Sunday, May 1, 2016

Break bread and bake bread with local wheat for true happiness

the famous "no knead" recipe for new and old bakers alike

After eight years of collaboration .....

between growers and bakers in the Valley we can buy bread make from local grains at bakeries* and home bakers can make their own with that same wheat. Look for bread flour from Four Star Farm sold at River Valley Co-op or purchase flour from Cliff Hatch at Upinngil Farm in Gill MA.   

What you get when you work with local flour is a recently milled grain from either Four Star or Cliff Hatch. These two local flours have flavor and nutrients. They include the germ of the wheatberry and some bran.

Baking your own bread is one of the most soulful things you will ever do. It also comes to about $1 a loaf, when you get right down to it.  Here is the world's easiest bread recipe. All you need is time, an oven, a good pan and the will to be happy. 

Bread Recipe - No Knead (Adapted from Jim Lahey of Sullivan St. Bakery)

2 cups white flour
1 cup local whole wheat flour 
1/2 tsp of active dry (grocery stores - check expiration date) or dry bakers yeast (natural food store - less shelf life)
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2  cup spring or filtered water (or less)
Cast iron pan with lid

Mix dry ingredients with hands or wooden spoon, add water and combine
Cover and let rest for 14 to 20 hours 
On a flour covered work surface, reshape dough into a ball place in covered bowl.
Leave in warm spot in the house (74 to 80 degrees) for up to 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 525 and heat empty pan with lid for 30 minutes
Reduce heat to 475
Remove lid from pan and drop the dough in, seam side down. Replace lid. 
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove lid and bake for another 10 minutes to brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes. Very important!

Pioneer Valley Bakeries with bread made with local grain:

Hungry GhostNorthampton MA - 8-Grain Loaf and Crackers  
Bread Euhporia, Haydenville MA - Granary Loaf

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

RECIPE: Krispy Kale Nests with Fried Egg

Kale in Winter 

A great source of winter kale now today in the Pioneer Valley comes from Atlas Farm in S. Deerfield, where greens are grown in hoop-houses when the weather is iffy. Kale is rich in nutrients, cheap to buy, thrives in cold temperature, and acts as an internal scrubby. 

Recipe: Krispy Kale Nests with Fried Egg
Serves 2


1 bunch curly or dinosaur kale (aka lacinato)
2 fried eggs
olive oil
salt and pepper

Remove leaves from the stem and discard stems. Layer the leaves and roll. Cut cross-wise to produce long strips.

Coat the bottom of a cast iron with oil and heat until smoking. Cook in kale batches by dropping a handful of strips into the pan. Add salt and pepper. Keep kale moving over the heat until crisp and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

Remove with tongs and drain on paper bag. Place small bird’s nest of kale strips on each plate and gently top with a fried egg.  

Monday, March 7, 2016

Q&A Queen of the Locavores

photo by Mary A. Nelen

If you're like me
you go where the wild food goes. In the fall last year, bluefish were “running” in the waters of the Atlantic ocean off the coast of Massachusetts. I took the ferry to Martha's Vineyard where the fishing derby was in full swing. Grand prize for the biggest fish caught from shore is a new boat. Grand prize from a boat, a new truck. My prize? A meeting with Ali Berlow, a local hero, and queen of the Locavores.

Derby Headquarters was in Edgartown on the docks where anglers raced to weigh-in their fish. Bluefish, false albacore, bonita and stripped bass were brought to a guy in waders standing at a table out on the docks with a big scale and large knife. He weighed each fish and yelled the numbers to a lady inside a rickety building. He then gutted the fish and threw them into a plastic bin. 
What was happening with this bonanza of fresh fish? I turned to the only person I could think of.   

Ali Berlow is publisher of Edible Vineyard and the instigator behind Island Grown and Island Grown Schools, two organizations that support area farmers in their efforts to make a living selling food on the island. She lives on Martha's Vineyard in the summer and in Vermont in the winter. When I visited Ali at her office on the shore road to Oak Bluffs, she greeted me at the door. A tall silver-haired woman in converse sneakers and a thin red thread with a rock at her throat and a dog in her arms was not what I expected. I was smitten. I learned the dog's name was Emma and Ali prefers the word “Eater” to “Locavore” since its more inclusive. 

