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What’s A CSA, You Say?

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My husband pointed out to me that not everyone who reads this blog these days knows what Community Supported Agriculture is. Long time readers and those who participate in the Buy Local challenges with me do know about them. More and more farms are offering their customers fresh food in the spring, summer, fall, and even in winter.

Tomorrow at the Conservancy there will be a number of the local CSAs represented. Every CSA has its differences and its focus could be a very good match or maybe not a match for some people.

That is why it is nice to have the farmers come out and talk to us about them. I first approached the farmers to see if there was interest in having this session at the Conservancy sometime during their non market months. It provided them the ability to discuss in detail with you what they grow, what they offer, and how they farm. All this without the lines you encounter at our farmers markets, lines that are good for business, but don’t give you the opportunity to talk to the “source” so to speak.

I like getting my food this way. I like knowing where it came from. I don’t mind worms in my corn, as I know it means it hasn’t been sprayed from here to wherever, with whatever. I don’t know that with vegetables and fruits grown in foreign countries. And, the same with meats, dairy, cheese and eggs. Organically grown veggies. Free range chickens. Pastured sheep, cattle and pigs that run all over the farms. At less than many organic supermarkets charge.

Knowing everything is fresh. Asking about what is in them. What they feed their chickens. Seeing the farms themselves when picking up my food. Maybe it takes a bit of work to clean off the soil, but at least it isn’t waxed or treated to look pretty.

csa week sixteen 033

Getting back to the CSAs. Differences. Some include eggs. Some include bread. Some include meat. We did Zahradka last winter. They deliver to your doorstep in the winter. In the summer, they are at Glenwood market, and also deliver a number of other places in Howard County.

winter csa week 4 and storm 022

During the winter last year we chose a small share. Six items that we chose online. That week I chose broccoli, baby beets, celery, sweet potatoes, large Spanish onion and mixed greens. For meat that week we got ground beef from a farm in northern MD. Every other week we got eggs. Just enough for two people.

Other CSAs are different. Some offer half shares, and quarter shares. Some have pick ups only at the farm, and you weigh or count out your items. Gorman Farm does this. If you live on the east side of Howard County they are really convenient, and have a farm stand to get other items.

Breezy Willow offers pick up at the farm, or has drop off locations. We will be getting an early bird share this March and picking it up at the Farm. Right now we go out to the farm on Saturdays when they are open to get what is currently being harvested, and to pick up eggs. No winter CSA for us this year. The timing of drop off didn’t work this year.

Love Dove comes to two local Howard County markets and has pick up points for their summer and fall CSA. Love Dove is a small CSA and fills up quickly with people wanting their veggies grown following organic practices. There are other small CSAs in the county. Not everyone coming to our event, but localharvest is the place to go to see what is out there.

Many who aren’t attending our event are completely full every year. Shaw Farms is one. Roundabout Farms is another. Larger cooperatives also deliver to the area. One Straw Farm comes to Dorsey Hall and MOM’s Organic Market. They are a 2000 member coop, that has been around a long time. Sandy Spring, my summer and fall CSA, is an Amish coop that delivers all around Howard and Montgomery County. They have 500 members here, and the coop is 80 farmers around Lancaster.

Any one of these is good for you, if it fits your taste and your family size. I love the diversity of Sandy Spring, for the exotic veggies we get. But, I have the time to cook and the freezer to use it all. It isn’t a value if your family isn’t into veggies, fruits, and herbs.

What do you do with salsify?

week seven csa and trees 030

Some people did swap it, but I made fritters. Tastes like oysters.

week 7 014

Are you interested in foods from local farmers? Come tomorrow the 20th to ask them all about it. At the Conservancy, 2-4 pm. Old Frederick Road. No charge.

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About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. Just signed up for my first winter CsA. Can’t wait!

    Reply
  2. The Baltimore Sun had a nice article about today’s event at the Conservancy. Wish we could attend!

    Reply

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