The Caulders have been growing vegetables and berries in Howard County for friends and neighbors for more than 35 years, which means they’re about community; in this case, the community that supports agriculture at Breezy Willow Farm, which is featured in the newly-released video, “Breezy Willow Farm: From the Land and the Hand.”
Taking viewers to the Caulder family farm, the video leads them through an abbreviated version of their day: from sunrise, when their Rhode Island Red wakes them; through gathering eggs from their cage-free heritage laying hens; showing the love to their friendly alpacas; to applying sustainable farming practices — and hand-picking quality produce for the farm’s Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) share members.
“We [offer] a place [where] you can come enjoy [the] community, while supporting the Breezy Willow Farm CSA program,” said R.J. (Rose) Caulder, who started her CSA program in her kitchen, with just 12 shares in 2004. Since, the family farm’s CSA program has grown to include more than 700 shares, with some members traveling from nearly 50 miles away to obtain their shares.
“We set ourselves apart from other CSAs by offering value-added products,” said Jason Caulder.
The Caulders offer their Breezy Willow Farm community two seasonal value-added CSA programs: the Early Bird share program, which runs from March to May; and their summer/fall share program, that runs from June to November, with pick-up days at the farm and at other locations throughout Howard County.
When they arrive, “our CSA members check in to see what a bountiful share they will receive,” said Jason Caulder. “Our members are able to select and receive between [about a dozen] seasonal, locally grown/produced items weekly. In addition to an assortment of eight fruits and veggies, our members receive value-added products, farm fresh eggs and premium breads from Great Harvest or The Breadery. You don’t purchase them as extra items. Herbs will be also be included when available, at no extra charge.”
To learn more about Breezy Willow Farm’s seasonal CSA programs, visit www.breezywillowfarm.com, and find an abundance of recipes and tips on how to store and prepare the farm-fresh products provided each week through the CSA program.
What else does Breezy Willow Farm offer its community? The chance to take a drive in the country, visit the farm and to come together as a community. The farm is a natural setting for families to visit, with friendly alpacas and friendly staff waiting to greet visitors. In addition, children can see where their food is actually grown and ask questions.
There are also other opportunities for the community to get involved, such as the chance to participate through the farm’s work-for-shares program.
“When the community supports our local farm, they’re helping to keep agriculture alive in their own community of Howard County,” said R.J. Caulder. “In addition, when members sign up, they are feeding other families in need. We donate shares to needy families each week.”
All extra vegetables each week are picked by volunteers in the community and are donated to the Howard County Food Bank. Nothing on the farm is ever wasted.
The community is invited to visit the farm store every Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to pick up seasonally fresh, local produce and goods, such as local cheeses, honey and breads. The farm store also has gifts, such as hand-made soaps and scarves or socks, made from the soft fiber provided by the alpacas.
Peaceful, Easy Feeling
“Breezy Willow Farm: From the Land and the Hand,” was produced in consideration of the serenity found on farm. The musical duo Colamiles provided a special rendition of “Half Acre,” making it local to Maryland. The lyrics to this recording were slightly modified to recall memories of residents that love living in Maryland.
Alice Settle-Raskin is the owner of Woodbine-based Alice’s AgriMaryland. She can be contacted at 240-449-6435 and [email protected].