We sat down on a small couch in her office. Before us on a low table was a copy of her latest book, “The Food Activist Handbook: Big and Small things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community.” It was festooned with post-it notes. Much of what Ali has accomplished with many others on the island in their efforts to increase local food production and access is a result of a single event.  

VL: You start the book and your work on the island with a potluck supper. Why a potluck?
AB: Everybody has to eat. I reached out to farmers and neighbors and
everybody brought food. Its a great way to bring people together. I
spoke before the group. The dinner was at our home. I brought in a
friend who is a chef to lighten things up.

VL:  Why is poultry a gateway focus for local food activism?
AB: Because slaughtering requires involvement from the Board of Health.
They are the people who concern themselves with restaurant inspection
so education was a big part of the picture.

VL: Did you have snacks at those meetings?
AB: Coffee and donuts, I think.

VL: Can you explain what the map of the community was about.
AB: Have a look at the farms around where you live and determine where
local food is. We started out making a map and developed a coding
system for locating farms and identifying their specialities. 
(see map below)
KEY: Red indicates agricultural activity on Martha's Vineyard 
VL: Your book was compared to the Whole Earth Catalogue, a 70’s
counter culture catalogue for living off the land. What is your
response to that?
AB: I’ll take it! But perhaps the book is more like “Our Bodies Ourselves.”

VL: Schools, how did you break into that world?
AB: There are many ways to work with schools. The key is to look for
opportunity. Don’t be disappointed. First school we approached wanted
compost so we went with that.

Ali Berlow, center. Photo: Bob Hughes 
Before we said good bye I asked about the harvest of Derby fish. Ali said that they usually went to senior citizens on the island. Last year between 5000 and 7000 filets were donated to members of the Councils on Aging.  

The sun was going down and Ali was off to act as a judge at a Chef's Throw-down cooking contest in New Bedford. I later learned the winning entry was for a dish made with an egg-bearing dogfish called Grilled Dogfish, Sugar Pumpkin and Lamb Chorizo with Scrambled Roe and Peach Jam. It was made by Chef Chris Cronin of Little Moss Restaurant in South Dartmouth, MA.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

RECIPE: Banana Bread, the dark side.

Banana bread goes dark with booze and grain.
RECIPE: Banana Bread, the dark side 

The addition of whole grains and bourbon provide a kick that takes banana bread to a whole new level. A bit of real grain fortifies the bourbon and if you can get you hands on some, grind them (in a blender or grain grinder) and sift to remove the larger pieces of bran to help in the rising. If you don’t have wheat berries substitute with whole wheat flour and if you don’t have that, just add two more tablespoons of flour to the recipe. If you don’t have flour, just fry up the bananas and have with yogurt. Dark rum is a good alternative to bourbon. This recipe is adapted from Silver Palate "Good Times" cookbook circa 1985. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees


1 C white unbleached flour
2 T ground wheat berries, sifted
2 eggs
1 cup milk
2 t baking powder
½ t baking soda
1 stick butter, melted. 
¼ C honey mixed
¼ C maple syrup
1 t vanilla
6 T bourbon or dark rum
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
½ C chopped walnuts
½ C golden raisins


sifting implement
loaf pan


Mix ingredients dry ingredients not including walnuts and raisins in a large bowl.  Melt butter in loaf pan in oven while it is pre-heating. In separate bowl whisk eggs together with banana, honey,vanilla, maple syrup and butter. Combine contents of both bowls and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into buttered loaf pan and stir in walnuts and raisins. Bake for 50 minutes. 

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Reverse Engineered Beets

Beet, Brookfield Farm, Amherst MA (photo: Mary A. Nelen)
The night before last......
we ate at a new place near us in Kinderhook. On special was a thing of beauty and wonder, a thing I had to try in my own kitchen. This is referred to by a man I know as "Reverse Engineering." Whenever he eats something in a restaurant that he find particularly enjoyable, his wife Robbin goes home and figures out how to cook it, right away. Tom calls it “Reverse Engineering” but I call it love. 

