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Category Archives: Farms

Updating the Farms Page

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Another of my resource pages just updated. Click on the link below my header to see what’s new.

Lots of changes in the area. New CSAs. Closed farm stands. Additions to current CSAs.

The new farm is Wheeler. I saw them at the Glenwood Market Saturday. They were selling mostly greens at the time.

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Gorman has closed their farm stand, to focus on their CSA.

Larriland says they will open sometime after May 25th.

Breezy Willow is now making pickles. I tried the new Farm Boy Pickles bought at Glenwood, and made by Jason Caulder. The sweet horseradish version this week. I will be going back, as they are simply awesome.

I was also out at the Breezy Willow farm stand Saturday to pick up soap, as I was running low. Had to grab some Trickling Springs Salted Caramel Ice Cream while I was there.

Farm stands are opening left and right. It is the beginning of the season and the farms are gearing up.

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Can’t wait for the beginning of strawberry season. Larriland, I will be there opening day. I just finished the last of my stash from the freezer.

Local Resources Page Update

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My Local Resource page. Up there below the header. I just updated it again today. Head over there and check it out if you are looking for sources for local meats, dairy, produce, fruit and flours.

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I still have more to research but I did add a few things. I also cleaned up any broken links and errors.

Many local CSAs have changed options. More pick up locations, and days. Big announcements, too, like Gormans Farm closing their farm store to focus on their CSA.

If you haven’t had the chance, I will suggest that a trip into Catonsville to visit Atwater’s Bakery is a delightful way to spend lovely spring days. We did lunch there again a few weeks ago. They have expanded what they offer in their “pantry” and fridge. Including their soups and their salads.

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Add to all these choices the seven farmer’s markets here in the county. Plus two in Catonsville. One in Olney. One in Burtonsville. Check out locaharvest to see where your nearest markets are.

There was a time I headed off to Silver Spring to find local goodies. We don’t have to travel far now.

Soon to come. I am going to try some “locally” sourced rice and beans. We don’t have many choices close to us, but just south in the Carolinas there are a couple of options. I will be stocking up my pantry and will be blogging about the experience. Who knows? I may be able to give up that grocery store soon.

Plus, off to Secolari for a hocoblogs party in a couple of weeks. They have olive oil from the USA. No need to buy Italian or Greek or Spanish. Quite a few producers in the US to choose.

Minimizing that carbon footprint, in tiny steps.

One Size Does Not Fit All

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When it comes to food choices, we have so many options in this area that it is sometimes overwhelming. Literally. CSAs. Farmer’s Markets. Organic food stores. Specialty stores. Fresh from the farm at farm stands.

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What is the best value? It has taken me years to figure out what works for me. It may not work for you. I do find it a great deal that we have moved the CSA market into one with maximum flexibility.

Community Supported Agriculture used to be “one farm” for the most part. If the farm did well, you ate well. If the season was awful, you didn’t get much. Then, they started banding together to make cooperative ventures. Buying fruit from orchards, or bread from local bakers, or cheeses and dairy.

Enter the flexibility of sizes. Small, medium, large. Half or whole shares.

Since our entrance to buying from CSAs, we have watched them adapt. Now, it is simpler to choose, but harder to manage (trust me, I think our site host is a saint to put up with all the headaches associated with dozens of options).

Enter also really innovative ideas like Friends and Farms. Where you can miss a week. Or change options at a moment’s notice.

Add our multiple farmer’s markets, like the return of Glenwood for us in west county. Where we can round out our shopping and avoid those long lines at the local Giant Food.

After four years of experimenting, I think I found my perfect match. Rotating the choices from Friends and Farms year round. Hitting farm stands like Breezy Willow in the winter. Jenny’s in the summer.

And my anchor. Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative. We held our breath to see if we met our minimum to keep our site going. We did that and more. Forty one shares. Mini custom. Small. Medium. Large. Fruit. Meat. Chicken. Cheese. Flowers. Herbs. They have made it a smorgasbord of options.

Our first pick up was last Tuesday.

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A large share. Most of which has already been consumed, or is planned for the next two days. Asparagus. Grilled. Spinach and chard. Frittata. Beets. Roasted. Onions. Grilled. The Jerusalem artichokes will be roasted tomorrow.

This year I tried a meat share. The heritage pork chops were awesome.

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As for cheese. They continue to make me happy. We like to have a smaller dinner, with some wine. I cut off a few slices of complimenting cheese to savor. Instead of dessert.

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That mozzarella. Perfect shaved over my Friends and Farms tomatoes from Hummingbird Farms.

This local source for tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, before the garden kicks in, is a welcome treat from Friends and Farms. This was my last “small” basket. We are moving to Protein and Dairy. Between the CSA and the garden, I will have enough produce.

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I will miss that great bread but the local farmer’s markets will fill that void.

