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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Talking Turkey

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Yes, it’s time to order that Thanksgiving turkey.

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We have all sorts of options around here. I can order directly from Maple Lawn Farms. If I want to pay by cash or check, and stand in line a very long time. I can get a free range bird for around $2.50 a pound.

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I can pick one up at other sites, like Boarman’s or MOM’s or David’s or Roots or Whole Foods. I will pay more at these places but they do take credit and debit cards.

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Whole Foods will also sell you all the fixings. Easier than DIY, but pricey.

As for other options, there are restaurants open for dinner. Check out Richard Gorelick’s new blog, with a list of places that are open in the area. I did leave a comment that The King’s Contrivance is also open.

Other sources. Friends and Farms, just slightly more expensive than Maple Lawn. Lancaster Farm Fresh, my CSA, is offering organic turkeys but they are closer to $5 a pound. I will probably get mine from Boarman’s like I always do.

I will also head over to Maple Lawn between Thanksgiving and Christmas. To get some drumsticks for the freezer. Maybe a smoked turkey breast this year for our Christmas buffet here. You can pre-order all of these items.

Somehow the holidays are sneaking up on us. Even though the weather is still really nice.

The End of the Season

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Markets are finishing. Larriland is closing this weekend. So is Jenny’s. For me, this final weekend in October marks the end of the fresh food season until spring.

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Unless you can find year round markets, or CSAs, or a regional food source to keep you going.

We are lucky. Our CSA got enough members to extend our season until Christmas. That means fresh vegetables for the next eight weeks.

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What is closing this week? Friday market at Howard County General Hospital. Saturday at Maple Lawn, Ellicott City and Glenwood.

Miller Library, Oakland Mills and East Columbia (closes November 12) will be open into mid November.

As for tips, if you can get to Larriland this weekend, their apples will store for a very long time in the refrigerator. We picked about 20 pounds last October and they keep for months. Pink Lady and Cortland will be available out at the farm.

Farm stands will still be open all winter. Like Carroll Farm to Table. By the way, they want your Jack O’Lanterns. To feed their pigs. Pigs love pumpkins. Drop them off at the stand on Frederick Road at Manor Lane.

Here’s to those great fall veggies, wherever you can find them.

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Nighttime Hiking

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What are you doing this Friday night? How about hiking under an almost full moon, with flashlights?

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Out at my favorite volunteer location, where I spend way too much time having fun (yes, tomorrow I get to chase first graders all over the property on a field trip about owls), this Friday at 7 PM, they are having a flashlight night hike for anyone interested in what is out there in the dark. As an aside, how is that for an epic run on sentence?

What can we see in the dark? What can we hear? If you really want to have a great beginning to your Halloween weekend, go to the web site and guarantee a place. Howard County Conservancy. Mt. Pleasant. Woodstock. If you haven’t been there, you are really missing something. Worth the time to check it out. Your family will love you for it.


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To the Local Resources Page. I have been doing some maintenance on my pages. Added a few items to my local page. And, subtracted one place.

I try to keep my pages up to date. But, sometimes I do get behind. I will be doing other pages the next two weeks, but today, I cleaned up my Local Page.

I deleted Bonaparte Breads. A few years back, they were an excellent source at the DuPont Circle Market. Since then, change of ownership and other issues. At Savage, I see review after review saying they don’t open on time. They sell older stale breads. I haven’t been there in a while and when I got there last year, they weren’t open. So, they’re gone.

I added Canela for bread. They sell at many local stores, at Olney Market and other markets. Check them out. I buy mine at Boarman’s. I buy a few loaves at a time and freeze some of it. That gives us bread for toast, or to clean our plates after a really nice dinner.

I added a “newer” winery. Old Westminster. The closest winery to us in Howard County. They are opening their tasting room in two weeks. For a great fall dinner, pack a picnic. Head up there on a Friday night or Saturday. Listen to some great local music.

