Savoring the Seasons: Getting your share of local ingredients

The Greenfield Recorder, March 28, 2017, by Mary McClintock

Who’s Your Farmer? That common bumper sticker slogan came to mind as I stood in my kitchen making soup from local turkey, leeks, spinach and potatoes. We are so fortunate to live near so many farms and farmers.

The turkey in my soup came from the folks at Diemand Farm in Wendell, while the spinach and potatoes came from Gloria and Ervin Meluleni of Coyote Hill Farm in Bernardston, and the leeks from Maria Topitzer of Lyonsville Farm in Colrain.

They’re just a few of the Franklin County farmers who feed me every week. I just snacked on a Pink Lady apple from Tim Smith’s Apex Orchards in Shelburne and this morning, stirred low-bush blueberries from Meredith Wecker and Andrew Kurowski’s Benson Place in Heath into my bowl of oatmeal.

I know a tiny bit about working on a farm, having spent most of the year when I was 21 hauling long hoses and fixing sprinklers to irrigate orange, lemon and pomegranate groves in California’s Central Valley. It’s hard work, and most people have no idea who grows their food.

Neighbors buying food from neighbors who grew it is a big part of what community is all about. The same is true for supporting our many neighbors who own and work at local businesses. Every day, we vote with our shopping dollars. Many of us vote with those dollars at locally owned grocery stores, farm stands, farm markets and farmers markets. Some of us buy CSA shares (community supported agriculture), effectively pre-purchasing a share of the farmer’s produce for the season.

My first experience of a CSA farm was in the 1980s and ’90s, when I bought a share of vegetables from the Food Bank Farm in Hadley. Decades later, there are many farms offering a wide variety of CSA shares throughout western Massachusetts.

In Franklin County, there are at least 14 vegetable CSAs, six meat CSAs and four farms offering market shares at their farm stores or farmers market booths. Some CSA farms accept SNAP benefits, and some do home delivery.

I just heard that Diemand Farm has started a meat CSA with monthly distributions of meat raised on their farm, including chicken, turkey and grass-fed beef. I talked with Anne Diemand Bucci about the meat CSA, and asked her for a favorite recipe for using their grass-fed beef. She shared Doreen Stevens’ tasty recipe for taco casserole.

Wonder which farms near you offer CSA shares? An excellent source of information is CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, the great organization that sponsors the “Be A Local Hero, Eat Locally Grown” campaign). For more information about CISA, visit:

To learn more about the Diemand Farm CSA, visit:

This week we’re eating …

Taco Casserole: by Doreen Stevens, Diemand Farm, Wendell

1 lb. Diemand Farm grass-fed beef

1 onion, small chopped

1 T. chili powder

1 T. cumin

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

15 oz. can black or kidney beans, drained

15 oz. can tomato sauce

13 oz. bag of corn tortilla chips

1½ C. sour cream

8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded

Brown hamburger with onion in frying pan with small amount of oil. Diemand Farm grass-fed beef is very lean so does not need to be drained. Mix rest of first set of ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

Crush tortilla chips and place in a 9-by-13 pan and pour hamburger over crushed chips. Top with sour cream and cheddar.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes at 350 degrees until brown and bubbly. Garnish with your favorite fresh taco toppings.