The Local Food Report

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.

Elspeth Hay

Marmelada, if you've never had it, is nothing like marmalade. It is made of quince, not oranges, and although it is a kind of fruit preserve, it is much more firm than the citrus stuff. It's so hard that the Portuguese eat it in slices, alongside a piece of banana maybe or plain or with a hunk of cheese.

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. 

Elspeth Hay

I grew up in farm country, in Maine. Like most of us, I associate food with farms—big cultivated fields, animals grazing in pasture, aquaculture racks in the sea. But recently I’ve been thinking a lot more about wild foods. What would the world look like if more wild places filled our bellies?

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.


A butter clam is just a juvenile surf clam.

Surf clams are the big, wide clams Cape Cod cooks chop up and use for chowder or clam strips. In Asia people use the tongues for sushi, and lots of beachcombers collect the shells to use as soap dishes or ashtrays. But those are full-grown surf clams and they all come from a wild fishery. 

Elspeth Hay

Many farmers think of parsnips as an underappreciated vegetable—they're sweet, tasty, and they store well. But this week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay learns that growing them isn't as easy as it seems—and that other wild relatives may pose a risk as well.

A Community Composts

Aug 29, 2019
Ali Berlow

I’ve got a composter’s heart though the truth is, I’ve been really bad at it. But I finally got my shot at redemption because now nearly all my kitchen scraps go to the Martha’s Vineyard Food Waste Initiative. From coffee filters and spent grounds, to egg shells, dried bits of cheese, pork bones and fish racks - even the small sum of bacon fat from breakfast.

Michael Holt’s rosehip obsession started with an apricot mousse. When he had it for the first time it quickly became one of his favorite desserts.


There they sit, on the bottom of the sea floor, minding their own sea snail business. They hardly have a care in the world or any predators (besides fishermen) to bother them. That is, unless they get caught up with lobster in a trap. The channeled whelks in these waters make up one of the most important fisheries around here. Who knew?

creative commons

You’ve probably heard of a huckleberry. But have you ever eaten one? The small, black relatives of the blueberry grow all over the Cape and Islands, and Neil Gadway has been picking them his whole life.