How Does Your Garden Grow?

Back home, my family had a garden. Nothing fancy, just a couple rows of squash, zucchini, cucumbers, tomatoes, and some potted green peppers and cherry tomatoes. I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was to finally have a garden of my own. Our neighbors had one a couple years ago, and we often helped them maintain and harvest, but never had we had a real garden that was ours. This past year, we finally dug deep and built ourselves a slice of paradise.

We built our garden out in the old chicken coop so that our neighbors’ horses and goats and the local deer population would stay out of it. As I said, it was a small garden and the enclosure was literally falling apart; many times, we had to prop up some of the beams using old two-by-fours. But it was the perfect garden for me.

Spotlight: Sweet Potatoes

"Sweet potatoes are as American as apple pie! Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus came in 1492, and by the 16th century, sweet potatoes were being cultivated in the southern states, where they became a staple in the traditional cuisine... Today, sweet potatoes are used in cuisines all over the world as a satisfying and versatile vegetable with a well-earned reputation for nutrition." The sweet potato "sweetness intensifies as the sweet potato is cooked, creating the deep caramel flavor we love." [source]

There are three main varieties of sweet potato produced in the United States. [source]

A favorite for mashing or roasting, the COVINGTON has rose colored skin and super sweet orange flesh. Eat it whole with your favorite toppings or cut into wedges and bake as a side dish.

Building a Community from the Ground Up

This summer, the coordinating team had the opportunity to help friend and fellow Brown student Tom Sullivan '15 with his photo essay on BMSP for the Swearer Sparks blog. We were thrilled when Tom contacted us in June saying he was interested in covering the program. Tom came to a few Market Days over the summer, showing up early to talk to farmers and snap pics while they unloaded, and later in the day to talk to shareholders (and pick up his own share!).

Farmer Chuck Currie of Freedom Food Farm delivering beets at Market Day.
Photo by Tom Sullivan.

When life gives you beets... make a cake!

This cake, adapted from Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables, is chocolate heaven. When my uncle (a self-proclaimed beet-hater) tasted it, he kept asking my mother how she got it to be so moist and delicious. She tried to dodge the question, but he kept at it until she admitted the secret ingredient: beets! He was certainly surprised, but that didn’t stop him from going back for seconds. I always ask for it on my birthday because it’s just that good.

Cary Chapman
BMSP Volunteer Fall 2014

BMSP is a USDA Recognized Food Hub!

Last week, the USDA launched their new search engine, The Local Food Directory. The Directory will help consumers easily locate farmer’s markets, CSAs, on-farm markets, and food hubs around the country and in their communities. Regional food hubs are businesses or organizations that actively manage the aggregation, distribution, and marketing of source-identified food products – and they are gaining lots of popularity as a way to create value chains over supply chains. The compilation of this list is part of a larger initiative by the USDA to remove barriers and ultimately make is easier for people to eat locally and support and engage with local food producers.

We are particularly excited about this initiative, because Market Shares is officially listed in the Directory, and we are the ONLY college campus Food Hub on there!

This is huge.
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