Going local, for me, is part of my everyday life. I can run errands in my ‘hood and see great people like Jed and Carey at The Wine Source, Robin at Howl (they sell chicken feed!), Susannah at Ma Petite Shoe and CHOUX, Jenny at Zensations by Jen, Deb at Falkenhan’s Hardware and so many more.
So, my love of all things local has made me a big fan of CSAs – Community Supported Agriculture. For many years now, I’ve been a CSA member with a local farm, One Straw Farm. I like knowing where my food comes from, and more importantly (to me), I want to support local people. Joan and Drew Norman of One Straw are such great people and they’ve taught me so much over the years – especially about food I’d never cooked before. For example, my favorite thing to make last year was butternut squash and celeriac soup – who knew?! Joan also gave me my first flock of baby chicks AND took back one that turned out to be a rooster. (They are allowed in White Hall, not Hampden…) I always joke that my backyard chicken obsession is all her fault. Thanks, Joan!
Recently, a friend told me about Friends & Farms, a great local organization started by Philip Gottwals and Tim Hosking that brings local fresh foods to customers at an affordable price, all year round. I decided to give it a try. Each week, I’ll pick up my share of in-season fruits and vegetables, locally sourced meat, dairy and baked goods. The folks at Friends & Farms pull all of it together for you and also help you plan your meals with recipes and menu ideas each week, which I found to be very helpful. You can also look online to see what will be in the baskets over the next few weeks – for me, pork chops next week! (More info on costs, size of baskets, etc.)
Week 1 basket/share:
In the six days since I picked up my individual basket ($40), I’ve used everything but the lettuce and beef cubes – I’m using them tonight. I also made a super simple and rustic potato leek soup that I did not photograph. I didn’t get a chance to try the baguette, but my yellow lab seemed to enjoy it. (Bad dog.)
Here are a few photos of dishes I’ve made. Everything has been very, very fresh!
Nice quality bags
Some of the contents
Swiss Chard with Toasted Breadcrumbs
Herb roasted tilefish and new potatoes
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie filling
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
Pound cake with balsamic strawberries, Infused Spreads rhubarb pear jam,
whipped cream and vanilla ice cream . YUM!
If you are already buying good quality groceries and/or shopping at local farmers markets, you can do this. It’s not the cheapest way to shop, but it’s not as expensive as Whole Foods, for example. And this way, you know you are supporting local farms and food producers. GO LOCAL!
Give it a try! You can sign up and pay by the month or quarter. Then, see how you like it and move up or down in basket size. For me, week one was a great success. Hoping weeks two, three and four are just as productive. You can follow me on Instagram to see what I get and make with my baskets. Once my CSA starts, I will just do that (I have to be loyal to my peeps) but I think I will do Friends & Farms in the winter and early spring. What a great, great resource for Baltimore.
Amy’s incredible Instagram account was featured in Baltimore Magazine! Check it out here. – The Eds.