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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Opening Day in My World

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Two years running. Opening day at Larriland.

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Lots of cars. Lots of people. My husband and I got there at 1030, after the initial rush when they open at 9 AM. Same prices as last year.

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We picked 24 pounds. Yep, 24 pounds. This is what they looked like when we got home.

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We did whole berries. Pureed some. Sliced berries. Left some in the fridge for desserts. Put some away to give the neighbors. Oh, and made strawberry daiquiris to celebrate the season.

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Picking took us about an hour. Processing took me about two hours, and in my spare time I made my rhubarb BBQ sauce also. It was a fruit processing day here.

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That lovely puree. Will become smoothies and strawberry yogurt Popsicles. I need to hit Breezy Willow tomorrow for more yogurt to make the pops. The ones in the freezer, pictured above, will get put away for later this summer. They make a mean sangria when dropped in dry rose wine.

Love the fact that Larriland is open again. Looking forward to blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, peaches and who knows what else. The freezer needs filling.

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No Room in the Fridge

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Almost $60 worth of organic veggies for $30. Sandy Spring CSA Week Two.

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Besides the fact that I can’t get anything else in the fridge, this is a great deal. We are eating salads at lunch and dinner. Good salads. With greens and cheese and scallions and fruit.

The salad mix alone, a pound of it, would cost $14-16 in a natural market or farmers market, for organic.

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There are ten other items in the basket this week. What did we get”

1 bunch asparagus $4 today at farmers market
1 bag romaine hearts, at least $4.50 for romaine hearts that are organic
1 bag baby lettuce mix One pound of it $14
1 bunch blue hyssop, I traded this for more red scallions
1 bunch kohlrabi, with greens $5
1 bunch red kale $4
1 bunch red scallions $3.50 times two since I traded for them
1 bunch green curly endive $4
1 bag red russian kale $4
2 heads red butterhead lettuce $6
1 head bok choy $4

There literally is no room in our fridge right now. These first two weeks have been amazing. With good weather, a CSA will drown you in veggies, but is that a bad thing?

These days I pick the veggies, and add a little meat to the plate, instead of the other way around.

If you want to read an interesting article about losing nutrients in veggies, read this NY Times article.

After reading it, think about joining a CSA for veggies. Lots of heirlooms. No hybrid stuff that has been bred for sweetness to sacrifice nutrients.

Gorman and Breezy Willow and Sandy Spring are all organic, and deliver to Howard County. Love Dove and Zahradka, though not certified, still give awesome value with many heirloom plants.

Want to make your diet healthier? Check out the local CSAs on my local resource page.


Freezin’ Season …

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… is about to begin. With the strawberries, of course. And, those lovely garlic scapes.

We did a Costco run today to stock up on food saver bags, pine nuts, and other supplies. I am down to the end of the pesto. The rest will be used in a salad for a Conservancy planning meeting I am hosting next Monday here.

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This is the last bag of pesto cubes. With garlic scapes coming soon, I will be making pesto. I got pine nuts today and Parmesan. I freeze my pesto with the Parm in it. Some people don’t.

This year the whole strawberries that get flash frozen will be vacuum sealed in the food saver. So will the blackberries and blueberries later this summer.

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I also freeze whole tomatoes once they start producing. The vacuum sealer will help greatly with this task. Blanch, peel and squeeze out seeds. Put in bags. Slowly cook and put into sauces.

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These tomatoes were dumped in a pan. Very low heat. Covered in herbs and salt, pepper. Once they sweated off all that liquid, I picked them up and made sauce with them.

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There is nothing in a can or jar that comes close to this.

Check out Larriland all summer long. They have pick your own veggies and fruit, including tomatoes. With a few simple tools, and a chest freezer, you can eat wonderful meals without all that sodium and other garbage found in cans and jars.

Love those garlic scapes. And, any other greens to make pesto.

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Ask Love Dove at the market Friday when scapes are coming in.


