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Friends and Farms “Buy Local”

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We got our Friends and Farms basket Thursday, just in time for the Buy Local Challenge.

I am happy to see at the Buy Local Website that they don’t require the farms and markets to be in Maryland. Just “local”.

Depending on where you live, food from across a state line may be more local than in state. Like for us. Cheese from Lancaster is closer than cheese from Firefly Farms in western MD. Not that we don’t love Firefly. It’s just that MD is a wide east west but narrow north south state.

For us, foods from MD, VA, WV, DE and PA are all considered local. Mostly within a 100 mile radius to our home.

Our Friends and Farms basket this week was full of local foods by that definition. We can take the Buy Local “Extreme” challenge and include local foods in every meal, using the goodness of our basket.

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The pork butt and bacon came from York PA. The chicken from Freebird, in the Lancaster area of PA. The eggs, from MD.

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Clinton MD. We also get some vegetables from Miller Farms too.

This week the lettuce was from Salisbury MD. That’s where Baywater Greens is located.

The berries, from VA. Agriberry blackberries.

We also got jalapenos. Cilantro. Sweet corn. Green peppers. An eggplant. Elephant garlic.

I added a quart of plain yogurt. Need to make tzatziki while the cucumbers are still producing.

It will be easy to eat locally with all this food. Along with my garden and my CSA. Who needs grocery stores? Oh yeah, toilet paper.

Agretti Anyone?

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A new one in this week’s CSA share.

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Agretti. Described here with a wonderful sounding recipe (to be dinner tomorrow night). This recipe is competing with the Mario Batali Babbo recipe for agretti with fennel and anchovy vinaigrette. But I don’t think I have anchovies at the moment.

The thing I love most about this CSA from Lancaster Farm Fresh is that totally unexpected off the wall “CHOPPED” worthy vegetable that I never heard of before.

It is precisely why I keep coming back to them every year.

Today this is what we got.

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VEGETABLE HALF SHARE
agretti – Eastbrook Produce
Chinese purple garlic – Eagle View Acres
green kale – Cherry Lane Organics (I swapped for lemon cucumbers)
8-ball zucchini – Red Fox Organics
red cherry tomatoes – Organic Willow Acres
red beets – Back Woods Organics
bicolor sweet corn – Healthy Harvest

FRUIT SHARE
5 peaches – IPM – Fifer Orchards
1 pint blueberries – Little Buck Organics
1 jar raspberry jam – Oak View Acres

CHICKEN SHARE
breasts (1 pound)
whole leg (1 1/2 pounds)

I roasted the beets already, and had two ears of corn with dinner tonight. Beets will be sliced into salads. Cukes will go into a tzatziki. I am also making a ratatouille tomorrow night that will show up a few times. Once as that pie I mentioned yesterday.

The chicken breast will be poached and become salad.

Can’t wait to taste that agretti tomorrow night. Another new adventure. Thanks to LFFC.

Tomorrow I will talk about the Friends and Farms basket and how I will be taking the Buy Local Challenge to the EXTREME!

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By the way, the corn is awesome.

Growing Onions

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This is the first year I have attempted onions in the garden. I have white onions, yellow onions, plus I have shallots and leeks, both related to the onions.

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The onions look great as they are growing. I am still in that learning curve though. I didn’t stop watering them when the tops started falling over. Then, we got 1 1/2 inches of rain. So, some of them look to be soggy and beginning to rot at the top.

I took eight of them out today. Trimmed them back. I hope to dry half of these, and I have a couple in the pot with the chicken carcass, making stock.

My Tractor Supply starter set had eighty onions in it. They were bulbs, which are easier to grow.

I have to admit. These have been a really good producer. I know in the future there will be onions in the garden.

Tomorrow I get eggplant, eggs and bacon from Friends and Farms. I have squash. I have mega amounts of zucchini. I have onions and shallots. I have garlic. I have tomatoes. Sounds like ratatouille pie to me.

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Tidbit Tuesday

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Where I run off in all directions and have no single thing to say in a post.

There were 75 pounds of vegetables collected today for the food bank. A lighter day for squash, and the tomatoes aren’t ready yet.

I was up at the Conservancy gardens this morning, “basking” in the 70something degree temperatures with about the same amount of humidity. I hadn’t been there since Saturday, which was fairy house building day.

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This is what 118 people look like before they headed off into the woods.

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Creativity, a great time, and lots of pictures for this year’s album.

Now, on to the next events, and the continuous harvest of my garden.

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The bulk of the five dozen little tomatoes I harvested. Fifty supersweet 100s and 10 sungold. Mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme, basil, chopped onion and banana pepper, and a touch of sugar. Roasted at 250 degrees for a couple of hours. Destined to be frozen and used as one of my recipes in my presentation next month on preserving food.

