Archive for the ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ Category

Time to sign up for your fresh vegetables for the next growing season of 2013.

National database of CSA farmers

Local Harvest explains that “Over the last 20 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are the basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Typically the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” or a “subscription”) and in return receive a box (bag, basket) of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.”

Here are links to maps and lists that specify locations of  producers in the DC-MD-VA area.

Maryland

Montgomery County, MD

USDA resources on CSA

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Oldways is a non-profit culinary history organization based in Boston with a global outlook.

In 2011, Oldways initiated the K. Dun Gifford award for food journalism.  Affiliated reporters, freelancers and bloggers are eligible to enter.

Write and win a contest

Details:  http://www.oldwayspt.org/KDunGiffordAward 

The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet

DC Urban farmers — let them know they can come out and be a “Crop Mob” on the Agricultural zone farms.

http://www.dc-urban-gardeners.com/composting/

Crop mobs are city dwellers who come out and do chores on local farms as volunteers. For more on the crop mob scene — here is their blog:

http://cropmob.org/  

Maryland Farmers Market listed by county

Montgomery County list.

These folks are our food allies. Give them your business and talk to others about the issues local farmers face.  Diminishing land near urban centers and water scarcity are just two of many challenges.  Support local farmers and you’ll always have food growing nearby.

Promotion for Edible Communitiesedible Communities publications connect local small-scale food producers with customers.   The magazines are linked to regions or urban centers and feature interviews with organic farmers, recipes, talks with chefs, vendors and regulators. Gorgeous design, graphics and photographs enhance the edible Communities publications.

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Nationally, the Edible Community of sustainable food  and organic farming advocates represent a significant audience of good food enthusiasts.

I met the co-founder, Tracey Ryder, years ago in one of the food writing workshops I teach for the University of California, Los Angeles.  At the time, she featured Edible Ojai in the portfolio of publications.  Marvelous to watch the concept grow and the audience for organic farm food expand exponentially.

Thank you, Tracey and colleagues, for your efforts to promote farmers and  the pleasures of food.  The James Beard Foundation Award, 2011 is well-deserved.

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The Montgomery County Maryland Agricultural Reserve has endured for 30 years. It was a model for the nation at inception.  Is that still true? 

More than half of the county’s 93,000 acres of viable farmland is preserved through legal mechanisms such as the  transfer of development rights and easement purchases. It is not always clear whether these mechanisms serve the interests of farmers or whether real estate developers are the actual winners.  Montgomery County, Maryland has a farmland preservation goal to protect 70,000 acres of farmland by 2010.  It is now the end of the first quarter of 2011.

The Montgomery County farms that I remember and that still remain are family-run. Of course, many farm families sold out to development and corporate entities, enticed by financial gain.  Most of the dairy farms that go back for generations are gone. Instead of cows, the rolling fields are dotted with McMansions and Starter Castles slapped together with cheap materials with no consciousness of the regional archiectural style, or for that matter, any style at all except Vague Colonial.

The farms that remain operational are industrious, but they are not industrialized. Preserving farmland resources impacts the health and quality of life for all citizens of Montgomery County.  It is imperative to sustain the pioneering purpose of the agriculture preserve so that farmers will continue to produce there.

County residents have the duty to prevent the collusion of developers and council executive, that in practice sells open space in the agricultural zone for increased tax revenues.  Current practices are undermining the original premise of the agricultural preserve and sounding the death knell for production capabilities in the future.

Resources:

Montgomery County, Md. Agriculture Facts http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/ded/agservices/pdffiles/agfactsheet2010.pdf

National Capital Farms – http://www.nationalcapitalfarms.org/

Farm Country Escape — http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/travel/escapes/111099.htm

Montgomery County Farm Tour – http://dc.about.com/od/specialevents/a/MCFarmTour.htm

 

The original version of this recipe appeared August 6, 2008 in the award winning Washington Post Food Section, as part of writer Stephanie Witt Sedgwick’s excellent series on preparing meals using ingredients from a week’s CSA delivery.  

CSA is community supported agriculture, a system where members buy shares early in the growing season when food growers need support and the growers deliver produce each week through the season.

 I’ve changed the recipe several times to accommodate seasonal produce and to use leftovers.  Sometimes I slice the squash, especially the zuccini, on the long side to simulate slabs of lasagna.  If using mature eggplant, “milk” the slices first in salt.  Substitute cooked leftover rice or bulgar for the bread crumbs. Substitute a mixture of cheese — whatever is on hand that doesn’t conflict with flavour.  Crumble blue or feta cheese with the parmesano.  If focused on a Mediterranean theme, increase the quantity and variety of fresh herbs.  Consider a layer of chopped olives, a tapenade with olive oil.  The key is to alternate “dry” layers such as the squash, with “wet” layers such as sliced tomatoes.  

 

Resources

http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/recipes/2008/08/06/summer-vegetable-gratin/?sid=ST2008080503181&s_pos=list

http://jamesbeard.org/index.php?q=award_winning_articles




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