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I added Shepherds Manor Creamery to our cheese listings. I love their sheep’s milk cheeses. We get them from Friends and Farms, but the Creamery has their product all over the area.

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You know? We are lucky. So many options for local foods. And wine. And, beer. I do need to check out Manor Hill. And add them to my list.

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The CSA Model

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Gorman farms style. How to grow a Community Supported Agriculture program from 28 families to almost 500. In six years.

We learned this yesterday at the Farm Academy. Over at Gorman Farms. Just southeast of Columbia, and northwest of Laurel. At a location chosen for its access to the market.

Dave Liker runs Gorman Farms. Currently on leased land, but soon to expand to their own farm slightly west of its current location, to Highland.

They had their big announcement earlier this month. It will be a great location and addition to a farm committed to organic growing and the production of quality vegetables and fruit for their loyal CSA members.

Those of us who loved their farm stand, miss it. We knew they dropped it because it took away from their attention to their immensely popular CSA.

We will also miss their Christmas tree operation this year, as they turn their attention to getting the new farm ready for production.

Here is more information about the new farm.

Dave’s presentation to the Farm Academy and his two hour tour of the farm were full of details that show his commitment to the land, the soil, the farm, and to providing us with fresh healthy organically grown food.

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Information such as how successful his pick your own strawberries have been.

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By the way, there are quite a few more rows of strawberries in the ground, to make sure there are enough for the very great demand every spring.

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They provide medium and full CSA shares for a 20 week season. If you live in the east or south part of Howard County, or northern Montgomery or PG county, you should check them out.

Craving Comfort Foods

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Autumn. When the weather changes and we exit grilling mode and enter comfort food mode.

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Like the beef noodle soup I mentioned a few days ago. That arm roast which has already given us two meals, now will give us at least two more. Made with the leftover beef and the broth from the crockpot.

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This is only the beginning for me. We are most definitely soup people, but I also love to make stews and other one pot dishes.

This week our CSA, which is in its next to last “summer” delivery, gave us quite a bit to process. At the end of the season, we get very large amounts of food. It’s as if they are emptying the fields and sharing the bounty.

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Squash. Cabbages. Potatoes. Carrots. Greens. Food destined to flavor those soups and stews.

New to us.

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Japanese pie squash, and Guatemalan blue banana squash. Time to get creative and roast these.

We also got some very interesting apples this week.

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The crispins on the left are organically grown apples. Not IPM. Let’s just say they aren’t the prettiest fruit in the basket, although they have a wonderful taste. I can understand why farmers don’t want to go completely organic with fruit, as many of these apples would never be selected at a market or farm stand. They have bumps, bruises and bug bites.

The Cortlands on the right are a perfect baking apple, and already my husband requested them for a weekend dessert treat.

Do you have a fall favorite that invokes your childhood? Mine is applesauce, and it seems to be time to make this year’s batch. Just another of those comfort foods.

For those who want fresh apples for baking, Larriland has a couple of weeks left. They also have all sorts of cooking pumpkins. Me, I’ll be dealing with what our CSA gave us. And wishing Indian summer didn’t make it too hot to want soup.


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What you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

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The Farm Academy is answering all those questions. And more. I feel like I am living in an information overload scenario when I attend these three hour sessions. But, they are so worth the time to do them.

I am learning so much more than I expected, by attending the farm visits. These are serious lectures and tours, not a hayride through a farm.

I found all sorts of resources, and got quite an education on the status of much of the farmland in Howard County.

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Exhibit A. The preservation map. Also available on the web site, as an interactive map, showing just how much land is in some sort of preservation status. If you click on the interactive map link, you can find all sorts of information.

Did you know that over 21000 acres of land in our county are in these programs? That’s almost 2/3 of the current agricultural land in the county. No wonder there won’t be much more development out here. The land is covered in preserved areas.

Planned service area maps tell the same story. There is no current plan to extend the water and sewer lines out here. In order to develop with other than rural residential or rural conservation limits in place, there would have to be a plan to run those utilities to the small towns. Not going to happen in this fiscally conservative time.

