Want to get Ag Reserve Happenings in your inbox? Click "Sign Up" at the top of your screen
Bread, Milk, Paper Towels and Flowers For Your Beloved? Really?
If you are buying your flowers at the supermarket, you are missing out on an opportunity to show you care about not just your Valentine but also the community you share. Of course local blooms are not in season in the frozen tundra our county has become of late. Your love may not have a season but flowers sure do. But here is an idea- secure your spring and summer blooms today from one of the Reserve's flower CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) - like a subscription for a weekly bouquet. It works just like a produce CSA with a weekly pickup options. (Is your Valentine more moved by food than flowers? Find our CSA list here.)
CSA options include Gypsy Flower Farm, Grateful Gardeners and Hidden Ridge Flower Farm. Until February 15 Gypsy Flower Farm (Farmer Sid pictured above) is offering 5% the total CSA price and a free Mother's Day Bouquet More info here.
If things happen to be getting serious with your Valentine, you may also want to consider using these local farms or Sungold Flower Co. who focuses solely on foraging and harvesting uniquely seasonal flowers for your event.
The next in a mid-winter series on how to turn the less popular veggies available at your local market or CSA box into real food, cooked simply that you would like to eat and your children or other picky family members may try as well (no guarantees). MCA staffer Kristina Bostick subscribes to a year-round CSA and shares how to cope when there is just too much ___. Find the other posts: Broccoli and Acorn Squash
First - let me say that the world seems to be coming around to cauliflower right now. Its having a bit of a moment, the way kale did a couple years back. One school of thought would be to say, "Back off Pinterest, you can't tell me what to eat!" But think of it this way, when a vegetable is popular, it just means that the top chefs, food bloggers and cookbook writers are all working on the best ways to work with it. That is to be celebrated, and you - mere mortal home cook who needs to get something on the table - benefit from that trendiness with the plethora of recipes and shortcuts that result. Cauliflower is not as strong a flavor as broccoli, it is more of a blank slate - but similarly, it will benefit from being roasted and never ever will taste good boiled till mush. Some things you can do:
2. Roast the Whole Dang Thing I have not done this but find it very appealing as a family style meal that you slice into like a roast.
3. Cauliflower Rice Yet another on-trend use of Cauliflower. You can even find "pre-riced" cauliflower in grocery stores now. The earthines of the cauliflower is delightful in fried rice. If you are watching your carbs this is a great recipe for you.
The next in a mid-winter series on how to turn the less popular veggies available at your local market or CSA box into real food, cooked simply that you would like to eat and your children or other picky family members may try as well (no guarantees). MCA staffer Kristina Bostick subscribes to a year-round CSA and shares how to cope when there is just too much ___. We've already taken on Broccoli. Now that the counter is free of squash, the crisper drawer says we will take on Cauliflower and Beets next. Stay tuned.
Squash is a great thing to get from either the Farmers Market or the CSA. It can sit on the counter for a few weeks while you use up the other more perishable things and it looks good sitting there too. They can fill in for play food for children's play kitchens - but do not tend to keep well when they invariably roll under the couch - that's a pro tip there. While the Acorn Squash is not as popular as it's friend the butternut, one could say the Jan Brady of winter squash, it can be the star of some satisfying winter meals.
1. Stuff It - From as a friend reverently called it "The Joy" - the Joy of Cooking of course. Here squashes get halved, dug out and stuffed with quinoa and nuts. I always use almonds as hazelnuts are not something I tend to have around. This actually got eaten by the 2 year old one time. We add apples and sausage as well - its ok to stuff these till overflowing. If you are not familiar with quinoa, it's high time you got acquainted - it is a grain from the Andes with a pleasant nutty flavor that packs protein. It also cooks much faster than rice, available on the shelf or in bulk in the rice aisle.
2. The Go-To: Brown Sugar This is from Martha Stewart. Roasting any kind of winter squash with brown sugar or maple syrup is the most classic way to do squash as a side dish. I like it stuffed better as it can be a main meal all done in one pot.
