Monday, January 25, 2010

Garden Tips from Maryland Farmers

I saw the following press release here and I thought our readers might enjoy the gardening resource.

ANNAPOLIS (Jan. 23, 2010) – Cold weather is here, but spring is just around the corner and now is the time to plan for your gardens. Maryland farmers have initiated a homeowner education campaign, “Take it from Maryland Farmers: Backyard Actions for a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay” to help gardeners by offering wintertime planning tips and online resources available at The campaign highlights the importance of garden planning during the colder winter months for stronger, healthier gardens and lawns in the upcoming growing season and a cleaner Chesapeake Bay. Additional topics include the wise use of fertilizers, trying pesticide alternatives and composting, controlling soil erosion and rainwater runoff, and conserving water.

“Farmers, like homeowners and all residents of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, play an important role in protecting our soil and water resources,” said Governor Martin O’Malley. “It is a priority of the O’Malley-Brown Administration to protect the health of the Bay for all to enjoy and to strengthen our family farms. I encourage all Marylanders to take backyard actions that protect the Chesapeake Bay so that we continue to create a smart, green and growing future.”

“Our farmers spend much of the winter doing maintenance and planning upgrades to their operations that will produce strong crops and improve soil and water quality,” said Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance. “Many routine farm-based conservation measures can easily be adapted to backyard lawn care and gardens. With soil testing, rainwater management, and appropriate plantings along with equipment maintenance, homeowners can produce beautiful, thriving, Bay-friendly yards.”

Homeowners and gardeners can log onto to download the informational brochures, listen to the audio pieces, and link to additional resources. They can also call the University of Maryland Home and Garden Information Center toll-free 1-800-342-2507 (outside Maryland 410-531-5573) from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. to speak with a Certified Professional Horticulturist about easy-to-follow, Bay-friendly suggestions for their lawns and gardens.

Take it from Maryland Farmers: Backyard Actions for a Cleaner Chesapeake Bay was developed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture, the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center, the Maryland Sea Grant along with Maryland farmers through an agricultural awareness group. The program was made possible through grant funding that supports the implementation of the Statewide Plan for Agricultural Policy and Resource Management.

Source: Maryland Dept. of Agriculture


Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fresh this week from Rohrer's Meats

Greetings from the farm. After taking a week off to attend a conference and see our tax dollars put to use by Senator Byrd at the National Conservation Training Center, I'm ready to get back to the markets. I'll be at the Dutch Plant Farm Saturday from 10 AM until 12:30 PM. I will have my full product line, most of it fresh. Lamb will include butterflied leg, racks, loin chops, arm chops, shanks, stew cubes, shoulder roasts, and ground lamb. Pork will include boneless loin roasts, pork chops, spare, country style, and baby back ribs; boneless butts, bacon, and smoked ham steaks. Country, sage, and hot Italian sausage will be fresh while maple, applewurst, and mild Italian are frozen. I will also have frozen tangy and Carolina Barbecue. Beef will include strip, ribeye, sirloin, porterhouse, flank, and skirt steaks; sirloin tip, boneless chuck, and eye round roasts; ground round, stew cubes, and steak burgers. I will also have whole chickens, cutup chickens, and legs/thighs. There will also be cheese and eggs.

I will now be back to my regular every other week schedule until market season starts. I have been working on finding a location this week, but have no news yet. Eat fresh, be well, and I will see you at the market.

Rohrer's Meats


Thursday, January 14, 2010

Lots of new menu items, cool restaurants

I wandered into Isabella's the other night with some friends, hungry, just as the kitchen was about to close. Chef James very graciously made us a number of tapas and came out and chatted with us afterwards. I interviewed Chef about the local items on his menu back in April of last year. I had the best slow-cooked chicken tapas in a red sauce- I can't remember what it was called but it was outstanding. And I also had a few excellent seafood dishes. Chef James says that he is putting 15 new items on the menu in the next couple of weeks, so be on the lookout.

I also stopped in to Volt last night and checked out their menu for DC restaurant week; they have an all-new 3 and 4 course prix fixe menu ($35 and $45) for dinner. Lunch prix fixe is I think $20 for 3 courses. Restaurant Week is a great way to try a fine dining restaurant at a cost less than what you would normally have to pay. But I will warn you-the Washington Post Going Out Guide is full of comments from people who could not get reservations because the place is so busy. My advice to you, that I probably should keep to myself, is to go at an off time and eat at the bar, because the food is the same and the company is great. There is also an a la carte restaurant week menu and I saw duck confit for $14. Not bad. I also talked to Danny Garland last night, who works for one of Volt's meat suppliers, and was impressed with how he really connects the farmer to the restaurant in terms of meeting the restaurant's high standards and needs for various cuts, types of products, etc. Needless to say, a lot of these farmers are local to the region.

