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Ahead to the Past

Winter Solstice and Fresh Produce

Good morning and welcome to not only Wednesday, but the first full day of Hanukkah (it began last night at sundown) and the shortest day of the year.

As they do with every solstice, the kind folks at Emerson Umbrella are hosting a celebration. I participated in the winter solstice celebration last year and it was one of my most memorable and enjoyable events, and I hope to be there again tonight. Attendance and participation are free and super family friendly. Better yet, you’ll all be back home in less than two hours – it being a school night and all.  

Children and adults join a singalong, chant and dance around a bonfire blazing before the riverbank. Last year, we had snow on the ground, which added a special touch to welcoming winter.

Bundle up and bring you and your loved ones to the Calf Pasture — the confluence of Assabet, Sudbury and Concord rivers — on Lowell Road. Park by the bridge. Candles will light the path from the road to the celebration. The Voices for the Earth Chorus will lead the singing and the Earth Drum Council will keep time. Contact Emerson Umbrella for more information: 978 371-0820.

Ahead to the Past

I know we are closing in on the dead of winter, but it is not too soon to start thinking about fresh local vegetables!

As Concordians we are somewhat spoiled having fresh produce grown in neighborhood farms, but it is also up to us to help sustain them. Many of our farmers participate in a CSA program, or Community Supported Agriculture. The idea behind a CSA is that members of the community — that’s us —  purchase “shares” of a farm during the winter months. This money helps the farm financially through its least profitable quarter. Our dividends are distributed during the harvest, usually in the form of a weekly box of fresh, locally grown vegetables and other goods from the farm. The win-win comes in many forms. Supporting our local growers helps maintain Concord’s agricultural character, supports our local economy and we all eat fresh, healthy foods.

Fran Busa, of F. Busa Farm on Lexington Road (the section closer to to 2A) is adding a new twist to the idea for the 2012 growing season. In what Fran dubs “ahead to the past,” he is not only offering vegetables and eggs produced at his farms in Lincoln and Lexington, he plans to offer CSA participants grass-fed beef, free-range chickens and milk in glass bottles. Also, you won’t just get a box heaped with produce, you choose what you want, said Fran.  

“If you grow zucchini at home and you have all this zucchini coming up, why would you want three more pounds of zucchini?” Fran said.

The beef and chickens aren’t from F. Busa Farm, but from other Massachusetts farms, so everything stays hyper-local.

Here is what you do. Sign up for a full share of $400 or a half share at $200. Do this before Christmas Day and you will receive free delivery of your goods every Thursday while the farm stand is open from mid April to December. (I should add the free delivery is for Concord residents only.) You will receive your share in “Green Bucks,” which you use as cash at the farm stand during 2012. If you want to spend your $400 Green Bucks in one day stocking up on grass-fed beef, go ahead. You may also spread your shares out, picking up fresh-cut flowers, eggs, kale and so on throughout the season.

“You will never get more or less than you want,” said Fran, adding the personal service and free delivery are characteristics of his family’s 100-year-old farming practice.  “Anything that’s in the store, you can have.”

This sounds like a great deal to me. Call Fran at 978-501-5375 to sign up for the F. Busa Farm CSA 2012 season.

Concord Indies

The small farms like F. Busa Farm, are not part of the Concord Indies, the local, independent merchants in town. But it is still good to frequent them. Speaking of the Indies, here is the ninth of their top 10 reasons to shop local.

9. Competition

A marketplace of tens of thousands of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and low prices over the long-term.

So remember, do your last-minute shopping locally and help preserve our community.

Do you have something you would like to share? Contact Maureen at mcb23@comcast.net  or Stefanie at stefanieac@comcast.net and we will be happy to help you spread the good news
And follow us on Twitter: I am at @cosmo1162, Stefanie is at @stefanie3131.

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