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The Problem:

Most people would agree that healthy eating is important for a variety of reasons.  We know we can all improve our energy levels, strength, cognitive function, disease resistance, and longevity, and decrease our chances of many chronic illnesses through simply making healthier food choices.  We know we should eat more healthy foods – nutrient-dense foods with more vitamins, minerals, and fiber per calorie like fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and clean meats.  We know we should eat less unhealthy foods – those foods high in saturated fat, sugar, salt, and simple carbohydrates.  When you’re on a healthy eating kick you feel great – you get sick less often, you have more energy, you do more things with your kids, you are happier at work, you have energy for your hobbies.  But, let’s be honest – it’s hard to stay on that wagon.  It takes willpower, and effort, and knowledge to feed yourself and your family healthy food every day.  It’s very easy to fall off the health wagon, and once you’re off, it’s hard to get back on.

It takes willpower, effort, and knowledge to drive past that pizza restaurant, or to resist the temptation of mouthwatering take-out and make yourself a healthy meal at home.  We are all bombarded with seductive ads for unhealthy sugar, saturated fat, salt, and simple carbohydrate-filled, nutrient-poor food all day long.  And it’s an easy sell because these kind of foods taste AMAZING!  While you’re eating a bowl of ice cream, or a plate of white pasta with creamy clam sauce, or a greasy cheeseburger on a white bun your brain can release dopamine that makes you feel euphoric.  Our brains (and our children’s brains) are programmed to LOVE this kind of food (a relic from our evolutionary past), so it is very difficult to resist.   Because of this programming it takes effort and energy to get a child to eat healthy nutrient-dense food and vegetables – they eat unhealthy food happily and without complaint.  It is a very easy path to feed children the unhealthy food that their brains crave, and to avoid the tougher task of teaching them to choose healthier foods instead.  That Euphoric feeling you get when eating sugar, saturated fat, salt, and simple carbohydrate-filled foods is temporary though, and we know that we (and our children) will have less energy overall, be less happy overall, and be more likely to get sick, if we eat these foods regularly.  It is easier in the short-term to feed our kids the unhealthy foods they crave, but we may be doing them a disservice in the long run.

It is worth noting that it even takes willpower, effort, and knowledge to avoid buying unhealthy food and ingredients at the grocery store.  Displays lined with candy bars, chips, sweet breads, sweetened drinks, frozen meals, ice cream, white pasta, boxed mac and cheese, sugary snacks, and other nutrient-poor foods are featured prominently.  This food tastes amazing, AND it is easier to prepare than nutrient-dense whole grains, organic vegetables, and lean proteins…who could resist them?  We know if we eat these foods regularly we will have less energy overall and be less happy overall, and more likely to get sick overall, but it takes willpower and effort and knowledge to avoid these foods…even in a grocery store.

Is there an easier way to stay on the health food wagon?  There is.

The Solution:

Please forgive my somewhat obscure sports metaphor…Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya is the greatest marathon runner who has ever lived.  He has won his last 12 marathon races and holds the current world record.  His sport, and his training, is an ultimate test of willpower and effort.  It takes extreme willpower and effort to continue running at high speeds when every part of his body is screaming for him to stop.  His sport is an individual sport – often in his races he is running alone (except for the crowd) – but yet he puts a high value on training with other athletes, and completes most of his training in large groups with other like-minded runners.  Even though he is a world-class athlete, he knows that he would not have the willpower, on his own, to complete the training necessary to race at the speeds he does.  He feeds off the energy and community of the runners he trains with (and the spectators at his races) in order to push himself to run just a little bit faster.  Eliud Kipchoge has said “100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team.”  In short, were it not for his community of runners all striving to run their best, his coaches, nutritionists and trainers, the greatness he has achieved would never have been possible. 

This so-called Group Effect has been documented by Sociologist John Bruhn who writes,

“When people work together, their brains release greater amounts of mood-lifting, discomfort- suppressing endorphins than they do when the same task is undertaken alone. Consequently, endurance athletes perceive less effort and perform better when training and racing cooperatively than they do alone. The group effect is not something that has to be acquired. It is a coping skill that exists latently in everyone, ready to be activated by the right situation.