The thing of beauty and wonder was Beet Tartare, a jeweled little tuffet of beets on a bed of arugula. It had a sweetness and a velvet, pliant mouthfeel. Where was the sweetness coming from? Perhaps the frozen earth prompting the beet to produce sugar? Reduced balsamic? Maple Syrup? Pomegranate seeds? And the pliancy? These certainly weren't "tartare" raw beets, or were they?

Reverse engineering began with googling "beets" and "raw" and "salad" and consulting cookbook indexes for “beetroot." What resulted was a co-mingling of technique and what I had in my larder. My recipe for Beet Tartare At Home is restaurant perfect. It uses roasted beets, chopped almonds, onion, garlic and a bit of balsamic/fig syrup from the cupboard. (It must be said that "tartare" is a misnomer. The first taste experience of this dish was sweetness, the kind that comes from roasting winter beets.)

As for the shape of the beet thing of beauty and wonder, I didn’t have molds to create a disk like the one used in the restaurant. Instead I employed those little white dishes that are nice for salt and stuff. Starts with a C? 

You get the picture....So I packed the red mixture into those little white dishes that start with a C and left them in the fridge over night. The next day around dinner time I coaxed the mixture out of the little white dishes....ramekin! (Not something that starts with a C.) 

I placed the each beat disk (thee out of four held their shape) on a little bed of arugula, dressed in oil and white wine vinegar with salt and pepper and then drizzled a bit of balsamic/fig juice on top and it was perfect. Just as good as at the new restaurant, if not, dare I say it, better. 


5 medium-sized beets wrapped in foil and roasted
1/2 C olive oil
1/4 C balsamic vinegar or balsamic/fig syrup
1 garlic clove finely chopped
2T onion finely chopped
2 T almonds finely chopped
3 C arugula dressed lightly in oil and vinegar with salt and pepper 
  1. Peel and chop beets into very tiny cubes.
  2. Mix liquids in bowl.
  3. Combine beets, onion, garlic & nuts with liquids in bowl.
  4. Press mixture into buttered ramekins.
  5. Refrigerate overnight or for 4 hours.
  6. Release mixture from ramekins gently. 
  7. Place on a bed of arugula lightly coated with vinaigrette.
  8. Drizzle beets with balsamic vinegar or balsamic/fig juice if you happen to have it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Vote for Change

“Growing Season: Women in Agriculture and Food Production”
through August 15, 2016,
W.E.B. Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst

How about shut up and get busy as a campaign slogan? You feminists and voters and people for a better world?

Approximately 58% of the 140 students currently in the Sustainable Food and Farming major in the Stockbridge School of Agriculture are women.

On display in at UMass Amherst Special Collections and University Archives, floor 25, are collections that reflect women and food production, including cookbooks focused on preservation and canning; Helen Hunerwadel who taught and advised on agricultural in Burma and Iran in the 1940s and 1950s; and Elizabeth Henderson, an organic farming pioneer and founding member of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

The UMass Amherst Libraries host “Growing Season: Women in Agriculture and Food Production,” through August 15, 2016, in the W.E.B. Du Bois Library, both on the Lower Level and in Special Collections and University Archives, on Floor 25, at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The exhibit draws upon the archival collections in Special Collections and University Archives and includes photos, articles, and other artifacts.
For more information, contact Kirstin Kay, 413-545-6843.

Friday, February 5, 2016

"It will happen like this......" 


Photo Show at Robert Floyd
February 6 - 29, 20116
Reception, Sunday 2/7 from 1 pm to 5 pm
Robert Floyd Photo Studio
2 East Street at College Highway (Rt. 10)
Southampton MA

Artists: Mary A. Nelen, Rosemary Polletta, Dan Milberg

Wild Food in WInter

Go where the wild food people go.

