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Category Archives: Farms

Code Red Days

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The temperatures are soaring. It was supposed to rain today and cool it off, but so far, no such luck. Sunday and Monday the temperatures were in the high nineties and the heat index in triple digits.

Just think how hard the farmers have it, dealing with heat while trying to harvest, feed the animals and do all those other chores. If your days are spent going from A/C home to A/C car to A/C job to A/C car to A/C restaurant to A/C home, you have it easy.

We spent part of Sunday (early) dealing with some yard things. Not too long. Monday I had to go weed, harvest and water my garden. That hour and a half was brutal, so I can’t imagine having to spend hours getting things ready for CSAs, markets and deliveries.

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Not to mention working in steamy kitchens in the restaurants. My hat is off to those who have to work outside in this weather, and to those working the line making your farm to table meals.

If you hit any of the markets this week during the Buy Local Challenge, or go out for Restaurant week, take the time to thank those who make it possible. They aren’t sitting in front of an A/C vent. Also, take time to vote for your favorite adult beverage, and go try a few at the local restaurants. They have a “Garden to Glass” competition going on.

No matter what, keep supporting our local small businesses. And let them know you appreciate them.

Remember the saying, If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher.

How about —- Before you eat that, thank a farmer.

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Breaking Bread

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#buylocalchallenge.

Starts tomorrow. I have been talking about options above and beyond the standard fruit and vegetables. Like cheese. But, what’s cheese without good bread? Did you know many of our local bakeries source ingredients from Maryland farms? So, you can support local farmers, and small businesses, by buying their breads during the challenge. Or by eating at their bakeries.

Like Atwaters. In Catonsville, near us, and in many places across the Baltimore area.

Here is a link to their sources. Here is a link to their current menu in Catonsville. I have blogged many times about the quality of Atwaters. You can also buy their bread at many markets, like Olney.

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Moving on. Closer to us. The Breadery. In Oella. So many things to find there. They also come to local markets. On a recent visit to the store in Oella, we found their stash of olive oils. Perfect for bread dipping.

Great Harvest Rosemary Lavender Focaccia. Discovered at Breezy Willow. Made with the herbs from the farm. Nothing like it toasted with a creamy fresh chevre.

Stone House Bakery. Another local bakery that sources items from the surrounding farms. Check out their ingredients. Doesn’t get much better than that.

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There are even more local bakeries in the state. Far better products from small businesses.

And if you want to bake your own using local grains, Next Step Produce can help you with that project.

A loaf of bread, a jug of wine, and thou. I’ve covered the first two. On the third, you’re on your own.

Next up. Meat, seafood and eggs.

The Big Cheese

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Today let’s talk about local cheese.

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Cheese like Shepherd’s Manor Creamery Ewe Cream Cheese. Which you can find in many farmer’s markets and at Friends and Farms, where we discovered it. The dairy is in New Windsor MD. I love sheep’s milk cheese, and also goat’s milk cheese as they work for us lactose intolerant people.

Olney on Sundays is the closest farmer’s market where you can get this cheese.

Let’s move to Firefly Farms and Cherry Glen. Outstanding goat’s milk creameries. Their cheeses vary. I love Firefly’s chevre more than Cherry Glen, but CG’s Monocacy Ash is awesome.

I think we discovered Firefly at a Turf Valley Home Show, and Cherry Glen, we bought at Roots Market.

Goat’s milk cheese has that tang, that slightly different taste.

As for cow’s milk cheese, lots of options around here. Bowling Green is local and available at many farmer’s markets and farmstands. I really like their “feta” to put in my watermelon salad.

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From yesterday’s post you saw a picture of a fresh mozzarella from South Mountain Creamery. There is nothing like fresh mozzarella. Only thing better than buying a local one is making it yourself from local milk.

Oh, and a PA source for goat cheese. Linden Dale Farm. Their feta made from goat’s milk graced this watermelon salad.

Hey, it’s Buy Local Days. What could be better than cheese? Tomorrow, bread to go with it.

@mdsbest

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The Buy Local Challenge. Coming next week to our area. Are you taking the challenge? Will you be eating a local food at least once a day for the nine days of the challenge?

This year they have included the Farm to Table restaurants in the challenge. If your local restaurant features local foods on the menu, you can help both the farmers and the independent restaurant owners.

Every day until the challenge is over, I will be giving tips on where and how to eat locally, and to buy locally produced items.

