Here’s a throwback to last May, when Kevin was interviewed about our unique CSA program.  10 months later, our community is stronger than ever.  Our on-farm distribution facility is a little nicer now too…

Way to go Kevin, and thank you to WBOC for the VERY nice video!

Here’s a great article about our organic food donations that we can all feel great about.  Thank you for making these and others donations possible!

Bridges to Independence, which manages the Sullivan House Emergency Women’s Shelter in Arlington, published this great article about our longstanding partnership in their Newsletter this month.

Click HERE to learn more about Bridges to Independence and the work they do in Arlington and Alexandria to help women and families.  They are a great organization to consider for charitable giving.

-Margaret and Kevin


January 11, 2017

Farmer Kevin Brown grew up learning about giving back to the less fortunate. His family lived in Arlington, near Sullivan House – Bridges to Independence’s emergency shelter for homeless women and families – and he remembers bringing gifts to the shelter every year. “At Christmas, Mom would make cookies and we would bring them to the shelter. Then we learned to sew and we brought handmade dish towels and oven mitts. It was important to our parents that we learn about helping others,” he says.


Brooke Alexander and son Kevin Brown

The lesson sure caught on! Today, Kevin is the owner of Groundworks Farm, an organic farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. The farm’s CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) provides fresh produce to Arlington residents year-round, including fruits, vegetables, eggs, chicken, meat and cheese. Customers pick up their shares each week; any shares not picked up are donated to local charities. Arlington shares are donated to Bridges to Independence, providing the shelter residents with a rare treat for those living in a shelter – fresh produce.

Today Groundworks Farm donates 75 pounds of produce a week to Bridges to Independence, and recently the farm made its 100th donation! Bridges receives enough from Groundworks to provide each family in the shelter with a large bag of fresh fruits and vegetables every week, and often there is extra left over for other families in need. Shelter residents have access to small kitchens, so they are able to store and cook the donated food. Kevin’s mother Brooke Alexander delivers the produce each week, continuing the family’s connection to Bridges.

Says Kevin, “Part of the farm’s mission is giving back. It’s important to me to eliminate food waste and give fresh food to people who really need it. When we share our extra food, it feels like our purpose is a little bigger.”

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It will probably surprise you learn that a Winter-Spring Produce Share from Groundworks Farm is just as diverse and varied as the Summer-Fall Shares. You can see the official Seasonal Produce Guide here. We work very hard to bring you a local, varied, and diverse Share at every pickup, year-round.

Most people assume they’ll only get a bunch of root vegetables. But roots are only a small part of the story. For example, this is a Share you might get in January:

-Apples, Green Boston Lettuce, Spinach, Broccoli, Red Potatoes, Carrots, Pea Shoots, Baby Kale, Beets, Mushrooms, Thyme, Brussels Sprouts

And, here’s a Share you might get in March (typically the hardest part of the year to eat local in our area):

-Onions, Garlic, Apples, Lettuce Mix, Beets, Gold Potatoes, Rainbow Carrots, Parsley, Spinach, Rutabaga, Alfalfa Sprouts, Frozen Roasted Tomatoes, Japanese Sweet Potatoes

And, remember, these Winter-Spring Shares go all the way through May as well! Here’s a Share you might get in May:

-Strawberries, Rhubarb, Red Potatoes, Asparagus, Swiss Chard, Spring Mix Lettuce, Collard Greens, Easter Egg Radishes, Sweet and Spicy Greens Mix, Mushrooms

Join our community and keep your meals fresh, local, and fun this Winter and Spring! Click here for more information.

Supporting local organic farms and food producers is one of the most effective ways YOU
can reduce your own carbon footprint and live a little lighter on the planet.

       Sustainable farming techniques + less food miles
                                                   = less carbon per meal = healthier planet.

In the warm Mid-Atlantic Summer months it’s easy to source local. There’s lots of farmers
markets, Summer CSAs, and local produce on the grocery shelves and the restaurant menus.

But what about eating local the other half of the year, in the Winter and Spring?

The Winter and Spring seasons are actually my favorite time to eat local – hearty soups,
flavorful salads, crisp apples, and succulent roasted root vegetables keep me warm all Winter.
Then with the first blush of spring comes strawberries, asparagus, and the first crisp field
greens as the outside world awakens yet again.

