Elspeth Hay

An avid locavore, Elspeth lives in Wellfleet and writes a blog about food. Elspeth is constantly exploring the Cape, Islands, and South Coast and all our farmer's markets to find out what's good, what's growing and what to do with it. Her Local Food Report airs Thursdays at 8:30 on Morning Edition and 5:45pm on All Things Considered, as well as Saturday mornings at 9:30.

Elspeth Hay

Shrub is a colonial soda made with fresh fruit, vinegar, and sugar. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a Wellfleet cook using local beach plums to make this old-fashioned soda.

Elspeth Hay

For decades, small vegetable farms on the Outer Cape have been struggling. Real estate prices are sky high, making it difficult to keep small farms economically viable. But over the past ten years, the local food movement has created new demand. And now that Massachusetts has legalized cannabis, some small farmers want to use this cash crop to help their vegetable farms thrive, and even expand.   

Elspeth Hay

You've probably heard of chervil, lemon basil, and lemon verbena. But have you ever cooked with them? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with several local growers about these unusual summer herbs—what the plants are like, and what to do with them in the kitchen. 

Elspeth Hay

The day I find the blueberries is hot. My computer malfunctions, protesting the heat, maybe, just in time for a looming deadline. I’ve brought my girls up the road to their grandparents, and I’m supposed to be working. I start repairs: a backup, new software, and finally, an operating system update. 3 hours to complete, the screen tells me.

Photo by Elspeth Hay

Fermenting Ginger Beer can eat up the sugar and leave behind that dry unmistakable tang of ginger. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay heads to Truro to talk with the founders of Farmer Willie's Craft Ginger Beer, Nico Enriquez and Willie Fenichel, about why they got into making fermented beer and how the process works. 

Elspeth Hay

Have you ever noticed how some blueberries are light blue and others are dark navy? How some are tart and some are sweet? Some tiny and some huge? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with the owner of a pick-your-own blueberry farm in Dennis about what varieties he grows and why. 

Photo by Elspeth Hay

  

Strawberry season, in my family, is a religious thing. We pick strawberries in late June every year, all together, no matter what. 

Elspeth Hay

In the heart of downtown Hyannis, Hy West Elementary School faces a unique set of socioeconomic challenges. Compared to student population averages at school districts and statewide, Hyannis West has a disproportionate number of low-income students: 57 percent of the school’s student body is considered economically disadvantaged, almost double the average statewide. But in addition to that, School Garden Coordinator Sue LaVallee says there’s a wide array of other challenges.

Elspeth Hay

Rachel Hutchinson of Brewster has a deep respect for local clams.

“The Northern Quahog, or our hardshell clam, is a very important species all over Cape Cod," Hutchinson says. "It’s been here since Indian times, so it’s kind of one of our level species, something shell fishermen have always had to harvest. Where there have been booms and busts in other species, the quahog has always been a dominant species for our wild harvesters, as well as for our aquaculture industry.”

Elspeth Hay

A small crowd of people at the Plimoth Grist Mill recite excitedly in unison, “One, two three: Water on!” One of the millers and a group of visitors are starting the water wheel at the same site where the Pilgrims built the first American grist mill in 1636. The replica mill, operated by Plimouth Plantation, works not only as an exhibit but also as a modern-day production facility. Kim Van Wormer and Matt Tavares are the millers. 

Ali Berlow

On the Local Food Report we’ve been thinking a lot about the why: why we make this show every week. Since we started in 2008 we’ve learned a lot about our local harvest, activism, and traditions. But we wanted to remind listeners why we’re interested in covering local food in the first place. So we asked co-hosts Elspeth Hay and Ali Berlow to give us their motivations.

K.C. Myers

If you live on the Cape, you’ve maybe heard of the Ballston Beach overwash. It’s the spot on the ocean side in Truro where the Perfect Storm broke through in 1991. One relatively low sand dune is the only thing here between the ocean and the Pamet River, which cuts through Truro east to west from Cape Cod bay. George Mooney’s family farm is a quarter mile inland from the ocean beach.

Elspeth Hay

I grew up in Maine and up there, this time of year we eat fiddleheads. Fiddleheads are the tightly coiled tips of spring ferns—specifically, ostrich ferns—and they taste kind of like asparagus once they’re cooked. Until last week, I didn’t think you could find them locally.

Boris Smokrovic / unsplash.com

John Portnoy of Wellfleet raises his own bees. He has one Russian colony headed by a Russian queen that he purchased. His other hives are headed by queens that are survivors, so he bred from his best queens every year in the hopes that his bees will get better and more locally adapted. 

Elspeth Hay

Around 2006, beekeepers and scientists started talking about something called colony collapse disorder. CCD at that time was a new phenomenon; suddenly whole hives of worker bees started disappearing, leaving behind a queen, plenty of food, and a few nurse bees. Ever since, scientists have been trying to figure out why.    

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