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Tag Archives: CSA

Parsnip-ity

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As in parsnip overload. By my choosing.

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Today was my last week of the winter CSA. Three weeks until the spring/summer season begins. I decided to load up on parsnips from the swap box. Good thing our site host is a friend and lets me swap more than one item if I give her some stuff she likes. I swapped kale and cabbage today to get a triple share of parsnips. They keep well. I like them. I even have made colcannon with them.

These are destined to become roasted veggies. Colcannon. And, I am thinking parsnip and sweet potato fries. I have quite a bit of both left.

Enough to take samples to Greenfest this Saturday. Our site host and I are staffing a table to promote our CSA. We need to guarantee our pick up site by recruiting a few more members.

Our Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative CSA is one that provides us with so many great vegetables. Fruit. Meat. Cheese. Eggs. Bread. Herbs. Milk. Tofu. The list seems to be endless. They have grown by leaps and bounds. Now delivering to six states and the District.

The rest of this week’s final basket.

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Spinach. Chard. Mushrooms. Aeroponic butterhead lettuce.

Add ons.

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The pantry item was mint tea. The cheese was a raw milk farmer’s cheese. The meat share was 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast.

In three weeks, we will begin the next season. Six months of food. I ordered a full vegetable share. Bread. Cheese. Fruit. Meat.

All I need with the exception of staples to keep us supplied with fresh organic non-GMO food.

Now, off to find new recipes for those sweet parsnips.

See you Saturday at Howard County Community College. Look for the Lancaster Farm Fresh table and stop to say HI to us.

Aeroponics … and More

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What are aeroponics? Why do I want to know? Because of this.

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It arrived in today’s CSA basket. With this inside.

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It seems our Amish CSA is using aeroponics to grow butterhead lettuce. Another way they continue to surprise us. Considering the fact that we still seem to be in the midst of winter, and we keep getting those everpresent root vegetables. There are signs of spring though.

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This is the next to last week of our winter share. Spring/summer doesn’t start until the week of May 3rd. Still, I appreciated the lettuce and the young rainbow chard. Added to it. Carrots. Sweet potatoes. Green beans. Dinosaur kale and portabello mushrooms.

Another new item. This cinnamon scented muesli.

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It was our pantry item. We did get hot Italian grilling sausages (maybe it will get warm enough to grill?). The cheese was an artisanal goat cheese. Rich, and creamy.

I headed off to Friends and Farms after picking up the CSA. There, we found a few signs of spring as well.

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Hydroponic arugula and a head of romaine. There were also parsnips, apples, mushrooms, sweet potatoes (really? Do you know how many types of sweet potatoes are hanging out in my pantry?), butternut squash puree. My apple cider for milk substitute to use to make that beautiful bone-in pork roast. A couple of chicken breasts. Destined to become chicken salad. Eggs. Bread. Breakfast links.

Another week. Another full delivery of regional specialties to cook with.

I did add on some seafood this week. Rockfish.

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It quickly became dinner tonight. Panko breaded with a glaze of honey mustard under the breading. Excellent meal.

Time Flies

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Five years now. Since I turned in my badge and retired from working. Still having fun. Still hoping I make a difference.

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You get that flag. It sits on the mantle. You wonder if there’s enough to keep you busy. In my world these days, there certainly is. Take today.

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Planting a couple of hundred onion bulbs in my community garden plot. Thank you, Southern States Ellicott City for having affordable loose onion bulbs for sale. We got red, white and yellow onions. All in the ground this morning. Covered and ready to grow.

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Picked up both CSAs after that.

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My Lancaster Farm Fresh winter share. Only two more weeks to go. Then a break until the summer CSA starts.

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Then, over to Friends and Farms to get my small share. This week, mahi mahi is a highlight. Home to unpack and store this week’s food.

Get all gussied up to go meet Colonel Gateway. A fun get together thanks to Aida Bistro, COPT, ADG Creative, and Jessie Newburn. At least 60 0f us, local businesses and bloggers, out to support the Columbia Gateway businesses, like Aida.

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Picked up a few buttons. Watched the festivities. Checked out Twitter when we got home, to see if anything interesting was posted.

Work? Me? No thank you. I am having too much fun doing “nothing”.