Winter Markets. This weekend in Greenfield. Next weekend in the Berkshires. Spring is, well, spring is if not right around the corner, spring is inevitable. And to celebrate wild food and the wilderness in general, join kindred spirits in civic buildings for soup and several encounters with, because they can, fresh greens but also workshops, swapping, hot food, activities for kids and seeds.

Saturday, Feb 6, 2016

GREENFIELD MA: Join CISA at the Greenfield Farmers' Market for a special Winter Fare day with free workshops, hot soup, a Valley Food Swap, and more, plus the amazing range of great local food and crafts that await you monthly at this market. CISA will double all SNAP/Food Stamps up to $10. The market will be at the Greenfield High School at 1 Lenox Ave from 10 am to 1 pm.

Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016

GREAT BARRINGTON MA: Berkshire Grown will host its final winter farmers market of the season with live musical entertainment and Food Adventures will lead hands-on snack-making activities for children. Greenagers will also be on hand selling seeds to help community members start planning their own gardens. From 10 am to 2 pm at 
Monument Valley Middle School, 313 Monument Valley Road.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016


singe beet: Brookfield Farm
photo: Mary Nelen

Winter Food Watch

Beets for today can go two ways. Roast a bunch in tinfoil with the oven turned up high. After about an hour and a half, remove to check for "done-ness." If they yield to a poke from your fork, remove foil and let cool. Skins should fall off easily. Reserve these beets in the fridge for two fabulous beet treats to get you and your kin through these cold days.  The natural sweetness of this winter root vegetable will warm hearts and minds. And perhaps, just perhaps, be sweet enough to take the place of dessert.

Stay tuned for Russian Borscht and Beet Salad recipes.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Quince is available in the Valley in fall ..... 

and can be discovered out in the wild or in permaculture gardens that are semi-wild. Like pears, quince ripens from the inside out. Look for firm quince and smell before buying. If they have a nice fragrance, they’ll be ok for poaching. What quince has going for it is a lemony flavor and a wonderful scent redolent of expensive perfume. Use quince to add brightness such as in this Julia Child's recipe for Stewed Red Cabbage Salad. Biting directly into this fruit might give one pause but when in the right company, quince can really get the party started.

Attain quince at local food co-ops and some orchards. You may have some growing in the backyard.....

RECIPE: Stewed Red Cabbage with Quince

This recipe for stewed red cabbage is adapted from Julia Child’s How to Cook, adding some quince and honey to the traditional apples.


1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 cup sliced onion
3 tablespoons butter
2 pounds (6 or 7 cups) red cabbage, cut into 1/2" slices
1 cup diced tart apple

1 cup diced quince

2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves mashed garlic
1/4 tsp ground bay leaf
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp caraway seeds

1/8 tsp pepper
2 cups good, young red wine (Bordeaux, Chianti)
2 cups beef stock
salt and pepper (to taste)


Preheat oven to 325°F.

Cook the onion in olive oil and butter slowly in an ovenproof pan for 10 minutes without browning. Stir in the cabbage leaves and when well covered with the butter and vegetables, cook slowly for 10 minutes. Add all additional ingredients. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove. Cover and cook slowly for 3 to 3 1/2 hours. 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

RECIPE: Roasted Black Radish with Arugula and Kale Salsa Verde

Try black radish, a super food that plays the part in this dish of the succulent and the salty amid the creamy and the garlic. This dish marries greens with cheese to pasta to accommodate the aforementioned black radish. Serves two. Enjoy!

photo: Mary A. Nelen

2- medium-sized black radish 
1/2 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1-C arugula, blanched
1-C kale, blanched
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 C pecorino cheese, shaved
1/2 olive oil
1/2 C walnuts
1C orecchiette or cavatelli or ramen noodles


Heat oven to 400 degrees

Peel, quarter and slather radish with olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes. Roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes in tin foil. Set aside.

Blanch arugula briefly and kale for 2 minutes. Drain and place in food processor. Add garlic and the rest of the ingredients except for the arugula which is added at the very end so it keeps some of its shape.    

Boil water and add pasta. 

