The Local Food Report | WCAI

The Local Food Report

    

with Elspeth Hay

The world of food is changing, fast. As we re-imagine our relationships to what we eat, Local Food Report creator Elspeth Hay takes us to the heart of the local food movement to talk with growers, harvesters, processors, cooks, policy makers and visionaries. Through these conversations she aims to rebuild our cultural store of culinary knowledge—and to reconnect us with the people, places, and ideas that feed us.

The Local Food Report can be heard every Thursday morning at 8:45am and afternoon at 5:45pm, and Saturday morning at 9:35.

An avid locavore, Elspeth Hay lives in Wellfleet and writes a blog about food, Diary of a Locavore. Elspeth is constantly exploring the Cape, Islands, and South Coast and all our farmer's markets to find out what's good, what's growing and what to do with it. You can find more of her work at her website, elspethhay.com

The Local Food Report is produced by Jay Allison and Viki Merrick of Atlantic Public Media.

The Local Food Report is made possible by the support of the Local Food Chain.

Elspeth Hay

Twelve years ago, Charlie Amsler planted two tiny fig trees in his front yard in Wellfleet. Today, they're huge, thriving plants that produce loads of fruit each September. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Charlie about the history of the trees, how figs grow, and what they need to thrive in our unique Cape climate. 

You can find a recipe for fig and arugula salad with prosciutto and gorgonzola on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Most people think of sweet potatoes as a southern crop, and artichokes as something from the Mediterranean. But both plants can thrive on Cape Cod. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay visits the Barnstable County Fairgrounds demonstration garden to learn about growing these two unusual crops.

Cover photo courtesy Paul Greenberg

The United States controls more ocean than any country on earth. And yet more than 85 percent of the seafood we eat is imported. On top of that, we're exporting more than 3 billion pounds of seafood a year. Why? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with bestselling author Paul Greenberg about his new book, American Catch. It looks at why Americans have stopped eating from local waters, and why it's important to re-localize our seafood industries and protect the ones we still have.

Elspeth Hay

Elinor Arsenault grew up baking in the small town of Royalton, Massachusetts, where a good portion of the population was Finnish. This week on the Local Food Report, Elinor shares her Finnish-inspired recipe for a traditional raspberry shortbread made with raspberry jam from her own Orleans-grown berries.

Elspeth Hay

Green beans are one of the quintessential foods of summer. But they're not as similar as they seem. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with growers at the Orleans Farmers' Market about what bean varieties they grow, why they like these beans, and how they cook them. You can read more about the bean varieties mentioned in the piece and find a recipe for Salad Nicoise on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Have you ever noticed how some blueberries are light blue and others are dark navy? How some are tart and some are sweet? Some tiny and some huge? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with the owner of a pick-your-own blueberry farm in Dennis about what varieties he grows and why. You can learn more about both wild and domesticated blueberry varieties and find a recipe for blueberry buckle on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Blueberry season is in full swing on the Cape. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay visits a local pick-your-own farm in Dennis, and talks with pickers from ages 1 to 96 and from all over the east coast about what they're planning to do with all their berries.

You can find links to the recipes people are making on her blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

You've probably heard of chervil, lemon basil, and lemon verbena. But have you ever cooked with them? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with several local growers about these unusual summer herbs—what the plants are like, and what to do with them in the kitchen. 

Below are links to several recipes mentioned in the show:

Pan-Fried Bluefish and Potatoes with a Chervil & Cabbage Slaw

Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance

    

Locals used to call skate a trash fish. But in Asia and Europe, it's considered a delicacy. And as Elspeth Hay reports this week on The Local Food Report, these days, it's what many local fishermen are catching. As groundfish landings decline, skate is an increasingly important piece in the puzzle that makes up the local fishery. But can consumers learn to appreciate this under-utilized fish?

Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance

Locals used to call skate a trash fish. But in Asia and Europe, it's considered a delicacy. And as 

Elspeth Hay reports this week on The Local Food Report, these days, it's what many local fishermen are catching. As groundfish landings decline, skate is an increasingly important piece in the puzzle that makes up the local fishery. But can consumers learn to appreciate this under-utilized fish?

