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December Markets, CSAs, Farm Stands, etc. [old]

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Here's the place to report in on what you are finding in the world of Fresh & Local around town.

Downtown Crossing Holiday Market is open and has a few food vendors.

Marshall's Fenway Farms stand will become a regular walk for me in the weeks ahead and I have my Boston Organics order and fish CSA to keep fresh food coming my way.

Where are you buying local food this month?

Penny
http://www.bostonzest.com/

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  1. Natick has a small, but nice winter farmer's market each Saturday from 9-1 (I think) at the Johnson Elementary school, with the exception of this weekend. We went last weekend and found some great fresh pasta made in Vermont, cheese from Foxboro, and produce from area farms.

    1. A few reports on the Downtown Crossing market in this conversation

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6725...

      Penny
      http://www.bostonzest.com/

      1. Tomorrow is pickup from Drumlin Farm CSA. Got an email from Greg, the farm manager, with the following to get tomorrow:

        potatoes, carrots, beets, radishes (several varieties), turnips, winter squash (couple varieties), kohlrabi, collards, kale, salad greens. Dried beans will be ready in mid December. I ordered a lot & hope they will get me thru the winter, more or less.

        From Brambly Farm, getting eggs. I had their turkey last week & it was delicious. Had 1/2 a pig delivered in mid November from them & have made a few things so far. Also fantastic.

        Crescent Ridge Dairy delivers milk to me each week from VT dairy farmers. Yummy!

        My family continues to be well fed :)

        6 Replies
        1. re: tall sarah

          Glad to hear Brambly's pork is good - I'm getting a half a hog from them. I hate that the picture of the pigs are so darned cute on their website, though.

          1. re: nsenada

            Pigs are super cute. And tasty.

            1. re: yumyum

              I wish they'd ugly them up a bit - maybe a bad haircut, some prison tats...

          2. re: tall sarah

            Tall Sarah,
            Do you mind telling me more about the half pig- aprox number of cuts, cost etc- very interesting!!

            1. re: cassoulady

              Just saw your request- so sorry for late reply!

              I split the 1/2 pig with another family, so the cost wasn't so much for me. But it wasn't cheap. We paid $5.25/ lb hanging weight. And the pig was 86 lbs for the 1/2 pig. I don't have a kitchen scale, but here's what we ended up with:

              bacon- 6, 1 lb pkgs
              breakfast sausage- 5, 1+ lb pkgs
              2, 1/2 hams, 6-7 lbs each or so
              3 butt/ shoulder cuts, 5-8 lbs each
              pork chops- 3 pkgs, each with 2 chops cut at 1 1/2" thickness
              fat back- huge, huge piece... not sure what's gonna happen with that one yet :)
              spare ribs- 2 pkgs of about 1 lb each

              Since they are in my freezer right now, I'm not sure what I'm forgetting. But I know I've forgotten something.... looks like I've calculated around 40-45 lbs of meat from 86 lbs hanging. Hmmm... I know we got more, but my meat's kind of buried right now in the deep freezer. Sorry I don't have all the details!

              We had the option of how it would be butchered, if we wanted the meats smoked or fresh & if we wanted the liver, heart, hooves, head, etc. There was a bit of confusion at Blood's Farm (the processing plant & butcher), so we didn't get the leaf lard. No big deal, but we were hoping to get that b/c that's the good lard for making pies & such.

              Overall, I'm really happy with the quality & the entire process. Dealing directly with the farmers was pretty fun & Ted & Sandra really care about their animals. It took 2 weeks longer than expected, but I was totally fine with that. It gave me more time to get my freezer ready :)

              If you decide to get a 1/2 pig, you'll only need a small chest freezer- 5.0 cf will do the job. If you hope to store more, a 7.0 will work really well. I got the 7.0 & it's great- holds that yummy Trader Joe's Jo Jo cookie ice cream just nicely. But that's a post for another day!

              -----
              Trader Joe's
              1427 Massachusetts Ave, Arlington, MA 02476

              1. re: tall sarah

                thanks tall sarah. We dont have an extra freezer but we do have two regular sized fridges with freezers. Do you think that would hold it all?

          3. I signed up for Shared Harvest's winter CSA, with one pick up on Nov. 20 and one Dec. 18. The first puck up contained two big boxes pf produce, one pound dried beans, one bag of apples, three heads lettuce, plus we added on extras in the form of five local cheeses. You could also add on eggs and maple syrup. The produce included turnips, leeks, potatoes, onions, garlic, acorn squash, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, baby book choy, and more. Looking forward to our next pick up later this month!

