Apr 032020
 

Welcome Members to the Spring/Summer CSA!

We are happy and grateful to have you this season. You will be receiving some automated message reminders to remind you to pick up your share and also that the deadline to order add-ons is coming by text if you opted in, or email if you didn’t.  You will receive a What’s in the Share email from me, usually somewhere between Friday and Saturday, based on when Mark receives his final list from the farmers. We are still working on what you should expect for pickup and delivery with our changeover to Covid-19 sanitation and social distance guidelines, and I will send that out separately. Make sure to put our phone numbers in your phone: If you have issues about picking up/delivery of your share on that day — please contact Mark at 804-397-7337. My phone is 804-397-7339, 

Please know that this is a preview of what we THINK may be in the share and the menu may change between now and when you actually receive it due to weather, product availability. Mark may find something super special for you etc. We will try to let you know any major changes by email, and also post on our Facebook page, Facebook group, and on Instagram.

We ask for your flexibility and that you don’t get too attached if you see something on the Wish List menu that doesn’t make it into your share. Depending on what kind of season we have, you may see some of the same items on the menu for a couple weeks if they have a longer season (tomatoes), sometimes you may only see them once if they have a short season (ramps, cherries, grapes) and others you will see rotated (corn, cukes, peppers, kale). Fruit shares will not start until May. 

Seasonal eating within the CSA model might be different for you than shopping in the regular market, using a clicklist and even going to the farmer’s market in that we have a set menu for our shares of the best of what is in season that week, and you can’t pick and choose like you normally would. There may be a learning curve for some of you – hang in there – it will get easier. For meal planners,the list usually comes late Friday or Saturday for the following week.  Email me if you are having a problem, or post on the Facebook group.  Here is a handy guide that will help you know when to expect things.  With that said, Mark is an intrepid forager and is often able to locate the earliest items for us to enjoy. 

You might be challenged with items you have never seen or heard of – have fun researching them with your family and finding recipes. There are also a lot of excellent Farm to Table cookbooks out there and I will also give you recipes. If you need help please post on our Facebook page as our members all have great ideas. You can also email me. You may find a new favorite with a strange vegetable you never knew about! We work with farmers who grow heirloom vegetables, so they may look different than what you are used to.We are still in the beginning of Spring and farmers are just planting seeds for things we will see later in the season, we are still getting some items stored from Fall – and you will get a few pantry items to round things out till we really get going in a few weeks. I will do another post on what Seasonal eating means — if you have a favorite Farm to Table cookbook, blog or have tips to help our new members, please email me! 

Very important – if you think there is something wrong with your order, contact us right away so we can trouble shoot! Thank you.  

Happy Cooking and Eating!

Suzi Miles + Mark Lilly and staff

PRODUCE * indicates  small share.  Produce is from Flores Family Farm (George, Omar and family) Hague, Va.  @They will be pre-boxing up your shares this season to avoid extra contact and will be using Covid-19 precautions. 

  • mushrooms* AM Fog, Afton, VA blend of oyster, shiitake and maitake easy sauteed mushrooms. You can also substitute butter for the oil if you like butter. I do. Her are some other recipes. Here is a guide to storing mushrooms. If your mushrooms dry, don’t throw them out – save them for savory mushroom powder. Its delish.
  • ramps* – these are sustainably foraged for us and are alliums (onion garlic family). they will have wide green leaves, and white bulbs and a pungent scent. Use the leaves for pesto.  I grew up eating these – they literally grew right in my back yard. My dad and his friends ate them before school one day (one room school) and the teacher dismissed the whole school because of the smell. Dad caught hell later, because the teacher was his mom. t’hey are stinky but fabulous  –ramps on gritsramp compound butterpestoramped up crostini with fresh ricotta and pea shoots they are excellent on pizza and can be pickled – which are great in savory cocktails. 
  • maple syrup* Southernmost Maple, Bolar VA (Highland County) – The Puffenbarger family were our first farmer we partnered with when we started the FarmBus.  They are a Mennonite family and are known for their maple sausage and maple barbecue. Obviously it is delicious on pancakes and waffles, but try it in your coffee or maple moo smoothie (also uses yogurt). Our favorite is on top of the yogurt or the ricotta cheese.
  • Kalettes* – these are one of our favorites! They are a hybrid of kale and brussels sprouts so you can use recipes for either of those. They will likely arrive on the stalk, so you will have to pick them off and discard the stalk.  You can cook the leaves as well.  They are good raw, roasted, boiled, baked, sauteed. Here are recipes
  • swiss chard* this will have floppy leaves and may have rainbow stems or greenish white stems. It is a hardy green that stands up for more sturdy recipes so is nice for lasagna. Here is a basic sautee.  You can pickle the stems. Here are some creative ways to use it. 
  • carrots* – carrots are versatile and everyone loves them. They can be roasted, eaten raw, baked and boiled.  Here are some easy recipes
  • red onions* These will have tubular green stems and red bulbs. 
  • potatoes*
  • beets –  these will look like dirty round dark red balls with roots coming out of one end. Beets are delicious and versatile and can be used savory, raw, baked, roasted and in desserts. The Minimalist Baker beet hummus is delicious and kid friendly. Here is a gluten free vegan brownie recipe.   Here are some recipes
  • applesauce – Agriberry  Hanover, VA- this is a delicious value added item from our beloved fruit partner. It is good on yogurt, on oatmeal and in smoothies. It is wonderful just out of the jar, but here are  recipes if you must use it that way. 
  • spinach – these will be green leaves. They are great in salads, pesto, sauteed. Try this potato crusted spinach fritatta. 
  • kale – This will be dark green, leafy green. You will strip the leaves off the spines, unless they are tiny. Kale is not just for salad or sautee. Here are a whole bunch of ways that go beyond that.  You can also use the kale spines
  • apples – These have been in storage since fall and are still great eating. Here are some recipes

