The Local Food Report

Ali Berlow



I’m cooking late after sunset, in the dark, almost - chopping onions that cast tiny shadows on the cutting board. Tonight I’m making soups – cold soups they’ll be ready for the next days.

Elspeth Hay

It’s obvious that lettuce comes in all sorts of different varieties. Most people know the difference between Romaine and Boston Bibb. But strawberries? In grocery stores, they pretty much all seem the same. That’s not true, though, on local farms. I spoke with local growers to get an idea of the differences and what they really like.

David Haddad

David Haddad started a series of pop-up dinners some years ago called The Gathered Table. I went to one and was totally smitten by the variety of local wild foods used as accents or vehicles for infusing flavor. Bayberry for smoking, or using the buds brined for capers, Beach Rose, Beach peas, spruce tips... 


It’s pouring rain at Ryder’s Cove in Chatham, where I’m standing with Don St. Pierre, the town’s herring warden.

He tells me about the herring's journey: They swim up a little stream, go under Rt. 28, and then to Lovers Lake. It’s probably around 1/4 of a mile trek for them.

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.

Ali Berlow

The West Tisbury School’s community lunch is bustling. The gym is full of rows of long tables each set with plates, flatware, real glasses and linens. And music is being played by recording artist Willy Mason, he’s headlining this gig. It is his alma mater after all. 

The Green Season

May 30, 2019
Elspeth Hay

This week Ali and Elspeth talk about spring greens in the wild and in the garden—and how they like to eat them. 

Ali Berlow

Twice a week the Edgartown Council on Aging serves a hot lunch. On Fridays, it’s a full entrée, hot and homemade and anyone can join in. This week on The Local Food Report, Ali Berlow visits with the many people who help make it all come together.

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

Back in the 1980s, the Eastham Historical Society started an oral history project. Interviewers recorded dozens of old timers—people who had been in town since the early 1900s. Some were early summer people, others had been here for generations. In almost every single interview, the people from Eastham mention asparagus. Asparagus was a big industry in town in the 1920s and 1930s. This week’s piece weaves local voices together, to tell the story of what asparagus season during this time was like. 

Elspeth Hay

In many local gardens, rhubarb is the first plant ready to harvest. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth talks with her mother, Liz Pierson, about their favorite family rhubarb recipes. Favorites include spicy rhubarb chutney to serve with Indian food, a rhubarb custard pie similar to lemon meringue, and a sweet, tender rhubarb cake.

Ali Berlow

When I go out foraging I figure the worst things that could happen are mosquitoes, poison ivy, ticks - always ticks, and maybe some surly local wildlife.

Ali Berlow

Islander Louis Larsen has been selling fish since 1985. He started working at and running his parents' fish market, and then went back to fishing. And now, he says, “I decided to quit fishing, and all I knew was fish – so instead of catching it, I sell it.”

Sustainable Nantucket

Nantucket is one of the most expensive zip codes in the country. It’s also highly protected— roughly forty percent of the island’s acreage is in permanent conservation restrictions.

But, according to Dan Southey, a new farmer on the island, “nobody can buy land to farm on Nantucket.”

Elspeth Hay

Watercress was introduced to North America hundreds of years ago by European settlers. This week on theLocal Food Report, Elspeth Hay goes foraging for the edible aquatic green in the Herring River in Wellfleet.

You can find a recipe for watercress salad on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore

This piece first aired in May, 2016.