            1. The fish share this week was monkfish tail. Our share partners took it because we are having an extremely busy week but we saw photos and it looked great.

              Penny
              http://www.bostonzest.com/

              1. THe CSF today was haddock. Last week I got my first box from the First Light Farm winter share: a large box full: acorn and butternut squashs, carrots, turnips, two kinds of breathtaking Chinese veggies, dill, cilantro, lettuce, purple broccoli, leeks, bunching onions.. Wow!

                1 Reply
                1. re: pastrytroll

                  I also got my first box from First Light Farm. It was great. Unlike many winter CSAs, which deliver a large quantity of items that you can expect to last a long time, the First Light box had a lot of variety - not too much of any one thing - and was small enough that you don't need tons of cool storage at home and everything will be used up while it still is very nice and fresh. It is just right for small households. I could not be more pleased.

                2. I was on the waitlist for a winter share at our CSA (Farm Direct Coop). We just got an email that they were able to up the number of shares; our pickup will be next week. From what I remember of last year's winter share it will be lots of root veg, a bit of greens, and some fun things like dried beans and whatnot.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: gimlis1mum

                    Had our pickup today and Whoa Nelly, it's a lot of food. Bread, cheddar cheese, apple cider, and dried beans; onions, scallions, shallots, fingerling potatoes, and sweet potatoes; beetroot, kohlrabi, rutabaga, radishes, carrots (2 types), winter squash (2 types); collards, kale, Napa cabbage, arugula, broccoli, and cilantro. Oh, and some herb salt.

                    Half of it is on the cellar steps as the fridge is full. I'm thinking tomorrow will be a kimchi-making day: I found a recipe to use the cabbage and scallions (and a Korean radish that was already in my fridge).

                  2. I signed up to try Farmers to You. In particular I am interested in the chicken. I will get the chicken next wednesday, so I will report back.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: cassoulady

                      Farmers to You. looks really cool - I wish 'someone' would start a pick-up site in the Fenway-Brookline -Allston area.

                      1. re: Berheenia

                        One possible solution is to find a business in the area that will act as a pick up point for them.

                        If it is a business that doesn't compete with the food they sell it could be a win-win for the business because all those coming in for pick up are potential and grateful customers.

                        I'll ask Patagonia on Newbury street. I remember them having a CSA delivery pick up there in the past. Would that be too far from you? It's steps from the Hynes Green line station and #1 bus route.

                        Any other ideas?

                        1. re: BostonZest

                          I'd like to get a little closer to the Park Drive area but Patagonia would work on a weekend morning. Thanks!

                          1. re: Berheenia

                            I don't think they do weekends. So far they are coming down on Wednesdays and Thursdays. We'll have to brainstorm to find something near St Mary's.

                            Penny
                            http://www.bostonzest.com/

                      2. re: cassoulady

                        I got my first Farmers To You. I got a chicken, fingerling potatoes, watermelon radishes, yogurt and a baguette and apples. The chicken was great. It is a Misty Knolls chicken, great flavor. I got the smallest size available and it was about 3.5lbs. I thought that price for the chicken was reasonable. It was very fresh and tasty. I just roasted it and made a soup with the carcass. I got delivery of my order through Metro Pedal Power. I was really pleased with everything I got and have placed a second order for this week.

                        1. re: cassoulady

                          How was the baguette? I have to admit the bread is one of the reasons I would join. I was hoping for a good bread report from someone.

                          Penny
                          http://www.bostonzest.com/

                          1. re: BostonZest

                            I thought it was really good, crusty, nice flavor. I emailed them at first with tons of questions and they were really nice. I say try an order w/ the $8 delivery charge, see if you like it, then try to organize a new pick up site close to you if you are happy with what you got.
                            I also like that you can cancel/postpone this service so unlike a traditional CSA you arent locked in for a long time.

                          2. re: cassoulady

                            I have to say, after cooking my second chicken from Farmers to You, I am a believer. It was so moist and wonderful. The white meat stayed very moist and I did a very basic roast chicken recipe. Also, the organizers were kind enough to email and say that the chickens were processed the day prior to the pick up and that they can stand ten days in the fridge before cooking or freezing- the one I cooked tonight was from last wednesday. That's a fresh bird! I think the freshness really came through in the flavor and texture of the bird.

