Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Cooking with Carly: Wild Kitchen Class Series

Meet and eat over 30+ wild edible and medicinal plant species 

Explore both time-honored and innovative
techniques for harvest, processing, and preparation 
Taste a wide range of flavors to enhance your everyday cooking and diversify your diet.

Learn easy ways to weave wild foods and plant medicine into your routine

For questions or to request an application 

More Details Here! 
Sign up deadline April 22nd

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

From Take Magazine 



Maine’s isolated Tides Institute and Museum of Art encourages artistic collaborations between artists and between countries.
Created on the Bay of Fundy in the tiny town of Eastport, Maine, the Tides Institute and Museum of Art (TIMA) established a wet-foot dry-foot policy early in its inception. All artists would be welcome to show their work and do residencies whether they came from the U.S., from over the border in Canada, from across the mile-wide strait from New Brunswick, or from across the Atlantic Ocean.
That was 15 years ago. Today TIMA and the town of Eastport—population 1,200—are riding high on art and innovation due to the imperative of their locale.
“We developed a Maine and New Brunswick [Canada] task force in 2010 so cultural leaders on both sides of the border could talk and meet. It’s the reason we started the institute,” says Executive Director Hugh French, who is one of TIMA’s founders. “There is too much of a tendency of stopping at the border in the U.S. and Canada while artists are crossing the border. It’s silly not to follow them.”
Interior of TIMA’s 1819 North Church Project Space with large scale installation, “Undertow,” by artist, Anna Hepler. Project space has 23 foot high vaulted ceiling and exceptional acoustics. Photo by Allison Osberg.
Interior of TIMA’s 1819 Free Will North Church Project Space with large-scale installation, “Undertow,” by artist, Anna Hepler. Project space has 23-foot high vaulted ceiling and exceptional acoustics. | Photo by Allison Osberg.
Eastport is located on Moose Island and connected to the mainland by a causeway. It sits at the entrance of Passamaquoddy Bay on the border of Canada and is at the most eastern part of the US. It’s a place you might expect to be a little sleepy, at least when it comes to the arts and innovation. But you’d be wrong.
TIMA, whose studio, museum and housing for artist residencies overlook the U.S./Canada boundary, is a beehive of artistic activity. Community renewal, an active residency program, and an aggressively diverse permanent collection are just a few of the parts that make up the institute’s game plan. That diversity is also one reason funding and artists are drawn to the space, French says.
“Early on we felt we had to operate on different interests. Architecture and history, for example,” says French. “Our collection includes painting, photography, architectural elements, a historical collection and a strong interest in contemporary work. We foster new work. That is the reason for our residency program—so contemporary work can be created here.”
Tides Institute and Museum of Art
Tides Institute and Museum of Art| Image courtesy TIMA
Last year’s TIMA’s residency program had nine artists—six from the U.S. and three from abroad. This year the program will host 10-12 artists. This summer a two-year collaboration between Portland, Maine photographer Shoshannah White and Halifax interdisciplinary artist Charley Young will have its premiere in an exhibition in the 1819 church now known as the Free Will North Church Project Space.
TIMA’s main building was the organization’s first regional revitalization effort, a strategy of cross disciplines that began 15 years ago when the organization began. “The long-term effort started with tackling a threatened crippled building in the center of downtown,” says French. “We put $1.2 million to bring the building back. Now we have six buildings.”
Tides Institute and Museum of Art New Year's Eve sardine drop | Image courtesy TIMA
Tides Institute and Museum of Art New Year’s Eve sardine drop | Image courtesy TIMA
Although Eastport is physically isolated, TIMA and the community are not. The populace comes together every year for “Artsipelago,” an event that includes galleries, chefs, and ferries. To celebrate yet another year of tides, TIMA annually organizes the New Year’s Eve Maple Leaf and Sardine Drop. During that popular event, a giant red maple leaf is lowered at midnight Atlantic time (11pm EST) to commemorate the Canadian new year while a brass band plays “O Canada.” An hour later, when the New Year reaches the States, an 8-foot sardine is lowered as the band plays “Auld Lang Syne.”

