Friday, May 17, 2019

Spring Recipe: KuKu for Greens


     1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
·       2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
·       6 eggs
·       1 ½ teaspoons coarse sea salt
·       1 teaspoon ground black pepper
·       1 teaspoon baking powder
·       ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
·       ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
·       ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
·       ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
·       ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
·       ½ teaspoon ground rose petal (optional)
·       1 cup finely chopped parsley
·       1 cup finely chopped cilantro
·       1 cup finely chopped fresh dill
·       ½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts
·       ½ cup finely chopped romaine lettuce
·       ½ cup finely chopped spring onions, white and green parts
·       2 garlic cloves, grated on a Microplane or minced
·       1 tablespoon rice flour
·       1 C asparagus spears (blanched)
·       1 teaspoon maple syrup
·        Lavash or your own home made bread/crackers, for serving (optional)
·        Yogurt, for serving  
1.  Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook until lightly golden all over, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer onions to a medium bowl and cool to room temperature; reserve skillet.
2.  Heat oven to 400 degrees and line a 9-x-12-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
3.  In a large bowl, lightly whisk to combine eggs, salt, pepper, baking powder, all of the spices and the rose petal, if using. Add caramelized onions, all of the herbs, walnuts, lettuce, spring onion, garlic and rice flour. Fold to combine;.
4.  Brush prepared baking dish with 1/4 cup oil. (It may look like a lot, but it gets absorbed into the batter.) Add batter, smoothing out the top and pushing it to the sides. Bake until center is set, about 20 minutes, and transfer to a cooling rack.
5.  Meanwhile, place the skillet used to cook the onion over medium heat. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil, maple syrup and 2 tablespoons water. Simmer, stirring, until liquid is reduced and fragrant, about 4 minutes.
6.  Top cooked kuku with asparagus spears and cut into 6 equal pieces. Serve hot or room temperature, with lavash and yogurt, if desired.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

FISHING IN WINTER: A directory of mongers


 by mary a. nelen

As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans. –Ernest Hemmingway

Its lunch time and you’re near the beach. If you’re lucky. Let’s go with the beach even though most of us are landlocked. You go to the cafĂ© and order up some oysters with a glass of cold beer or wine. And it is like Hemmingway says, you become happy and make plans.

But can you do this in your sorry land locked state? Hell yes. How? Flirting, faking it and becoming one with a fish monger. It could be a fish monger at the Price Chopper or the Stop & Shop or the Big Y or Guidos. Fish mongers are accessible, not as accessible as an oyster on the half shell not far from the beach but still. Tell them your story. Tell them you want wild caught from the Atlantic (if you’re on this coast) tell them you want the lesser known fish, not the salmon/swordfish/shrimp fish that sits at the popular table in the lunch room.

Here is a directory of fish mongers in Columbia, Berkshire, Litchfield and Dutchess County courtesy of my story in RURAL INTELLIGENCE...

What you want is dog fish, grouper, and mackerel, mackerel especially. Why? Mackerel, Boston and Spanish, is suddenly fashionable in certain places. It’s at the bottom of the trophic cascade so its a healthy, oily fish full of nutrients. Mackerel is so much in the supply chain it might become Snackeral if we’re lucky but for now content yourself with a fish monger near you. 

He or she will respond to customer interest. Try it yourself. Saunter into the market, ask for the fish monger at the fish counter, if it’s a part time worker hosing down mussels, ask her when the fish monger comes in. If she doesn’t know at least find out when they make fish deliveries in the store. Usually its twice a week. Then, go on the day after the fish is scheduled to arrive, Friday, for example. When you’re there ask the monger or whomever is behind the counter, which is the freshest fish in the case. 

Fish is wonderful in winter when its most flavorful after foraging all summer. Make friends with a monger. As for ice fishing, that's another story. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Rain in Hadley: Farmers find buckets of financial relief

photo: Rhubarbi St. Germaine
September 27, 2018

In Hadley, rainfall was 75% higher than average in July and August. 

CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) announced today that their revolving Emergency Farm Fund has been reopened to aid Pioneer Valley farms that have been affected by extreme weather events during the 2018 growing season, including the excessive rainfall in July and August.

"Many growers have seen reduced yields and crop losses this year due to the unusually wet and rainy summer, which can put them into a difficult cash situation," says Philip Korman, CISA's Executive Director. "We hope these loans will offer farmers options for bridging financial gaps, investing in infrastructure that builds resilience, or preparing for the next growing season."

