The Local Food Report


with Elspeth Hay

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 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.

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.

Shelley Edmundson

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?

More Than Honey: Beekeeping on the Cape

Jul 23, 2015
Davis Land

If you’ve been to a farmer’s market recently, you’ve probably seen more honey for sale than usual. That’s because beekeepers are harvesting this year’s crop right now.

Elspeth Hay

The original owner of Myrna Cook’s house was a Ukrainian woman. Cook wanted to protect her privacy, so we’ll call her Una. In 1996 Una planted 48 fruit trees, and three years later, she died unexpectedly, young. When Cook purchased the property in 2001, the house had sat empty for two years, and the trees were sick and diseased. Cook didn’t even realize there was an orchard.

David Haddad

David Haddad started a series of pop-up dinners a couple years ago called The Gathered Table. I went to one recently and was totally smitten by the variety of local wild foods used as accents or vehicles for infusing flavor. Bayberry for smoking, or using the buds brined for capers, Beach Rose, Beach peas, spruce tips... 

Elspeth Hay

Helen Miranda Wilson grows five kinds of mint and each one has a story. The first comes from her mother’s close friend Nina Chavchavadze, who moved a piece of the plant from her garden in South Wellfleet to Helen’s family property in 1946.

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. I spoke with local growers to get an idea of the differences and what they really like.

Each spring at the Orleans Farmers Market, David Light has the season’s first fresh shelling peas.

“This variety is called Coral,” he said, pointing them out. “It’s from Fedco in Waterville, Maine, and it’s an heirloom. They’re the early pea, and they’re also very, very tasty. They have a wonderful flavor.”

As the Fedco seed catalog puts it: Coral peas make harvesting before July 4th a cinch, even in colder years.

Elspeth Hay

What washes up on Cape Cod beaches, can change gender, tastes great in spaghetti, and looks like a slipper?

“Crepidula fornicate,”  the late Dave Masch, of Woods Hole, told me.  “The slipper shell, or boat shell. Or some people call them poop-deck shell."

Elspeth Hay

  This time of year at the farmers markets, lettuce is the variety queen. It comes in heads and leaves, reds and greens, crisp hearts and soft butter leaves. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to farmers about growing lettuce, and what varieties they like.

Elspeth Hay

The other day I was shopping for leeks at the Orleans farmers’ market. I noticed that some vendors had leeks with a lot of green on the stems and others had leeks with more white. Peter Fossel runs Swan River Farm in Dennisport and knows a lot about leeks. He’s something of a gardening guru—he wrote the book Organic Farming: Everything You Need to Know, and is the former editor of Country Journal.