If you haven’t already heard of Friends & Farms, they’re a regional CSA program out of Columbia, Md., that runs all 12 months of the year. Most CSA programs only run 8 to 9 months out of the year, so a full year is pretty unique and awfully nice.
They source produce, fish, meats and bread from Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and North Carolina (even Georgia in some cases), and sign-up is by way of a subscription with different payment schedules and basket sizes. It’s like a traditional CSA program on steroids.
Last week, Friends & Farms reached out to see if I’d like to try one of their weekly baskets….
My answer back wasn’t difficult: YES! I’d love to try a basket!
If you follow my Facebook page, then you know I’ve been super excited about this! Normal pick-up for baskets occurs in Columbia, Md., and points northeast; but, Collin (Friends & Farms’ business development go-to) offered to deliver my basket. Isn’t that sweet?
Thanksgiving at the Farm
It just so happened that my side of the family (all 19 of us!) gathered for a giant multi-state Thanksgiving celebration on the same Saturday that Collin suggested delivering my basket, and since my parents’ farm is a little closer to the pick-up area, I suggested he meet me there.
Here we all are, four generations of us, after the Thanksgiving feast and before the pie – we’re calling it our “family tree.” (Ha-ha, get it?)
Plus, my side of the family is into farming and eating local, and I knew they’d want to see what was in the basket and hear about all the different farms that contributed that week.
So, it was a little selfish of me to suggest coming out to my parents’ farm, but I think Collin enjoyed the drive into the Carroll County countryside and the wonderful Thanksgiving aromas wafting in the farmhouse.
Here’s the table (did I mention 19 people??) all set and ready to go….
My parents grew all the produce on the table, and the turkeys (two of them) were purchased from a local organic farmer. My father roasted one turkey – juiciest white meat I’ve ever had – and my cousin deep-fried the other to crispy perfection!
But, back to the Friends & Farms basket….
Collin showed up around lunchtime with three full bags that make up a small basket. Having only even known a more traditional, hyper-local CSA program, I was taken aback by all the food in the “small” basket I received – both the quantity and the variety.
It’s easy to see how this small basket could easily feed our family for a week, with only small trips to the grocery store for fill-in items. Friends & Farms also has other basket sizes including single (designed for one person), large (for a family of four), and vegetarian.
I’ll make sure to share how I’m using the basket items this week; it’ll be fun to try and figure out recipes based around all of the goodies! Make sure you’re following me on Facebook AND Instagram, as I’m not sure each meal will be turned into a full blog post.
(And, flounder?? Collin said fish – which goes in the baskets every other week – is one of their best items, so I can’t wait to try it.)
Hey, Frederick + Carroll County dwellers!
Those of you north and west of Columbia, Md., may be wondering if Friends & Farms will have a pick-up stop closer to the Frederick/ Westminster/Mt. Airy area.
I asked Collin about this specifically, and he said they’re keenly aware that there’s a good market for their CSA program out this way. Problem is, their truck is already full to the brim, so adding additional pick-up stops in Mt. Airy, Westminster, or Frederick would mean they’d need to buy another truck.
That’s kind of a big deal. BUT, I’m glad they know that us west-central Marylanders are interested, and maybe one day we’ll see a pick-up stop out our way! For now you can join a more local CSA program OR know that Columbia isn’t that far – maybe 45 minutes away, as long as you’re not driving there in early morning rush hour.