07 Apr 2010

Eating Locally

image uploaded by Julie_Brame on Flickr

Now that Old Man Winter is gone and spring, errr, summer is upon us in DC (high of 90 degrees today? Really Mother Nature?), it’s time to start thinking about outdoor activities. Weekend BBQs are at the top of my list of things to enjoy now that the weather is warm. And this year, my food will be local.  I don’t mean local as in from the grocery store 2 blocks away.  I mean local in the true sense of the word…fresh food grown less than 50 miles from where I live.

There are a few options if you are looking for fresh, locally-grown food.  Local Harvest has a comprehensive list of CSAs, by location.  A CSA (community-supported agriculture) is a community that supports a specific farm, and you get a set of the “share” each week.  You typically pick up your share from a predetermined location, although some are starting to offer home delivery.

While I have personally never participated in a CSA, I’ve done some research and have decided to go with Bull Run Mountain Farm this year.  I like that they have multiple delivery locations and they have a variety of recipes on their website to try out.  They (as well as many others) are still accepting members for the 2010 season.

The USDA also has a great list of resources if you choose to go the CSA route.

Farm clubs are also becoming popular.  These seem to be popular because it’s nearly identical to shopping your local grocery store online. You pick the food you want, and it’s delivered right to your door.  Unlike the potluck-style of CSAs, with a farm club you have more choices, and some would argue, less waste.

Two in the DC area that have gotten rave reviews are Washington Green Grocer and Arganica.

If you are a member of a CSA or farm club, please share your recommendations with your neighbors.  It’s time we started eating better – just ask Jamie Oliver.


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8 responses to “Eating Locally”

  1. Amy says:

    I belong to the CSA at South Mountain Veggies (www.southmountainveggies.com). I love that they’re year-round, that I can manage my membership online, that I can switch up the size share I get each week, that they have a la carte items. . . basically, I just love them. Period. They also have a dairy, but I’ve only tried the produce to date.

  2. Kristin says:

    Yay for CSA and Farmer’s Market season! I just moved to the Ballston area and can’t wait to check out what Arlington has to offer.

  3. William says:

    I signed up with Bull Run Mountain Farm as well! I liked the option of being able to do the fruit and egg shares as well. I can’t wait for the first delivery!

  4. Elizabeth Festa says:

    I see South Mountain is full up–Is there a Bull Run drop off on the Hill? I didn’t see one listed. I used to use Washington Green Grocer’s for organic but was not overjoyed with the quality of the produce, some of which we would have to toss, but willing to try them again. Is the fruit ad vegetable selection at Eastern Market on weekends locally sourced? I’d prefer to just shop for it myself..

  5. Christa says:

    For Elizabeth…I just checked the South Mtn sites and it appears that they are accepting new customers. There are two sites (southmountaincreamery.com for the milk/meat/eggs and southmountainveggies.com for the produce). Has anyone tried Arganica?

  6. Elizabeth Festa says:

    I am already SOMO Creamery customer–I tried to register at the veggie site and they are only taking waiting lists for summer 2010, but they do deliver to your door rather than someones porch, etc.. My friend used Jug Bay CSA but likes South Mtn delivery to the door, as do I, with the eggs, dairy, meats, eggs.. I often see on recipe challenges from CSA members on listservs, etc., on what to do with the mountain of beets they get one week, or turnips or cukes…

  7. Christa, I have a friend who is using Arganica and LOVES it. She has convinced me to sign up, but although it’s on my ToDo list, I haven’t actually done it yet. What won me over (as a single person) was the flexibility with both content and quantity.

  8. M says:

    I went with Bull Run Mountain last year. Their vegetables are great… heavy on fresh salad greens with better, clearer flavors than I ever knew existed. I also took my kids out to the farm. We were “gifted” with a dozen eggs, just for showing up. And if I had joined earlier in the season, I would have gotten some seedlings, too, but it was too late.

    So this year, I signed up earlier. 🙂

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