Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Seasonal Fresh Food

Do you make the effort to eat seasonally? 

I'm willing to bet that's a no.  Unless you follow produce discounts in your local grocery very closely, or go to a Farmer's Market more than 4 times a year, it's unlikely that you'll even know what is in season at any given time.  We've been privileged with year-round produce availability, thanks to imports from California and Mexico. 

But if you like to support your local farmers and your local economy, while learning some new recipes, a CSA might be for you.

The following description has been republished with the permission of Baltidome - which highlights local businesses, area events and solutions for a greener Baltimore.  (Though is sadly lacking information about some pretty cool Pigtown businesses)

What is a CSA And How Do I Join?

Image Courtesy of One Straw Farm

What is a CSA?

From the USDA site:
As farming becomes more and more remote from the life of the average person, it becomes less and less able to provide us with clean, healthy, lifegiving food or a clean, healthy, lifegiving environment.  CSA  or Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes the community’s farm.  In return, members receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season.

How do I join?

From the MDA:
The Maryland Department of Agriculture is encouraging citizens to consider joining a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm to support local farmers while receiving delicious, nutritious, fresh produce all summer long. CSA members pay an upfront subscription fee to farmers in return for a share of the season’s harvest, which is usually provided weekly.  For convenience, many CSAs deliver to central locations for pick up closer to subscriber’s home or work on a certain day of the week.
It may seem early, but CSA memberships typically fill up quickly. Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance says,  “This is the time of year to join a CSA and enjoy the fruits of local farms all summer.”

Recommended Baltimore City CSAs
(Click on the farms to get more information)

One Straw Farm (Organic)
Spoutwood Farm

Calvert Farm
Real Food Farm

Don’t live in Baltimore? -For a list of CSAs in your area, CLICK HERE.
After checking in with Real Food Farm, it seems that Pigtown is too far for them to deliver or hold a community market.  It's a real shame, because they have a great program for SNAP and WIC recipients.  Their food and CSA are still available for pickup at the farm if you have transportation and/or time to go that far (near Hampden/Woodberry).

Personally, for CSAs, I subscribe to One Straw Farm, and have been very happy.  Be warned: you will get almost all greens in the beginning and ending weeks, but you'll find a way to get creative.   I believe that One Straw Farm has the closest pick-up location - but if they get enough SW Baltimore subscribers, we can look into getting our own location!  So sign up all!  The blue markers in the map image below are for pickup locations: University of Maryland Medical Center, or Bluegrass Tavern on Hanover St.  You choose your pick-up location when you sign up for your share (feeds family of 4), or you sign up for a half share (feeds 2) and pick it up at the farmer's market under 83.  The pick-ups are once a week for 24 weeks, where you'll get 8 items.  If you sign up BEFORE March 17, you'll get the early bird special at $570.  If you split that full share with another friend or family, that's only $11.88/week!

One Straw Farm CSA Pickups - blue markers in the map image below are for pickup locations: University of Maryland Medical Center, or Bluegrass Tavern on Hanover St

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