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The Roving Radish

What exactly is a Rov­ing Radish you ask? Well, for Howard County, it’s the name of a brand new, very excit­ing pilot project to help bring fresh food to more peo­ple. For some of you, eat­ing fresh foods from nearby farms may seem like sec­ond nature. For oth­ers, this can prove to be quite the challenge.

What are some of the things that make it so chal­leng­ing? Well, money for one — because let’s face it, eat­ing right ain’t cheap! For oth­ers it can be merely an issue of loca­tion. Not all of us are lucky enough to have a farm­ers mar­ket within walk­ing dis­tance, let alone a rep­utable gro­cery store. For many of us it’s sim­ply a mat­ter of time. Jug­gling the work/life bal­ance is a per­pet­ual bal­anc­ing act, but toss in another com­po­nent (like kids!) and it’s near impos­si­ble! Lastly, I’m con­vinced that intim­i­da­tion plays a role here as well. How many of you are left with a deer-in-headlights look when you hear words like kohlrabi, rhubarb, fid­dle­heads or dan­de­lion greens?

Well, we’ve teamed up with the Hori­zon Foun­da­tion and the United Way in hopes to make eat­ing healthy and lit­tle bit more con­ve­nient and afford­able. Start­ing just a few weeks ago, the Rov­ing Radish started deliv­er­ing fresh meal kits to 5 con­ve­nient loca­tions through­out the county. The meal kits include two recipes to pre­pare two meals for a fam­ily of four. And while you may not find dan­de­lion greens in your kit, you may find your­self feel­ing a lit­tle more com­fort­able in the pro­duce section.

The pro­gram is easy – sign up for meal deliv­er­ies, pick up your bag, and whip up some afford­able, healthy meals! This pilot pro­gram will be run­ning until mid-November. For more infor­ma­tion – or if you’d like to give it a shot, visit us online RovingRadish.com.

Kelly Dudeck
August 2014

Farm to Table and More

I really like the phrase Farm to Table. I like the reminder of where our food comes from. Farm to Table usu­ally refers to restau­rant tables – restau­rants that fea­ture sea­sonal, local food on their menus. This con­cept strives for an eco­nomic boost to the local econ­omy – both the restau­rants and the farms. The pub­lic gets the ben­e­fit of new and cre­ative restau­rant dishes with fresh local produce.

Check out the Howard County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Author­ity (HCEDA) web­site for their list of local Farm to Table restau­rants.

More local farms are also start­ing CSA’s – Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture. This is where peo­ple pay in advance for weekly “shares” of local pro­duce and some­times other prod­ucts like eggs and bread. You pick up your fresh veg­gies at a cer­tain place and time each week. Some of the CSA’s have all the cus­tomers they can han­dle this year, but some are still tak­ing cus­tomers. Visit livegreenhoward.com for our list of CSA’s.

Farmer’s mar­kets are also in full swing. Howard County spon­sors 6 local farm­ers’ mar­kets. The mar­kets oper­ate Wednes­day through Sun­day, each day at a dif­fer­ent loca­tion in the County (two loca­tions on Sun­day). Here is the link for the loca­tions and times.

Local farms often have their own farm stands on or near their farm. The HCEDA web­site has a cool fea­ture called “farm search” where you can find out lots of info on local farms and what they offer.

Elissa Rei­neck
July 2013

Locavores in Howard County

Some­one needs to come up with a bet­ter word than “loca­vores.” But until then, we can use it to describe the move­ment to buy and eat food that is grown locally. This label is dif­fer­ent than “organic” but the idea is that if food is grown nearby and on a smaller scale, it will be bet­ter tast­ing, health­ier, and bet­ter for the envi­ron­ment than if it were pro­duced and shipped from far away.

In Howard County there are lots of ways to eat “local” food. The most direct is to grow your own. This year my fam­ily started a “square foot gar­den.” It is the cutest thing – an 8 x 2 foot raised bed sur­rounded by fence made out of rebar, elec­tri­cal con­duit and plas­tic net­ting. OK, that doesn’t sound cute, but really it is! I have a love/hate rela­tion­ship with the deer that come thru­ough my yard, and so far this sys­tem is hold­ing up well. The plan comes from the book “All New Square Foot Gar­den­ing” by Mel Bartholomew. We fol­lowed the plan for a ver­ti­cal gar­den except instead of using Mel’s mix for soil, we just used bags of LeafGro.

But I digress. Local eat­ing has got­ten a lot eas­ier with Howard County Farm­ers Mar­kets. These gen­er­ally run Wednes­day – Sun­day at var­i­ous loca­tions. Farm­ers mar­kets are a great way to sup­port local farms and get fresh pro­duce and locally made foods like cheeses and breads. Road­side farm stands are also start­ing up. If you want to visit a farm, sev­eral Howard County farms have pick-your-own days. It can’t get any fresher than that.

