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Savoring the Seasons

Savoring the Seasons: Spring is a great time to...

By MARY MCCLINTOCK

Whatever the weather does this week, the sun tells us it’s spring. Spring equinox means the sun getting higher in the sky and as many hours of daylight as dark.

Whatever the weather, all of us can be part of the cycle of growing, harvesting, enjoying, and preserving food. For some of us, spring means starting seeds indoors to plant in our vegetable gardens or harvesting greens we’re growing in cold frames and greenhouses. For others, it means making syrup from maple sap.

For many, spring’s the time to sign up for CSA shares at local farm. For all of us, every season is a great time to savor locally grown food.

Have you signed up for a CSA or Market Share? Buying a Community-Supported Agriculture share now helps farmers know they have a market for their produce and provides shareholders with tasty food throughout the growing season. There are LOTS of CSA and Market Share programs in the area. See below for information about Hager’s Farm Market Share program.

An up-to-date information resource about local farms with CSA shares is the CISA website, www.buylocalfood.org.

CSA? CISA? That’s not a typo. There’s no “I” in CSA, which stands for the farm marketing practice called community supported agriculture. There is an “I” in the acronym for Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, better known as CISA, the great organization based in South Deerfield that strengthens local agriculture by building connections between farmers and the community.

The MassGrown website includes information about Massachusetts CSA farms although CISA’s information may be more up-to-date. Visit www.mass.gov/agr/massgrown.

Many of us know CISA from seeing their yellow “Be a Local Hero, Buy Locally Grown” signs and bumper stickers. CISA has created a fun new way for us to be Local Heroes. Their Local Hero Challenge includes tools and suggestions to connect with more local farms and food producers. Visit www.buylocalfood.org to learn more and sign up for the Local Hero Challenge.

Spring is a great time to learn about food — growing it, cooking it, preserving it. And, Rowe Conference Center is a great place to learn. I just spent a weekend learning with Starhawk at Rowe and, in coming weeks, Rowe hosts some exciting food-related workshops. In late March, Sandor Katz presents a workshop called “Fermentation Extravaganza: Join the Food Revolution.” Sandor wrote THE books on fermenting foods. This is a marvelous opportunity to learn the simple process of fermenting foods and how to do it safely and correctly. For information about the Fermentation workshop and a workshop in May on creating kitchen gardens, visit www.rowecenter.org.

Until your foods ferment (and after!), enjoy fermented foods from Real Pickles of Greenfield. Here’s one of their simple, tasty recipes. To learn about Real Pickles and their transition to being a worker cooperative supported by community investment, visit www.realpickles.com.

Hager’s Farm Market Share: Hager’s Market on Route 2 in Shelburne is offering a pre-purchase plan to save 20 percent on Hager’s Farm Market products. Shareholders buy a full share (cost of $500/value of $600) or half share (cost of $250/value of $300) by March 30 and then each week for 20 weeks from June to October, get a voucher good for $30 or $15 worth of farm market products. Visit the Market or email hagersfarmmarket@gmail.com for details.

This Week We’re Eating. . .

CREAMY KRAUT SALAD

By Real Pickles, Greenfield (from www.realpickles.com)

1 15-oz. jar Real Pickles Organic Sauerkraut, drained

1 1/3 C. chopped apples (sweet variety, such as Fuji or Macoun)

1/2 C. chopped walnuts

1/2 C. creme fraiche (or additive-free sour cream)

Combine ingredients. Serve chilled. Ingredient proportions can easily be adjusted to suit your taste. Serves 6-8.

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