My Favorite Farmers

Since I moved to Bel Air, 4 years ago this year, my life has changed drastically.  These truly have been the best years of my life.  I’ve become connected with myself, and I’ve changed a lot of things;  i.e., getting rid of a lot of crap–aka Dr. Hahn’s idea of becoming humble and “freeing up”.  The Bel Air Farmer’s Market has taught me not only how to help local farmers, but also how awesome it is to step back and look at reality minus the grocery stores.  There are 2 books I can attribute most of my changes to:

AND 

These 2 books allowed me to learn so much about how naive I was about food and how it came to my table.  I realized that there was a lot I was taking for granted, and taking advantage of even more.  Due to my history with animals and being a vegetarian to pescatarian, etc.,  I learned even more about food.  I sought out farmers and ended up with a whole lot more–I even discovered that there are some meats that I can eat when I know the source of them and know how they are treated and killed.

Bel Air Farmer’s Market–Every Saturday, I look forward to heading down to Main Street.  I love the small town feel of Bel Air, and this truly brings it to life.  Local farmers and some small vendors  bring their products to share.  From May until October, there is a wide selection but you better get there early because the good stuff sells out quickly.

Sweetaire Farm–(They don’t have a website so you have to take my word and come visit them!)  Art and Cathy truly have a special place in my heart.  Art allowed me to come out last year to help prepare the blueberry bushes with chicken poop as fertilizer.  I wore my overalls and took the wild and crazy drive with Art behind the wheel to the blueberry bushes.  It truly is a glorious sight, especially the seeing the sheep that they have!  I also learned how to cut rhubarb.  I prepared for ticks by wearing long sleeves, long pants, etc.  But ticks…. ugh.  I was driving home, and felt something crawling and almost wrecked my car when I realized a TICK was crawling on my shoulder!  SCREECH!  HUGE GIRL SCREAM!

The Sweetaire Farmers truly have an awesome heart for fruit minus the nasty pesticides.  They actually send out an email each week letting everyone who loves them know about what they did during the week, how the sheep are doing–and any shenanigans they got into, as well as what they will bring to the Farmer’s Market.  I am truly lucky to stock my fridge with their fruits.  Their apples in the fall are the most fantastic you’ll ever taste, but be prepared because they truly are not pretty.  After all, insects take a little nibble and carry on…. well, because they can.  They use seeds that avoid GMO’s which often have a pesticide built into the seed!  Can you believe it, it is true!  Thank Monsanto for that crap.  People often make fun of my apples because they are slightly disfigured.  But, just like Misfit Island in Rudolph–they need a home and in my belly is where they go happily!

Priegel Family Creamery–Last year at the Towson Farmer’s Market, Priegel began selling their ice cream.  For those of you who may not know, this is truly my weakness.  (And, yes personal trainers do have weaknesses.  We are human too!  Everything in moderation.)  I have an ice cream cone tattooed under my arm if that sort of explains my love for ice cream.  Well, this was truly bad news for my 1 day a week splurge on ice cream since it was on a Thursday and my splurge days are on the weekend.  Priegel has become my new weekly visit, not only for milk, eggs, and ice cream but also for organic grass fed beef.  You can actually catch the cows crossing the road around 3pm each day!  Absolutely exciting.  I actually had a gathering last year here for my birthday to share the love of Priegel and read stories to some of my favorite kiddies for my birthday present. Absolute awesome-ness!

Lancaster Farm–My favorite local place to eat in Towson is Zia’s.  Daniela is an awesome local business owner, and I remember the first day she opened and I visited–shortly after I started working in Towson.  I fell in love with the atmosphere and food!  If you know me well, then you know when I love something I truly truly share the wealth (i.e., Violet Love Headbands, Priegel Ice Cream, 100% Pure, KETTLEBELLS, etc.) I truly love the new ideas Daniela always comes up with for food.  Last year, she decided to become a host site for a CSA.  Community Shared Agriculture is an awesome way to support local farmers because you are purchasing a share of their crops.  Obviously, this is a gamble because your purchas is based upon what happens to the farmer’s crops:  weather can be an influence, birds taking a nibble, insects destroying a crop…..  The same thing a farmer may encounter, you will too.  For me, it was the BEST experience ever.  I experimented with things I had no clue existed, i.e., learning all about how yummy garlic scapes are and REAL tomatoes that aren’t artifically colored or gross.

This year Daneila decided not to be a host site so I’ve had a difficult time finding a local place for a CSA because of my busy schedule.  So, I found myself looking for local farmers where I can set my own schedule around Reshape with Ape.  Enter Steve Rouse.  STEVE!!!!

Rousedale Farm–Steve and Vicky are my new favorite farmers.  It is literally like singing “Green Acres is the place to be…. farm living is the life for me…..” when you arrive.  Well, at least for me.  Complete serenity.  I can’t wait to learn from him and start unleashing my inner farmer girl.  Or not…. I truly did not inherit my great grandmother, Norma, nor my Mom’s green thumb.  I look forward to reporting back with more details about farming.

This weekend I was able to hit up Steve on Friday and Kev and I actually picked some blueberries (truly a happy moment in my life!).  We also purchased chicken, beets, asparagus, etc.  If it says anything about these chickens and their quality; Kevin eats them.  And, for those of you who don’t know–my husband is the pickiest 33 year old–so much so he can be compared to a stubborn 3 year old.

Then, on Saturday, I visited my Sweetaire Farmers–hugs to Art and Cathy–to indulge in some super yummy black raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries!  They also have goumi berries and lots of other berries you can try–just don’t brush your teeth before going!  Not a good combination!  I also scored some awesome organic veggies for a nice stir-fry–which is what I’ll be eating all week.

Yesterday was my cooking day–Happy Sunday!  I just finished cleaning up my kitchen.  My whole family, especially my sister, can truly attest to how messy of a cook I am…….. but they cannot complain about how YUMMY the food is!!!  Even Annabella loves it!

So, that’s my story for the week.  Do you have a favorite farmer?  Do you feel like you know enough about where your food comes from?  Some people don’t even know what vegetables grow in the ground and which grow on trees.  Do you???  If you would like for your kids to learn more about nutrition and fitness–feel free to send them my way.  I had a blast teaching the Girl Scouts all about food earlier this year and believe it or not, I actually got them ALL to try 1 new vegetable!

Ladies and gentlemen:  it is time to educate yourselves.  We cannot keep relying on others to make decisions for us especially when in involves our health.  We need to take charge and really learn how to live our lives as happy as possible.  It is time to DIG DEEP!  Learn about the real you.  Fuel your body so that you can be the AWESOME YOU I get to see in each and every one of you!!!

Smooches,
APE

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