All in all. I found my combination that works. If you live here, with seven farmer’s markets, a dozen farm stands, almost a dozen CSAs, and Friends and Farms, you certainly can eat well on fresher than store bought food.

The 4F Club

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Friends. Farms. Families. Foraging. The theme for today’s post. Much of today centered around these words. Like foraging.

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Those wild asparagus that live out by my driveway. I harvested five of them so far this week. Just enough to add to dinner. Which began from my Friends and Farms basket.

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There was a very nice brisket in the basket. As well as some Baby Bella mushrooms. Both showed up in dinner. We did slow cook the brisket on Thursday, but the leftovers became dinner tonight.

As for families. Part of the dinner came from Jennys. Subject of yesterday’s post. New red potatoes. Snap peas.

Part of dinner came from my garden.

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The first spring onions.

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A little sauté. Then an addition of sour cream. The leftover brisket.

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All served with a Friends and Family wine from RdV Vineyards.

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You could call it Beef Stroganoff from another mother. Since it really didn’t follow any Stroganoff recipe.

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It still tasted great, even without the pedigree.

Loving these days with all the markets, farms and my garden kicking into high gear.

Weather and Wool

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Tomorrow I am volunteering for the third extreme weather event held for Howard County High School Students. It should prove to be another fantastic event and I hope to get many pictures of the participants learning from all the amazing companies that give their time to expand the knowledge of our students.

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As usual, the Howard County Conservancy field trip managers have put together an exciting array of activities, demonstrations and speakers to present for this day long event.

A few days later, I intend to immerse myself into the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this Saturday and Sunday out at the Howard County Fairgrounds. I have never been around to take in the festival. One of the largest and best sheep and wool festivals in the USA and Canada.

Many farms in the area participate in this event. Like Breezy Willow , Catoctin Creek and Shepherds Manor Creamery.

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Medomak Retreat Center has a booth. I so want to spend a week there at one of their “summer camps” for adults.

Landreth Seeds will be there. I hope to find something rare from them.

And, Greenbridge Pottery. Another local favorite when it comes to looking for unique gifts.

That’s all I recognize in this year’s catalogue but I probably missed a few more local farms and vendors. This festival is huge so if you want to go, be prepared for very large crowds.

I do intend to check out the lamb cooking demonstration, and maybe make the Sunday Brunch. See you there?

Transitions

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Winter has finally left the building.

It is almost farmers market season. The spring and summer Community Supported Agriculture deliveries will soon begin. Our Friends and Farms basket will have ASPARAGUS!!!!!! in it. Do I sound ready for something other than root vegetables?

We got a mixed basket last week.

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The good additions. Lovely leaf lettuce, hydroponic tomatoes that taste like tomatoes, cucumbers. Good things to grill too, like country ribs.

I am so happy that the markets are about to open. The week of the 4th of May. The same week we get our first CSA delivery. There will be seven markets in Howard County this year. Three on Saturday. That should prove interesting. For us, the return of Glenwood is awesome. We love having a local market. Where we can run over for bread or fruit or plants. As for veggies, not so much. Between my garden and the CSA, we won’t be buying many veggies.

We are transitioning to a full share in our CSA. Transitioning to a protein and dairy bag from Friends and Farms. That should provide us with the right amount of food to keep us out of the grocery stores for a while.

I also structured our garden planting to be able to provide us with the ingredients necessary to make sauces and roast tomatoes to fill my almost empty freezer. This year I made it to May with my frozen sauces and tomatoes. I say May because I have three containers left of sauce.

The sauce has found its way into many meals. Like those killer lasagna.

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Tomatoes from my freezer. Peppers from the CSA. A slight tweak on the traditional lasagna.

Besides the large amount of tomato sauce in the freezer, there was quite a bit of pesto. And herb butters.

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Nothing like pasta with pesto.

Here’s to celebrating spring. And all the goodness it brings.

Rites of Spring

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Opening Day at Sharps Farm.

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They even have a new sign. The road wasn’t as bad as it sometimes is. There was a field trip there when I arrived. Ran into four people right off the bat that I know from gardening and farming. The greenhouse is the place to start.

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There were strawberries out front. And lots of plugs and pots inside.

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Plugs are 65 cents each, five cents less once you reach 24. Many pots as well.

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I came home with 36 plugs and a dozen pots. Mostly tomatoes. A few zucchini. Plus a new one. Mini-white cucumbers.

Many heirlooms. Like Goliath. Black Prince. Purple Cherokee. Yellow Brandywine. Sugar Lump. Box Car Willie. Pineapple.

A few standbys. Like yellow plum, plum dandy, supersweet 100s, sungold and Carolina gold.

The farm is open Tuesdays through Saturday, 9-6, and Sundays noon til 4. They also sell row cover and hoops at very good prices for those who want to protect plants from bugs or frost.

As I said, it is definitely spring when Sharps opens.

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