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Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Dirt List

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Just up the road a bit, in Philly, there is an amazing restaurant called Vedge. I’m not sure when I first heard about it, maybe one of my magazines, or Chopped, or a random blog post somewhere.

I do know I love their recipes in their book. Like this one. I stumbled across this article recently and ended up buying the book online. For $9.99, it now resides on my iPad to inspire me when my CSA box comes.

Why? Because our Amish food cooperative CSA supplies restaurants, hospitals, schools and grocery stores within a 150 mile radius of the 100+ Amish farms who are members of this organic cooperative. I viewed, a while back, the Penske video by the general manager of Lancaster Farm Fresh, Casey Spacht. Casey had this vision, and worked with a small number, at the start, of Amish farmers to make it come true.

I also found, while reading my cookbook that the “dirt list” at the restaurant is inspired by those same vegetables that come in my weekly CSA. Baby Hakurei turnips. Chinese broccoli. Salsify (I am bummed, we haven’t gotten salsify in ages, it all must go to the restaurants).

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Other local restaurants use the coop too. Like Woodberry Kitchen, in Baltimore. And, probably Great Sage, since the coop delivers to Roots. We are lucky that our CSA is supported year round, even when we don’t get the minimum 30 members in the winter. Why? Because the truck also delivers to Roots, MOM’s, Friends and Farms, to name a few of their local wholesale customers.

I do love this CSA for its uniqueness. They offer some really off the wall vegetables. It isn’t a CSA for the carrot, corn, romaine crowd. You have to want escarole, watercress, purple kohlrabi, bitter fruit, and other exotic things. You have to learn to be creative. You have to have a passion for discovery, and you have to love vegetables enough to want to use large amounts of them in your cooking. Even the smaller shares give you a great variety. You certainly get your money’s worth.

a medium summer share

a medium summer share

I just signed up for my sixth spring/summer share. I dropped back to a medium share, as the large was giving us as much as 25-30 pounds of organic vegetables weekly. The variety was great. And, at $31 a share, it was an immense bargain. The medium share is about $22 a share and will give us 7-9 different items, and about 15 or so pounds a week. Sure beats grocery store pricing for organics.

There are lots of choices for CSAs around here. I just happen to be committed to this small, focused, adventurous group of people who are willing to take on these and more.

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And, it all comes down to that dirt list on the Vedge menu. Named because of the freshness, the seasonality, the joy of eating food that was just harvested. The typical turn around time from ground to table for this cooperative is two days.

Check out the book from Vedge. And check out our CSA. If you really love cooking and want a challenge, this is the place to find it. Great vegetables. A book of amazing recipes for inspiration.

The CSA Update

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The warm weather makes us all think it’s spring. And with spring, our thoughts turn to fresh vegetables and fruit. Here in the heart of Maryland we have so many options for Community Supported Agriculture and they are evolving to make them more adaptable for our needs.

I wrote about Breezy Willow the other day. Besides them, there are lots of options around here. Love Dove Farm. Gorman Farm. Clark’s Farm. One Straw Farm. TLV Tree Farm. Zahradka Farm. All fairly local.

For us, we still like our Amish option, with all the exotic vegetables. We know it isn’t for everyone, but we like it. I still can buy from the local farms at the markets all summer and fall.

Happily, the CSAs around here are allowing you to choose options. For meat. For eggs. If you haven’t considered buying locally and helping a farm get money early in the year, keeping them from having to borrow money early in the season maybe you should check out the options and help them stay healthy. If you don’t live around here, you can check out Local Harvest and find one near you.

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You too can get wholesome food, fresh from the fields, and know the farmers who grow it.

Breezy Willow

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The new and improved country store.

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For their grand opening yesterday, I took some time off from moving stuff around the painters to head out to Woodbine (the weird part of Woodbine that drops below the interstate and is between Lisbon and Glenwood) to see the new Breezy Willow Farm addition, at Hopkins Springs.

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Right on Frederick Rd. Between Carrs Mill and Bushy Park. The family bought this historic property and will make it their CSA pick up point for those picking up at the farm.

The site is great. Much more parking and a big area for those intrepid early bird members, who used to get a little cold up on the hill at the old site.

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They have expanded their offerings at the store to include freshly baked items from the Amish. I brought home a six pack of cookies yesterday. The produce pick up area is across the way from the farm store. Both areas are heated, and much more comfortable.

I also like their new options, for summer CSA. You can pick a weekly or biweekly pick up. You can sign up for full CSA, or delete the bread and eggs portion, just to get fruit and vegetables. Good new choices for those who are vegan.

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The chickens have moved out to the new farm. I wonder if the alpacas are coming soon?

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I need to ask them the next time I head out there for a Saturday morning shopping spree.

The Realities of Renovation

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Did anyone notice I haven’t been posting? Longer than any absence in my four years of blogging?

Yes, renovating can do that to you. I know why people hate it and avoid it. Despite the glowing pictures shown on DIY reality TV shows. I wish we could all disappear for seven weeks while The Property Brothers make our homes perfect.

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I mean, who doesn’t want their front porch to look like this? It did all get to the landfill with certain items put into the building supply trailer, where they can be used for projects. Most of the trash, we paid to dispose of it. Thankfully, with a pickup and a good contractor, we negotiated a rate that saves us money if we dispose of the materials.

As for the rest of the things happening, a big shout out to Bode Floors.

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I think my husband’s study is awesome, and the carpet makes the room. I love recommending local businesses here in Howard County, when they are family owned and do a great job.

The study is done, except for drapes. The basement room damaged the most by the water leaking down the walls, is also finished, except for a new light fixture. The basement bathroom is coming along.

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We still need a toilet, a vanity, and the molding. The vanity is delayed until the 22nd.

We have learned patience. Things don’t always go as planned. An 18 day job is easily turning into a 25 day job, with the delays, the bad materials, and some electrical issues. I now have three contractors scheduled for a day I was supposed to be available for a Conservancy program. I can’t leave my husband alone to juggle them all.

Doing your own general contracting saves you money, but adds stress to the job. Still, the results are worth it. I just can’t wait until Easter, when hopefully we will be done.