Elspeth Hay

If you've been to a local farmers' market recently, you've probably seen a garlic scape. They're long, thin curly green stalks with a pointed bud on the end, and they smell just like regular garlic. But what are they exactly? And what do you do with them? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with local growers and farmers' market shoppers about this unusual form of garlic and how to cook with it. 

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. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth talks with growers from all over our area about what strawberry varieties they're growing and why.

Elspeth Hay

Black sea bass are a small, delicate fish in the grouper family. In 2000 the species were declared over-fished, but today the mid-Atlantic stock is considered rebuilt. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a couple in Chatham who uses a traditional fishing method called weir fishing to catch black sea bass. 

Elspeth Hay

As of 2011, Nantucket County had the highest median home prices in the nation. Land is at a premium—which makes starting a farm on the island extremely expensive. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth talks with a Nantucket non-profit working to make it easier to grow food on the island. Their latest project is the development of a community farm, where beginning growers can start a business without having to purchase land for very little overhead cost.

Elspeth Hay

Now is the time to get your tomato seedlings in the ground. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Bartlett's Farm vegetable production manager Andrew Spollett, who grows over 15 acres of tomatoes for the farm. They discuss  his favorite varieties and how to take good care of tomato plants once they're in the ground.

For a complete list of the varieties mentioned in the piece, you can visit Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Many schools are looking to school gardens as a way to teach kids how to grow their own food. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay visits the Waldorf School of Cape Cod in Cotuit, where a newly erected hoop house enables students to grow food for their lunch program year round.

You can read an essay by gardening teacher Kim Allsup on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore, where she also links to several other area schools with hoop houses.

Barnstable Public Library Loans Seeds to Gardeners

May 15, 2014
Elspeth Hay

There's a new card catalog at the Sturgis Public Library in Barnstable. But instead of books, it lends seeds! Gardeners in turn grow the plants, save their seed, and bring some back to the library at the end of the season. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay learns how the program works, and how to save bean seeds from start to finish. You can learn more about some of the varieties the program offers on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

  Ken Greene is the founder of the country's first seed library in a public library. Recently he came to Martha's Vineyard to help the community get a local seed library up and running. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Ken about how a seed library works and what some of the community challenges and benefits are to getting one going.

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. You can find a complete list of the recipes mentioned in this piece on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Most of us like sweet. But what about bitter? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with herb farmer Donna Eaton from Dennis about a bitter family of herbs that have a long history of use as both food and medicine. The genus Artemisia includes tarragon, mugwort, southernwood, and over 180 other herbs known for their bitter flavor and the silvery green color of their leaves, and many grow wild on the Cape.

Elspeth Hay

Most farmers and gardeners are just starting to get seeds in the ground. But Jeff Deck of Dennis uses a different model. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth visits the two greenhouses where he grows year round. She learns what varieties do well over the winter, and how he plants for a continuous harvest. You can find a recipe for a spring butter crunch lettuce salad with fresh carrots  along with a list of opening dates for Cape farmers' markets on her website.

Elspeth Hay

The bean to bar chocolate movement is on the rise. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a young couple in Truro who've opened a chocolate factory. She learns about sourcing beans, how the production process works, and what characteristics make for a top notch chocolate bar.

You can find a recipe for a chocolate bundt cake and see photos from Chequessett Chocolate's factory on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Wellfleet Historical Society

Almost every town in Massachusetts has a Herring River or a Herring Pond. The migration of river herring from sea to coastal streams and ponds once marked an important rite of spring for New Englanders. For centuries, the small, oily fish were valued as both bait and an important food source. But today, taking river herring is illegal in Massachusetts because populations are so low. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay learns about what led one Cape Cod town to dike its Herring River—and how it hopes to bring back both the health of the river, and the fish it was named for.

Elspeth Hay

Most people are familiar with at least shiitake and crimini mushrooms. But there are dozens of other varieties that are both nutritious and incredibly good for you. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Wesley Price and Troy Janusz of Nantucket Mushrooms in Chatham. The farm grows twenty-two varieties of edible and medicinal mushrooms.

You can read more about the varieties the farm is growing on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

What does it take to grow mushrooms inside? This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with mushroom enthusiast and grower Wesley Price of Nantucket Mushrooms, which recently relocated to Chatham. He walks her through the growing process from mycelium to full grown king oysters, pictured here.

You can read more about the growing process on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

 

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