The first in a mid-winter series on how to turn the less popular veggies available at your local market or CSA box into real food, cooked simply that you would like to eat and your children or other picky family members may try as well (no guarantees). MCA staffer Kristina Bostick subscribes to a year-round CSA and shares how to cope when there is just too much ___.
We are taking broccoli on first in our winter veggie series as its one of those veggies that can positively sing when cooked right. It's a familiar crop that is available most of the year round. It also can go bad very quickly, unlike your potatoes or squash that can hang out on the counter for weeks. We split a large share from our farmer with another family - thereby dividing pick-up duties. It works really well, except you get to choose what you'd like in our CSA and we sometimes have a communication breakdown and get lots more of something when we hadn't touched the share of it from last week. That is why I found myself staring down 4 small heads of broccoli in the fridge - in varrying stages of "use it now." This is part of the beauty of a CSA - forced vegetable creativity. Lets dive in:
1. Roast it: We first turn to Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten - who personifies simple but flavorful cooking. This recipe appeared on a blog with the title "The Best Broccoli of Your Life" and it is- roasted with lemon and parm. This is the go-to around here and one of two children try it. Roasting is generally the best way to handle broccoli. If you have only had overcooked steamed or boiled broccoli, no wonder you don't like it.
2. Asian Peanut Sauce Leanne Brown wrote a digital book for her grad program called "Good and Cheap" with detailed recipes and cooking tips for folks living on $4/day - that is what a food stamps budget works out to. This free resource has been downloaded millions of times. The title is apt, it is good food - like noodles and veggies in homemade peanut sauce - with an eye on cost per portion. Only the grown-ups liked this one but it was great.
3. Broccoli Apple Salad I have not made this, but it looks like a kid crowd pleaser. Call it apples and tiny trees, that works sometimes here.
4. Broccoli Pesto Noodles Also from Leann Brown of Good and Cheap. Leann says broccoli that no longer looks its best works in this one.
5. Empanadas You could make these with almost anything, these happen to be egg, cheddar and broccoli - but it is surely time consuming. I made them on a rainy, cold Sunday afternoon. There are enough eggs in it that if you have your children help they may actually get enough practice by the end to crack them without getting shells in there - maybe. It all paid off as the 2 year old liked them a lot. Also from Good and Cheap and her advice about adding the cornmeal gave it a really nice crunch.
5. Buddha Bowl This one is an aspirational recipe for me, I have not tried buddha bowls out on the family yet, but the idea is an endlessly customizable bowl featuring grains, veggies roasted and raw, a protein (usually chickpeas, sometimes chicken) and a sauce. Roasted broccoli is a popular choice and here is one with cauliflower too - which according to the crisper drawer, will be our next installment. Stay tuned.
The answer is almost certainly yes- but read on for caveats and some myths debunked.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) sign up time is upon us now, hoop houses across Maryland are full of tender little plants just waiting to be sown in the field. Joining a CSA is buying a stake in a farm's harvest in advance of the growing season. Each week throughout the season, you pick up (or are delivered) a box of whatever is ready for harvest. We will run quickly through the well-familiar pros of this sort of set-up that anyone considering a CSA already knows:
More Money to the Farmer ~ Freshest Food ~ Connection to Community ~ Food Discoveries ~ Non-mealy, real deal tomatoes that someone else weeds
So is a CSA for everyone? No - in the interest of really enjoying the experience you have to know that a CSA is a commitment for a number of months. A committment to pick up (or have delivered) the box and eat or cook and eat its contents. So- if you are not planning to cook (or learn to cook) at least 3 nights a week a CSA is not for you. You might solve this by splitting the CSA with a friend. Said friend can also split the pick-up duties.
Greg and Anna Glenn
Rocklands Farm Winery & Market
14525 Montevideo Road
Poolesville, Maryland 20842
No time to travel to Napa Valley?…No worries!!
