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Category Archives: Farms

Home Delivery

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As we muddle along in one of the first single digit wind chill days this winter, I am reminded at just how much I liked the home delivery options for food that are available here. We had our initiation into home delivery with Zahradka Farm. Back in 2011-2012 when I discovered them. At the time, they were somewhat unique in our area. For many reasons.

Like pick a size. Six, ten or fourteen item produce and fruit. Meat option. Egg option. Some pantry items you could order. I’ll never forget that first delivery a week before Christmas. With half a fresh turkey as the meat item.

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Plus, the romanescu cauliflower, which became a special treat in our Christmas dinner.

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Covered in grated cheese and pepper and spices. That was the beginning of what became a highlight in the dead of winter. Really fresh and varied vegetables through those dark days.

My last post was written about a new option around here. The Hungry Harvest, fruit and/or vegetable deliveries. They are what I believe to be the fourth option that allows you to stay home nice and warm, and receive fresh food delivered right to your door in Howard County.

Pair Hungry Harvest with FarmtoFork, a recently launched venture by Carroll Farm to Table and other local farms. You could order your vegetables and fruit from Hungry Harvest and your meat, eggs and dairy from FarmtoFork. We are lucky. Carroll is not that far from our house, and we have gotten their whole chickens to roast. They have a farm stand open all year. Times of operation are on their web site.

Last but certainly not least, the long standing home delivery service from South Mountain Creamery. They started with dairy products, and slowly expanded to include everything from meat to hummus to vegetable and fruit bags. We used to buy their products at the Glenwood farmer’s market. They stopped attending many of the local markets when they instituted year round deliveries to this area. You can choose weekly, biweekly or monthly recurring deliveries, or just order what you want when you want. Check out where they deliver.

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I still head up to the Creamery to pick up items for parties, like the cheese choices. Besides, nothing tastes better than their fresh milk, unless maybe it’s their ice cream.

Now that I think about it, a recurring delivery from these local companies would be a perfect gift to give elderly family members. You could easily put together something that covers the coldest dreariest months. Not a bad thought to keep in mind for next year.

For us, if our favorite Amish CSA ever stops supplying us locally year round, we would be very interested in using any one of the four.

Ugly Food

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I’m going to step up to the plate, so to speak, and talk about the latest venture in our area. One that rescues “ugly food” and delivers it to those who want to support the reduction in food waste. A very noble cause. One near and dear to those of us who grow and eat ugly food on a regular basis.

my garden haul one day in 2014

my garden haul one day in 2014

Any gardener will tell you. It doesn’t matter what it looks like. It still is good food.

Hungry Harvest, based out of the incubator for entrepreneurial efforts here in Howard County has gotten major press due to their appearance on national TV. Shark Tank. Where they received a substantial investment to assist them in growing their company.

I first heard about them from The Unmanly Chef, a fellow local blogger. I saw his pictures and thought, not bad. Doesn’t look all that ugly to me. The cost is a little high, but they deliver, and they donate to local food banks and food desert areas with every purchase you make.

I commend them for their commitment to providing good food to local charities and food banks. They aren’t the first around here to do that, but I love their level of commitment. We all need to stop judging food by appearance. Ugly food tastes just as good and sometimes better than that blemish free perfect produce sold in stores.

Hungry Harvest delivers produce bags. Organic produce bags. Fruit bags. To your door. Their prices for their regular bags seems reasonable. If you prefer organic, you can do better in price from our local CSAs. As for fruit, since I haven’t seen a sample, and I know what I pay for a fruit share from my CSA, I think they are a bit high here, as well. For example.

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This share costs me $8.50. For the $25 or $35 a share from Hungry Harvest, I don’t think I would be getting 3-4 times the amount of fruit.

I know that delivery drives that price up a bit. I am OK with that. I hope as they mature, that they will use more local farms and less volume produce companies from Jessup. I hope they can work with local farms and orchards to get that less than picture perfect stuff that doesn’t get picked. Like at Larriland.