What is the right situation? There are two – call them micro and macro – that are relevant to running. One situation (micro) is any type of group workout or team competition in which a number of individuals work together. The other situation (macro) is a broader sport culture in which numerous groups of athletes train and race together often.”

In other words, when attempting a difficult task (such as feeding your family healthy food), we can achieve greater success by working together with a community of others striving for the same goal.  We don’t have to be professional runners to understand this effect, which Bruhn points out exists latently in everyone.  I’m sure everyone can think of a situation when they rose to a higher level because of the Group Effect.  But to a lesser extent, most of us actually experience the Group Effect every day when we show up at work with our coworkers, or go to the gym.  When we have a community of people striving for the same thing in the same location – working for the success of the company at work, working to make our bodies stronger at the gym, we all go farther than we could ever go alone.

So how can you take advantage of the Group Effect to increase your healthy eating success?  If you live near one of our distribution locations, you can join our CSA program.  We have a one-of-a-kind CSA program, designed to take maximum advantage of the Group Effect, while also fitting seamlessly into your busy life.   When you join Groundworks Farm CSA, you are not JUST getting a curated assortment of the freshest and highest-quality local, organic produce available.  You, perhaps more notably, are getting to participate in the benefits of the Group Effect of the Groundworks Farm CSA Community (at no extra charge).  But, instead of training to run world record marathons races like Eliud Kipchoge, we are practicing the daily willpower, effort, and knowledge battle of feeding ourselves and our families healthy food:)

Each of our weekly CSA pickups is a vibrant event where cooking tips and recipes are shared freely (although, if you are in a hurry you can be in and out in just a couple minutes).  Everyone is happy to be there, and you can bet everyone you see around you is making the difficult effort to feed themselves and their families healthy food.  We strive together to set ourselves and our kids up for success in whatever we do with healthy food every day.  If you want to feed yourself and your family nutrient-dense healthy food – and stay on that wagon – you cannot make a better decision than joining the Groundworks Farm CSA Community.  You don’t have to go it alone:)

Click here and start today!


A native Hawaiian combination between a sushi roll and Chipotle-style burrito bowl, a Poke Bowl is the answer to all your savory cravings.  And, you can make this dish quickly in your own kitchen.  If you have a CSA Share, you probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already.  Ok, you might have to purchase toasted seaweed and toasted sesame oil, but otherwise I bet you’re all set.

At it’s heart, like a Chipotle burrito bowl, a Poke Bowl is a grain bowl.  So, it starts with rice.  I like to use organic brown Basmati rice cooked in my Instapot (this handy pressure cooker takes about 20 minutes on the “rice” setting).  While your rice is cooking, you can prep your vegetables.  I like to use 4 different kinds of vegetables (it actually matters very little which vegetables you use, so get creative and use your CSA Share!), plus seaweed.  Chop your vegetables into very small pieces and leave them raw or cook them quickly, as appropriate.  For a recent Poke Bowl I prepped small pieces of kale to use raw and very thin inch-long carrot sticks to use raw, and I cooked small mushroom pieces and very small beet pieces for about 3 minutes in the microwave.  Set all your vegetables aside to add to your rice later.

Now, prep your protein.  Tofu, chia seeds, and hemp seeds are great vegetarian options.  For an incredibly delicious, crispy, and fast tofu, cut the curd into pretty small 1/2″ cubes.  You can fry these on your stove top with oil or in an air fryer with sprayed-on oil.  Cook until evenly brown and crispy on the outside.  For the meat lovers out there, try grilling (or air frying) a steak, chicken breast, pork chop etc. and then cut it into small pieces and set aside.

The last three ingredients you will need to set out on your counter are:  toasted sesame oil, seaweed (I recommend buying roasted and salted seaweed snacks, they sell these at most grocery stores now), and any Asian-style salad dressing or sauce (I recommend any of the tahini-based salad dressings, such as the Dress It Up Sesame Tahini Salad dressing for sale at our CSA pickups or the Annie’s Goddess Dressing).