Friday, February 10, 2017

School Lunch Expose

School Lunch Expose
Revenge of the Lunch Lady is Jane Black's astonishingly well researched account of what happened to school meals in Huntington, West Virginia—after Jamie Oliver left.
Surprise: They got better!
The subtitle explains why: “How an unassuming bureaucrat outsmarted Jamie Oliver and pulled off an honest-to-god miracle in one of America’s unhealthiest cities.”
--Marion Nestle

"He built a gleaming cooking center in a long-empty building downtown. He introduced a range of made-from-scratch school dishes—beefy nachos, tuna pasta bake with seven vegetables, rainbow salad with creamy dressing. And he did righteous battle with the unimaginative bureaucrats who seemed to want kids to keep eating the same sludge." --Jane Black, author of "Revenge of the Lunch Lady."  Read her HuffPost overview here.... 

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Take Your Marks! Get Set! Grow!

English Shelling Peas

The American Farm Bureau Foundation is holding a First Peas to the Table contest again this year and it starts Feb 20!  

Grades K-5 compete in a pea growing contest using no more than 20 pea seeds (English shelling peas). 

Whichever class grows the most peas (in cups) by May 15 wins a visit from Miss America 2017 Savvy Shields!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Dean of Dean's Beans and his oud-playing daughter raise money for Syrian Refuge Children

In a recent MassLive story, Mary Sereze writes the following: 
PETERSHAM -- A local woman who plays the oud, an ancient stringed instrument, is asking people to share a   on Facebook to raise funds for Syrian refugee children.
Aliya Cycon and her fellow musicians can be seen on YouTube performing the "Carol of the Ouds." Through December 25, every time the video is shared on Facebook, her father will donate one dollar to the Wounded Angels project.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Restaurant Review: Farm to Take Out

“Farm to Take Out”

Prepared NY
Chatham NY

In search of the perfect croissant, I traveled about six miles to Chatham where a chef is presiding over a take out place. The take out place is a couple of doors down from where the chef heads up a restaurant that is open six days a week. The chef doing double duty has a secret weapon. She is a baker he plucked out of semi-retirement with an offer she couldn’t refuse; later hours.

Which is why I went to Chatham a quarter of an hour before the lunch. NY Prepared opens at 11 a.m and I sat alone at the counter looking out on a leafy tree with sun pouring in. I’m in tears. 

"You got away, didn't you babe..."

It’s the second time today. The first time it was because of a note from a friend about Leonard Cohen’s passing....

"You just turned your back on the crowd..."

Then the perfect corner of this sunlit croissant turned tears for Leonard, gone, to tears of joy.

"we are ugly but we still have the food..." *

Mid bite, mid cry, Dominic Giuliano, the chef, came out to make an inquiry but I could not see him due to the flurry of flakes covering my napkin, my sweater, the floor, my lips.  

"How is it?" he said.

A thing of perfection! The butter content, the flakiness, the weight, the flavor, the butter that went along with it, my spot in the sun but I referenced the edges of the pastry referencing a college experience at Mrs. London's Bakery where the importance of a crispy edge was stressed. It was coming on noon and a man walked by us there in the restaurant and said, “I didn’t learn a thing in college.”

I asked Dominic how he could create such a Paris perfect piece of food to which he responded, "Wait a minute."

Dominic returned with a gamin of a creature wearing stripes and a short pixie haircut. She flashed her big brown eyes in my direction and then toward chef.

 “I am Madeleine,” she said putting out her hand, “like the story book for children.”

“She’s Mado,” said Dominic.

“If you wish,” she said with a Gallic shrug.

“We’re in this together,” said Dominic.

“The Turkey Pot Pie!” said Dominic, “Your puff pastry…”

“Your filling!” said Madeleine.