If you love it here in Howard County, like me, and want to support local businesses. Check out Aida Bistro. Our hosts tonight. Family owned. Great Italian restaurant. We had some great wines tonight, from their “wine taps”. Including one from a local winery. Old Westminster.

Tomorrow? That five year anniversary of my first day of retirement? I think I will be looking for plants to buy. And, prepping food for Easter. What should I do with that awesome basket cheese in my Friends and Farms basket?

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‘Tis The Season

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It must be spring. The Woodstock Snowball Stand is open.

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They opened yesterday. Today, I almost stopped just to see if they had hot cider as the weather isn’t cooperating for a need to have an icy cup of goodness. I saw later on the Facebook feed that they were offering 40% off since it was snowing at the snowball stand. OK, so there were flurries.

They always seem to open when we are doing spring grounds clean up. Today, our two day massive clean up and mulch fest happens in our yard. Today clean up. Tomorrow mulch. If only the guys weren’t out there in three or four layers dealing with the wind and the cold.

Today I finally got motivated, after our community garden kick off meeting, to do some indoor seed starting. With the cold this winter, the garage wasn’t warm enough to sustain growth so I am starting now.

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Recycling egg cartons to start leeks, romas and Thelma Sanders squash. Putting some cilantro in the pots to transfer to the deck planters in a few weeks. If we can ever have a week that stays warm enough. I will cross my fingers and get the arugula under row cover out at my community plot right after Easter weekend.

Arugula is one of my absolute favorite greens. Spicy, peppery, full of flavor. Last week, three of my local sources provided me with a vision of warmer times to come.

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The baby arugula came in my weekly Lancaster Farm Fresh basket this week. It took the place of basil in my close-to-Caprese salad. The Hummingbird Farms hydroponic tomatoes were in my Friends and Farms basket. The mozzarella. Picked up at my last visit to Breezy Willow farm store on a Saturday morning when they are open.

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These tomatoes actually have taste. Not like my summer tomatoes, but much better than those weird cardboard tasting things in the stores. I used a drizzle of Secolari Olive Oil and some Wegmans balsamic. Salt and pepper to finish.

Makes me want to go out and plant something.

Illusion of Springtime

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Compliments of our weekly food baskets. Which are changing slowly into springtime items. Like arugula.

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A pound of baby arugula. Also known as rocket. Peppery. Fresh. Just the perfect green to evoke memories of last spring. Too bad it’s going to snow tonight. We still think we are getting closer to springtime around here.

Then there’s microgreens.

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I swear microgreens are one of those prized items created by farmers. You know, “hey, let’s thin the seedlings and sell those thinnings for major amounts of money to unsuspecting consumers.” I have a garden. I know all about thinning the greens. Still, I do love the intensity of them.

How about lamb?

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An Easter tradition in my house. Lamb always reminds me of springtime.

This week, here was the total Friends and Farms basket.

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I had the salmon marinating even before I took the pictures. It ended up like this.

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With the green beans from my Lancaster Farm Fresh basket. Corn from the freezer, and a cut up carrot.

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My favorite thing this week. That lovely ham steak. I am thinking of saving it for Easter. I may be waiting for snow tonight, but there are definitely signs that spring is coming.

Catching Up

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One of the things I put together ever since I started my blog was my weekly catalogue of What is in the CSA basket. Somehow I have been shirking my “duty” the past two weeks. Maybe it’s that time of year when we get so tired of winter, and those boring stretches of root vegetables, stews, soups and crock pot meals.

We yearn for the weather to stay nice enough to grill, for a change. For many winters we did manage to grill a few times, but the brutal cold, and the snow covering our grill for weeks, made that impossible. Until, hopefully, this week, when we want to do something, ANYTHING, out there. I have a couple of petit filets I would love to make one evening, or my favorite, kofta.

Yesterday we cleaned the grill, since the snow has finally melted all around it. Thankfully, no little critters took up residence in it this winter. Last winter a chipmunk decided the side burner was a perfect spot to store everything they could carry up there.

As for what has been coming from the CSA for two weeks, here it is.

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The highlights from Lancaster Farm Fresh were the pantry item, maple sugar and the new goat cheese. We also got some kielbasa sausages in our omnivore add on. The vegetables. Standard except for the green beans. They were a treat. I swapped radishes to get double the carrots. There has been cole slaw made more than once the past two weeks. I made root vegetables again, to take to a Slow Food dinner this week. They must have gone over well, as there was almost nothing left. I still have a bag with the collards in it. They have to get cooked soon.