Assemble your ingredients like this for each family member:  Start with a personal bowl half-full of rice.  Spoon in a little of each of your 4 vegetables and spoon in a little of your protein.  Take your kitchen scissors and cut slivers of your roasted seaweed snacks into the bowl.  Now drizzle about 1/2 tablespoon of toasted sesame oil on top of your bowl.  Lastly, drizzle just a touch of your chosen sauce (I recommend tahini salad dressing) on top.  Now, carefully stir your ingredients together with a spoon, and enjoy.  You can add a touch of soy sauce or some more tahini dressing if needed.

Our four-year-old loves to help prep this meal by stirring all the ingredients together.  If you have young helpers stirring you may want to use an over-sized serving bowl to stir the ingredients together before transferring to a personal bowl so their unpracticed stirring doesn’t fling ingredients all over your floor.

I love recipes like this because you can utilize a wide range of seasonal vegetables interchangeably.  Also, you do not need specific quantities of each vegetable – you can use all the odds and ends of your CSA Share.  If you only have 1 carrot left, or just half a sweet potato, or only 2 leaves of kale…no problem, just chop those stragglers up and throw them in the recipe to nourish your family.  When you eat multiple varieties of vegetables at each meal like this you are likely to get a more complete suite of vitamins and minerals in your belly, helping to stave off winter colds, have more energy, and feel better overall.


Poke Bowl

We are stocked up and ready to feed you and your families this holiday!  We will have all our usual Farm Store items in stock in addition to some extra items for your holiday meal!

What’s available in the Farm Store this week!

Local, Organic Produce!

  • Brussels Sprouts $8.99/lb bag
  • Cranberries (Massachusetts) $6.99/12oz bag
  • Garlic $6.99/half lb bag
  • Lettuce Mix $2.99/bag
  • Parsley $1.99/bunch
  • Parsnips $4.26/lb bag
  • Persimmons (Fuyu and Hachiya) $19.99/bag of 8 or 2.99/each
  • Pumpkins, Pie $5.99 each
  • Rutabaga $6.72/2 lb bag
  • Squash, Acorn $1.99 each
  • Squash, Delicata (Price TBD)
  • Squash, Butternut $1.99 each
  • Tomatoes, Greenhouse Grown (Price TBD)

Local Grass-Fed Organic Dairy

  • Milk -Half Gallons – Whole, 2% $6.99
  • Buttermilk, Quart $3.99
  • Heavy Cream, Pint $4.99
  • Half and Half, Pint $3.75
  • Whipped Cream, 7oz $4.99
  • Chocolate Milk, Quart $3.99
  • Yogurt (Maple, Plain, Lowfat Plain) $5.99
  • Butter (salted and unsalted), half lb $5.99
  • Ricotta Cheese $6.50
  • Firefly Farms Chevre, 4oz $4.99
  • Firefly Farms Merry Goat Round, ~10oz $12.99

Also found in the dairy cooler (but not dairy):

  • Tofu $3.99
  • Kombucha $3.49
  • Pickles (Kosher Dill and Spicy Garlic) $10.99
  • Apple Cider $9.99/gal $5.99/half gal

Other great additions to stock your home for the holiday:

  • Apple Cider Donuts
  • Shortbread
  • Rise Up Coffee (Whole Bean)
  • Together We Bake Granola
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Sauerkraut
  • Nut Butter
  • Jam

And more!


REGISTER FOR SUMMER-FALL SHARES while Shares are still available!

Cooking well-rounded and nutritious meals can be hard, especially if your kids don’t think they like vegetables.  It’s a real problem…you spend precious time and energy preparing fresh food for your family and then…they won’t eat it!😞

In my experience, joining a CSA can actually help with this problem by making your kids active participants in their food chain!  Kids can accompany their parents to CSA pickups, meet the people who grow their food, meet other families who participate, and go home energized and excited to try some new things!  Our CSA pickups are actually designed to be kid friendly…all the produce is arranged at “kid height,” allowing kids to help their parents select which carrots to take home, or whether they want to eat lettuce or kale this week.

When kids are connected to the farm, they are more likely to be involved in the food preparation and healthy eating at home.  A CSA can really be a valuable and enriching experience for your whole family.