You get the picture. I came back another day because of a chalk board out front. Dominic walked me past the offerings of meats and sides. He pointed to each and recited names of farms responsible for the the food like so many flavors of gelato proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that NY Prepared serves seasonal cooking with local meat, vegetables, fruit and mushrooms.

All restaurants should put a chalk board on the wall listing farms. Although two chefs I most recently said, “no, no, no,” the chalk board includes us all; the patrons and the suppliers. Without the suppliers, where would we be?

NY Prepared is like Stone Barns if it were featured in a Jean Luc Goddard movie.  

20 Main St. 

Chatham NY 

*Chelsea Hotel No. 2, Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

STORY: Nasturtium

photo: Mary A. Nelen
There was something about the tendril....

Nasturtium is a story written for a jewelry catalogue called "Signs of Life" published yearly in Seattle. I was given a photo of a necklace and told to write something about it without mentioning jewelry so I came up with a tale of a flower, a marriage and a crow.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

RECIPE: Fallout Shelter Cornbread

Fallout Shelter Cornbread photo by Mary Nelen

RECIPE: Fallout shelter cornbread.

After many months and really years I’ve finally found the perfect recipe 

for cornbread. Got it from the Pioneer Woman. Not sure who she is but 
witha name like that, she has gotta know how to make cornbread the way
like it; in a skillet. The reason I’ve been laboring so is because
cornbread is a perfect vehicle for Pioneer Valley ingredients.

If you’re reading this I don’t have to tell you that heritage corn,
(non-GMO) corn is grown in Hadley. Its also milled in the Valley
and sold as flour. Yes, that’s right, heritage grain grown in the
loamy soil of Hadley where the soil gets a good soak in a crook of
the Connecticut River. Combining this corn, grown in the Valley, 

dried in the Valley and milled in the Valley with area yogurt, the most 
local of eggs, Cabot butter from Vermont and flour from folks named
L’Etoile at Four Start Farm in Northfield represents all that is great 

about eating where you live.

The fact that my first batch of the Pioneer Woman recipe shaped itself
into the symbol for a fallout shelter may not be purely coincidence. 

The taste of this crispy edged bread in a skillet is the best thing you can 
eat in times of peace or emergency. if Hillary doesn’t get better (as of
this writing, she has phenomena) a fallout shelter might be in our future. 
Stock up.

Here is Pioneer Woman’s recipe for cornbread. Note the inclusion of
baking soda with the wet ingredients rather than the dry. I modified
this this recipe substituting 1/2 C of yogurt for 1 C buttermilk. In
addition, I substituted butter for shortening. Sorry Pioneer Woman!
Larder’s vary depending on what food is local and 

the proclivity of the cook.

RECIPE: Fallout Shelter Cornbread 


1 C cornmeal (NextBarnOver, Hadley MA)

1/2 C flour (Four Star Farms, Northfield MA)

Pinch salt

1T baking powder

1 C milk (Your favorite local brand)

1/2 C yogurt (Side Hill Farm, Hawley MA)

1 egg (your favorite hen(s)

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 cup butter (Cabot creamery, VT)

2 T butter


Preheat oven to 400

Mix dry ingredients

Mix wet ingredients

Heat butter 1/4 C butter in skillet on top of stove

When cooled, add 1/4 C butter to wet ingredients

Mix wet and dry ingredients together

Heat 2 T butter in skillet on top of stove until bubbling

Add batter and leave on burner for one minute

Place skillet in oven

Bake for 25 minutes

Remove when golden brown on sides and firm in center. Enjoy and eat
soon. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Wonder Not! Bread Festival Parade

Poster Design by Emma Kholmann

The annual Wonder Not! Bread Festival

Sunday, September 18 
11am to 5pm
Hungry Ghost Bread
62 State St in Northampton

Parade at Noon! Musical guests include Beth Fairservis & The Pachamama Puppets will lead Parade along with the Expandable Brass Band! Volunteers needed & wanted to be inside puppets, to pass out bread samples & wheat seeds, to stroll along & saunter en masse down Center, Main & State Streets!