When pasta is cooked and drained, plate and divide the radish among each serving of pasta. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of salsa verde on each plate of pasta.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Spare the rake, spoil the soil.

photo: Mary A. Nelen

Have a nap this weekend. 
According to an essay by Dr. William H. Schlesinger of the blog "Earth Wise," its best to use leaves as a layer of mulch for the lawn by grinding them with the mower instead of raking. This method of not raking leaves and leaving them where they fall will provide nutrients to the lawn come spring.  

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Farmer Walks Into a Bar Part 2

"May I help you sir?" asks the maitre'd. The farmer is led to a stone terrace overlooking an expanse of green. The farmer sets up a table with bottles, herbs and tattoos. Golfers clomp up in their cleats. He hands one of them a drink with a sprig of basil.

“What’s this?” says a guy in yellow pants.

“Greylock Tom Collins,” says the farmer.

“What’s in it?” says a guy in green pants.

“We have basil, lime juice, club soda, Greylock Gin,” says the farmer.

“Free?” says the other guy, this one in green pants.  

The farmer is a 26-year old guy with a bushy yellow beard.

“You’re tasting orris root, you’re tasting juniper, you’re tasting basil from the garden.”

The golfer in green pants picks up one of the tattoos and squints at it, “Summer of Greylock,” he says and peels off the plastic and slaps it on a sweaty forearm. 

It's late in the day in early June on the first day a summer and the cocktails are on the house for guests at Cranwell Resort and Spa in Lenox MA. Mike Sherry is farm manager and event manager for an 8-year-old distillery in Sheffield MA. Summer of Greylock was created to promote a line of gin made by Berkshire Mountain Distillers, Inc.

At Berkshire Mountain Distillers in Sheffield, I encounter farm stand at the entrance followed by a drive lined with passing corn stalks and sunflowers that leads to the distillery, a large, pine green metal structure. Beyond the distillery are raised beds and a hoop-house.

Mike meets me out front and holds a tiny clover in his large hand.
“Welcome. This is where we’re growing gin,” he says with a sweep of his arm. We enter the metal building’s tasting room where owner Chris Weld leads visitors on a tour explaining that water used to proof the gin comes his farm a few miles away.

“The water is almost sweet,” says Mike. “It comes out of a granite fed spring house which has been producing bubbly water since the 1860’s.” At that time, people visited the Berkshires for healing waters. We head out to the garden. Mike stoops to pick up a small weed.

“It’s my next ingredient for bartenders. It's a garnish...” he says clutching a tiny clover.  

We examine a spray of lemon grass destined for next year’s batch of tonic water destined for tonic water, also made at the distillery.

“We grow gin here. It's made of seven botanicals," said Mike.

We proceed past healthy looking juniper, coriander, licorice, angelica and a blossoming white iris, also known as orris root.  The scent of the juniper and licorice are sharp and bright.  Missing in the garden is cinnamon and orange peel which must be sourced from tropical climates. 

Inside at the tasting room an array of bottles with foil labels model the company's Ethereal Gin product, a limited edition of ranging from #1-12 with an alcohol content of 47%. It’s 11 in the morning when I sample batch #12, described in the tasting notes as having hints of citrus, berry, spice, hibiscus, lemon grass, elder berry flower and black pepper. The sensation of attempting to discern and learn each flavor is intense. The room, a beautiful sun-lit place with glittering bottles, is made more beautiful after each sip. Mike's voice becomes a gentle humming noise in the room and time slows down. 

Luc Sante, the author of “The Other Paris,” said that the past, whatever its drawbacks were, was wild. By comparison, the present is farmed. The experience of drinking hard liquor infused with local flora lies somewhere in between wild and farmed.

The Summer of Greylock will conclude with dinner and drinks at in the tasting room at Berkshire Mountain Distillery in Sheffield, MA. Guest bartenders will serve craft cocktails made with the company’s gin and vodka line-up. The public is invited to this benefit for Berkshire Farm & Table. If you go, expect to get a taste of the place.

