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Tag Archives: CSA

Catching Up Again

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On the local food scene. In our home, it is presently dominated by our two summer food sources. A Community Supported Agriculture large share of vegetables. And a protein and dairy bag from Friends and Farms.

Supplemented by trips to the Glenwood Farmers Market. And, stopping at Jenny’s Market to round out the fruit.

Occasionally I have to hit Harris Teeter for things like tonic water for those gin and tonics. Aranciata for those Lemon Basil drinks. Tea bags to make iced tea.

The garden also contributes. With greens and spring onions.

As for the CSA. We had another week of greens overload. Not a bad thing, as we eat salads at lunch and dinner. This week at least it was all really good stuff.

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Leaf lettuces. Spring mix. Romaine. Spinach. Two bunches of scallions. Green garlic. Two kinds of mushrooms. And, strawberries.

There will be no problem in using up all these goodies. Caesar salads. Greens with fruit and cheese. Greek salad. All sorts of possibilities. I am even thinking of pesto with some of my chive blossom stems and the spring garlic.

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We are crossing our fingers that we get garlic scapes next week. To replenish my pesto supplies in the freezer.

As for the proteins.

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Our meat share gave us ground beef. I am thinking of hamburgers on the grill. We already had the spare ribs for dinner tonight. Slathered in Rhubarb BBQ sauce. The drumsticks I will grill also.

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That BBQ sauce? I found a recipe here. But then I didn’t follow it. I used the ingredients, but not in the quantities. I used frozen berries from last year. I used mostly rhubarb. My suggestion when you get an idea like this. Use whatever suits your taste. I used more mustard. Less molasses. Didn’t use the cloves. Bottom line. Trust your taste and be adventurous.

Who needs bottled sauces when it is relatively simple to simmer up a sauce that is fresh, bold, tasty and versatile.

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.

Fifty Shades of Greens

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Springtime. The drowning in the greens. Not a bad thing. One of those pleasures that we anticipate in the dead of winter.

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Today’s CSA pickup yielded lots of greens. Lettuces. Spinach. Kale and more.

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A large share. Formerly known as a full share. I forgot how large they can be. Still, as people who put many vegetables on our lunch and dinner plates, this is a good haul.

I have to comment about those squash.

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Zucchini and yellow squash are NOT in season in Lancaster County. It seems our CSA has decided that the consumer who wants more produce earlier than normal in the midAtlantic will be driving their selections.

We seem to have expanded into a few more Southern states. The purists may not be happy, but we are getting incredibly fresh organic food at less than retail cost, so I can forgive them for using other farms. Last year, we had a delayed opening because the crops were far behind here. The extreme cold winter hurt them.

This year, they opted to bring in vegetables from further south. That allowed them to open on time. We know this was another brutal winter. When it comes to decisions. Do they branch out and keep customers, or remain pure to the “local” tag and lose customers due to decreased yields and subpar product. I can understand them.

I have to admit. Those squash? Awesome.

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Two ended up in tonight’s dinner. A simple gratin. Squash. Hummingbird Farm tomatoes. Mozzarella from last week’s basket. Olive oil. Herbs de Provence. Baked at 350 degrees until browned.

Tonight’s dinner.

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Not bad for a Tuesday.

As for those other greens. They will be enjoyed.

And that rhubarb. Begging to become a crisp tomorrow.

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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.

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.

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.

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