Hometown Harvest

Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means they are compensating me for things like referrals, sharing product info and talking about my experience using their services. In a nutshell, for spreading the word! As always, all opinions are my own, and I only choose sponsors whose missions I support.

Hometown Harvest Organic Carrots

Pretty exciting news over here on the sponsor front! Those of you that like my Facebook page already got a sneak peek last week when I announced that Hometown Harvest has become a blog sponsor!

Back in January I started a recurring delivery of a small fixed bag every other week, after hearing about Hometown Harvest from a friend. Ironically, even though it’s based out of Frederick, I’d never heard of them. How this happens, I’m not sure; but, I swear I don’t live under a rock. Really.

I started out with a small fixed bag that was spaced out every two weeks so that I was able to figure out just how much my family of four would need. The great thing about Hometown Harvest, versus a traditional CSA, is that you’re able to customize your order, even if you choose a fixed bag option. If I know I’ll need more potatoes, or if I want to add applesauce or meats, it’s no problem as long as I’ve made my changes before the delivery cutoff date. The flexibility is so handy! Check out what’s in their “shop” here.

The weekend before my delivery, I get an email (or I can check online) that lists what’s going to arrive in my small fixed bag, along with notes telling me where everything came from. I love that little attention to detail; it’s not easy. Did I mention DELIVERY???

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few of the reasons I’ve liked Hometown Harvest so much, and why I chose to use them in the first place. Remember, all of this happened before they asked if I’d like to work with them – it’s an organic experience! (Pun intended.)

You can read all of the Hometown Harvest FAQs here.

Hometown Harvest Organic Broccoli

It’s all organically farmed!

About 95% of everything we offer is organic. There are a few exceptions to this rule. During our local growing season, there are some items that are just not possible to find locally and certified organic. These items include tree fruit and sweet corn, and are usually grown following Integrated Pest Management practices (IPM) that closely mirror organic methods, do not yet have official certification. We always make it clear what items are organic and what items are not on our menu each week.

Delivery, FTW!

We currently deliver to parts of Maryland, D.C., and Virginia, and we are sprouting new routes all the time. Please check out our “Delivery” page for specific areas. We have both night and day routes. Your delivery day and time will depend on when our truck is traveling through your area. Please check out our “How It Works” page.

Hometown Harvest Organic Carrots

It’s kinda like a CSA, but not…

No [we’re not a CSA], but many of our growers participate in CSAs. Just like a CSA, you are supporting local agriculture with your order, but unlike a CSA, you can complete customize your experience.

They support local farmers first!

We have a growing list of local farmers that we source from. We always go to our local farmers first. So while we are in season, our menu is 100% local. During the off season (typically Dec-April) we try to include as many local items as we can find, but then we also bring in organic produce from outside of our area—always keeping it with in the U.S., and again as close to home as possible.

Hometown Harvest Organic Broccoli

Like the photos? The carrots and broccoli were both a part of last week’s small fixed bag!

If you’re planning to sign up, make sure to mention my name during the process. I’d love for the team to know you heard about them from me!

Hometown Harvest is a blog sponsor, which means they are compensating me for things like referrals, sharing product info and talking about my experience using their services. In a nutshell, for spreading the word! As always, all opinions are my own, and I only choose sponsors whose missions I support.

I’m a Stonyfield Ambassador

Disclosure: As a Stonyfield Organic™ ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions are always my own!

Stonyfield Organic Ambassador

I first discovered Stonyfield Organic™ yogurt eight years ago when my daughter was about 6-months old and moving into the world of eating solids. My mother made her own yogurt, but I felt overwhelmed by the mere thought of what’s involved with making homemade yogurt (which I’ve since learned isn’t terribly difficult with the proper tools).

I’ve grown a bit in the kitchen since then, wouldn’t you say?

Anyway, standing in the supermarket isle, staring at the rows and rows of yogurts, Stonyfield’s YoBaby caught my eye. Made with whole milk? Check. Made with organic whole milk? Check. I was hooked. And so was my daughter.

Stonyfield Organic uses Organic Valley Co-op

Photo via Stonyfield.com

Back in 2005 I wasn’t focused on eating organically. Heck, at that point I was just starting to learn how to really cook from scratch, in addition to managing a baby and working full-time. But I knew that this growing little person needed the best I could get, especially for a first food. I consider this my tipping point into the world of understanding the importance of supporting local farmers, eating organic whenever possible, and spreading the word.

Fast-forward to 2013 and I’d say my family eats organic, local or clean about 70% of the time. And we’re all feeling great!

Organic vs. Natural

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between organic and natural?

Organic vs. Natural Chart

Photo via Stonyfield.com

This chart from Stonyfield Organic™ explains why we try to eat organic whenever possible. Something labeled “natural” can be a bit…deceiving…wouldn’t you say? Right now there are many battles being fought over just how deceptive labeling can be, and the fact that consumers think they’re buying the healthy choice, when in fact their not.

Strides are being made to label our foods properly, but if you either look for organic foods, or you buy from farmers who are farming organically (even if they’re not able to afford to be “Certified Organic” by FDA), then you’re making the right choices.

A Stonyfield Ambassador?

When I applied to be a Stonyfield Organic™ ambassador via Mamavation earlier this year, I spent the month of October following daily photo prompts centered around fighting pesticides. Or, as we called it, Cow-Fu!

Stonyfield Fight Pesticides Cow-Fu

I snapped shots of everything from my kids enjoying time outside and veggies I got at the farmers’ market, to organic blueberries for Saturday pancakes and a bee loaded with pollen that landed on my finger on a warm day. (No, the bee didn’t sting me – but I know you’re wondering.)