The next time your palate craves the taste of a new fine wine, just jump in your car and head to the Ag Reserve! In fact, when you visit Rocklands Farm on Montevideo Road – just outside of Poolesville – you can treat your taste buds to some excellent wines and, at the same time, enjoy a drive through one of the more scenic parts of Montgomery County. You can also shop at their on-farm market for grass-fed beef and lamb, pasture-raised pork, chicken and eggs, along with a variety of other farm products.
When you arrive at the farm, there’s a good chance you will meet the business owners – Greg and Anna Glenn. Greg and Anna are two of the most innovative farmers you will ever meet. Greg, who started farming in the Ag Reserve in 2010, has transformed the business into a diversified agricultural operation with a strong focus on environmentally sound approaches to working the land. They currently manage almost 100 acres, including 34 acres on their home farm along with other rented property. They produce their own wines on the farm from grapes grown in their 6.5-acre vineyard.
Greg, who studied Agriculture and Applied Economics at Virginia Tech University, is certainly putting his education to good use. Anna holds a degree in Education from California Polytechnic University, so it’s easy to understand why she and Greg share a passion for reaching out to our younger generation through several educational programs focused on agriculture. Greg said that he chose a career in farming because he “was inspired to know, and then provide to others, a connection with who, how and where food comes from.” Greg and Anna have three young sons – Fritz, Simeon and Charlie – who will, no doubt, receive plenty of on-the-job training in agriculture in the coming years.
by Caroline Taylor
The Ag Reserve is a big place, about 100,000 acres, and there is much to explore. We will populate this post with as much as we can, when we can. Shoot us an email with suggested additions: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you just aren't sure what the Reserve is all about and what it has to offer, may we suggest checking out our film Growing Legacy? Our goal to to inspire exploration and consumerism of the wonderful places and goods the Reserve has going on.
2015 Montgomery County Farm Directory
by Kristina Bostick
Wildfires, Drought, whatever inane summer blockbusters coming soon to our theaters- the news from California has not been good. But in all seriousness, some fear that the droughts in the state that grows most of our country's food are more of a "new normal" than just a bad spring.
by Kristina Bostick
We are really enjoying the articles from a new online and hard copy publication called Modern Farmer.There have been a number of recent articles profiling the different ways that farmers structure their businesses. With spring on the way (we promise!) here are some thoughts from the other side of the table or CSA box.
Farmers Market Confidential - the owner of a horse-driven farm describes all the pros and cons of his time spent behind the table at farmers markets.
The State of the CSA- an early adopter of the CSA model describes how things have changed over 20+ years.
However your farmer decides to sell- you can find MoCo's best local food from CSA's here and at one of MoCo's vibrant Farmers Markets here.
Farmers and farm supporters are welcome to join the discussion on our Producers listserve- where local farmers swap know how- email email@example.com with "join listserve" in the subject line to sign up.
by Caroline Taylor
Community Supported Agriculture
CSAs can take many forms, but essentially they are community supported farms in which members contribute to farming projects, usually by way of membership fees, in exchange for fresh, local produce. The concept came to the United States from Europe in the 1980s and has taken strongest hold in New England, the Mid-Atlantic region, and various pockets along the West Coast. They are a great way to take advantage of fresh, locally grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, and more while supporting nearby farms. Each one is different, some offer pickup locations in urban areas, some offer only farm-based pick ups. See the list below for local CSAs and find one that is right for you.
Learn more! Sign up!
Local Food Connection
Community Supported Agriculture
Restaurants & Retail
Artists of the Reserve
Montgomery Countryside Alliance
P.O Box 24, Poolesville, MD 20837
301-461-9831 • firstname.lastname@example.org
MCA is proud to announce that we have been recognized for a third time as one of the best small charities in the D.C. region by Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington. A panel of 110 expert reviewers from area foundations, corporate giving programs, and peer non-profit organizations evaluated 270 applications.
MCA is known as an effective and innovative non-profit whose efforts to preserve and promote Montgomery County’s nationally recognized 93,000 acre Ag Reserve have brought increased public and governmental support of local food production and farmland and open space preservation. Most importantly, MCA’s efforts are putting more farmers on the ground and keeping them there.