|Employees sow fresh produce, help farmers
by Cindy Abole
Alice LoGuidice has a new favorite day. It’s Wednesday.
That’s when the nurse educator in MUSC’s Pediatric Emergency Department
gets her box of goodies. For the past three weeks in April, she and
about 35 people make their way from MUSC and various points in downtown
Charleston to the Wickliffe House to retrieve a bag or box filled with
some of the Lowcountry’s freshest, organically-grown fruits and
LoGuidice is part of a growing trend of people who participate in
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and receives a weekly harvest
from Ambrose Family Farm in Wadmalaw Island.
nurse Alice LoGuidice and Wickliffe House's Jeff Glein sort through a
CSA vegetable delivery.
The latest stash included spring onions, baby bok choy, sweet onions,
turnips, red leaf lettuce, strawberries and broccoli—produce that was
at the peak of the spring growing season, April through July. Within a
few weeks, she and other members will receive tomatoes, sweet corn,
eggplant, summer squashes, cucumbers, blueberries and other items.
Sustainability farmer Pete Ambrose makes a weekly delivery to the
Wickliffe House and to Jeff and Beth Gleim, owners of Mediterra
Catering, who operate the food services in this historic campus
location. The Gleims have been active-share members and supporters of
CSA and happily volunteered their location as a pick-up site, given its
Ambrose Family Farms is one of fewer than a dozen CSA providers in the
Tri-county area. The family has been farming since 1976 and it wasn’t
until 2007 when they turned to this sustainable farming practice in
response to the region’s growing interest in freshly harvested, organic
Community Supported Agriculture operates by consumers financing farming
operations through the sales of prepaid shares. The farm currently has
950 members with about 50 individuals affiliated with MUSC. Its program
offers two, 13-week growing seasons—spring and fall. For the fall
harvest, October through December, members can expect to enjoy carrots,
beets, lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and other crops. Ambrose Family Farm
CSA offers four share sizes from small (feeding one person) to
extra-large (feeding up to a family of six to eight). Prices range from
$175 to $465 per season, depending on share size and delivery method.
“More and more people are learning how to cook using fresh, delicious
ingredients versus opening food from a can,” said Babs Ambrose of
Ambrose Farm. “They’re discovering that fresh fruits and vegetables
taste better and are more nutritional and offer healthier alternatives.”
A self-described foodie, LoGuidice signed up for a single share of the
week’s pre-packed spring harvest and loves that she and her husband are
eating fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables, saving money and
supporting local farmers. “It’s a real win-win for everyone. I just
love it,” LoGuidice said.
As easy as it is to obtain fresh, organic produce, the real challenge
comes in the cooking and preparation. LoGuidice often refers to her own
recipes, some cookbooks, food Web sites and even shares ideas with
co-workers and friends. For one Wednesday night dinner, she prepared
some of the fresh, baby bok choy in a fish dish. She baked a halibut
filet inside seasoned bok choy leaves and stir fried the rest with
spring onions, sweet peas and broccoli. She served both dishes with
brown rice. For dessert, she and her husband enjoyed macerated, fresh
strawberries with sugar over vanilla ice cream.
“It’s been a fun routine of picking up goodies and making something
different each week to supplement our usual dining,” she said.
LoGuidice’s next challenge is searching for a new recipe for turnips
and preparing turnip mashed potatoes.
For information, visit http://www.stonofarmmarket.com/CSA.html.
Friday, May 14, 2010