The Local Food Report


with Elspeth Hay and Ali Berlow

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.

Ali Berlow lives on Martha's Vineyard and is the author of "The Food Activist Handbook; Big & Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Fresh, Healthy Food for Your Community." Foreword by Alice Randall, Storey Publishing. You can reach her at her website,

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.

Andrew Cummings

Every year around this time, seed catalogs start pouring in to local mailboxes. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth talks with Wellfleet gardener Andrew Cummings about what varieties he's ordering for the 2014 growing season. 

You can read more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore. And you can click on these links to read her past guides to seed ordering:

Elspeth Hay

They are hairy on the outside. Blood spills out when you open them. On The Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay investigates the often off-putting blood clam. And she discovers them - once you get past the blood and the visceral appearance - hearty and delicious.

Find out more about blood clams, and see Elspeth's recipe, on her blog, Diary of a Locavore

Elspeth Hay

Sourcing local food can be a lot of work for school cafeteria directors, and they already have a tough job. A new statewide program aims to make the process easier: it's called Harvest of the Month, and it's run by the Massachusetts Farm to School Project. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Wellfleet Elementary Cafeteria Manager Tonya Felix about how the program has helped her put local food on the menu. 

Most schools across the country have contracts to get their meals from corporate food service providers. These providers are big, often multi-national companies that provide meals to schools, hospitals, and prisons.

They buy huge amounts of food from big, industrial farms at very low prices, making lunch inexpensive for the schools and profitable for the companies. Some schools have exclusive contracts, meaning they can only buy their food from the companies, and others have looser arrangements. Either way, school food budgets are based on these sorts of deals, which means there's very little money available for lunch.

Elspeth Hay

Twenty years ago, Drew Locke was a student at Truro Central School. Now all grown up, he runs a poultry farm that feeds the current students a chicken lunch every Thursday. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Truro Central cafeteria manager Warren Falkenburg about the school's new Farm to School initiative. He tells her about the challenges and rewards of getting local food on the table. You can read more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Many local farmers have a greenhouse to help extend the growing season. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a young Brewster farmer who got a grant from the state to build a mobile greenhouse. The structure itself is 25 feet long by 12 feet wide, but it can slide back and forth over two fields 12 feet wide by 50 field long. Lucas Dinwiddie of Halcyon farm will use this system to cover different crops at different times of the year.

Elspeth Hay

Two Skidmore College students started the Wellfleet Sea Salt Company with a simple proposition: let the sun do most of the work. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay explores the process and offers a delicious custard recipe for enjoying the results. How barebones is the salt-making operation? Seawater is evaporated within floating greenhouses, and the resulting crystals are crushed with a wine bottle. 

UPDATE: This report aired last January 2013.

Elspeth Hay

There are said to be roughly 600 cultivated varieties of garlic worldwide. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a Truro farmer who's sought out and planted some of the most unusual varieties of garlic on his quarter acre farm. This fall Peter Burgess put 6,000 cloves in the ground. As winter wears on, his excitement grows, and he muses on the satisfaction of knowing he has something growing to carry him through from fall until spring.

Elspeth Hay

These days, we don't often interact with the animals we eat. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with three local people about raising, slaughtering, and butchering pigs. She weaves their voices together to bring the animals from life to death and finally to the table.

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. 

You can read more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Most modern commercial turkeys have white feathers. This makes for a cleaner looking carcass—after plucking, any pin feathers that are left are light colored, and therefore harder to see. But this week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a local farmer who's raising an older hybrid breed that has the broad breast of a modern turkey but the coloring of a wild turkey. She talks with Stan Ingram of Coonamessett Farm in Falmouth about the turkeys' lifestyle and diet, and how this can influence both the nutrients in the meat, and how you should cook it. 

Elspeth Hay

If you've ever shopped for local beef, you've probably heard the terms "grass-fed," or "grass finished." Many people will tell you 100-percent grass-fed beef is better for you than conventional grain-finished beef, but the specifics can be confusing. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a nutritional consultant from Orleans and a butcher from Chatham about some of the differences between grain- and grass-fed cattle.

Audio of this week's Local Food Report is posted above.

An Old Breed of Cattle Makes Good Local Eating

Nov 7, 2013
Seawind Meadows

Highland cattle are originally from the rugged mountains of northern Scotland. Archaeological evidence dates the breed back to the 6th century, and the animals first came to the United States in the 1800s. This week on the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with a family from Dennis who tend a herd of 20-25 Highland cattle for beef. 

You can find a recipe for grilled grass-fed steaks on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore, and see pictures of the Seawind Meadows Highland cattle. 

Elspeth Hay

It's only a matter of time before the first frost arrives. But in many local gardens, there are still plenty of green tomatoes on the vine. This week on Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with local cooks and gardeners about how to make the most of this late season harvest.

You can find links and recipes for the green tomato recipes mentioned in this piece on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore

Elspeth Hay

The past two episodes of the Local Food Report have focused on growing apples—what varieties do well around here and how to care for an orchard. This week, Elspeth moves into the kitchen to learn about making apple butter with Mattapoisett cookbook author Karen Covey. Her new book is called The Coastal Table, and is filled with recipes made with foods from the SouthCoast.