennel from last week’s CSA basket. And, I got seduced by the huge sweet green grapes.

I will have to remember to stop in and pick up a few last things before they shut down for the season. And wish them a happy and healthy winter until they reopen in May.

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Jenny’s is right off Rte. 32 at the Burnt Woods interchange. Take the exit and head to the northeast corner on Ivory Rd. Look for the brightly colored pumpkins, gourds and mums telling us fall is truly here.

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Under the Weather

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Literally and figuratively. It is dreary and rainy, and since Tuesday I have been battling one heck of a head cold. Thankfully, even though nothing tastes very good, having that stocked freezer has made it bearable. And, kept my husband fed.

I didn’t blog about my CSA and Friends&Farms pickup very much. I really did minimal work to put it all away, and went back to my soups and my tea with honey. Local honey, even. See, you can be a locavore while sick.

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Today I feel somewhat back to normal, but the weather outside is so crummy, I just still want to hibernate and make something warm and comforting.

Best advice to those who want to minimize work while feeling awful. Freeze some soups. Those turkey drumsticks from the local farm, Maple Lawn, made the basis for one dinner and two lunches this week.

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I was originally going to pull out the cauliflower leek soup I made a while back, but, for the first time in four years, I had a Mason jar crack in the freezer. Luckily, it kept intact and was easy to dispose. I am really careful about not overfilling but this one just “popped”.

While in my clean up mode to check the baskets that hold my soups, I inadvertently left one out. A chunky tomato sauce. Found it a few hours later. It was happily defrosting, so it became chili last night.

It was that pint of sauce, a couple of peppers and onions, the last of a hanger steak made early in the week before I got this cold. I had planned to do fajitas again, but this was easy. Chopped the steak into cubes. Added it to the pot, with a can of Harris Teeters organic chili beans. Spices. I make ahead a chili fixing mix of dried spices. It simmered in a pot while I watched the news and we had another freezer-provided simple meal.

But back to the food we got Thursday that I now have to use. Having little appetite doesn’t help in the food department. Here’s how I am coping with it.

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Friends and Farms individual basket is definitely manageable. The onion went into the chili. The apples were baked (super simple, halve, core, season with butter, maple syrup and nutmeg, bake). The Asian pears are ripe enough for my husband to snack on. The rosemary, will become seasoning for some lamb tomorrow night. The green beans were steamed and eaten with dinner, the night we had some smoked kielbasa, steamed cabbage, beans, and the apples were dessert. The greens, of course, the lunch salads around here which make greens disappear quickly.

I didn’t photograph the chicken breasts or the pork chop or the half pound of smoked bacon and eggs. All put away too fast.

I now need to deal with the CSA surplus, because here is where I got more than we can use. Feeling rotten and eating just a cup of soup doesn’t put a dent in that haul.

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It may have been many baby veggies, but it was still quite a large quantity.

I am thinking of making hummus with some of those baby veggies as flavor. Eggplant and peppers. Besides that, cut, blanch and freeze the mixed sweet peppers. Roast those beets for salads. Shave fennel into salads.

I may have to cry “uncle” and give away a few items. I rarely get to that point, as we can make use of most of what we get. Being retired and having lunches and dinners home the majority of the week, that’s how we do it.

I do know that when the fall CSA ends just before Christmas, I will be very glad to have that stash in the freezer, to tide us over until the next season begins.

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.

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