The Groundworks Farm CSA makes it easy to reduce your food miles year-round.  Our
knowledgeable, friendly, and supportive pickup staff is always available to help you keep your
family dinners interesting.  Pick up new recipes,storage tips, and talk cooking every-other
week with our supportive localvore staff and community so your kitchen can thrive all the way
through those cold Winter Months.

Eat local. Save the planet.  Be healthy.  Build community.

Want to see our large Winter-Spring produce diversity for yourself?  Check out our
seasonal produce guide below. I think you’ll find the Winter-Spring seasons to be
just as exciting and diverse as the Summer-Fall.

seasonal produce guide


Yes, you can cut that sweet potato in half and save the rest for later!   You can absolutely cut a large sweet potato in half–the unused half will heal itself right before your eyes.

Sweet potatoes, a member of the morning glory family of vines, are a warm-weather root crop that grow underground like white potatoes.  At the time of harvest, sweet potatoes from one plant will range in size from very small (a couple inches) to very large (a foot or more).  Traditionally, small to medium-sized sweet potatoes are most desirable for retail customers because large ones are often too big to eat at one meal.

Because of the special ability of sweet potatoes to heal themselves (in the right storage conditions), you can make use of large sweet potatoes that might take your family more than one meal to eat!  This helps reduce waste in the food system, and it’s a fun experiment to try in your kitchen.  Here are some pictures of the process:

Sweet Potato 1

Sweet Potato 2

Sweet Potato 3

Sweet Potato 4

Be sure that the sweet potato has good air circulation on your counter, especially around the open faced cut.  Complete healing will take a few days or more.

Once healed, continue to store on your counter with good air circulation until use.

This healing property is the same property that allows sweet potatoes to be harvested with mechanical equipment.  Any cuts or scars created during the harvesting process can be healed if the sweet potatoes are given the proper air circulation and storage temperature.

The best place to store sweet potatoes is always right on the counter with good air circulation.

Summer Produce Share large

  1. Your family will eat more produce.   A CSA provides a constant supply of fresh produce into your home.  You will definitely eat more produce with a CSA Share because you will always have some on hand when you are cooking.
  2. Cooking support.  A CSA provides you with relevant recipes and cooking tips each week to help you make the most of your produce.  Knowledgeable CSA pickup staff are always available to answer any cooking questions you might have.
  3. Community.  A CSA pickup is a community of health-conscious food-lovers who come together each week.  You might make some friends at the CSA pickups or seasonal potlucks.  Plus, CSA pickups are fun!
  4. Environmental benefits.  By joining a CSA, you know you’re supporting the most environmentally sustainable food delivery system that exists.  No middle-man, no storefront, short delivery distance, and less waste.
  5. Try new things.  Get out of your cooking rut and enjoy some vegetables you’ve never heard of.  You’ve got to cook and eat…joining a CSA can make cooking new and exciting every week.
  6. Save money.  You’ll save money by cooking with whole, unprocessed ingredients.
  7. Connection to the land.  Other than becoming a farmer yourself, there’s no more direct connection to your food, the people who grow it and the land that produces it than joining a CSA.
  8. Be happy and healthy!  Overall, I think your family will be healthier and happier when you join a CSA!  Health and happiness = priceless.

root vegetable production with numbers

We put this graphic together yesterday with some pictures Margaret took through the 2015 growing season.

  1.  Seeding
  2.  First Growth
  3.  Full Growth
  4.  Mow Down Greens
  5.  Dig Roots
  6.  Put Roots in Tote Bags

From here, we use the tractor to put the tote bags into refrigerated storage for the Winter-Spring Produce CSA Shares.  The roots get taken out of storage and cleaned up just before CSA Shares are delivered.  The root vegetables will store in prime condition, unwashed, for months.  With the correct storage temperature and humidity, the unwashed roots continue to live in a dormant state in storage until they are distributed.  They think they’re still in the ground!

This is the same basic process we use for: Carrots, Potatoes, Beets, Daikon, Watermelon Radish, Black Radish, Turnips, Rutabagas, and more.

Not all roots can be treated like this, however.  One notable exception is Sweet Potatoes.  Sweet Potatoes would rot very quickly in the high humidity and chilly storage conditions preferred by the above list of root crops.  Sweet Potatoes need a high level of air circulation, a warmer temperature, and very low humidity.  Maybe I’ll do another post later about our Sweet Potato and Winter Squash production system.