The annual Wonder Not! Bread Festival, includes vendors, music, puppet parade, and, of course, the most local bread possible, right out of the oven! 
Food vendors will include: Chase Hill Farm Cheese, Red Fire Farm, New City Brewery, Beaumont Berries, Behrens Boards, Invisible Cities Apiary, Northampton Olive Oil, Full Moon Ghee & others....

Thursday, September 8, 2016


Plate of the Union Truck Tour, Today 



September 8, 2016 
at 2 pm  
Stonyfield in Londonderry NH

Gary Hirshberg
Chariman, Stonfield Farm
Food Policy Acton Board Member
Evan Mallett
Chef of lack Trumpet Restaurant
Portsmouth NH

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Photo: m a nelen



Monday, August 29, 2016

RECIPE: Tomatillo Huevos Rancheros

tomatillo in morning photo: mary nelen
What to do with these babies once they're harvested? A friend made me this dish one morning with a tortilla, can't remember if it was corn or flour, refried beans, the egg, avocado slices and cheese. This version is a variation on that theme using a local corn taco and some very bright and very fresh tomatillo salsa. Here is breakfast...

RECIPE: Tomatillo Huevos Rancheros
Serves two


Package of Corn tortilla (try to pick up some from Mi Terra sold at various places where you can buy local food in the Pioneer Valley)

Tomatillo Salsa Recipe

Cheese, whatever you have but home made fresh ricotta is great foil for the bright taste of the salsa

Cooking oil, any kind

Fry pan and lid


Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in frying pan. When it is smoking, add one tortilla and flip with fork when it is crisped. Heat the other side and within a minute crack an egg over it. Add several tablespoons of salsa round the egg but not in the yoke. Top with approximately 1/4 cup of cheese and put a lid on the pan. Remove from heat when egg is at desired consistency.

roasting to a crisp! tomatillo and peppers 

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ricotta Cheese How-To

How to make this Ricotta cheese :
New England Cheese Making Supply

Note: Ricotta uses no rennet in its production. Ignore the recipes that call for this. 
Ricotta from Whole Milk
  1. Use whole milk .. The fresher the better
  2. Make a Citric Acid solution.. Add 2 tsp of citric acid per gallon of milk used and dissolve this  in 1 cup cool water. Add 1/2 of this Citric Acid solution to the milk (save the rest of the citric acid). Stir briskly for 5-10 seconds.
  3. Add 1 tsp salt per gallon of milk
  4. Heat the milk slowly on low to med stirring well to prevent scorching
  5. At 165-170F watch for small flakes forming in the milk and the separation into small flaky curds.
    If after a few minutes you do not see the flakes forming, add more of the Citric acid until they form (do this in small 1 Tbsp increments to avoid over acid milk). At this point, when you see the curds, A slower stirring is essential to avoid breaking up the small  bits of curd that have formed. Excess stirring will cause smaller and very granular curds to form. I tend to just roll the milk slowly with a bottom to top stirring motion. 
  6. Continue heating to 190-195F then turn the heat off. The thermal mass of the whey will hold at this temp for quite some time. The higher temp is used here because of the additional proteins found in whole milk vs whey.
  7. As the curds rise, use a perforated ladle to gently move them from the sides to the center of the pot. These clumps of curd will begin to consolidate floating on top of the liquid.
    Let the curds rest for 10-15 min.
    *** This is very important because this is the point where the final Ricotta quality is assured
  8. Ladle the curds gently into draining forms (No cheese cloth should be needed if you were patient in the previous step). Let the curds drain for 15 min up to several hours.
    For a fresh light ricotta, drain it for a short while (until the free whey drainage slows) and chill to below 50F. For a rich, dense and buttery texture allow it to drain for an extended period of time (several hours). before chilling overnight
    Move to a refrigerator or cold room. Consume within 10 days