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Archive for the ‘Farming’ Category

I recently became a member of Arganica, a “food club” that offers year-round access to locally-sourced, artisanal and organic foods delivered right to your door. (I like that last part the best…)

Unlike a typical CSA share, Arganica lets you choose what you receive each week instead of just giving you a box filled with random fruits and vegetables. However, since I bought my membership through a special Groupon deal, one of my benefits is a free produce crate, which is… a box filled with random fruits and vegetables.

So now I’ve got a fridge full of carrots, strawberries, broccoli, apples, oranges, beets, onions and more. And I’ve got to figure out what to do with them all before they go bad.

I’ve already bookmarked recipes for a carrot-cumin salad, broccoli soup and a strawberry crumble…

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Well, sort of.

Recently, I’ve been trying to eat more locally-made food, so I decided to switch yogurt brands to something made closer to home. The closest one I could find is from Pequea Valley Farm in Pennsylvania. It’s made by the Amish in Lancaster County from the milk of grass-fed Jersey cows (which I’m not embarrassed to say I just found out originally come from the British island and not the state).

It’s not truly local to me (I’m not within 100 miles of the farm), but it’s closer than before. My old yogurt, though beloved, came from clear across the country.

And while it’s a bit more expensive, it’s seriously delicious. So rich and creamy…

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This Farming Man loves ice cream. LOVES. I think I get it from my dad, who is a huge ice cream fan. (Black raspberry is his favorite flavor…) I generally try to stick with Ben & Jerry’s, although lately I’ve been enjoying Haagen Dazs Five, which is made with only five basic ingredients – skim milk, cream, sugar and egg yolks plus a single flavoring. The more natural, the better.

So you can imagine my excitement when I came across Moo-Thru on a recent drive. It opened a little over a year ago in Remington, Virginia and serves ice cream, milk shakes and other frozen dairy products along with fresh milk in glass bottles ($2 refundable deposit required). Along with a walk-up window, the store features a drive-thru inspired by the Brew-Thru chain in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. As the sign on the front says, it serves “real ice cream from real dairy farmers.” Keep reading…

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This Farming Man has some good news and some bad news. The good news is that I’m getting access to some outdoor garden space just a block and a half from my apartment. My friend Pam asked me to take care of her garden, because she is going to be out of town over the next few weeks. The bad news is that she’s going to be interviewing for jobs back home in Southwestern PA.

Pam has been living in the city for the past six years. We met soon after she moved into town and began working at my office. After she moved on to greener pastures workwise, we stayed close. Pam lives just a block away from me, so it’s easy for us to get together for our regular “Tuesday Taco Night” dinners. Plus, she shares my love of craft fairs, so most every year, we make a pilgrimage to the Sugarloaf Craft Festival and buy a bunch of random stuff. (The picture above is of gnomes that Pam put in her garden, which should give you a sense of the type of person she is.)

Unfortunately, Pam was laid off last week. And instead of looking for another job here, she’s decided to go back home to the Pittsburgh area and start her next chapter there.

I knew this move was coming. Pam and I have spoken a lot recently about being really tired of cramped city apartments with no outdoor space. And we both wish we lived closer to our families, particularly our nieces and nephews (Pam’s older brother has a boy and a girl; mine has two girls). I guess we’re both just realizing that the things that are really important to us aren’t dependent on a high-powered career and lots of money.

Pittsburgh is where Pam grew up. And with her family and most of her friends still there, it’s the most fertile place for her to keep growing.

I’m going to leave the gnomes in the garden, so it stays fertile too.

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There’s nothing better on a hot summer day than a tomato sandwich made with thick, juicy heirloom slices on toasted bread with mayo and a dash of coarse salt.

Not an heirloom but still pretty tasty...

The July/August issue of Whole Living magazine has a nice article about Happy Cat Farm, which produces 342 types of heirloom tomatoes and other produce. The owner inherited a batch of seeds from his grandfather and soon realized that his true calling was to be a farmer.

One big problem about trying to find some rural roots in the city? No space for a garden…

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