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Monthly Archives: May 2013

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.


This is

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.


Gardening As …

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… circuit weight training and more.

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It took me seven hours total yesterday and today to plant the 40+ tomato plants in the garden. I say 40+ because some of the plugs had more than one stem. All told, there were four dozen plants, but some of them were so intertwined they went into the same planting hole. Between digging the holes, adding the organic fertilizer and soil amendment, planting the plants, shoveling in the topsoil and then finishing off the entire garden in mulch, I am wiped out.

If you want something better to do than walking a treadmill at a gym, plant a garden. Add to all my other tasks, horsing around a 200 foot hose to water it all.

Two months from now I will be blessed with lovely yellow, orange and red tomatoes that will grace our table.

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Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow, even in a container. Add a container of basil and instant salad. Plant a few flowers in your yard. Weed by hand, instead of by pesticide. Just that little activity to water and weed and fertilize is one amazingly easy way to keep your metabolism elevated. I know it works for me.

Now, I just need the patience to wait two months to get tomatoes. And, keep watering, weeding and caring for my plants. Sounds like much more fun than circuit weight training.

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The Perfect Pairing – Wine and Food

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Wine in the Garden. At the Howard County Conservancy. Coming this Thursday night. I just saw the menu and the paired wines that will be poured. What I love most about this evening is how the caterers and the wine vendors select those perfect matches to serve. And, of course, the gardens.

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Listen to some of these pairings.

New Orleans BBQ shrimp with cheddar cheese grits, would go very well with the Loire Valley Vouvray.

Cucumber cups filled with salmon mousse served with a lightly oaked Central Valley CA Chardonnay.

Or, what would you like with Mussels Provencale? Red or white. Chardonnay or Pinot Noir from Sonoma. They are serving both.

Crab dip. You will have to get me away from that caterer. I love crab dip. Depending on the spice, the Vouvray or the Chardonnay will work, as will some of the exotic wines from Far Eastern Shore Winery of MD.

Jerk chicken kebabs. Definitely a slightly sweeter choice. Maybe a Linganore wine, or the blush styled wine from Far Eastern Shore.

Shrimp salad. Chicken salad. Pasta salads. The list goes on and on. This isn’t a measly set of choices here. I saw at least 15 items including a bruschetta bar, and one I am intrigued with. Spicy shrimp cilantro cups.

Lots of dessert choices in there too. Red wine and chocolate meet your fancy. There is a blended red being poured. A blend of zinfandel, syrah and cabernet. A caterer is bringing cake bites. Something small, sweet and you can experiment with all sorts of different wine pairings.

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If you haven’t signed up yet, there is still time. Or, come pay at the door. The party is from 5-8 on Thursday the 23rd. The silent auction has some cool wine and food items too. I saw that they have a private tour and tasting for eight people at Black Ankle Winery. Now that’s a great night out.

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See you there?

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Le Jardin

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It’s Sunday morning in the neighborhood. The sky is misty. The plants are happy. A Sunday report on the state of my garden, and of the Brighton Dam azalea garden.

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We stopped at Brighton Dam today on our way to Boarman’s to get fennel. They didn’t have any and we had to go to Harris Teeter, but that’s another post. The azaleas are past peak. Still pretty out there, but azaleas are over the hill. The cormorants were out in full force though.

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As you can see, there are splashes of color but way past prime viewing season.

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My herb garden is going nuts. Check out the large number of chive blossoms. Edible, tasty, pretty too.

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And, of course, the mint, which is essentially a weed. Can’t kill it. Spreads like crazy. This one has been in the same container for five years. For the life of me, I can’t remember which variety it is. It comes back every spring.

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As for my non edible garden, we got our first white rhododendron this year. Never saw one before now. The rhodie are doing well. With lots of new growth and more blooms than I thought.

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Plus, these flowers have never appeared before. Sometimes I wonder where in the world they come from. There are about a dozen of them out there now. I believe they are a type of iris. Any suggestions?

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Finally, too, the tangelo azalea has bloomed. Not as much as other years but still awesome.

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In terms of the pleasure we get from our flowers, shrubs and trees, it is well worth the effort I put into keeping them healthy.


In Glenwood It’s All Good

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Saturday farmer’s market in Glenwood. I missed the first week but made it out there today. The market has three new vendors. One, Misty Meadows, had ice cream, milk and cheese.

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Misty Meadows will be in Glenwood once a month, but for those craving fresh milk, they also come to the hospital market on Fridays. The other new vendor is Pleitez Produce, up from Montross VA. What is so great about having a VA farmer here is how early they get veggies in, compared to us. It is great because it lengthens the season. Today they had strawberries and rhubarb, and cucumbers and little greenhouse grown cherry tomatoes.

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In this picture, Pleitez is behind Great Harvest. Great Harvest had those incredible croutons there today. The ones I picked up at Breezy Willow with my CSA the other day. I got some rhubarb and large spring onions from Pleitez.

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The third new vendor is Thai Spices. I have already written about them from buying curries at Miller library market. They will be at all the markets.

I talked a while with RJ Caulder of Breezy Willow, and she said they are definitely adding more vendors to each market to make them more diverse. I see on the market web page that Elk Run Vineyard will be coming once a month in June July and August. Great to see the expansion of our markets.

I did a small amount of shopping. Cucumber plants to replace the ones the bunnies decided to sample.

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We need to expand the bunny fencing as the little ones are squeezing through the deer fence. Today was a three bunny day.

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Not very clear but then they were playing “Ring around the house” chasing each other all over the yard. Where is the fox when you need it? Seriously. They are getting into all my stuff even if they don’t like it. They chomp it off and leave it.

I got buttermilk cake to serve with berries and some of this lovely ice cream.

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Misty Meadows sells small cups and quarts of their ice cream. I also bought bacon from TLV. Not a bad morning. I have now been to two of the five to see what Howard County markets have this year. Check them out.

I think next week I may hit the hospital market if my husband likes this milk as well as Trickling Springs. I only got him a 12 ounce bottle today to try.