Here’s a compilation of my #FightPesticides Instagram pics that tell the story:

(a)Musing Foodie Stonyfield Ambassador

Other Organic Facts

Organic farming means pesticides are forbidden, and instead the farmers use natural means to keep their crops healthy and delicious. One way? Bugs – the good guys!

Ladybugs in Organic Farming

Photo via Stonyfield.com

We invite the ladybugs.

The organic farmers who supply us with milk, fruit and veggies control pests with people-and-Earth-friendly methods, like releasing ladybugs and other beneficial organisms that prey on pests.

Organic cows have a happy life filled with lots of fresh pastures, GMO-free food, and no toxic pesticides.

Pesticides and Dairy Infographic

Photo via Stonyfield.com

Cows need hugs, not drugs.

Our farmers treat cows with kindness, not artificial hormones or antibiotics.

Stonyfield’s organic blueberries are wild!

We’re wild about organic blueberries.

About a third of ours are handpicked in the wilds of Quebec.

It’s important to understand how buying organic helps our farmers!

Support Organic Farmers

Photo via Stonyfield.com

A passion for pasture.

When you support organic family farmers, you help protect rural beauty, rural economies, and the health of our food system.

What’s next?

Through February, you’ll find me posting about Stonyfield Organic™ here, and also on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook – follow along with the #organic and #obsessivelyorganic hashags!

And, I’ll be contributing a recipe once a month to The Yogurt Dish, the Stonyfield Organic™ blog. This month I submitted my Cranberry Almond Roasted Chicken Salad made with Stonyfield’s whole milk plain yogurt – yum!

Chicken Salad with Yogurt

I’m super excited to be working with Stonyfield Organic™, and I look forward to sharing more over the next couple of months!

Disclosure: As a Stonyfield Organic™ ambassador, I am being compensated. All opinions are always my own!

Savory Garlic Farro | Side Dish Recipe

Last Thursday was busy, maybe a little busier than normal even. One of those days where all of a sudden it’s after 6:00 PM and thoughts about dinner aren’t even a blip on the horizon.

 

My daughter, who spent all evening outside – until the lights came on – stopped playing with her friends long enough to ask for chicken noodle soup for dinner. Since my son was at my folks’ for the night, and my husband was busy coaching a lacrosse game (they won!), it was just us girls. And you know what? Chicken soup with buttered saltine crackers sounded perfect to me.

 

But a couple nights ago, when I had a little more foresight, we tried organic Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato for the first time. It’s nothing new and crazy. In fact, farro has been around since ancient times, and it has always been very popular in Italy – specifially Tuscanny. With a texture similar to a cross between Israeli couscous and brown rice, and with a delicate, nutty flavor, it’s also quite versatile!

 

But even prepared simple, we found it quite delicious.

 

Savory Garlic Farro

 

farro recipes, tuscan fields, organic, side dish recipes, recipes

 

{Print this recipe}
Prep: 5 minutes | Cook: 30 minutes | Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:
1 9.1oz box Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato
1 garlic clove, smashed
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oilDirections:

Warm the olive oil and garlic in a medium sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the Tuscan Fields Farro Perlato, and let it toast in the olive oil – stirring often – until it starts to look golden, about 5 minutes. Add the chicken broth all at one, increase the heat to high and bring it to a boil.

 

Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid, and reduce the heat to medium-low (or whatever keeps it at a light boil). Let the farro simmer for 18 minutes, then remove it from heat and let the it sit for another 5 minutes before taking the lid off.

 

Fluff the farro with a fork, remove the garlic, and serve it hot.

 

farro recipes, tuscan fields, organic, side dish recipes, recipes

About Tuscan Fields

Fattoria Pieve a Salti is a 700 hectare organic farm estate nestled in the rolling hills of the Crete Senese in southern Tuscany. The ancient history of Pieve a Salti dates back to the IV century when it was favorite summer residence of the Archbishop of Arezzo. In 1978 the Prandi family bought the farm for cultivation of grains and animal feed for dairy cows they raise in Northern Italy. In the 1980s the family renovated all the buildings into an “Agriturismo” (farm accommodation) – one of the first in Tuscany. Today the estate boasts one of the premier “agriturismi” in the region – hosting hundreds of guests from around the world every year.
 

 

Today Fattoria Pieve a Salti processes about 3,000 tons of grain grown on their own farm or from local farms in their network. All grain is organically grown and processed using strict standards and methods. Currently they are the second largest organic producer and processor in Italy. Approximately 80% of their production is sold throughout Europe under private label. Now – in 2013 – Pieve a Salti’s expansion into the U.S. market is underway with a grain line of Tuscan Fields organic products.

 

Find more about Tuscan Fields at www.tuscanfieldsfarro.com

 

Disclosure: I was given two boxes of Tuscan Fields Farro in exchange for writing this post, in addition to the opportunity to win a sponsorship to the fabulous foodie blogger conference Eat Write Retreat 2013. All opinions are my own!
  

What’s Up at The Community Farm – First Transplants

If you haven’t visited The Community Farm at Sandy Spring Friends School blog recently, then it’s time to head on over. Josie and Shawn have lots going on right now, including the first transplants out to the farmland and a lot of really interesting volunteers that have been helping to make this great idea come to fruition.
It’s a first-hand account of what it truly takes to pull off starting an organic small farm operation, by our next generation of farmers!

PS: You don’t have to be a part of the school to volunteer at The Community Farm. Click here to contact Josie and Shawn if you’re willing and able to lend a hand!
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