by Richard Gorelick
The Baltimore Sun
3:35 PM EST, January 16, 2013
You might not be thinking about farm-fresh produce on a rainy afternoon, but the Maryland Department of Agriculture says now is the right time to check into joining a community-supported agriculture program.
Members of a CSA pay an upfront subscription fee to farmers in return for a share of the season's harvest, which is usually provided weekly. Many CSAs deliver to central locations for pick up closer to subscriber's home or work on a certain day of the week. Still others have special rates if the subscriber helps with the harvest on the farm.
There are two main incentives for signing up now. Some of the CSAs fill up early, and at least a few of them are offering discounts for signing up early.
You can find a list of CSAs in Maryland on the Department of Agriculture's Maryland's Best Agriculture website. Click on the Find Me Local tab, and then check the Community Supported AG (CSA) box. You can restrict the results by county or within a mileage radius. Then, you'll have to visit individual websites to find out about CSA pricing and deadlines.
Meanwhile, there are a few year-round markets to tide you over. The popular 32nd Street Market draws crowds all winter long to Waverly on Saturday morning. Keep in mind that Waverly operates as a producers' market for half the year. From Thanksgiving through the first week of June, farmers are allowed to supplement their supplies with produce not grown in Maryland. There won't be much beyond greens for a while, but the market still has plenty in the way of specialty foods, prepared foods and baked goods.
There's also a winter market at Green Spring Station every Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. with 15 vendors selling prepared foods, baked goods and specialty foods. You can see a list of vendors here. The incentive for this market is that you can combine it with some stroll-shopping at Green Spring Station.
And if you're missing those turkey burgers at the Baltimore Farmers' Market, Regi's in Federal Hill has Gary's Turkey Burgers on their menu.
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