Farmer Walks Into a Bar Part 1

First there was coffee made from sustainably grown beans served right where the beans were roasted and after that came places where a burger could be enjoyed along with a taste of the newest IPA right there in the brewery. Taste of place is not a recent phenomenon. 

Eating a home cooked meal offers a taste of a place called home.  Except for a place in the bowels of the New York subway system where a sign reads “donuts made on the premises,” taste of place offers another layer of experience…..but can you really taste a place?  


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Free Harvest Supper Returns!

Clockwise from top left Juanita Nelson, happy crowds, organizer Mary McClintock, fresh picked local beans and radish in vinaigrette
Free Harvest Supper Returns! 

This year marks the 11th anniversary of the event under the trees in Greenfield that is completely free to all who attend. The brainchild of Juanita Nelson survives and you are invited to attend August 23 on Sunday from 4:30 to 6:30. Please spread the word and if you know chefs and farmers, invite them to contribute. For more info, visit Free Harvest Supper website quoted below.

The Free Harvest Supper is an annual community event celebrating local food, farms, and community. Additionally, donations collected support the Farmers’ Market Coupon Program established by the Center for Self-Reliance in Amherst.

The supper features a bountiful free meal of locally grown food prepared by locally based chefs, as well as live music, children’s activities, educational displays, and the hugely successful “Really, Really Free Market” where all are welcome to bring home produce from the season’s overflow donated by farmers and gardeners. Diners can enjoy passed fresh appetizers and learn from informational displays while they wait for their meal.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Celebrity Watermelon Visit the Valley

 left to right Peace, Dark Star, Little Baby Flower (photo by RFF)

On Wednesday, August 6, 2015 three stars of the Watermelon Universe will visit a farm in Granby. Prepare yourself for the heft and the rush of watery goodness at RED FIRE FARM in Granby MA from 4 to 7 pm.

Sunday, August 2, 2015



1 local bunch scallions with white part removed, chopped
2 cloves local garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar


1. Combine ingredients (green part of green onion/scallions only) into food processor and pulse until creamy. 
2. Serve immediately with salad or cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Mix before serving.


1 large local egg yolk, room temperature
1/8 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3/4 cup vegetable oil/walnut oil/olive oil (olive oil will have flavor of olives)

1. Either blend egg yolk and salt lemon juice and Dijon mustard and whisk together with oil drop by drop or place the egg yolk and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add the lemon juice and mustard; blend well. With the motor running, add the oil, drop by drop. This will take a few minutes. Don't rush it or the mayonnaise may "break," meaning the oil will separate from the egg. (Note: If your food processor has a small hole in the feed-tube pusher, pour the oil in there and let it drip through.)
2. Once you've added the oil, sample the mayo and add more salt or lemon juice to taste. Cover tightly and refrigerate for up to 5 days. Stir before spreading.

Shout Out to Auburn Public Library Patrons

Greetings Auburn Public Library Patrons! I've been rooting around for local food in your region. Was it just last week that we met in Auburn on that rainy night at the Public Library? 
And was it just that Thursday night that we yearned for more fluidity between yearning for local food and actually getting it? I found a Farmers' Market as close as a mere seven miles away a newly hatched farm called New Lands Farm, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in Sutton MA as well as a CSA in Granby MA called Red Fire Farm that delivers weekly to Worcester and finally there is this fabulous farm in Hardwick that distributing local pork, chicken, beef and lamb to a town called Millis, only half an hour away. See below for more info and don't hesitate to contact me if you find new farms or stores when foraging for local food.....


It will mean a 10 minute drive to Worcester but we're talking about a quick one to sample and luxuriate in fresh local food as well as live music and art and stuff for the kids every Saturday from now until October 31. That means you can stock up on stuff for Thanksgiving too at the Worcester Farmers' Market that takes place on Main Street at 104 Murray Avenue at YMCA Fuller Family Park. And yoga in the park there is free until August 8 (just next week.) Check it out....