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Lovely to eat. Not all that photogenic. Ugly tomatoes really are some of the best out there.

I also hope this helps us in our food bank gardening. In the past, we have been asked not to provide split or blemished vegetables. We have given tomatoes to the chickens at the Conservancy, the ones that had split after the rains. Our food bank turned them down. Maybe this partnership will eliminate the bias against blemished fruit and vegetables. I certainly hope so.

I wish Hungry Harvest the best of luck in growing their business. It’s a great concept, and easy for consumers to use. The weekly pricing, unlike the hefty upfront price tag of a CSA, is a great selling point. The more choices we have, the better the products.

A Very Merry

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No, that isn’t our view this Christmas morning. I had to look back to 2012 to find a white Christmas around here. It was more like this out there.

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And, right now it is pouring rain. I should be thankful it isn’t snow, as all the moisture the last few days would have created large amounts of the white stuff.

It’s been a quiet day here. We do our big thing on Christmas Eve, and then we spend today recovering before another week of visits and celebrations. We still have my birthday, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day to enjoy the excesses of the season.

I would be remiss to not mention again just how awesome our local shops and farms are. With great examples. Like Boarman’s market staying open to help someone who went to our big chain grocery only to find out they were out of parchment paper. Those last minute cookie baking sessions always seem to find us missing one thing we need. Boarman’s employees stayed after normal closing time to come to her rescue.

Breezy Willow opened on Christmas Eve with more cookie tins and plates, since they sold out of everything they had made for their normal Saturday farm stand times. I was there because I forgot a few little hostess gifts for my family.

Kendall’s came to the rescue again for us, as we had another run in with someone who doesn’t like mailboxes, and who smashed ours overnight before Christmas Eve. We do have a spare mailbox just for these occasions but I didn’t have numbers for it.

So, after all that last minute running around we spent a lovely afternoon and evening with my family and friends.

We are always asked, what are you getting for Christmas and usually our answers are a bit strange. This year, I got my dining room chairs redone, with The Cover Uph getting them finished in less than a week.

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Decking out that dining room for dinners is one of my little pleasures. Replacing the 30 year old wool covers was a splurge and a gift to me.

Tonight we will have a simple crock pot dinner. The house smells like cinnamon from the red cabbage and apple dish that has been slow simmering for the last few hours. We are making a smoked kielbasa and opening a bottle of Virginia wine.

We’ll have some eggnog as dessert while watching Andy Griffith. I mean, seriously. Talk about wild and crazy holidays. With all sorts of partying. We gave that up long ago, and on a wet and dreary evening, we are having “A Very Merry” holiday just chilling out at home.

Hope you all are having a great time too, and are making your own memories.

‘Tis the Season

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Time to get into high gear and prepare for the holidays. A few things to do, and Christmas decorating to get started.

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First up. The Lisbon Parade this coming Saturday. It has changed. It is now starting in the late afternoon.  They had to change from a horse parade to a farm equipment theme. Logistics got too complicated, and the parade was so successful that it outgrew its boundaries.

Not to worry. The party still looks awesome. And that dinner at the Firehouse? Not a bad idea.

As for the other things. I need to head over to get my poinsettias and my tree.

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I love the varieties from the Greenway Farm greenhouses.

I also need to stop at TLV for my garlands, and for the beef for our Christmas dinner.

Then, it will be time to start making my cookies. I have been planning ahead this year, making the dough early and freezing it. Makes it simpler to just concentrate on baking.

Somewhere along the way I have to get to Breezy Willow, too. I need to buy stocking stuffers, like their soaps. Maybe a few of the alpaca items for presents. Tea. Jams. Honey. Cheese. Lots of things to buy from the locals.

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Doesn’t this beat the parking lot at the Mall?

Worth The Weight

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Our CSA, that is.

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Close to thirty pounds of vegetables for a bit more than $30 a week. The boxes were so heavy this Tuesday. That Thai Kang Kob squash is supposed to be so sweet, you can bake it and eat it just as if it were a pumpkin pie.

