The Local Food Report | WCAI

The Local Food Report


It’s seed ordering time again. While the cold blows in under the doors and through cracks in the windows, the catalogs pour in through the mail. And it’s time to start thinking about this year’s gardens. What are we going to plant? Well, together with his wife, Peter Staaterman runs Longnook Meadows Farm in Truro, and he has an idea.

Alison Shaw

Cathy Walthers of West Tisbury is a kale fanatic. Before publishing her cookbook Kale, Glorious Kale in 2014, while testing recipes, she ate the green for 140 days straight. Kale is one of the only local greens available for most of the year, and it’s also wonderfully versatile.

Boris Smokrovic /

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.    

Elspeth Hay

Elspeth Hay's great-grandfather kept his eggnog recipe in the safety deposit box - it's that good. This week on The Local Food Report, Elspeth reveals its secrets, and how it got the sexton drunk.

Max Paschall

Staple crops are the basis of our everyday diets, the foods we eat all year round that it’s hard to imagine doing without—things like flour and sugar. Max Paschall, an arborist in Pennsylvania, thinks these staple crops could come from shrubs and trees. 

Max Paschall

A few years ago, a Philadelphia arborist named Max Paschall read an article about a man named John Hershey. Hershey ran a tree nursery and experimental farm in Pennsylvania in the 1930s. The article mentioned a food forest Hershey had planted, groves of carefully selected trees that were apparently still standing in a suburb of Philadelphia called Downingtown.

Elspeth Hay

One January, I gave a talk to the Village Garden Club of Dennis. In the midst of a snowstorm, we talked about landscaping with edible plants. I asked if anyone knew of any unusual food plants growing on the Cape, and at the end of the talk a woman named Susan sought me out. “There is a persimmon tree near my house,” she said.

Elspeth Hay

Until recently, I didn’t know that acorns are edible. It turns out that while the nuts require some processing to leach out bitter tannins and turn them into either grits or flour, once you’ve got ground acorns, there are all kinds of foods you can make with them. 

Elspeth Hay

I’m standing in a barn in Stoughton, Massachusetts, just south of Boston I’m at a workshop with the New England Acorn Cooperative. Five women are gathered around a machine called the Davebilt Nutcracker, where three young boys are churning out cracked acorns. 

Elspeth Hay

Some livestock unequivocally fare better on certain diets. Cows, for instance, do best on grass. But when it comes to pigs, local farmers are faced with a classic omnivore's dilemma. Pigs can and will eat just about anything. In this week's Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with four local pig farmers about what they feed their pigs, and why. 

Ali Berlow

Inside this refurbished barn it’s like a Vermeer painting. It’s home to the only organic commercial cranberry bog on the Vineyard and two women are bundled up in the low cold sunlight coming in through a window. I visited back in November where the women sitting at a desk were doing their handiwork.

Dave Scandurra

Dave Scandurra and Marina Matos are landscapers. But they’re not interested in planting your average Cape Cod garden of hydrangeas and beach grass. Instead, they work with people who want to fill their yards with food. Right now Dave’s excited about something called mioga ginger.

New Forest Farm

Mark Shepard sits outside Nauset High School, where a new food and research garden abuts the sports fields. There’s a soccer game going on and Mark has just given a community talk in the garden. He thinks the way we grow food is crazy. 

He points to a recently tilled patch of bare dirt.   

Sarah Reynolds

Barbara Austin is a Wellfleet legend. With hands like quicksilver, she’s won the Annual Wellfleet OysterFest Shuck-Off multiple times since it began in 2001. The Festival, held each October the Saturday and Sunday after Columbus day weekend, brings tens of thousands of shellfish lovers to town to eat, drink, and watch as local shuckers compete for the title. According to Austin, she developed her knack for opening oysters over 20 years ago.