The CISA Emergency Farm Fund is offering no-interest loans up to $10,000, and the application period will be open until October 31, 2018. Application information can be found at

This disaster-recovery fund has filled a longstanding financing gap for local farms. "The CISA Emergency Farm Fund is an important supplement to the public safety net provided by state and federal government programs," says Korman. "The Fund's small, no-interest, quick turnaround loans are able to provide assistance right away to help tide the farms over. "

The CISA Emergency Farm Fund was launched in 2011 in partnership with Whole Foods Market and Equity Trust in response to the damage suffered by farms in western Massachusetts due to Hurricane Irene. CISA has reopened the fund three times since its creation, and distributed a total of $221,000 in loans to 24 farms. 

The Fund is managed by CISA with the assistance of Equity Trust. The Loan Review Committee includes people with a variety of agricultural backgrounds, including farmers, CISA staff and board members, and representatives from Whole Foods Market, Equity Trust, and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources.  

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

2019 Farmer Grant Applications for Funded Projects Due November 27, 2018

Photo: Rhubarbi St. Germaine

Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Program is now accepting applications for 2019 Farmer Grants.

Proposals are due online by Tuesday, November 27, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. E.T. Funded projects will be announced in late February 2019, and projects may begin in the spring. Application materials, including detailed instructions and supporting documents, are posted on the Northeast SARE website at Questions about the grant program should be directed to

Northeast SARE, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute of Food and Agriculture, offers competitive grants and sustainable agriculture education. Its Farmer Grants are intended for farm business owners and managers who would like to research new sustainable production practices, marketing strategies, or other projects aimed at improving farm profitability, environmental stewardship, and farmer/community quality of life. Reviewers look for innovation, potential for improved sustainability, and results that will be useful to other farmers. 

Farmer Grant projects must be conducted in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia or Washington, D.C. Awards are capped at $15,000 and projects may address the wide range of issues that affect farming in the Northeast. To search topics that SARE has previously funded, please access the national database of projects at

Applicants must work with a technical advisor—typically a Cooperative Extension educator, Natural Resources Conservation Service staff, nonprofit organization employee, private crop consultant, veterinarian or other service provider—who provides support and advice to the farmer applicant.
To answer questions that applicants and technical advisors may have about the program, Northeast SARE will host a Farmer Grant webinar on Oct. 10 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. Carol Delaney, grant program coordinator, will provide information on program eligibility, how to apply, types of projects SARE funds, allowable expenses and more. The webinar is free. 

To register, visit To request a disability-related accommodation to participate, contact Debra Heleba at (802) 651-8335, ext. 552, by Oct. 3.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Kitchen Garden Chilifest Seeks Competitiors!

Registration for the Hot Sauce Competition on Sunday, September 16 is now open! Up to 20 hot sauces will compete! 

This year, Kitchen Garden Farm of Sunderland MA will stage its two-day heat and taste explosion at Mike's Maze. Expect live music, local beer and spicy food at a New England's most experiential cornfield. This year's motif for Mike's Maze at 23 South Main St. farm in Sunderland is Blackbeard the Pirate. Enjoy this 3-d, site specific, land art work depicting marine lore in corn. The food will be brilliant. More info here. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

"Cabbage!" the Wedge Salad

Beach Road Bar in Vineyard Haven / Boat House on Chappy

“Cabbage!” the Wedge Salad is headlining at a little boite on the bay here. At Beach Road in Vineyard Haven a sweet little island cabbage is turning the standard wedge salad on its head.

Sliced and seared on the grill to a crispy finish, the cabbage wedge replaces old watery iceberg lettuce and then gets Asian with it. Dashi, a buttery miso sauce of bonito and dried kelp stands in for blue cheese dressing and this cabbage head from a good family farm is finished with pickled mushrooms.   

Try making Cabbage!” the Wedge Salad at home. Pick up a  local head of cabbage in a patch near you. If you miss the bacon bits and blue cheese dressing, the crispy wedge of cabbage can take it. 

Cabbage can be grown in spring, summer and fall. Winter farm shares offer it wrapped in news paper until February for cold storage distribution. Cabbage is planted in fall is wintered over for spring eating. 

For those who plan to grow their own cabbage this fall, Rodale's Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening warns against too much fertilizer. 

"When over-wintering cabbage, if growth is too lush, it may not survive frost." 

My warning has to do with slicing the cabbage. Keep the wedges in "Cabbage! the Wedge Salad," together for searing and serving with a bit of core by cutting the head of cabbage in half from top to core. Then divide into two or three wedges depending on the size of the cabbage.