A few days ago, the latest basket.

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I am calling this the year of the celery root. Never had it before a CSA share delivered it. Now, we get it two or three times a month, it seems. Yes, there are two of them. I swapped the rutabagas for the second one. I like the celery root in that roasted honey glazed medley. This week we got honey. We got chicken. We got a new cheese. Pecora. Smoky and tangy. Good with a glass of red wine.

As for the rest. Beets in a salad. Chard as a side dish last night. The shiitake mushrooms, with the other ones from Friends and Farms a week ago, became a very lovely mushroom soup for dinner.

Speaking of Friends and Farms, they were invited to present to the Slow Food Dinner group. They brought their latest basket and they talked about how they operate, and what made them the company they are today.

The basket from the 4th of March looked like this.

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The best part of this basket. The rainbow trout.

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Simply cooked. We enjoyed that dinner, for sure. The Individual Quick Frozen corn is also very good. Makes us yearn for summer.

The rib eyes would have been great to grill, but not to be, due to the weather.

As for Wednesday, the basket that I picked up hours before the slow food dinner.

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Yes, there’s chard in there. Yes, there’s a chicken. And kielbasa. And sauerkraut. And carrots. Notice those similarities.

YES, I am officially tired of winter vegetables. I want to plant that garden, and go to farmer’s markets for fresh greens.

We still are eating well, even if it is getting a bit boring these days.

Going Whole Hog

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Sort of. Not completely. We haven’t gone for buying whole or half portions of beef or pork. We did once do half a lamb. It was more than we expected.

But, I have seen where we are now using more and more of the pork products available at our local farms. And, we are stretching our food dollars by making meals that use 3-4 ounces of meat per serving. Getting better quality meats from the farmers and butchers in the area. Yes, and paying more than that $1.99 a pound stuff out there.

I find it interesting to see McDonald’s and COSTCO both touting their changes. Where once I thought our local farmers and small organic markets were going to suffer, now I notice quite a large turning away from factory farmed, overly processed meats.

Quite an increase in CSA and Friends and Farms members. An increase in farmer’s markets. An interest in my web pages with links to local sources. All of this is a good thing. Besides lowering our exposure to antibiotic and hormone laden meats, we are decreasing our carbon footprint when we buy locally. We are keeping our local farmers and small butchers in business.

Remember when you could go into any grocery store and have a butcher wait on you, to get you the cuts of meat you wanted, in the quantities you wanted? So many of the stores today have removed that position.

I am grateful we have good butchers in the area. Boarmans. Treuths. Wagners.

We also have good farms selling meat. Copper Penny. Maple Lawn. TLV Tree Farm. Breezy Willow. Carroll Farm. England Acres. Clark’s Elioak. Wagon Wheel.

I did this post over a year ago. Since then, I have expanded the database to add more farms. But, I still love picking up very fresh items from these farms.

I have also learned to use those lesser used items. Ham Hocks. Bacon ends. Lamb shanks. Turkey drumsticks. Pork lard. Heck, I even ventured into the world of making my own scrapple.

I could do better the next time I do scrapple. I need to increase the pork part of it, and decrease the cornmeal.

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It was a wee bit pale. Not as dark and crispy as the scrapple of my youth.

As for those other goodies. I have made countless soups using the ham hocks, smoked mostly. That pork lard from Carroll Farm. It’s been used instead of butter in cooking. Most of it was put in small containers and frozen for later use. I will be trying a Pennsylvania Dutch biscuit recipe this week with it.

Bacon ends. The most economical way to have bacon around for flavoring.

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I have found bacon ends many places. Ask at any of the local farms if they have them. A good bargain. Freeze them. Take out as much as you might need to make excellent greens, soups, frittatas, spinach salads. Lots of possibilities.

Moving 100% away from grocery stores. Using less per meal. Using locally produced items. It can be done, and it really isn’t difficult at all in Howard County.

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But, I admit, I’m not quite ready to do Pig’s Feet – Toe On, or Pig’s Tail. Wayne Nell. You do have some interesting items there.

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