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.

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.

Molly Glasgow

Jacqueline Foster is the cheesemaker at Grey Barn Farm, an organic dairy in Chilmark. To speak about how she uses variations in moisture and salt to create the farm's three very different cheeses, she brought me to the large sterile kitchen where the cheese is made.

Molly Glasgow

In 2009, Eric Glasgow and his wife retired from city life and bought a defunct dairy farm on Martha’s Vineyard. Ever since, they’ve been learning how to make dairy farming as low waste and low impact as possible.

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.

For a long time, skate has been considered trash fish. But with local groundfish like haddock and cod increasingly off the menu, home cooks and local chefs are turning more and more to this tasty shark relative.