Welcome to the Zahradka Farm CSA! This week marks the first pickup for all our members. We are working hard to provide everyone with the best quality local produce, and, as we do, we want to make sure everyone learns about our farm as we progress through the season. The reality of fresh food is often difficult to grasp in a world filled with artificiality and half truths about food. We hope to help connect you with the food you eat and feed your family.
The weather has been crazy—from way too much rain to way too much heat, but we are getting through. However, if the heat continues, this might be our last week for strawberries. We love them, but they only give us two to four weeks a year in ideal conditions, and that's already too short. When you get your tasty berries, remember a few things. Our berries are picked ripe by hand. They are never sprayed or gas ripened, like almost all store-bought berries. This is why they don't have a long shelf life—two or three days tops! Never wash your berries in advance; rinse them as you eat them, because they are so porous that they absorb water quickly, which causes them to mold and turn mushy.
As many of you know, we lost a dear friend and an irreplaceable worker two weeks ago. Victor Callozo died surrounded by his farm family at age 37. We are working hard to fill his shoes, and things have been rather difficult for all of us so far this year. Please be patient as we try to work out some of the issues related to this wonderful man's passing.
Each week, I will post information about what's going on at the farm and what you might expect for produce. Please remember the list is tentative and very much depends on the weather.
Week One CSA Haul
Asparagus: Our "grass," as farmers call it, combined with other local asparagus. Our asparagus is in its second year and takes three to become fully established, hence the supplement.
Lettuce: We grow many yummy varieties
Spring Onions: These are a pain to clean, but we do all of that for you!
Radishes (bunched): Surprisingly good roasted, even if you're not crazy about them raw.
New Potatoes: These are sometimes called baby potatoes or creamers. They're so delicious and creamy but are only available for a short season because—they grow up to be big potatoes!
Zucchini Squash: They're "fancy" size, which means smaller.
Swiss Chard*: This is a leafy veggie similar to spinach but stronger in flavor and with a bright colored stalk filled with nutrients.
Spinach*: We cut the entire spinach plant because it is far heartier that way. Often, it has dirt and sand in it. We are not allowed to wash the veggies because it is considered "processing," which is illegal for a farm to do in Maryland. We suggest filling your sink or large bowl with cold water and dunking the whole plant in a few times.
*NOTE: Never close leafy vegetables in a plastic bag or closed container for too long; they get slimy!
Sugar Snap Peas: These are wonderful raw or cooked. Eat the whole thing—pod and all! They are not ready as of today, but if the weather is right, they'll be ready to harvest by first pickup.
Potted Herbs: We will bring various potted herbs to complete your recipes.
Please remember that our produce is harvested daily. Because of the lack of preservatives, it has a shorter shelf life. If you need tips for saving food, just ask one of the staff or email us. Our veggies and fruits are grown in the earth and often have dirt on them. If, for some reason, there's an issue and a chemical pest or disease management agent is used on our crops (only in an emergency when an entire crop is at risk), we will let our customers know.
And don't forget to visit the recipe section of our website for inspiration. We love adding new recipes, too, so if you have any favorites, email, and I will post them.
Libby & George
The Zahradka Farm delivers farm-fresh, local produce to your home or office every week for the entire season during the winter and offers a variety of pickup sites during the summer/fall season. When you buy a share, you not only help sustain a small family farm, but you ensure your family’s nutritional needs are fulfilled in the healthiest way possible. Maryland is a diverse state, and we are lucky to be able to depend on so many small businesses and farms for everything we need. From fresh produce to meat and dairy (beef, pork, and poultry, eggs, cheese), from pastries and sauces to cosmetics, there’s no reason we can’t depend on local sources to meet our needs in a natural, healthy, and economical way. With the support of our CSA members, we are making this small produce farm an important part of our neighborhood, our community, and Baltimore. Thank you!
The Summer/Fall share is a 26-week program that begins in June and runs through November. When you join our CSA, you make a commitment to our farm to stay with us through the entire growing season, and we make a commitment to prepare and plant with you in mind to provide you with produce that is as fresh, as natural, and as local as possible. The CSA funds our start-up costs each year. Take advantage of the plan that’s right for you.
Please note that the examples below are used to illustrate a possible combination of items. We grow a wide variety of vegetables that we alternate from week to week, season to season, to keep things interesting.
- Small Family Share—$350 ($13.46/week): Perfect for single members, this small share helps you try the program without wasting food. You’ll get about four varieties of produce each week. (Example: about 2 lbs. of tomatoes, 6 ears of corn, 1 cantaloupe, 4 pickling cucumbers)
- Medium Family Share—$650 ($25/week): Ideal for a family of three, this used to be called a half-share, and it includes about eight items. (Example: about 1 cantaloupe, 4 large peaches, 2 lbs. of tomatoes, 4 pickling cucumbers, 6 ears of corn, 4 spring onions, 2 red bell peppers, and 2 Italian eggplants)
- Large Family Basket—$936 ($36/week): This is the cream of the crop—for large families or veggie lovers. It feeds an average family of four and then some and includes about twelve items. Because we offer instructions for freezing and canning your excess produce for use in the winter, many members choose this size share regardless of family size. We double up on a few of the items to feed larger families (a dozen ears of corn count as two items). (Example: 1 dz. ears of corn, 3 lbs. tomatoes, 8 peaches, 1 cantaloupe, 4 eggplants, 6 spring onions, 6 pickling cucumbers, 2 red bell peppers, 2 green bell peppers)
Early Sign-Up Bonus
If you join our CSA by March 15th, your name is placed in a raffle. If you pay in full at signup, you get a second chance at the raffle. And if you refer someone else who signs up, you get one chance for every completed referral. The winners of the drawing, which is held for every pickup location, receive free membership for the season of their choice.