MEATS

BREAD

  • Prairie Grain mix – Midlothian, VA – this is a family bakery that grinds wheat for the bread just before baking! These are lovely sliced sandwich loaves. They freeze well and are great for anything you use sliced bread for. 

DAIRY

Mar 142020
 

Farm to Family/The FarmBus’ role as local food providers is critical, and is likely to become more so during the next few months. Promoting access to local and quality produce is what we do best. In this time of re-localization, and as more Americans are quarantined or practice the recommended social distancing, supply chains will get under stress, people will still need food, and you all are helping fulfill that need. We believe local food is more important than ever with the global threat currently facing our country especially in light of current shortages many of us are experiencing with key items in grocery and big box stores. We are working closely with our farmers and will to continue to provide you with the quality and convenience of local food. 

As many of you know, I studied Disaster Science/ Emergency Management at the University of Richmond 2007-09. The key course I took was called “Hazards and Threats of the Future.”  We had to pick a topic (mine was famine and severe hunger in the US and western developed countries) and do a 20 year forecast.  From all the info I gathered, I predicted a deliberate pandemic to control the world’s growing/over population. I read lots of material on Thomas Malthus and his Malthusian catastrophe mode – it’s worth a look if this kind of stuff interest you.  This was the catalyst that led me to start a new business –  Farm to Family and the Farmbus.  I wanted to create a sustainable food model in case our food supply chain was disrupted or halted all together.  Whether a pandemic is deliberate or not, I felt it of the utmost importance to focus on local food supply chains and food security.

We ask you to remain patient, fluid and agile as the landscape is changing very quickly. Our produce and fruit farmers are continuing to plant spring crops, the weather is perfect for strawberries and the bees are busy. Our meat and dairy farmers are occupied with stewarding newborn animals and the herds are enjoying outdoor grazing and sunshine. Luckily local food is not dependent on complex over stressed delivery chains.

After speaking with all our farmers and vendors we are not anticipating any disruptions, it’s business as usual, but as we know, things are very different today than earlier in the week. We are keeping a close eye on the rest of the world as well as what is happening in the US. Our farmers practice, and are certified Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) by the USDA. These are voluntary audits that verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards. GAP & GHP audits verify adherence to the recommendations made in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables (pdf) and industry recognized food safety practices. Our dairy and meat farmers are subject to USDA testing, inspection and sanitation practices and our vendors are certified thru VDAC and adhere to those regulations. We and all of our farmers are keeping your health our priority by practicing additional sanitation action.  

We recommend that you wash down any fruits and vegetables – here is an easy DIY solution to use – and practice good sanitation with any other foods and containers you may be receiving from us. 

As of now we are going forward with next week’s shares, and if there are any changes/modifications. we will let you know. We recommend social distancing like you would anywhere else in public at our group pickups. 

 At this time we are not anticipating delays to our March 31st start. We are in contact with Eastern Market and our drop sites. If you want to switch over to home delivery, let Suzi know.  We will continue to do our best to get your food to you in a timely manner.    If you have questions, concerns or would like to brainstorm with Mark, please email or call him directly at 804-397-7337.  We would encourage more than ever share our services with friends/family, strangers, neighbors and co-workers!  

We will get thru this together.  If we need to modify things or any sudden changes come about we will let you know as quickly as possible and again we ask for your patience as we navigate this together.