Greens People

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I haven’t been blogging about eating locally once a week for any challenges. That’s because all I seem to do is eat locally this week. Two CSA deiveries in two days last week will do that to you.

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It is officially greens season. Some people love greens. Some hate them. We fall into that camp of really enjoying braised or sauteed greens with pork or bacon or beef, or even by themselves.

There have been spinach salads for lunch all week. Short ribs over Napa cabbage, collards and chard. Tonight there was tat soi and spinach braised in the oven with orzo, onions, pork shank and garlic.

I have to admit though, that no matter how much I put them through the spinner, we still get grit sometime during the meal.

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Marcia, one of our fellow CSAers who got mustard greens last week, commented on facebook about making them. Prompted some comments from Southerners who love making greens with dinner.

This Thursday we expect more of the same. Lots of lettuces, greens, onions and other spring veggies. The weather has been cool enough to produce a glut of green veggies. I intend to hang around the pick up site and see how many greens get put into the swap bin.

By the way, kohlrabi greens are edible. We got a huge amount of them last week. They are mild and delicious, sauteed with just a bit of oil, butter, garlic and bacon.

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People just don’t know what they are missing.


Put It on Your Calendar – Larriland

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Larriland opens this Friday May 31st. For pick your own strawberries.

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Looks like I will be picking strawberries and having lunch at the Lisbon Town Grill. Pulled pork sounds great. Grilled out by the gas station.

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This is two weeks later than last year. A longer cooler spring time this year. But, we know summer is coming when the strawberries ripen.

Oh, and it will be warm Friday. Sounds like snowballs at Alex’s for dessert.

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Now, I have to go find my container. I kept it all winter.

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See you Friday?


What Does Memorial Day Mean to You?

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A weekend at the beach? Another Federal Holiday? A Day of Remembrance?

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Out here in west county people fly flags for every remembrance day. Memorial Day. 4th of July. Labor Day. Veterans Day. And more. One of the first things we bought was a flag. No more covenants telling me how or where I could put up a flag. Freedom.

Something our forefathers fought to preserve and protect.

My dad and my husband’s dad went to war in World War II and both came home, thankfully. Many, of course we know, didn’t. Even while grilling, or chilling, or sunbathing, I paused for that moment to remember those who served and didn’t come home.

It is still part of our heritage here. Having a nephew in the service. Two years ago, we celebrated when he graduated.

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This summer he graduates from flight school and goes off to defend our country. As usual, I pray to keep him safe. Memorial Day means quite a bit to our family. Take time to thank those who serve us, for what they give, and the risks they take.

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Hawaiian Shave Ice on Montgomery Road

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Yes, the sign says shave ice. It looks like shave ice. Tastes like shave ice.

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Egg custard. My favorite flavor for snowballs and shave ice. HowChow wrote about the lack of shave ice in this area. I commented about the stand on Liberty Road, but that’s pretty far away.

Today, after a quick trip to Staples to get printer cartridges, we headed east to see if Baugher’s farm stand is open, or when they will open. So I can add them to my foursquare farmstand list.

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But, missing the turn at New Cut Road, we went up to the intersection of Waterloo Road and Montgomery Road to turn around. There, by the TBonz truck was a trailer selling shave ice.

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I am not sure if they are always there, but it is definitely not snow cone or snow ball ice, which is much larger. This is fluffy. I have to say the Liberty Road stand I talked about before has really wonderful homemade flavors, but this is good.

We will have to go try our other standard. Spearmint.


Switching Gears

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Or, at least switching CSAs. This is the return to my original CSA, the one that got me hooked on CSAs. Sandy Spring using Lancaster Farm Fresh, a cooperative of Amish farms near Lancaster. This is the third time, too, for multiple CSA deliveries in the same week. Changing seasons or sites or CSAs will do that. In other words, I am really drowning in veggies.

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The reason I like this CSA is the experience. These are usually some very unique veggies, and always a huge amount. Two years ago, it freaked us out. We hadn’t changed our style of eating, cooking, freezing/canning and innovating. We gave lots of stuff away.