Then, there were the onions.

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I had to harvest a number of them today, as they were getting mushy at the top. We had 1.5 inches of rain in the rain gauge at the garden (in a 36 hour period). It is driving us nuts, splitting tomatoes and washing away my mounded soil over the onions, leeks and shallots.

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Some of those onions, along with new red potatoes and bacon from England Acres, roasted along with the tomatoes. There will be a very nice salad made from this.

As for zucchini, I did make that lemon blueberry zucchini bread. Thanks to the Lean Green Bean.

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I did substitute, as usual. Used all AP flour. Upped the sugar to about 4/10ths of a cup. It tastes wonderful.

There is more shredded zucchini sitting in the fridge so that tomorrow I can make zucchini fritters and freeze them. Another project for that preserving food program scheduled in late August.

I have been a busy bee today. Time to head off and watch the All Star Game.

Taking the Buy Local Challenge

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For the third year in a row. The MD Buy Local Challenge. Dates are July 19-27.

This year I almost forgot about it until I received the reminder email. Since most of our food is local or regional, we already eat at least one item every day that comes from our Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA, our Friends and Farms basket, a local market or farm, or my garden.

If you wanted to join in, it is easy to do. You don’t even have to cook. Buy some fruit.

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Peaches and blueberries are definitely in season. Or how about watermelon, or cantaloupe? Blackberries?

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Seriously. Take a trip to Larriland and pick fruit, maybe take home some tomatoes.

Hit the farmers market in Ellicott City Sunday. Some Breezy Willow eggs. Cheese from Shepherd’s Manor. Meat from Orchard Breeze.

The list goes on. If you want sungold tomatoes, check out Love Dove at the Miller Library or HoCo General Hospital market.

Or, any of the Howard County markets. And, don’t forget wine counts too. Black Ankle maybe> Or Elk Run? Or Big Cork?

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Are you in?

#hocofood

The Friends and Farms “Basket”

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An individual basket with a few add ons. Just the right size for two people with a garden. Or a single person. Or a couple who eats out a couple of nights a week.

This week our proteins were chuck roast and sockeye salmon. Since the salmon was an 8 ounce individual filet, I could email or call or register on line to order another portion or two.

This week’s cheese was mozzarella.

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Perfect for the two tomatoes in the basket, and my basil from the garden. Or with all those supersweet 100s I am getting from the garden.

We got a large onion. A couple of yellow squash (like I need squash). Actually, putting them away to make ratatouille next week when we are supposed to get eggplant.

Blueberries. Yes, there will be frozen berries. And lemon blueberry zucchini bread. There were two ears of very sweet corn. It is gone already. I did ask for additional and will be billed for three more.

Dinner Thursday night was sockeye salmon and corn on the cob. Nothing else. Well, there was wine.

The last things in the basket were the large bag of mostly baby spinach. Which makes perfect salads. With that smoked bacon from last week.

I wasn’t in the mood for the fresh bread choices this week so I got one of these.

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A parbaked ciabatta. Sitting in the freezer waiting for me to need it.

Upcoming meals will include a caprese salad, obviously. A spinach, blueberry and walnut salad one night. That ratatouille next week. Chuck roast is in the freezer waiting for cooler weather.

#hocofood

Lancaster Farm Fresh

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Today I picked up my CSA. Like I do every Thursday. I decided to concentrate today on the CSA. And talk tomorrow about the other major source of food into our home.

Since 2011, I have been a member of this cooperative. They provide me with fresh organic vegetables, and now, chicken, fruit and cheese. The cooperative has 3000 members across a six state area. Around 80 Amish farmers belong to the coop. With the assistance of a transportation and management effort that connects them to the “plugged in” world.

As for what we got today. In my “half” share, costing me $19 a week. Seven to ten items, usually.

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We got:

Red Leaf Lettuce
White Onions
New Red Potatoes
Red Beets
Eight Ball Zucchini
Royal Burgundy Beans
Dill
Fennel (we actually got cabbage, I swapped for this)

I really like the variety. And the just enough amount.

I added a chicken share.

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Today I got a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts. Destined to become chicken salad tomorrow. And two pounds of wings. There will be Buffalo wings Sunday.

I have a fruit share. Today:

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Two pints of organic blueberries. And, the first of the fresh peaches.

The berries. A mix. Some will become the basis for a lemon blueberry zucchini bread (hey, gotta use those zucchini). The rest. Flash frozen on a cookie sheet. And saved for the dark of winter.

We also have a monthly cheese share. Which gave us great stuff a few weeks ago. Still loving that raw milk cheddar.

Between this, my garden, and Friends and Farms, we don’t need grocery stores except for staples.

Loving that local regional sourced food.

#hocofood

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