The Local Food Report | WCAI

The Local Food Report


with Elspeth Hay and Ali Berlow

The world of food is changing, fast. As we re-imagine our relationships to what we eat, Local Food Report creator Elspeth Hay and co-host Ali Berlow take us to the heart of the local food movement to talk with growers, harvesters, processors, cooks, policy makers and visionaries. Through their conversations they aim 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,

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.

Elspeth Hay

Most cooks have heard of broccoli rabe. But what about other rabe varieties? This week on The Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with growers at the Orleans Farmers' Market about this spring delicacy from the Brassica family. 

Elspeth Hay

  Every year low-income Massachusetts residents receive $1.2 billion to help buy food. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay examines the program called SNAP, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Until recently, the money was given out as food stamps—physical, tangible pieces of paper. But in the late 90s, SNAP went electronic.

Elspeth Hay

Most people think of stinging nettles as an obnoxious—and painful—weed. But this week on the Local Food Report, Falmouth resident Fiamma Straneo takes Elspeth foraging for stinging nettles and remembers nettle recipes from her childhood in Italy. 

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

Elspeth Hay

Under a canopy of tall hardwoods in Truro, there grows a small forest of Cinnamon ferns. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay harvests these edible local greens - a springtime ritual - with forager Charlie Grimm.

Find out more and get Charlie Grimm's recipe for preparing Cinnamon ferns.

Audio posted above.

This episode of the Local Food Report is a rebroadcast of one that originally aired on May 19, 2011.


Temperature is important, and so is humidity, when incubating eggs. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay speaks with Susan Knieriem of Miss Scarlett's Blue Ribbon Farm in Yarmouthport about raising chickens from egg to bird. Susan does it using an old-fashioned incubator—it looks like an old wooden icebox, and it holds about 100 eggs. She collects the fertile ones—which is most of them since she's got roosters—and dates them and lays them on the trays. After 21 days: peep. Peep. PEEP. PEEP! Babies.

Elspeth Hay

Spelt is an ancient grain—a hybrid of regular bread wheat and another wheat variety called farro or emmer. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with Ed Miller of Wellfleet about a slow-rise spelt bread made with locally grown grain. 

Read more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.  

Elspeth Hay

You don't often see cusk in local fish markets. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay learns about this unusual species of groundfish. She delves into where it lives, how it's caught, and why despite a lack of demand, cusk populations are still in decline.

Read more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore. 

Elspeth Hay

It's that time of year: still cold, but avid gardeners are itching to get outside. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay asks Truro farmers Drake Cook and Tessa Gifford what we can do to get started. First on the list? Prepare your soil...

Read more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Elspeth Hay

Farm-to-table restaurants are incredibly popular right now. On The Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay talks with farmers and chefs at the Chatham Bars Inn resort, which recently bought a 7.7 acre farm. Will a large scale farm-to-table model work here, where soil is sandy and land prices are high?

For more information, check out Elspeth's blog, Diary of A Locavore.


In the historical heyday of salt making on Cape Cod, not only table salt was produced.  On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay describes how a byproduct was used for making washing soda for detergents, tanning leather, and dying cloth. What's more, the cold brine leftover could be used to make Epsom salt, or magnesium sulfate.

Find out more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Cape Cod's Long History of Making Salt, Part One

Orleans Historical Society

In 1837 there were 658 saltworks on Cape Cod,  producing 26,000 tons of salt a year.   On The Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay examines the Cape's rich history of salt production. By 1888 the last commercial saltworks was dismantled. But recently salt-making has been making a comeback.

Audio posted above.

 Find out more on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore. 

Seed Ordering Time

Feb 21, 2013
Elspeth Hay

There is a drift of snow two feet deep over the garden. Still, it's seed ordering time. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay rejoices in the certain approach of spring and the prospect of restarting the garden. So what seed do you order? And how much?

For more information, check out Elspeth's blog, Diary of A Locavore.

Roe, Roe Your Scallop

Feb 7, 2013
Elspeth Hay

In Europe, scallop roe is a delicacy. But Americans haven't developed a taste for it—yet. In The Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay examines scallop roe, which is packed with omega-3s—good for everyone, and especially important for mamas and babies.

See a video of How to Open a Scallop and find out more about scallop roe on Elspeth's Blog, Diary of a Locavore.

Audio will be posted soon.

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. 

Audio is posted above. 

Elspeth Hay

The last commercial dairy on Cape Cod closed in 1971. On the Local Food Report, Elspeth Hay visits Circle Back Farm in Yarmouth Port, where Tanya Daigneault and Don Chapin are working to open a micro-dairy. Once certified, they're hoping to supply milk to forty local families - and eventually even cheese and yogurt.

Find out more about milk cows on Cape Cod on Elspeth's blog, Diary of a Locavore.