Garrison Keillor (whom we consider a trustworthy source on most things) once quipped that , “sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn.” We’re not sure exactly where we come down on that one, but certainly there are times when it’s a tight race. And now that the ground has thawed and things are beginning to bloom, you may want to consider reserving your weekly allotment of fresh, sweet everything from one of the many local farms that offer season-long Community Supported Agriculture shares, or “CSAs.” If you live in Baltimore, there are plenty of options for joining a CSA, including One Straw Farm—providing sustainable produce with a responsible ecological footprint, and whose booth at the farmer’s market is always packed with interesting varieties and tons of shoppers. Other options include the Real Food Farm, and 5 Seeds Farm & Apiary.
CSAs operate in a few different ways. Some farmers actually deliver vegetables to your door, some ask that you come to the farm (or to a designated “pick up site” to pick them up, and some offer you the opportunity to come to the farmer’s market each week to choose the vegetables yourself. But whatever the delivery method, the premise is the same—you pay a certain amount of money up front, and then every week for the duration of the season, you are promised a “share” of what the farm has grown. In our experience, CSAs turn out to be really great deals (both for you and the farmer). Every week, you get an abundance of fresh, local food. It encourages you to try new vegetables, and to use more in your cooking (indeed, you get so many that it’s a joy to be able make hearty helpings at home). Each farm is different—some even offer meat CSAs (like Sunnyside Farm, and the Genuine Food Company; also, we hear the One Straw Farm is starting to offer pork). The quality is great, and particularly with organic farms, you can be assured of produce that’s free from chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Not only that, you’re helping sustain the small farmers who keep Maryland’s agricultural roots and local food sources thriving. That means healthy food for you, and a healthy local economy and land-base for everyone.
To find out more about Maryland CSAs, you can visit www.marylandagriculture.info. One Straw Farm’s website is www.onestrawfarm.com, or you can visit your local farmer’s market and see what’s available.
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