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Category Archives: Farms

Maple Lawn Turkeys

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Now available for pick up at Whole Foods Columbia.

I have blogged many times about the locally raised turkeys that we order every year for Thanksgiving. From Maple Lawn Farm in Fulton MD.

Last night we had a tasting menu event at the new Whole Foods in Columbia. They announced that they have arranged to sell for in store pick up the same local turkeys we can get at the farm. This adds Whole Foods to the list that includes Boarmans and Roots in our local area.

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In fact, Whole Foods has all sorts of options from uncooked to oven ready to fully prepared feasts.

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Let’s just say we didn’t have to cook dinner last night.

I think my favorite of the evening though, was the dessert. I will probably be getting one of these to take to my family’s Thanksgiving. Pumpkin pie on the bottom. Pumpkin mousse on top.

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From soup to nuts, and including some packages that are already cooked. For those who are pressed for time, or cooking area, or are wary of roasting a whole turkey themselves, Whole Foods joins other area restaurants and food stores in offering a complete meal, ready for reheating and serving.

This was our first time attending one of the Whole Foods tastings. I liked quite a few of the dishes, particularly the cream of mushroom soup, the cranberry orange relish, and of course, that pie.

For those living in the area, a new option to make Thanksgiving a little easier.

But, for those who know me, I will be cooking that Maple Lawn farm turkey with my favorite sausage dressing (thanks to Boarmans for their sausage). I will be using Whole Foods for their stuffing cubes, brining kit and nuts from their bulk selections.

Thanks to Mia, Katie and Chef Patrick for hosting the Howard County Food Bloggers yesterday.

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Three Years Old

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My blogaversary is today. Three years ago, I started it to record my retirement journey. I took a few CSA pictures and started posting, inspired by a couple of local bloggers who recorded what they got from their Breezy Willow CSAs. I added my fall CSA bounty into that mix.

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Kitchen Scribble and Allura. Kat at Kitchen Scribble still blogs, but Allura is no longer active.

Between howchow, the biggest local food blog, and the hocoblogs pages, I pretty much learned what was interesting to others, to get them to read my blog, and to find topics to keep it going.

And, somewhere between the Old “Dark Days” challenge, where I began that locavore journey in earnest, and today, I turned my focus from unconscious consumer of whatever was on sale or looked good, to a proponent of small businesses/farms/local purveyors and much more. I honestly think I became that advocate because of the blogging. I didn’t start out to write a food blog. More like a “here is what interests me where I live” blog.

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What interests me the most these days is my community. Which includes most of Central Maryland. Still a pretty decent place to live. Even when the weather is awful. I haven’t tired of exploring it. Or of writing about it.

Stay tuned for a winter of exploration. Going to places brand new to us, rediscovering some old haunts that we haven’t visited in a long time. Winter isn’t a time for hibernation.

It’s also a time to really enjoy the outdoors. Want to join us for a hike this coming Saturday? A family hike out at the Mt. Pleasant site of the Howard County Conservancy. Groups of different ages, and paces, who will explore the grasslands and woodlands with volunteer naturalists leading the way. Free. 10am, November 8. The long term weather forecast looks good.

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The pot people are waiting to greet us.

Sunday Drives

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It’s the height of leaf peeping season here in Central Maryland. That cool couple of nights really made a difference in the depth of the colors. Sunday drives will be rewarded with stunning views like these.

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This was Larriland, but today I want to recommend heading farther afield. So to speak. Like to Sugarloaf Mountain, to visit the winery, maybe hike a few of the trails and check out the artisans in the Dickerson area.

Wineries have tremendous views in the fall, when the vines turn color to match the scenery.

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Some grape leaves on the vines turn red. Others yellow or orange.

If you want other close options that include time spent driving on back roads filled with color. Consider Black Ankle, just out Liberty Road. Or maybe Breaux just south of Harpers Ferry. Breaux now sits on a road with at least a half dozen other wineries. We haven’t tried any of them yet, except for Notaviva. We may have to plan a trip soon. Besides, Harpers Ferry alone is worth the drive.

If you want a new place to find pumpkins and apples, check out Baughers in Westminster.

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Besides the farm, just west of the city off of Rte. 140, the restaurant near McDaniels College has some of the best ice cream, and lots more at the farm stand.

This is also the last weekend for the Fall Festival at Gaver Farm, outside of Mt. Airy.

Any of these local farms have their final weekend events, too. Like Larriland for their straw maze for the little ones, Sharps, Mullinix, for those maze enthusiasts and apple/pumpkin pickers.

Who needs to drive all the way to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, when there are all sorts of events in Howard, Carroll and Frederick Counties.

Before autumn leaves us, it’s a great weekend to enjoy the local colors. All of them.

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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.

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