High Country CSA makes local food available all winter
While enduring 34-degree flurries at the farmers’ market last weekend, I realized it is definitely time for the outdoor market to end their season. But thanks to creative thinking of folks at Maverick Farms ( http://www.maverickfarms.com), local food will be available bi-weekly this winter.
For its third year, the High Country CSA (community supported agriculture) winter program begins in November 2011 and continues through April 2012. Unlike the summer program, no membership or money up front is required to participate. Community members may participate any week they choose, with product availability on a first ordered, first served basis.
For the winter, they offer locally grown produce, pastured meats, goat cheese, baked goods, pasta and sweets that you can buy a la carte from the website’s food catalog. The online catalog is accessible the week prior to delivery time. You may sign up now through the website to be reminded of important dates. The first order time opens up on Nov. 8, orders are due on Nov. 15 and may be picked up on Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Agricultural Conference Center, located at 252 Poplar Grove Road in Boone.
The process is simple.
Go to http://www.highcountrycsa.org/catalog.
Select the products and quantities that you would like to purchase and checkout. An email will be sent to you confirming your order.
Pick up your order on the designated Saturday at the Agricultural Conference Center. Pickups are between 2 and 4 p.m. Cash, checks and EBT and SNAP benefits are accepted.
This program provides winter income for food producers and growers in Watauga, Avery, Ashe, Caldwell and Wilkes counties.
N.C. Cooperative Extension has made grants available to growers for season extension, such as greenhouses, through the WNC AgOptions program, wncagoptions.org. 2012 grant applications will soon be available. This and other grant programs are encouraging growers to produce more food for High Country consumers during the winter months.
Some area growers have erected greenhouses and offer their winter produce to a group of people who have signed up, such Sally Thiel and Joe Martin of Zydeco Farms in Ashe County.
Kale is always a cool weather favorite that grows well in unheated greenhouses. Here is a recipe from the High Country CSA website, taken from allrecipes.com.
Sweet & Savory Kale2 tablespoons olive oil1 small onion, diced2 cloves garlic, minced1 tablespoon Dijon mustard4 teaspoons white sugar1 tablespoon cider vinegar1 1/2 cups chicken broth4 cups stemmed, torn and rinsed kale1/4 cup dried cranberriesSalt and pepper to taste1/4 cup sliced almonds Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes.Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover and cook five minutes until wilted. Stir in the dried cranberries and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes.
Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.
Margie Mansure, M.S., R.D. is a registered dietitian/nutritionist and extension agent with N.C. Cooperative Extension. She offers personalized classes to improve the health of citizens in Watauga County through worksites, schools and community groups. To contact Margie, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (828) 264-3061