Nutritionist Julie Negrin has the following tips for involving your youngsters in food prep:

1. Create a kids’ cooking station.  Seat them at the dinner table or counter away from the heat so that you can whip up dinner with minimal interference.

2. Start small.  Give toddlers little tasks that won’t slow down your meal preparation, such as stirring or rinsing off vegetables.  You can increase their responsibilities as they age.

3. Give yourself plenty of time and multitask.  Take advantage of those long days off from school and find a few recipes for them to cook that just happens to result in a family dinner.

4. Create the menu together.  Encourage kids to explore cookbooks and websites for recipes.  The more invested they are in the meal, the less likely they’ll whine about it.

5. Keep cleaning equipment close by.  Enlisting kids in the cleanup will make the experience more pleasant for everyone — and teach them another essential life skill!

6. Invite a confident cook to help.  If you’re a kitchen novice, this is an ideal time to learn alongside your kids.  If you’re a confident cook, you’ll have some extra help.

7. Sign up for parent-and-kid cooking classes.  You’ll pick up teaching tips, kid-friendly recipes and possibly new family friends.

8. Praise them.  Providing for our kin is such a primal urge that kids feel an immediate sense of pride and self-worth when they feed their families, so make sure to gush over their hard work.

9. Accept that not all kids like to cook.  Your non-cooking kids can still contribute to the meal by washing produce, setting the table, folding napkins, deciding which platters to use, garnishing the dishes, clearing the table and tasting each dish to determine if it needs additional seasoning.

Happy cooking!

We’re here to make it simple and easy for you to eat great local organic produce at home.  We want to help you be healthy and happy!  Join us this Summer…you deserve it!

Community Photo

Top 8 Reasons to Join a CSA This Year:

  1. Build Community.  A CSA pickup is a community of health-conscious food-lovers who come together each week.  You might make new friends and see old ones at the CSA pickups or seasonal potlucks.  Extra produce is donated to emergency women’s shelters in our communities.  Plus, CSA pickups are fun!
  2. 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.
  3. Connection to the land.  Other than becoming a farmer yourself there is no more direct connection to your food, the people who grow it and the land that produces it than joining a CSA.  Ground yourself this year.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Save money.  You’ll save money by cooking with whole, unprocessed ingredients.
  8. Be happy and healthy!  Overall, I think your family will be healthier and happier when you join a CSA!  Health and happiness = priceless.

bridge builder award 3 bridge builder award 2 bridge builder award

Thank you Bridges to Independence for including us in a wonderful independence celebration this weekend!

Bridges to Independence is an organization that shelters and supports homeless women and families.  We are grateful to be able to contribute fresh Produce to their shelters.  This is one of the places where we send unclaimed CSA Shares.

The independence celebration honors women who have come through their doors and are now living independently.  Several of the women graduating shared their stories, hoping to inspire others in the community who are still working towards independence.  We were moved by what these strong, resilient women had to say.

Bridges to Independence also honored a few individuals and businesses that have supported them in different ways and we were honored to receive a Bridge Builder Award.  We accepted this award on behalf of our CSA members and generous volunteers who make these donations possible – this is your award!  Congratulations, and thank you!  Here’s to many more years to come!

You can find out more information about Bridges to Independence here:, including how you can donate and volunteer.


adapted from


1 bunch garlic scapes
⅓ cup olive oil
⅓ cup freshly grated parmesan
¼ cup raw nut of your choice (walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pine nuts)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2-4 tbsp water
salt and pepper to taste



  • Cut off the most woody few inches of the scape stem and discard.
  • Combine your washed garlic scapes, grated parmesan, nuts and lemon juice in a food processor and process at a medium speed until they are roughly chopped. Continue to run the food processor and slowly pour your olive oil in through the opening on the lid of the food processor. Process until all of the ingredients are very finely chopped and beginning to become smooth. If the pesto seems a little thick add 2-4 tablespoons of water until the desired thickness is achieved.
  • Finally, stir in salt and pepper to taste. Serve on pasta, spread on toast, or use in a sandwich.

Winter-spring Compilation

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. Everyone works 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.

logo circle with credentials underneath

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.”