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.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


    Every day is Earth Day.....
for the erstwhile Pedal People who use human labor instead of fossil fuels to transport items from point A to point B. Weighing in at 180 pounds and 6’6", 31-year-old Will Berney hauls 350 lbs of trash through the streets of Northampton with his bike. He took a moment to speak with ValleyLocavore after his shift.

V. Do you own a car?
W. Yes, a ’96 Honda Accord. It’s the first car I ever owned. I bought it from a woman in Northampton.  

V. What is the strangest thing you have hauled?
W. I hauled a queen mattress and boxspring – the widest thing I’ve ever hauled although usually furniture is a lot lighter than garbage so that’s good although its more challenging to get it on to the trailer.

V. What does a job like that cost?  
W. From Leeds to the dump about $50.

V. Do you have to work out to stay in the shape for this job of hauling sometimes 100 lbs for hours at a time or does the work naturally keep you in shape?
W. Lots of time somebody starts the job it might take them a few months or weeks to get into better shape and be able to take on more work. I do some exercises, like core strengthening stuff or yoga people do, to maintain the body.  The work isn’t just the biking but its also lifting heavy things. Doing core strength work has helped. It makes my body work better. When I started, I didn’t do any of that. I was 22 then. I was pretty cavalier about lot so aspects. I didn’t have winter clothing or a good bike. After a while all those little things make a difference and make it more sustainable.
V. So sometimes I see a pedal person grinding up the rise on Route 9 just before Cooley Dickenson Hospital hardly moving at all. I am impressed and guilty that’s I’m watching that person from my car but then I wonder, ‘are they going to make it?’ 
W. Oh yeah, we always make it.

V. Services include?
W. Trash, recycling, compost pick up and delivery to dump plus other deliveries such as food for Valley Green Feast. Also we do yard work.

V. Which dumps?
W. Valley Recycling on Rt. 10 and Northampton Transfer Center on Locust St.

V. How long have you been with the co-op known as Pedal People?
W. Since 2006 then hiatus then back so a total of between four and five years.  I did a year with Pedal People then went to college in Washington State.

V. Is this a fulltime job for you?
W. For me it is. Other people have other jobs but not me. I do about 20-25 hours a week. I’m on the high end of the spectrum here. 

V. And a typical workday for you?
W. I live in Northampton on Bates Street near the Coke factory. The bike and trailer are at my home. There is no central location at work. On the days when I am picking up, I have a list of customers. I pick up at each location, usually four and then continue on to the transfer station on Locust St and drop everything off. I usually pick up around 20 customers on a work day, which would be 2 or 3 trips to the transfer center.

V. Does traffic make way for you?
W. They totally make way and we get cheers for the most part. Hardly ever jeers.

V. Advice for regular people trying to ride a bike in traffic?
W. Take as much room as you need in the lane.

V. What is it like working for a co-op?
W. We share administrative duties as well as hauling. This interview for example is an administrative duty.

V. So you’re being paid for this?
W. Well, yes.

V.  How long does that take?
W. About four hours.

V. So if part of what the Pedal People do is yard work, then folks with gardens can hire you when they go on vacation?
W. Yeah. We could handle that no problem.

V. What kind of individual does it take to be a Pedal Person?
W. You have to be excited to do the physical work. As long as you’re able bodied and have the desire. It’s hard but not as insanely impossible seeming. It keeps you in shape.

For more information about Pedal People’s hauling services (which are approx. $34 per month for weekly pick-ups for Northampton residents) including yard work, check out the website at

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Dear LocavoreLady

I’m neither locavore (gave up cooking for making restaurant reservations 18 years ago when I married Allan) nor a gourmet dedicated chef de cuisine. But I have a friend who is an “Uber” locavore and I would like to cook for her and her spouse. What do I prepare?

Penny, New Haven

Dear Pennies from Heaven:

So sorry you’re not cooking right now but I've got good news in the form of pennies from heaven. Fresh food requires very little preparation! 

New Haven is tricky for local food in winter but spring time should provide you with some goodies. Be on the lookout for at nearby farms, co-ops or specialty stores for breakfast radish, arugula and Bok Choy. All three items are cold weather plants and can be found early in the season. Other local foods such as cheese, mushrooms and meats can be found all year round. I did some research on your neighborhood and discovered the Farmers Market will be open at Wooster Square at the corner of DePalma Court and Chapel Street and across from Wooster Square Park opens on May 2. As for local chicken, you might try Firefly Farms of N. Stonington CT. They raise several types of free-range birds and sell them through a website called Connecticut Farm Fresh (

If you’re having your locavore friend over in May, one option could be sandwiches made with shaved radish, local butter and sea salt. Try that with a local sourdough bread sliced thin. This is a wonderful, time-honored combination. Another option is roast chicken. If you can locate a fresh chicken that is local, buy it, slather it with olive oil, pop it into the oven at 450 for half an hour to crisp the skin and reduce to 375 or cook for 20 to 30 minutes per lb. until you get an internal temperature reading (inside of thigh) of 165 F.  Serve with a rice dish that might contain some chopped arugula, butter and chopped nuts. Cook the rice first, according to directions, and add the arugula and nuts in the final few minutes before taking off the heat.

Hope this helps. Your "uber" locavore friend and her spouse will be most impressed with this presentation. Happy eating!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Not at all Clueless in Colrain

Dear LocavoreLady

Hello! There is nothing to eat this time of year! I’m 16 and I'm interested in eating local. My mom says there’s nothing at the store that’s local because its not summer. Right? Or?

