The Local Food Report

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. 

Elspeth Hay

Two years ago my family started keeping chickens. Since then, we’ve raised birds for eggs and for meat, and we’ve always gotten the baby chicks at our local farm store. But this season I started wondering, what would it take to get a hen to hatch a few fertilized eggs on her own?

Courtesy Greg Watson

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.

Bone Season

Mar 14, 2019
Ali Berlow

I start my braises in the privacy of dark winter mornings. First I brown a piece of bone-in meat – lately it’s been beef – with hot fat in a heavy enamel pot. The braise of the day is shanks with turnips, carrots, plenty of garlic, onions, some parsley, a bay leaf and homemade stock. All day the braise fills my small home with smells that are elemental, earthy, and lush.

Photo by Elspeth Hay

Ali Berlow and Elspeth Hay have been taking stock about why local food is important to them. They've talked about local food through a lens of economics, seasonality and now,  security .  

Josh Leveque and his family grow a lot of the food they eat. They have a huge garden overlooking Little Harbor in Woods Hole and each year they put up gallons and gallons of vegetables. The season starts with lettuce.

Ali Berlow

This is a story about making meatballs and feeding people with something we all probably have a lot of in our backyard -- from an animal that could be grazing outside your window -- in your garden right this minute, and that’s venison.

Elspeth Hay

All beehives are full of activity. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a beekeeper in Wellfleet who's taken the phrase "busy as a bee" to another level—with one of his hives collecting climate data for NASA.

This story is a rebroadcast. It first aired December 7, 2017.

The Versatile Potato

Feb 7, 2019
Ali Berlow

This past fall I bought fifty pounds of German Butterball potatoes. They’re a hearty, dense, and waxy-fleshed heirloom variety. They don’t get flaky or mealy when cooked. They’re like a Yukon Gold only better, I think, because they have a thick skin that is delicious.

Elspeth Hay

Richard Bailey is a pretty serious amateur forager. Every few months, he calls to tell me about a new wild food. Most recently, he took me to see a black walnut tree growing down the street from his house in Wellfleet. The tree is less than a foot in diameter, and fairly young.