I’m a big Waverly Market fan. Since it’s a year-round market, I go every week for staples like milk, eggs, bread, lettuce, apples, potatoes, onions and bacon (yes, bacon is a staple in my house.) The selection of fruits and veggies, of course, is a bit more limited in the cold winter months…but I feel good supporting local folks as much as I can – not just in the summer. There’s everyone from South Mountain Creamery where I get my milk, butter and cheese, Andy and those great fresh eggsCindy for ice cream, bacon and other meats…and the list goes on. Whatever I can’t find there, I can get at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Also, whenever my wallet allows, I try to buy one special item not on my list. Things like a bouquet of tulipsgoat cheese  or some ginger hemp granola. Oh, and I’m fueled by Zeke’s, too.

This week, my “special” purchase was some porcini  mushrooms from the nice gal atWoodland Mushrooms. I’m hoping to make mushroom risotto and she said the porcini variety are excellent for that. She invited me to take a wiff. They smelled amazing. The way she handled them – putting them oh so carefully in a paper bag and advised me how to use them – it was almost like she was selling me her offspring – it is clear that she’s passionate about her ‘shrooms.

Even though it just ended, I’m already looking forward to my One Straw Farm CSA share next year (June – November.) If you’ve been thinking about joining a local CSA, give it a try. You can always split it with a friend, so don’t be worried that it’s too much food. Not only are you getting fresh veggies (and other stuff depending on the farm) and supporting a local farmer, it also makes you get creative with your cooking. When I first started participating in the five years ago, I wasn’t familiar at all with things like swiss chard and kohlrabi and thought, “Holy dirt, what am I gonna do with this?” Joan Norman changed all that. Each week, I’d chat with her about what I’d picked out and she’d give me great ideas for preparing it. I’d never really loved eggplant…but last year, she suggested I try baby eggplant – slice and roast it with thyme, olive oil and salt + pepper. So flipping good! And this is just one of the tons “off the top of her head” recipes Joan that has given me. Also, there is a great feature on one straw’s website: Name that Veggie. It’s a great way to learn more about the items you see at the farmers market. Check it out!

If you are a meat eater, check out Clementine’s meat CSA. You will receive 20lbs of meat (choose from beef, chicken, pork and lamb) per week – locally sourced, humanely raised. If you’ve ever eaten at Clementine, you know Cristin and Winston know their stuff. Taco Tuesdays are one of my favorite things. ever.

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Amy Langrehr

Amy Langrehr is the blogger and Instagrammer behind Charm City Cook. She writes about food, drink, cooking and more in her hometown of Baltimore.