Little did I realize I year ago, how much my life was going to change. I just joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program advertised through my work in an effort to incorporate more fresh produce into my life and be healthier. The concept of a “farm share” was really exciting to me. Each week, we’d pick up a box filled with a variety of the freshest produce. If you watch the show “Chopped” on Food Network, it was sort of like getting a “Mystery Basket”. Each week I would be challenged to use all the ingredients, often new ones I had never tried before.
Being forced to experiment with new foods, flavors and recipes really got my creative juices flowing, reigniting my passion for food. By the fall I launched this food blog!
The big change, was really with my eating habits. Simply by eating more fresh produce, and less processed food, within 2 months of starting the farm share I had lost 10 pounds. Adding a regular exercise routine I’d continue to loose a total 25lbs by the end of the year. This photo is probably the most dramatic in terms of my transformation. When I got married in September 2012 my dress fit like a glove. No undergarments needed. Earlier in January this year, I tried the dress on again, and well, you can see what a difference that 25lbs made.
Food has changed my life. I am the healthiest I have ever felt. No, I am not perfect and I enjoy indulgences plenty. That said, the farm share program taught me how to eat. I learned that for so long, I was depriving my body from what it really wanted and needed. Needless to say, when they started promoting the 2014 CSA season, I couldn’t wait to join again.
There is something to be said about really knowing where your food comes from. So with the start of the farm share around the corner, I wanted to take a trip to Warner Farm in Sunderland, MA to see where my farm share comes from. Saturday they held their annual Strawberry Fest and decided to make the 2 hour trek from my home in Framingham. What a beautiful day it turned into.
Warner Farm is a long established family farm. They have been passing down their knowledge of farming through 9 generations! In 1995 they were celebrating 275 years of farming, set on 70 acres of land in Sunderland - that is just amazing to me.
The farm implements a variety of sustainable growing practices on their farm. Seventeen acres of their land grows Certified Organic produce, with more land in the transition process of becoming certified. In their non-organic fields they implement an "Integrated Pest Management" system. According to their site, that means that they rotate crops, protect and release beneficial insects, scout for pest and disease threats, and apply the safest of pesticides only if crop failure becomes a threat. What that means to be is that this family farm really cares about the quality of good they pass along to their customer. Its not just about high yields and high product, its about using sustainable methods to deliver fresh, honest produce.
My first stop was the farm stand where they were celebrating their annual Strawberry Fest. When I pulled up, I was greated by a massive, beautifully weathered barn that housed much of their equipement on this part of the farm where they grew strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and some other produce. A small stand is set up for vistors to purchase strawberries by the quart or pick up a box to pick-your-own. While contemplating if I'd pick my own or take the easy way out, I took a small walk to check out what else was going on.
Most of the Strawberry Fest activities had yet to be underway. There were games, music and hayrides planned for later in the afternoon, which I wouldn't be able to stay for if I were to get back home in time to take my father out for a Father's Day dinner. But I did get to meet on the of the girls in charge of their farmers markets and got to chat a bit about the farm. The location of the farm is stunning, with Mt Sugar Loaf set in the background.
As more and more families started to trickle in to pick their own strawberries, I decided I'd opt for the easy way out and pick up a quart of the pre-picked ones. But before I did, I took a walk through the patch and admire all the beautiful ripe strawberries waiting to be picked. It's too late now, but I think there will be a place in my own home garden next year for some strawberry plants.
There is actually a whole other part of Warner Farm up the road, that is home to an amazing corn maze in the fall. While most of the activity of the day was set at the farm stand, I figured I may as well swing by. After I picked up my fresh strawberries I headed up to road to see what I could find. I found the entrance, but the only people who were there looked like workers. With a sign directing people to the farm stand for Strawberry Fest, I figured everyone was pretty busy in prepartion of the CSA starting this week. Not wanting to bother anyone, and having to head back home to meet up with my siblings and father for dinner, I decided to wrap things up.
Despite the short visit, I was very happy I went out to Sunderland. I got to meet a couple of really nice people, learn a bit more about the farm, and see where my farm share is coming from. All in all a great Saturday. With the CSA program officially underway, I will be starting a new feature called "Farm Share Friday" where I'll share my favorite recipe of the week made from items we collected that week.
In the meantime, I'll have a new post up tomorrow with tips on how to clean your produce, as well as a recipe for a dairy-free Strawberry Ice Cream.