As for what happens on these farms, I found the Academy participants to be incredibly open about what they do. We have visited TLV Tree Farm.

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And the UMD Research Farm.

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Dairy and equine facilities at the UMD farm. I feel like I attended classes at UMD, we were given such an in depth tour. I hope to do another post about this facility.

Next weekend, we end up at Gorman Farm.

The county plans to offer these visits again in the spring. If you want to get a better idea of what is happening around you, down on these farms, you should look for them and sign up.

I know that I learned so much more about dairy operations than I ever expected.

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100% Amish

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I just noticed this about tonight’s dinner.

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The food completely was sourced from the Amish farms in our Community Supported Agriculture. Including this absolutely lovely roast from Tussock Sedge Farm.

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I went to their web site (yes, the Amish have web sites, usually maintained by a sales manager) and read all about this grass fed beef. It tells you to slow cook this beef for best results. I did a 20 hour slow cook in my crockpot, overnight and all day. I can say this is some of the best beef I have ever had. Falling apart. Incredibly tender.

Served with another new item we received. Kennebec potatoes

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I think I have a new favorite when it comes to potatoes. These were very creamy and full of flavor. I just microwaved them for about three minutes. Perfect consistency. They would make awesome mashed potatoes.

The vegetables on the side were cauliflower and broccoli. Steamed for just about three minutes. A little Trickling Springs butter and salt and pepper. We got both of them last Tuesday in our delivery. Food just days out of the ground. Nothing like it.

And, enough leftovers for two more meals, plus a hearty broth that will make that last meal probably be a beef noodle soup.

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It doesn’t get much better than this, and it was very simple to make. Turn on that crockpot and go about your business.

Thanks to Lancaster Farm Fresh, I can make a great Saturday night meal without running all over town.

Tidbit Tuesday Again

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Doing a fly by. Quick information because there is too much going on, and I haven’t updated the blog in a few days.

Did you know that the Farm Academy is simply awesome?

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The first session was at TLV Tree Farm. Two more. UMD farm, and Gorman. If there is still room, you should sign up. I learned quite a bit and I thought I knew much about our local agricultural business.

I did learn more about the Roving Radish. For $28 you can get two meals for four people, or four meals for two, like us, with all the major ingredients and the recipes. When it first started, they used about 10% local sourcing, now it is close to 70% local. Want to have better food, easy to make? Affordable? Check them out!

More later, when I get all the information about the local farms, but you really need to see how much the county is doing to promote local vendors and farms. I am seriously impressed.

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Pumpkin Spice

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Flavoring that seems to have taken over the stores, restaurants, drive throughs and other places all over the area. So, what is pumpkin spice?

You can buy it from McCormick.

According to most people, it includes cinnamon, cloves, mace, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg. Me, I get a little adventurous.

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This was in the pumpkin hummus I made a few years back. Post is here.

This hummus is one of my favorites, and a way to deal with large pumpkins, like the ones seen all over this county at our local farms and markets.

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We know there are cooking pumpkins and “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins. Some are stringy. Some have very little flesh. So, we tend to use butternut squash for our pumpkin recipes. Just like they do in the canned “pumpkin pie filling”. Read this blog entry to see what we mean.

I use what we have. If we get cooking pumpkins, OK. If we get heirloom squash, like our recent Sucrine du Berry, we use it.

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Today I decided to experiment with that squash. I roasted it yesterday. Scraped it out. Went looking for recipes. Found one for lasagna. On the Big Oven APP.

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Made my squash component. Made my spinach too, using tatsoi from the CSA. The three cheeses. Mozzarella, pecorino and ricotta. I didn’t go heavy enough on the “pumpkin spice” but I should have.

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Finished. It was good, but not great. I think I need to increase the pumpkin spice.

If you get a chance, pick some pumpkins. Try something new and different. Like hummus, or ravioli, or lasagna.