In the spirit of Grist’s edgy-titled article that brusquely suggests sensible, consumer-based actions to promote a sustainable food system, I’m buying more food directly from farmers and ranchers while getting to know their names just like I do celebrity chefs. (Although I will always have a special place in my heart for Bobby Flay’s Throwdowns.)
Apricots from Stauffer's Fruit Farm
Summer’s been good to me so far; although not to many farmers. Not only do crops struggle in the heat and dry conditions, but animals do too. And while humans can just crank the AC (and then curse the utility bill), turn on the fan, or take a cold shower, these aren’t options for farm animals. And farms without irrigation systems may result in yield loss and labor challenges — all thanks to the hot, dry weather. Farmers are working hard to ensure this summer’s bounty meets consumer demand.
My tomato plant
And when the first rain in two weeks finally doused the area this past weekend (rejoice!), I was able to show my appreciation by visiting a couple of local farmers’ markets. On a damp Saturday in the early-afternoon hour, I caught the tail-end of the Lansdale Farmers’ Market, situated in a parking lot across from the train station I frequent each weekday morning to hitch a Continue reading
This week, my sister-in-law, V, and I got an email from Rachel Landis at Landisdale Farms to let us know that the farm was considering discontinuing their stand at the Piazza Farmers’ Market because profits have been continuously low. Consequently, our weekly CSA pick-up location was doomed.
Rachel shared alternate pick-up locations, dates and times in the city. While V and I mulled it over through email, Rachel offered to have someone drop off the CSA to my house on Saturday if they decided to discontinue. Wow, I thought, talk about customer service. Asking me if I’d like a big, heaping box of organic, fresh produce delivered directly to my door step is like asking me if I’d like a free trip to the Bahamas (well, almost) – yes, please!
Saturday morning, I received a courtesy call from Rachel to let me know that Riccardo was a half-hour away. When he arrived, I thanked him profusely as he handed over the CSA full share box right outside my door step. I asked him if they had finalized the decision to discontinue their participation at the Piazza and he told me that it was likely, that the market keeps adding vendors each week increasing competition and reducing earnings. Continue reading
This weekend at the Piazza Farmers Market, I picked up the first round of produce in my summer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with Landisdale Farm. As I mentioned before, not only did I change up the source of my farm-fresh goods, but I recruited my brother’s family to participate in a whole new way to shop locally and healthfully. Here’s what came in the full share this week:
- 2 heads lettuce
- 2 packages arugula
- 2 bunches Swiss chard
- 5 zucchini
- 5 bulbs garlic
- 2 pints strawberries
- About 3 cups sugar snap peas
While at the Piazza Farmers Market, I picked up some apples and cherries (first of the season!) from Three Springs Fruit Farm, garlic scapes (they’re the new rhubarb), spring onions from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op, and a pork roast from M&B Farview Farms. Not only was I planning to experiment with a few warm weather specialties I had been reading about, but I was looking forward to some slow-cooked pulled pork sandwiches waiting for us after work as J and I continue to prepare for our move. Continue reading