Sincerely,

Mark, Suzi and our Farm to Family team

Feb 182020
 

The FarmBus 2020 Spring/Summer CSA season is LIVE for subscription. It starts* the last week of March running 24 weeks thru the 4th week of September  (includes 2 one week breaks: the week of April 21/22, and the week of August 18/19th. Mark your calendars.)  Sign Up TodayDon’t delay! And please share us and these codes with your friends, family and coworkers – if they sign up and use your name during sign up, you will earn a $40 referral reward – share early and often!  Watch for a shareable social media post. *Start dates subject to change due to weather, acts of nature etc.

 FULL SHARE SAVINGS ALL SEASON – Sign up anytime this season and SAVE10% on Full Share purchase (this is for the combo produce, meat, dairy and bread share ONLY) use code: 10FullSS20 If you want any of the other modular shares, use the Early Bird code below.
ALL OTHER SHARE EARLYBIRD DISCOUNT NOW THRU FRIDAY 2/23/2010% discount on all other shares other than FULL use code: 1S20EARLY

ACTIVE MILITARY/VETERANS– Use our 10% military discount code to save on all CSA shares signing up anytime during the season. Please email with proof of your service for the code, as it has changed. 
*Make sure you are choosing Summer 2020 shares, as Fall/Winter is still up for a few more weeks. 

SHOPPING TIPS: Verify you are using the right code for your share/s to get the best value. When you get towards the end of the sign up process, you will be prompted to enter in the discount code in a field towards the top and the software will subtract it at checkout. In order to find out your price, go thru the process like you are purchasing – when you choose your frequency – weekly/biweekly in the drop down menu – your cost will also adjust. If you leave your cart and come back, make sure to clear your cart to avoid duplicate purchase.

THE DETAILS

Descriptions of each share/prices are on the website.
Add ons are available – eggs and all other dairy items, tofu, bread, certain pantry items, some meats etc.

1 time shares available for those who can’t commit/have erratic schedules.

Partial seasons available for people who may be moving (email for info – don’t sign up online. I will set you up manually.)

Memberships are modular, and flexible with payment plans and vacation holds. Credit rolls season to season.

PREFERRED PAYMENTS are cash, checks or online billypay, money orders. These should be made out to Farm to Family, LLC and can be mailed or given to Mark at Eastern Market/DC. You will be told your member/home delivery fee so you can add this to your check/cash payment. Credit/debit now have a 3.5% surcharge fee which you will be reminded of by CSAware if you choose this payment method. As a small business in an industry with thin margins and high rates of product shrinkage due to limited shelflife, along with other CSAs, farms and other food service providers, we chose to charge this fee instead of raising our prices to cover it. Choose the fee-free options provided to avoid the surcharge. 

DC

  • Starts Tuesday, 3/31 DC Eastern Market; weekly/biweekly; seasonal member fee $100/50*
  • Starts Tuesday,4/7 DC Home Delivery (Capitol Hill 20002, 20003 and Navy Yard); biweekly only, additional $10/time delivery fee charged separately; seasonal member fee $50*

RVA

  • Starts Wednesday, 4/1 Farm to Family/RVA 2817 Mechanicsville Turnpike, RVA 23223; weekly/biweekly; seasonal member fee $50/25*
  • Starts Wednesday,4/11 RVA Home Deliver (within 5 miles of Farm to Family includes Downtown, The Fan, Carytown, Church Hill, Forest Hill, Manchester, Northside, Old Mechanicsville, Ginter Park, Lakeside) biweekly only, additional $5/time delivery fee charged separately; seasonal member fee $25*

*seasonal member pro-rated if you join post-start. Member fee includes everything except cost of food. See Policies and FAQs for  more info. 

Questions? Email Suzi or call Mark at 804-397-7337.

Apr 232018
 

Hi everyone, here are some recipes for you. This is a bang up share and I am getting hungry just thinking about it. This may be my favorite share of the season!  Lots of garicky onioney stuff this week. strawberries, asparagus. chamomile.  It’s the spring season for it. Hope you all did well with everything last week. What did you make with your ramps?

Large Produce:

Small/half share folks:

  • Bibb lettuce
  • strawberries
  • ramps
  • mushrooms
  • kale
  • asparagus
  • vine tomatoes (hot house)

dairy: Trickling Springs organic milk, natural yogurt (with strawberries and maple syrup), organic butter, Eberly havarti cheese – fried cheesy pickles, Promise Land eggs

meats:  Peachy farm pork chops – pork chops with ramp chimmichurri, Polyface breakfast links – strata with sausage and greens (great for breakfast and supper, Sky View Acres ground beef – Havarti burgers with cuke celery slaw,  make burgers and put sauteed ramps on them, or heck just make an Appalachian ramp burger! or ramp compound butter

bread:  Billy Bread rustic sourdough – If you don’t eat it all quickly, this bread will get hard, but don’t be sad or throw it out!  It is perfect for so many amazing dishes that call for bread on the harder side.

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