Thanks to the Caulder family, Ellicott City will have a new year-round farm store when they open their Breezy Willow Farm Country Market on the Saturday after Thanksgiving,Nov. 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Located at the corner of St. John's Lane and Frederick Road next to Southern States (9090 Frederick Road), the new farm market is an extension of the family's successful Breezy Willow Farm and store in Woodbine.
The country market will have a Maryland-focus emphasizing local Howard County farm and small business products such as the farm's own pasture-raised meats, clothing made from the sheep and alpaca herd and handmade goat and sheep's milk products (soap, lotions and creams).
Among the specialty items the market will feature are Catonville's Umami Global Bistro's hummus and baba ganoush, The Breadery artisan breads, Ellicott City Tasting Gallery's fresh pasta in single servings and fresh baked goods.
"Local first is our goal. We want to support local farms and small businesses," said RJ Caulder, who owns Breezy Willow farm with her family.
For the past 30 years, the Caulders — mom RJ, dad Ken, daughter Casey and son Jason — have operatedtheir specialty farm using organic farming methods to grow vegetables, berries, flowers and herbs. They also produce raw honey, jams, relishes and sauces made from local fruits and vegetables.
While the Breezy Willow Farm Country Market is new to Ellicott City, the Caulders have had a presence here for years.
They own the county's largest Community Supported Agriculture business with eight CSA pick-up locations in Howard County including two in Ellicott City — Miller Branch Library and the YMCA. And they participate in several Howard County seasonal farmers' markets including Ellicott City's Old Town Market.
Founded in 2004, the Breezy Willow Farm CSA offers consumers an opportunity to buy a "share" of the farm's harvest over the course of 12 weeks (March to May) or 23 weeks (June - Nov.). A weekly "share" includes an assortment of seasonally farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs, herbs and locally-produced artisan breads and products.
"Our program offers a wide variety of items ... many heirloom varieties of vegetables like the ones our grandparents grew, foods that are grown for flavor and nutrition rather than long distance hauling," Breezy Willow Farm declares on its website.
To provide an assortment of products in the CSA shares and farm store, Breezy Willow links with other local farms, all of whom use natural, certified organic or integrated pest management practices.
These links provide a steady supply of local eggs, cheese, butter, yogurt and ice cream from cage-free and vegetarian feed animals products for their customers.
The Caulders' philosophy is "When you buy fresh and local, you are supporting your local economy and helping to keep small farms alive while helping others to start or diversify."
Howard County Economic Development Authority's Agriculture Development manager Kathy Zimmermann agrees. "The Caulder's new farm market is a great opportunity for residents to learn about local agriculture, understand how products are made and taste the different of farm fresh foods."
Caulder hopes their new Ellicott City venture will "fill the void" for farm and local products when the seasonal farmers' markets and CSA's close. If you enjoy buying local products, check out Breezy Willow Farm Country Market. For more information, go to www.breezywillowfarm.com.
Tracey Williams, president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. Iota Lambda Omega Chapter informed me the organization held several fall charitable programs.
Recently the Pearl Foundation Inc., a charitable affiliate AKA Sorority, held its 36th annual scholarship benefit luncheon and fashion show where$19,000 in scholarships were awarded to eligible Howard County students.
At a Howard County Public School board meeting, the ladies of AKA Sorority, in affiliation with the Pearl Foundation Inc., donated $3,000 to the school system's MESA program at Monarch Mills.
Williams, an Ellicott City resident, and the members of the sorority's family-strengthening program distributed over 3,000 donated coats to the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center. The event was in partnership with Grace Community Church, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.-Kappa Phi Lambda Chapter, River Hill High School Alpha Achievers and the HCPSS's pupil personnel department.
Lastly, the organization held its 2016 Community Youth Summit attended by over 180 Howard County middle and high school students. Attendeesparticipated in a variety of team building and interactive activities including voter registration, financial literacy, global impact, historically black colleges/universities seminars and a community service project with local nursing homes residents.
Calling all runners. Centennial High School Boosters is hosting its annual Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walkand Kids 1K Run on Sunday, Nov. 13, at 9 a.m. Walk orrun Centennial High School's cross country course. Medals and prizes for finishers in overall male/female 5K, youngest and oldest male/female 5K , top three male/female 5K in the following age categories — student (18U),open (19 – 39 years), and masters (40+). Special prizes for all 1K Kids Run finishers.