Elspeth Hay | CAI

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.

Ralph Alswang

Selective breeding is not a new thing in the food world; humans have been selecting for desirable traits in plants and animals for thousands of years. But it is getting more sophisticated. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a Wellfleet oysterman who's growing oysters with three sets of chromosomes instead of the normal two. 

You can read more about "triploid" oysters on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore, and ask questions in the comments section below.

Graham Burnett / grahamburnett.net/

I’m standing on the edge of about an eighth acre covered in wood chips and newly planted trees and shrubs at Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary. It doesn’t look like much now, but Sanctuary Director Ian Ives and volunteer Cara Wilking say the idea is to highlight native and edible plants in an interactive exhibit.

Lee Ann Norgeot

This week Elspeth Hay learns about a simple backyard project that can help increase garden yields and attract native species of bees. 

Elspeth Hay

This time I want to tap into some local knowledge on a big and often daunting subject. How do you pair wines with different courses for a holiday feast? It can be intimidating, but what we drink is often integral to showcasing the meals we’ve worked so carefully to source and prepare. The other day I sat down with wine enthusiast Michael Rose of Wellfleet to get some tips.

Elspeth Hay

My mom’s friend Genie says the best gifts are “comestibles,” things that can be devoured and quickly disappear. She’s right.

CAPE COD COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN'S ALLIANCE

Fish is important for good health, but it can be expensive. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with the fishermen and organizers behind a program called Fish for Families that's working to get high quality local seafood to Cape Cod families in need. 

Elspeth Hay

I’m standing in front of 18 mason jars, an impeccably clean kitchen counter, and about 16 pounds of fresh Bluefin tuna. Why? Well, a few years ago, Ken Mason and his wife took a trip to Portugal.

Elspeth Hay

Amaranth was a key crop for the ancient Aztecs, but fell out of favor after European explorers arrived because of its association with pagan worship. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay learns about a modern day crop of amaranth growing at the home of Truro farmer and educator Stephanie Rein.

Elspeth Hay

Roughly every five years, the house and the senate work together to pass a new farm bill. The most recent farm bill expired on September 30th, but Congress still hasn’t negotiated a new version. Francie Randolph of the Truro Farmers Market and the non-profit Sustainable Cape says which bill passes could have big implications for Cape Cod consumers and farmers. That’s because roughly 75 cents of every dollar in the farm bill goes to SNAP and other nutrition incentive programs.

Elspeth Hay

On the Local Food Report we’re still thinking a lot about why we make this show every week. It turns out a big part of it is love—a love of food and tradition. Today Elspeth Hay and Ali Berlow talk about putting up the harvest, and how their passions for this work have nurtured all kinds of different relationships and ways for honoring the bounty.

Sky Freyss-Cole

My husband’s grandmother kept a big garden for years—roughly 15 by 30 feet, and always filled with beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peas. She passed away a few years ago and the land is still in the family, but over the past few seasons it’s been neglected, and now it’s overgrown.

Helen Miranda Wilson

Kefir is the Russian word for a sour-tasting drink made with cow's milk. It's often confused with yogurt. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a woman in Wellfleet making her own kefir and learns how the beverage is different from other fermented dairy products.

Elspeth Hay

Peter Burgess is as interested in the history of farming as he is in the practice itself. His farm in Truro is called Sixpence Farm, after a silver coin he found in the soil that dates back to 1689. Burgess focuses almost entirely on fruits and vegetables that would have been found here over a hundred years ago. On the day I visited, he told me about the apple varieties he planted, and why he chose them.

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

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.”

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. 

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