I mean, it can be really easy. How about wine, beer or ice cream? A glass of local wine or beer a day. How easy is that? Or, ice cream from the local farms around here. Like Baugher’s. Or the eight dairies on the MD Ice Cream Trail.

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Hmm, a nine day event. Nine places to eat ice cream. Sounds like a plan to me.

Beer!

Head off to Victoria’s GastroPub for Manor Hill draft beers. Brewed here in Howard County. Four of them available.

Head up to Black Ankle. Or Elk Run. Or Sugarloaf Mountain. Or Old Westminster. Or Big Cork. All local wineries making wines with grapes grown in Maryland.

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Every day. A different local beer or wine.

Yep, you don’t have to buy vegetables to excel in the Buy Local Challenge.

Oh, I forgot cheese. There are many local cheese makers in the state. More on them tomorrow.

But, if you are into veggies, Wednesday through Sunday, the county has seven farmer’s markets. If you want to do something different, head out to Larriland to pick berries.

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No excuses. Eating locally is easy.

Just Another Soggy Day in the ‘Hood

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The Fourth was a real bust around our house. I just couldn’t get into it, after spending Friday trying to salvage much of my waterlogged garden. The weather data around here showed June giving us 9.6″ of rain. Seventeen days in June it rained.

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And we already slogged through last weekend at our Field Day site. Somehow I wasn’t inclined to make it two Saturdays in a row, so we stayed home and I cooked. I really had to do something with these.

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That would be the 75 onions I harvested on Friday. I had to do it. They were starting to crack, and to get softer at the crown.

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This pile couldn’t be hung to cure. They have various bruises and cracks but are a decent size. So, they became crock pot caramelized onions.

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All of them into the pot, for 16 hours, the last two uncovered. I ended up with about 32 ounces of onions. Four one cup containers. Three in the freezer to use this winter. Making them is simple. Salt, pepper, a splash of water.

I can definitely sympathize with our local farmers. This weather is seriously affecting crops. We got newsletters from both Friends and Farms, and our Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA, telling us to hang in there. The fruit and vegetables aren’t as good when the temperatures won’t rise enough to ripen them, and when excess rain waters them down, or splits them.

Still, I can be thankful my garden is producing.

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Cherry Picking

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Out at Larriland.

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I got there Friday morning to pick sweet cherries. It certainly was busy.

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The parking area was full. Most people, though, were picking strawberries so the cherry trees were relatively quiet. I know it was the last day of school around here, but there were quite a few families out there.

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Cherries were $3.99 a pound. I picked four pounds. Knowing I was going to make jam, I wasn’t that careful about keeping the stems on the cherries.

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I came home, cleaned and pitted them. Prepared my canning stuff. Found a recipe I liked. And made five jars of cherry “jam”, which is actually more like a syrup.

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The recipe was a low sugar, no pectin, three ingredient one. Cherries. Sugar. Lemon juice. Not too hard to do.

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We are so lucky to have a pick your own farm right up the road. Larriland is a treasure in our county.

Vampires

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Or lack thereof due to the high concentration of garlic in the house.

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After all, how many people do you know that are curing garlic in their laundry rooms? The garlic hanging there is destined for the Howard County Food Bank. The first of many harvests to give us about a month’s worth of garlic to donate. I took about a dozen heads of garlic out of the ground this week. The largest ones, which were already turning brown on their tops. The rest. Will get harvested as they dry out. If it ever stops raining. Garlic is easy to grow, but needs to be dried somewhere cool and dry.

Besides that garlic, I have scapes from the CSA and green garlic also. Green garlic are those immature plants that are culled out to make room for the more robust plants that will become mature garlic.

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In this picture you can see green garlic on the right and scapes all curled up on the left. I made some pesto. Cut some in pieces to use in stir fry dinners. I should have left a few of them whole so I could wrap bacon around them and grill them. Too late for this batch.

If you have never had scapes, I know that Love Dove Farms sells them at the various county markets. I used to buy mine there before the CSA started inundating us with scapes.

Tonight a few ended up in this meal.

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An almost completely locally sourced meal. The salad. Arugula and butter lettuce and chive blossoms from my garden. The main dish. Pappardelle’s garlic chive pasta from Secolari, served with shrimp from Friends and Farms. Pesto from my freezer (last year’s basil). Snow peas, scallions and scapes from the CSA.

With all this garlic, there will be no vampires in this part of western HoCo.

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