Now, I embrace the challenge. Particularly in the summer. In spring and fall I volunteer for lots of things. In winter, I recuperate and do house renovations and projects. In summer, I like figuring out what to do with cardoons or African horned melon. I still get my Breezy Willow fix at Glenwood. Those lovely eggs. Hit the farm store for mozzarella, yogurt, honey and other staples.

Some people may not handle this well. I think this year I am going to hang around the pick up site and see what goes into the swap box. How many adventurous people are out there in Columbia? This year they offered half shares for the first time. The half shares are more conventional than the full shares.

But, what did we get yesterday? TWELVE items. Glad they waited a week due to a slow spring. But, TWELVE?

Red tatsoi
Gai-Lan Chinese broccoli
White scallions
Green Romaine
Butter lettuce
White Kohlrabi

Most boxes also had: Red scallions and spinach, but not me. You will notice in the picture all those lovely rhubarb stalks. Some of the boxes had rhubarb. I hung around and swapped for two. Why?

Rhubarb-B-Q Sauce is why.

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One of my local food challenge cyber friends made this. I love it. You will never buy BBQ sauce again if you learn to make your own.

As for the kohlrabi. Some people swapped. Most kept it. Now, the half share people were swapping mustard greens left and right. Our site host might be drowning in mustard greens today.

I love kohlrabi. Here is how I usually make it. Grilled with apple. Sprinkled with garam masala.

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Here’s to the start of another fabulous summer, full of fresh organic foods, from the CSA and the farmer’s markets.


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And The Winner Is …

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… Salad Mix. We got it eight times this spring. Followed by spinach and grapefruit. All three big ticket items if you bought them in a store or market and were looking for untreated or organic foods.

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I always do a value added post. What I paid versus what I got. We paid $462 for twelve weeks of Breezy Willow early bird CSA. By a rough calculation we got over $500 worth of veggies, fruit, eggs and bread, if you use organic sources for veggies, and farmer’s market prices for bread and eggs. Citrus a little harder but this was prime Florida citrus, not inexpensive by any standard.

I used Wegmans online for most of the veggies. David’s, Roots, MOM’s and farmers markets could even be higher.

I have always maintained that if you want to eat fresh untreated healthy food, a CSA is the way to do it.

We got salad mix eight out of twelve weeks. Something everyone can relate to, and will probably eat. We got spinach seven weeks. These two simple yet yummy veggies were a mainstay in our house. Lunches and dinners. Stir fries and salad plates. It is easy to use these up.

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What tastes better than fresh greens, eggs, mushrooms? So many days we indulged in lunches that we would have paid big bucks to enjoy in a restaurant.

If you ever considered a CSA, you should really do a little research and try one. We move around a lot and try many of them. Breezy Willow is definitely a winner. Check them out.


The End of the Road

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Week 12 Breezy Willow Early Bird CSA. I will miss my Wednesday trips to the farm. This CSA is such a great value, and you get so much for your money. For us maybe, sometimes too much, but still it is one awesome CSA.


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The biggest celery cabbage I have seen (and I took the smallest one there)
One humongous green romaine lettuce
Two pounds zucchini
Two sweet onions
One eggplant
One bunch asparagus
One bunch chard
One pound spinach (I picked the smallest ones to make salad)

Plus, either eggs or yogurt. I love Breezy Willow eggs and since this was the last week, I chose eggs.

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And, the bread. Honey Whole Wheat. There will be egg salad made. And, deviled eggs to take to a picnic. Pure heaven is homemade egg salad with a great loaf of bread.

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There is ratatouille in my future. I have some tomatoes in the freezer. We got onions, eggplant and zucchini. Sounds like the perfect fit.

Of course, for us, summer means farmers markets. And Glenwood is where I will continue to get Breezy Willow eggs and Great Harvest bread. Along with my TLV meats and Stone House baked goods.

Who needs grocery stores? Not us, well, except for staples like vinegar, sugar, beans and those other things we can’t find at markets.