- Tenth generation farmer Chip Councell offers a wide variety of attractions for agritourists on his Talbot County farm.
- Joanne visits two Maryland county fairs to explore their connection to the state's agricultural tradition.
- Caroline County farmer Dick Edwards uses wood chips to filter run-off before it can reach waterways. Drew Koslow and Jack King discuss environmental benefits.
- Then & Now: Soil conservation
- Local Buy: Al Spoler prepares root vegetable stew with Baltimore chef John Shields.
Farmers often have to stack bales of hay vertically, either in barns for storage or in trucks for transport. This involves a process called "hay bucking," in which the bales are tossed one on top of another by hand. Hay bucking is challenging work – so challenging that many rodeos and county fairs actually hold hay bucking competitions. Hay hooks, like the one pictured, provide farmers with a more secure grip on the otherwise unwieldy bales. One end hooks into the bale, while the other end acts as a handle. This enables farmers to more easily "buck" bales of hay weighing up to 150 pounds.
courtesy of Baltimore chef John Shields
This hearty winter vegetable stew is inspired by Deborah Madison, cookbook author and founding chef of Green's restaurant in San Francisco. A simple salad along with a loaf of crusty whole grain bread is the perfect accompaniment to the stew. It may seem like a lot of stew, but it holds up well for days, and the flavor just gets better and better.
Yields about 1 gallon of stew/8 servings.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 large onions
- 3 leeks
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 10 to 12 cups (peeled and cut into attractive chunks) root vegetables**
- 2 cups carrot chunks
- 10 or more cups vegetable stock, or broth
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
** Note on root vegetable combination: Choose a number of root veggies for the stew, such as: rutabagas, potatoes, celery stalks, celery root, parsnips and turnips. At least one or two parsnips are a must, as the parsnips give a fantastic sweet dimension to the stew.
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot or in a stockpot, cook the onion, leeks, garlic and ginger in the olive oil over medium heat until the onions and leeks are translucent and sweet, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Add the root vegetables and carrots and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add 10 cups of the vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium, and cook until the vegetables are just tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- For a lovely, creamy stew, remove about half of the soup to a bowl, and set aside. Then puree the remaining stew that is in the pot with an immersion blender, or alternately in batches of a blender with a tight fitting lid.
- Return the unblended portion of the stew back to the pot, mix well, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat before serving.
Interested in checking out a county fair near you? You can find the MDA's listing of upcoming county and local fairs here.