Maryland Department of Agriculture's program links people to local farms, fresh produce

BALTIMORE -- Is one of your New Year's resolutions to eat more local produce?

If so, the Maryland Department of Agriculture has a program that connects you to local farms offering fresh produce and other goods.

Joan Norman co-owns One Straw Farm with her family in Baltimore County. They're entering their 41st season.

For the last 24 seasons, they've offered their harvests to the public through a program called "community supported agriculture" or "CSA."

"People buy a share of the farm and they pick it up once a week at various locations," Norman said.

The Maryland Department of Agriculture runs the program. Farms across 18 counties in Maryland participate by offering up local produce, meat and even flowers.

The Department of Agriculture is trying to spread the word about the program this month. They've launched a challenge involving the Maryland Secretary of Agriculture.

"If 100 new people sign up for Maryland CSA, he will eat a very hot pepper on camera and we will have it on social media," Maryland Department of Agriculture Chief of Marketing Mark Powell said.

The program gets Marylanders to try new foods.

"If you have a CSA share and you're getting five or six or eight vegetables, not only are you going to eat them because you've already bought them, you're going to have to find recipes and you're going to find yourself cooking, preparing more," Norman said.

It also gives farmers like Norman a boost.

"Probably the best thing that's happened to our farm is having a CSA," Norman said.

The challenge ends at the end of the month.

You can sign up on the Maryland's Best Agriculture website.

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