In Granby MA this farm features a summer, fall, winter, spring, flower, and bread share for people interested in joining the CSA, Community Sponsored Agriculture. Its too late to join Red Fire Farm the summer of '15 share but the farm does deliver to the town of Worcester, so keep it in mind for fall, winter and next summer. To sample the delights of this very established farm that delivers from Granby in western MA to Boston, check out their farm store some weekday or weekend in Granby or visit the website at

New Lands Farm 

At 96 Eight Lots Road, Sutton Mass, New Lands Farm is a farmer collective offers an international variety of food from places like the Congo, Burmundi and Bhutan as well as typical New England Summer fare such as corn, tomatoes, eggplant and so forth. There is a farm store as well as the opportunity to join the farm with a share in their CSA, Community Sponsored Agriculture option at the beginning of summer. They can be contacted at 508-754-1121. 

This farm in Hardwick MA delivers its meats to Millis once a month. For about $10 per lb, Chestnut Farm offers eggs, chicken, beef, lamb and pork to share holders. New sign-ups are every six months. For more information, visit the website at

See you soon Auburn Library Patrons and let me now how you make out on the local food front.....xo

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"Food Not Lawns" Comes to Holyoke and WIlbraham

If you lived here, you could eat now......

Heather Jo Flores is a Chicana activist, permaculture author and educator, will bring her Food Not Lawns Roadshow to White Rose Books in Holyoke 7/16 at 7:30 pm and Wilbraham 7/16-17 for a hands-on intensive 6-hour workshop. 

Heather Jo Flores, Food Not Lawns

Flores wrote Food Not Lawns; How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community and co-founded the original Food Not Lawns group in Eugene, Oregon in 1999. This summer she is taking the Edible Nation tour across the Northern USA.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Read this summer's EDIBLE PIONEER VALLEY.

Learn about wild food and the pervasive power of the Pedal. The circle of life is complete from seed to compost. Click here and go to page 24.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Why Russia?

Wild Food Week One: SPRING ZING

Joined a wild food CSA. First shipment from Acorn Kitchen includes this: Spring Zing which clearly is a kimchi item.

We were at her stand at Thornes Market last Tuesday.  Carly gives me an armful of stinging nettles, a Black Locust Flower Cordial and a jar of Grape leaves. Among other things.

The Black Locust Flower Cordial "must be consumed this week as its fermenting" she urged and the grape leaves will be ready to eat in September according the yellow label.

The nettles stung and when Carly offered me more, I blanched. But once upon a time Carly fed me the most delicious bear neck I have ever eaten so I take what she gives me.

I get home. I tear open the Spring Zing not because I'm such a huge Kimchi fan, I can take or leave random fermented bits of veg, but because I had no other food at the time. I'm house sitting and plant watering for a buddhist. An ascetic diet of hemp hearts and tea prevails. So I hold the jar of wild food, this Spring Zing in my hand, and contemplate its contents:

LOCAL Cabbage, Carrots, Daikon, Tumeric, Ginger, Horseradish, Hot Peppers, WILD Leeks, Dandelion roots, Burdock Roots. Please Keep Refrigerated. 

Upon opening the jar, my mouth waters. Spring Zing somehow smells like the inside of an Italian sub shop. Upon tasting said Zing, my mouth smiles at the memory of my first "Italian." It was summer in Maine. Biddeford in a working class town near the water where lobster rolls and Italian subs full of thinly sliced peppers, onions and pepperoni, one or two pickles and olive oil and some red wine vinegar were on heavy rotation.

This plant based version of an Italian sub or "Italian" is the epitome of that food. Not sure if the WILD Leeks are the culprit or the Burdock Root or the preponderance of Hot Peppers and tumeric but Spring Zing satisfies like those subs used to.

Friday, June 5, 2015

If you're in Spokane, get the Crab Louis

Davenport Hotel Lobby, Spokane WA, Mary A. Nelen

The Davenport Hotel is known for: Crab Louis Salad named for founder Louis Davenport; first hotel in the country to have air conditioning; hotel staff was at one time required to wash, dry and press dollar bills before handing change to customers.

Today a lobby bathed in light from a glass atrium includes original statuary. Furniture is arranged in conversation under a Mission and Spanish style coffered ceiling. The Starbucks coffee station maintains a respectful distance.