I went to an excellent little Greek deli called Aleko's in Middletown the other week. I am going to do a more complete writeup about them soon, but was impressed by their commitment to fresh homemade food that uses lots of local ingredients and caters to people with food sensitivities.

I also made my way out to Joannie's on Carroll St. near the canal and was super-impressed by how Joannie was willing to whip up a homemade gluten-free and dairy-free quiche on the spot because I was hungry for one. Joannie also uses a lot of local ingredients and caters to people with food sensitivities. She also has poetry nights on Fridays, dance parties, a thriving local scene, a seamstress operation, and waffles. I'll be writing more about her too. We are going to share some recipes. I have a great gluten-free chicken and dumplings recipe, and a pork loin with cherry gravy that is to die for.




Who Wants To Taste the New Menu?

Well you know here at Cakes for Cause, we love a good contest and we’re bringing that spirit of fun to Moxie Bakery & Café next week as well. If you come in any time when we re-open on Tuesday January 19th through Friday January 22nd and drop off your name and contact information into our cookie jar, you will automatically be entered to serve as one of our celebrity food tasters for the new winter menu that we launch the following week. Yes, you…a celebrity. We’re starting a brand spankin’ new winter menu on Tuesday January 26th and we want you to have the special opportunity to hit us with some feedback (before anyone else gets to!). If you’re one of the six lucky winners of this great prize, we’re inviting you to a pre-screening lunch on Saturday January 23rd.

So, mark your calendars:

  • All next week…visit Moxie Bakery & Café to enter your name to win
  • Saturday January 23rd…6 WINNERS get to have a special winter menu tasting with us

Moxie Bakery & Café

a social enterprise of Cakes for Cause

629 North Market Street, Frederick

Tuesday – Thursday 7:00 am – 7:00 pm

Friday – Saturday 7:00 am – 9:00 pm

Sunday 10:00 am – 3:00 pm

Closed Mondays

The Mission of Cakes for Cause is to empower vulnerable youth and develop social enterprises that engage the community in cultivating meaningful employment and educational opportunities to teach work and life skills. In Frederick, Cakes for Cause operates Moxie Bakery & Café, a social enterprise that trains youth in the hospitality industry.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

The Food in Bogota

I am back from Bogota, Colombia, where my sister Bridget married her sweetheart Kico. This was my first trip to South America and it will definitely not be my last. Bogota is 5 hours to the south in the same time zone, and is a city of over 7 million people at an elevation of 9200 feet. Before I get to the food, let me just say that we had the most wonderful time there - Kico's family was so warm and hospitable, and they really went out of their way to welcome us into the family. I think a lot of my friends were wary of us going to Colombia because of the history of drug violence, but the President of the country has really cleaned the place up in the past eight years, and I felt very safe in Bogota.

The first picture is of Kico's brothers Nicolas and Luis (the youngest, so they call him Baby) with his sister Pili's husband Rob. In front of them are the massive dishes of Paella that Uncle Rafa spent all day making for us for the New Year's party. It was such a great party! We danced, laughed, and set off balloons with wishes on them (I know this is environmentally bad but let's not focus on that now). At midnight, we walked around the block with luggage to encourage ourselves to travel a lot in the coming year.

My brother Sean is sitting in front of a confection made with cake wafers and a caramel sauce. Caramel sauce is everywhere in Bogota. People in Bogota, from what I can tell, eat lots of beef, pork, yucca, plantain, potato, tropical fruits, corn, and caramel sauce. Sadly, I could not eat this confection but it looked amazing. At least I was able to eat the paella.

I had a lot of trouble eating in Colombia because of the prevalence of butter and corn in and on everything. Many meals I ate dried fruit and nuts because whatever was offered contained dairy or corn. Even though I did my best, I still came back to the States fighting an autoimmune reaction. It's getting better, but I have been tired this week. Still- it was a small price to pay for a visit to a beautiful country to meet my new family and see my gorgeous sister get married to a wonderful man.



Friday, January 8, 2010

Baby Chicks at Summer Creek Farm

Baby chicks have arrived at the farm! Warm in the greenhouse! Hope you all are staying warm. Check Summer Creek Farm out on Facebook now too!

-Farmer Rick