Clueless in Colrain

Hello young Locavore! Your mom might have a point if she’s shopping at normal grocery stores like, hello the Big Y or Big E or Stop and Shop. Other stores will sell you the food that is local AND in season all year long such as chicken, hello, local, mushrooms, right? local, cheese, local, yogurt, local AND actual greens, even now in the April when the ground is, let’s face it, barren.

Take sprouts for example. Sprouts are live food, so alive they get delivered to the store five days after they are planted. Sprouts can be bought year round. Sprouts can go in salads. Sprouts will make your body smile. Not far your home town of Colrain is the town of Gill where Gill Greenery is sprouting seeds for us all year long. Just the other day I picked up a package of Gill Greenery Broccoli sprouts at, Altas Farm Store in S. Deerfield. You can also find these fab sprouts at Atkins and all the food co-ops. The sprouts are grown hydroponically in local, purified well water, available 365 days a year. What? You say sprouts aren't really greens? Don't these babies look green to you?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Dear LocavoreLady

Dear LocavoreLady,

Why local? Why not food from afar? I feel like I am going to spend more time and gas driving all over the place picking up food from farms and farm stores to get the stuff. Most local food isn’t sold at normal stores.

Signed, Normal Guy.

Dear Normal Guy,

Reason #A, local food tastes better because it grows here where we have some of the best soil in the state due to the geological make up of this region. Say the word “loam” to yourself and keep saying it. “Loam” means perfect soil. Perfect soil is an ideal combination of clay, silt and sand. Drive along Route 47 if you ever want to see loam in action. That’s where the river takes a turn and the soil is very, very rich in nutrients and loam. That soil makes for the tastiest food. 

Reason #2, local business needs your support. Just the words ‘box stores’ say it all. Who wants to eat stuff in a box? You want to eat food that is planted, cared for and harvested by loving hands that produce food without chemicals that could endanger life. Not only should the people with those loving hands be supported, they should be thanked. There isn’t a lot of profit margin in the farming business.  

Reason #C, most food travels an average of 2500 miles to get from the source to your plate. Why go all that way when most of that food is growing right here? Save fossil fuels and buy locally. Even better, ride your bike if you're up for it. But maybe not on the day when you have to buy lots and lots.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Tech to Table in the Berkshires

Tech to Table 
The scene inside Mezze Bistro + Bar in Williamstown, Massachusetts at 9:45 p.m. is a lively one. Inside the high-ceilinged room where everybody seems to know one another, a woman with an air of Kim Gordon cool offers wine to a couple camped out in a corner banquette......continue at Take Magazine.

Nancy Thomas and Bo Peabody, who pioneered farm-to-table dining in the Berkshires nearly 20 years ago, at a Mezze Restaurant Group dinner at the James Beard House March 9. Photo by Clay Williams.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

The purpose of winter.....

Henry David 
"The winter was not given to us for no purpose. We must thaw its cold with our genialness. We are asked to find out and appropriate all the nutrients it yields. If it is a cold and hard season, its fruit, no doubt, is the more concentrated and nutty."
Bashista Farm, Southampton MA

Monday, March 2, 2015

After the tasting.....

A snowy afternoon interview with sommelier Nancy Clarke of MKRT after tasting 15 or so great red and white Italian wines...

Are you a wine snob or are you a sommelier?

I'm a sommelier because I love exploring the different wines, foods and cultures of the world.

Nancy Clarke, Sommelier, MRKT Restaurant 

VL: Where did you learn to drink wine?
Nancy: My dad always grew up drinking Napa Valley Cabs and so he's definitely the first person to introduce me to high quality wine!

VL: Where did you get your training?
Nancy:  I trained under Master Sommelier Alpana Singh in Chicago, which was my first introduction to the world of wine. After that, I worked with sommelier Richard Reich at Brix Wine Bar in Sunset Beach. I also studied at Boston University's Elizabeth Bishop School of Wine under the tutelage of William Nesto and Sandy Block, who are both Masters of Wine through the Institute of Masters of Wine.

VL: in Bricks and Morter?
Nancy: A measure, the sugar content of an aqueous solution.


VL: Of course....what’s new in South Deerfield home of MRKT?
Nancy: South Deerfield is in the heart of so many great farms and beautiful scenery. We are so lucky to be able to work with talented farmers and people who truly care about creating great food and preserving the natural world for generations to come.

VL: Will all these bottles go to waste? 
Nancy: (no answer)

VL: How do you pair wine with local food?
Nancy: I like to think of pairing wine with food just like adding ingredients in cooking. If you have a salty, fatty dish what would you add to cut the fattiness? A squeeze of lemon juice? If you treat wine like just another ingredient, you can merge the wine seamlessly with the food. At MRKT, we use so many beautiful, delicate local ingredients that it's important to use the wine as a highlighter to really bring out the quality of the local produce.

VL: What is your favorite thing on the menu?
Nancy: Our menu changes seasonally but right now it's definitely the Crispy Pork Belly. It's like the best breakfast ever!

VL: What’s the most you ever paid for a bottle of wine?
Nancy: Hmm... Honestly? I really don't pay that much for wine. 

VL: Me neither.
Nancy: I'm much more focused on trying to find a high-quality bottle at an everyday price! Now, the most expensive bottle that I've ever tasted? Probably, the 1992 Screaming Eagle, Cabernet Sauvignon.

VL: What’s the best glass of wine you ever drunk? I mean drank?
Nancy: Ah, the best glass of wine I've ever drank was a glass of 2001 Fattoria de Terrazze "Visions of J" Rosso Conero. I had it with my dad when he came to visit me in Chicago when I first moved there.