At 10:08 a.m., there are twelve copies of USA Today in a neat pile on a marble counter in the lobby. A woman at the Business Center ducks into a small alcove to wash her hands three times when asked to mail some postcards for a guest.

Crab Louis Salad is still on the menu

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wait for the White

Dear LocavoreLady,

Is white asparagus a better choice than green? I'm having an all white party and am thinking of including white asparagus.  

Signed, White in Worthington  

Dear White in Worthington,

Plan far ahead for that party. White asparagus is a result of growing the plant under cover. It's a thing in Europe and The Netherlands and some consider white asparagus less bitter than green. Looking for white? You won't find it here. Grow your own. Asparagus plants take several years to come up. Put your plants in this year and expect to harvest in 2019. When that spring of 2019 rolls around, (if the weather behaves), keep an eye out for shoots. When they appear, cover with straw or dirt. By June, if you don't experience blight or some other plant related disaster, you may be the proud parent of white asparagus. 

Monday, June 1, 2015

Dear LocavoreLady,

How do you get asparagus stiff and bright green for eating? Ice or what?? I'd like to serve asparagus to my guests as "finger food" but when I cook asparagus and then put it on ice, it doesn't seem to shock them. What should I do? 

"New to all this,"  New York 

Dear "New to all this" 

All you have to do to shock asparagus is to tell them you're pregnant. Kidding! Fresh asparagus needs very little cooking to produce bright green spears that will have a nice crunch. To shock asparagus, dip spears in a shallow pan of boiling water ever so briefly (one minute for thin spears, two for fat) and use slotted spoon to transfer to a bowl of ice.  Serve with aioli or olive oil, salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Desert Dining with Stevie & Chef Bruce

It was a sleepy afternoon in the desert when we arrived at the former girl's school known as Hacienda Del Sol in Tuscon AZ. There were fans over head, a vista of sandy cacti and the Catalina foothills through leaded windows and under foot, clay tile once trod upon by western debutants, dusty from an afternoon ride on the trail.

It was an easy 105 out on the asphalt but flashing smiles and water for our canteens provided relief. Further sustenance came in the form of spirits and a sublime squid salad. It was bright in the room and quiet except for the buzzing of something airborne, a winged reminder that nature is the boss of us. A brisket sandwich arrived on a steamed bun. If the phrase "steamed bun" makes your mouth water, then you can imagine our elation over this dish. It tasted of a southwestern sunset, sweet and slightly smokey, with overtones of the Pacific Rim.

Chef Bruce Lim strolled over and accepted our gratitude for his food. The business end of his heat probe was hidden in the pocket of his chef coat.

"What's in this brisket chef?" inquired Stevie. "A three-day marinade of red curry paste, sugar and then braising," he said with a shrug, as if to say, 'who doesn't prepare brisket sandwiches in that manner?'

Stevie Pierson & Chef Bruce Lim, Hacienda Del Sol Tuscon AZ

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dear LocavoreLady

Dear LocavoreLady:

One of the mom’s in my neighborhood raises rabbits and feeds them to her kids. I know times are rough and that meat prices are high but rabbit? It seems to me like certain domestic pets should be exempt from mealtime and besides; we’re not zoned for that in Amherst. I just don’t want my kids to get freaked out. Local great but rabbit? Maybe this mom should stick to vegan of eating the Easter Bunny. Anyway she invited us over to dinner and we don’t want to be rude. Should we go?

Signed, “Just Sayin.”

Dear “Just Sayin,”

Maybe you should check your zoning restrictions to see if “NIMBE” are allowed in our neighborhood. Rabbit is a valid source of protein, just like beef, pork, deer, fish and goat. Just because a hard-working mom decides to economize with a little lapin to make ends meet and keep the kids healthy doesn’t make her suspect. Besides, who are you to judge? Last time I checked domestic pets in New England ranged for dog to cat with a bit of room for exotic rodents and fish. Go there and enjoy the rabbit. You’ll be eating crow by dessert.