There were all sorts of greens in bags. The Belfiore radicchio was simply stunning in color.

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That’s the radicchio above the baby arugula. This week I swapped two items. Red cabbage and red kale. To get the arugula, which I know my site host doesn’t like, and to get a lovely little romanescu cauliflower.

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Honestly. I don’t know how we get such incredibly beautiful vegetables that are so fresh, this late in the year.

My other favorites in this week’s basket. The carrots and the radishes.

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Rainbow carrots in front, and a peek at the Hong Vit radishes in the rear of this picture. The radishes are amazingly sweet. We just peeled them and snacked on them. My husband loves raw radishes, whether they are sweet or peppery.

I have to admit. This was one excellent week for vegetables. We are loving the varieties we are getting.

Thank you, all the Amish farmers that supply Lancaster Farm Fresh with these delicious treats.

 

You Can’t Get There From Here

At least, not easily. Sometimes it’s how we feel about all the long and winding roads in our part of the county. Roads that are lovely to look at, but make it slow going if you want to get to another nearby town on an errand.

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Two examples in the last couple of days involved traveling to Olney. A fellow blogger lamented the fact that getting to the Olney Theater requires driving a very circuitous route. For me, as I was signing up for my winter CSA, my two options for pick up were Columbia or Olney. Olney is closer to me, as the crow flies, but is longer over the roads, and takes almost twice as long to drive than to the Columbia pickup point.

Olney market Sunday mornings

Olney market Sunday mornings

I suppose that is why I find little enthusiasm among friends for heading over to the year round Sunday market in Olney. It isn’t an easy trip across Rte. 108. It meanders and winds and seems to take forever. We can take a more direct route, using either Mink Hollow or Brighton Dam Roads, but you have to know the territory.

I decided when signing up for the CSA to make Olney a second choice, and I’ll cross my fingers that we get the minimum number of members to keep Columbia going all winter. I love our winter CSA, particularly the meat share, the bread share, the cheese share and the pantry items.

Yes, we get repetitive vegetables. Samples from last year’s omnivore share, where we got a pantry item, a meat item, and a cheese item with our vegetable delivery every week.

January 2015

January 2015


February 2015

February 2015


March 2015

March 2015


April 2015

April 2015

Carrots were always there. Mushrooms, too. I know I can get most of these items at the year round markets, but I like going to the CSA pick up point and chatting about recipes. I also like supporting the farmers through the winter. Over 100 of the Amish farmers that supply our CSA count on us to keep them solvent.

If we don’t meet our minimum, I may be heading over the river and through the woods to Olney. Fresh food all winter is a big incentive.

Here For The Food

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An old favorite cookbook that made the turkey easy. A simple brine. A simple technique. Whenever people think it’s too hard to cook or bake they should pull out this book.

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If you want a turkey this good, they should google orange juice brown sugar brine. It will take them to Amazon where this recipe was featured.

The turkey was perfect. The brining took 15 hours for my 13 pound turkey from Maple Lawn. Their web site will be updated on December 7th for those who want to try turkey for Christmas.

For us, the small hen was easy to handle and fit into the dorm sized refrigerator for brining.

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I put a platter out for our Thanksgiving dinner. I made soup with the wings and the one drumstick my husband didn’t eat.

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I also made 5 quarts of turkey broth with the innards, skin and bones after making the Thanksgiving meal.

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Three jars went into the freezer, and two quarts went into that soup. I will be making sandwiches for a few days, and a turkey casserole this weekend. All told, that bird will yield at least a half dozen meals. Not bad for $33.

And, I gave my mom about a half pound of perfectly cooked moist breast meat to make sandwiches and a dinner.

Local food. Easy to make. Worth the time it took. If you haven’t tried making a turkey, you should get over to Maple Lawn and buy a small 10-12 pound hen. You really don’t need to brine it. But, it really improves the taste.

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