                        2. We started winter share CSA with Green Meadow Farm in Hamilton this season and couldn't be happier. All organic and includes fruit! Each week there is a great variety and when you pick it up you get to walk around the farm stand and make choices (either 1 butternut or 4 delicata, etc). This week we got 3 heads broccoli, a large bag of rainbow chard, 1 delicata squash, 1 qt beets, 2lbs sweet potatoes, 1 head red leaf Romaine, 2 large grapefruits, 1 pomegranate, 4 tangerines, celery, sun dried tomatoes, 4 Bartlett pears, 5 zucchini...and I'm probably forgetting something! In the past few weeks we have gotten every kind of squash available, turnips, potatoes, Japanese turnips, parsnips, carrots, radishes, all kinds of greens, medjool dates, herbs, pineapples, apples, bananas, cranberries...They also do organic meat shares (grass-fed beef, pork, and lamb) and raise free-range chickens. Our two year old loves feeding the pigs each week when we go get our veggies. I have also picked up their homemade soups a couple times which have been great. I think that a lot of the pantry and refrigerated products there are too expensive, but for $40 a week I think the organic fruit and veggie winter share is a steal.

                          1. Today was my first visit to the Chelmsford Agway Winter Farmer's Market, which began mid-November. It was bustling and happily, given the time of year, only two of the vendors were not food-related. I sampled and bought some craft diet root beer (they have regular too), and got some frozen lamb and lamb liver, cabbage, and squash (buttercup and curry, though they had the usual suspects too). Got there at noon - Liberty Seafood was sold out of almost everything. There was a pork vendor there too. The vendor roster changes a little from week to week but is available on their blog. Note: the FM is in their greenhouse, from which there is indoor access only. So you must go up 5 or so steps at the front door, then down again into the greenhouse. http://chelmsfordagwayfarmersmarket.b...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: greygarious

                              Tried a piece of farm raised Salmon from Liberty Fish, it was so fresh. You can get on their mailing list and they will allow you to preorder whatever they have available.

                              I love the variety of the vendors here. The fudge from The Fudge Bar was excellent as well. Fresh free range eggs too!

                            2. Allandale Farm is closing for the winter December 23. The will have applications for their CSA in January on their website. They will go fast.

                              1. Here's an email I received for this Sunday, December 19 farmer's market at the Charles Hotel

                                Holiday Market this Sunday in Harvard Square
                                Please join us for a festive gathering and an opportunity for holiday shopping supporting local businesses this Sunday, December 19 from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM at the Charles Hotel in Harvard Square. Vendors from the farmers markets including 3LittleFigs Tasty All-Natural Bakin’, Spring Brook Farm, Q’s Nuts, Grateful Farm, Coy Brook Farm, and Stillman’s Turkey Farm will be on-hand offering fresh eggs, local cheese, honey, fresh breads, butternut squash, brussel sprouts, apples, apple sauce, cider, jams and preserves, greenery, plants, bulbs, moss, locally made soaps, roasted nuts, holiday cookie favorites, pastured beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, ham, bacon and more!

                                Enjoy!
                                Dara

                                Dara Olmsted
                                Harvard University Hospitality & Dining Services
                                Food Literacy Project Coordinator
                                (617) 495-8052

                                1. I got email from Cyndi the Brookline Fish Lady last night. She's got her permit and will start selling fresh fish weekly starting next Tuesday, December 21, 1 to 6:30 PM, at When Pigs Fly on Beacon Street.

                                  1. I also just got my first order from Farmers To You, and I'm very happy with it. The milk (organic, creamline, from Guernsey cows) is especially delicious. I also got sprouts, root vegetables, yogurt, cheese, and eggs, and everything seems to be good quality. Looking forward to trying the meat!

                                    1. Just got the December distribution from First Light Farm winter CSA. Gorgeous just-picked-in-the-hoop-house chard, bok choy, dill, Chinese cabbage, regular cabbage and scallions plus just-dug parsnips, turnips, and a humongous beet with some snow still clinging to the top end. Oh, and a few assorted winter squash. I love the variety and eating super fresh greens on the winter solstice is really a treat!

                                      Valley View Farm, which hosted the distribution had some of its own eggs, cheeses, and maple syrup for sale too. Yum.