More restau­rants are high­light­ing locally sourced food on their menus. Here’s a list of restau­rants com­piled by the Howard County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Author­ity. An event cel­e­brat­ing local food and farms is com­ing up on July 19th. The “Film Fea­sit­val” is spon­sored by Clark’s Elioak Farm, the Uni­ver­sity of Mary­land Exten­sion, Howard County, Howard County Tourism, and the Howard County Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Author­ity. The event will have locally grown food from sur­round­ing farms and restau­rants. There will also be a show­ing of “Local Foods, Local Farms”, a film about the ben­e­fits of eat­ing locally grown food. The event is free, but they are request­ing a $5 dona­tion that will go toward Farm­ers’ Mar­ket Coupons for fam­i­lies in need. Here’s the Feast­i­val link if you would like to register.

Lastly, here’s a link back to Green Cen­tral Sta­tion (livegreenhoward.com) that has infor­ma­tion on Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture and Organic Gro­cers. More gro­cery stores are high­light­ing local pro­duce when they have it and you can always ask a man­ager to find out if any of the pro­duce is local.

Enjoy the season!

Elissa Rei­neck

June 2011

The Incredible Journey: how many miles on that berry?

Onions_FarmersMarket

What in the world is this?” My hus­band asked as we opened our Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture (CSA) cooler to explore our weekly pro­duce share. As we began search­ing for recipes online about what to do with this week’s unique item: kohlrabi (Do you cook it? Eat it raw? What burst of fla­vor should we expect in our mouths?), he inhaled the con­tainer of per­fectly ripened, juicy rasp­ber­ries that were picked that morn­ing — even before I could rinse them. Good thing they were organic.

The aver­age meal trav­els 1,500 miles before some­one plops it on your din­ner plate. After 1,500 miles (think pack­ing the car and head­ing out on Inter­state 70 all the way to Den­ver, pass­ing through nine states and being sure to stop at pro­cess­ing, pack­ag­ing, and ship­ping plants along the way) I would undoubt­edly be exhausted, worn out and likely a bit foul smelling. Def­i­nitely not traits to look for when select­ing pro­duce. Instead, reach for the berries picked that morn­ing just down the street – per­fectly ripe, juicy and wait­ing to explode your taste buds.

Where do you find these tasty berries and every­thing else you typ­i­cally fill your shop­ping cart with for the week: berries, mel­ons, cher­ries, pears, apples, greens, car­rots, broc­coli, cucum­bers, beans, toma­toes, pota­toes, gar­lic, herbs and spices, jams, honey, eggs, milk, meat and poul­try, soap, maybe some ice cream, and flow­ers to brighten your din­ner table?

Luck­ily the farm­ers’ mar­kets, farm stands, pick-your-own farms, and CSA’s of Howard County are hap­pily sup­ply­ing all these neces­si­ties and much more with­out mak­ing you drive those 1,500 miles.

The chang­ing sea­sonal pro­duce you find at the farm­ers’ mar­kets, farm stands, and in your CSA share is one of the great plea­sures of sum­mers in Howard County. Now that it is early July berries are in full array. It is hard to believe that these boxes of plump, bright red and juicy berries burst­ing full of fla­vor are related to their super­mar­ket cousins that are air­lifted from dis­tant places in the mid­dle of win­ter and gassed to appear ripened in the pro­duce cooler at the gro­cery store. The joy that comes from finally bit­ing into the first straw­berry of the sea­son and savor­ing the good­ness of it is sheer reward.

Farm­ers’ mar­kets are won­der­ful cen­ters for com­mu­nity gath­er­ing as peo­ple recon­nect with the fresh fla­vors of sea­sonal pro­duce, and take the oppor­tu­nity to social­ize and share the lat­est com­mu­nity news. These farm­ers’ mar­kets pro­vide a real sense of local pride not eas­ily dupli­cated in a shop­ping cen­ter or gro­cery store. Get­ting fresh, local food is reas­sur­ing, not only because you are putting money back into our local econ­omy, but because you get to shake the farmer’s hand every week, eat more nutri­tious food, and ask for recipes, freez­ing and cook­ing tips, and sto­ries from the field. Many farm­ers are full of advice and typ­i­cally great cook­ing sug­ges­tions too so be sure to ask them what in the world to do with the kohlrabi.

Grab your shop­ping bags and intro­duce your­self to one of the five fresh­est mar­kets in the County. You’ll be sur­prised at the fla­vors you meet. Maybe you’ll even reach for a kohlrabi this week.

Hop­ing to meet our local farm­ers? Visit one of the five Howard County Farm­ers’ Mar­kets open Wednes­day – Sun­day at var­i­ous locations.

Look­ing for an out­door adven­ture? Find a You-Pick Farm in Howard County.

Not able to make your near­est farm­ers mar­ket this week? Stop at a farm stand on the way home from work.

Up for the full adven­ture? Join a CSA and own a share in a local farm.

Lind­say DeMarzo
July 2010

Green Tip

Check your tire pressure.Increase your gas mileage by keeping your tires properly inflated.