The Local Food Report | WCAI

The Local Food Report

Elspeth Hay

Sarah Reynolds North is marking time with bread. She starts each night around 10pm.

It’s a late night feeding of special sourdough. Her kids are asleep and she’s alone in the kitchen. It's just one little step before bed for her daily bread.

Wikimedia commons

Until a few generations ago in most cultures, food stores got low this time of year. Newfoundlanders still refer to the long and hungry month of March; further south the Cherokee word for February is kagali, or the Hungry Moon. To see us through, Barnstable gardener Dave Scandurra recommends Jerusalem artichokes. He first told me about the roots this fall.

Migratory Beekeeping

Mar 12, 2020
Peter Nelson

Twenty-five hundred miles away in California right now, a million acres of almond trees are blooming. And migratory honeybee keepers from all over the country—including those from eastern Massachusetts—are there with their hives, paid to show up and pollinate. When documentary film producer Peter Nelson first learned this, he was fascinated.

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

There’s a flu going around. Hacking coughs, sore throats, noses running faster than the cheeks they crown. In our house we’re fighting it every way we can: with summer-dried teas of foraged blackberry leaves and rosehips steeped with local honey. With ice-cold smoothies made from last year’s frozen peaches and mulberries. And of course, chicken soup.


After the Cold War Cuba was forced to grapple with a series of agricultural crises when their industrial system suddenly lost access to chemical fertilizers, fossil fuels, and pesticides. In 2014, MDAR Commissioner at the time Greg Watson traveled to Cuba to study the takeaways from this country’s reluctant experiment.

Elspeth Hay

It’s that time of year again. Seed catalogs are pouring in through the mail, and home gardeners are plotting and planning for the growing season ahead. It’s fun, but it can also be overwhelming. This year, rather than muddle my way through alone, I decided to talk with someone a bit more experienced. I met master gardener Celeste Makely in her home greenhouse, and she told me what seeds she’s planting this year.

Elspeth Hay

Brent Hemeon has five acres in Harwich. And everywhere you look, there are apple trees.

He has around 175 of them. He started his garden in 1990, but then it got big. "Too big,” he says.

Elspeth Hay

People don’t typically think about eating nuts that grow in our local woods. Before Europeans arrived, the forests of Cape Cod were more diverse. Stands of nut-bearing hickories, walnuts, beeches, chestnuts, and hazelnuts—all rich food sources—were much more common. Mashpee Wampanoag food activist Danielle Hill says that her people still use and remember these foods.


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.