The end.

Dear Everyone,

The time has come for us to retire this project. Bittersweetly. This is to say thank you for reading, coming out, arguing, sharing, drinking, pickling, and, of course, eating with us.

When we launched this in the summer of 2008, it was absolutely without any expectations. So every time we hosted an event and people turned out, we were  amazed. And every time we posted something that prompted a strong response, we were surprised someone was paying attention. It’s been incredibly instructive and satisfying and fun. We feel like we’ve learned a lot about grassroots organizing, the sway of collective knowledge and how technology can be used to build community IRL. (That’s in real life, LOL.)

Perhaps the biggest and best surprise was meeting a handful of people who became our closest and most wonderful friends. For this we are very, very grateful.

But we each have other areas of interest and other, more focused food projects to pursue. Kristi (says Darry) should be directing her brilliant anger at subverting the economic inequality she sees so keenly, and Darry (says Kristi) should be investing herself in the photography she enjoys and is sometimes good at. Also, we’re getting gay married next summer (!), and the preparations for this are another project entirely.

We are very proud of Boston Localvores. Sometimes we would fret about how we couldn’t say succinctly what exactly it was that we were, but in hindsight we believe that defying definition and convention was probably a good thing.

We plan to leave this site up for a little while longer, in a kind of virtual hibernation, while the information is still current.

Please continue to subvert the corporate industrial food complex by eating real, local food.

Yours,

Kristi + Darry
September 2010


Sad but true: Time to get your winter CSA

squasgWe had squash for the first time in seven months tonight. Delicata stuffed with sausage, apples, peppers and onions. We gorged in our kitchen, which is already turning frigid for lack of humidity and sunlight, going back for seconds and thirds, because that is what you do when it gets cold.

We intend to keep this behavior up until at least April and encourage you to do the same. Several heroic farms are helping make this possible for us good eaters and you may consider this a gentle reminder that there are winter CSAs to be had and that now is the time to snag one.

Some of the info on our Winter CSA page has been updated, but not all. However, we can say with certainty that the two options we’re most familiar with are open again this season: Shared Harvest CSA (with pickups in Lexington and Canton now) and Red Fire Farm’s Deep Winter CSA.

Last year we spent several frozen Saturdays with Gretta Anderson, our friend, local farmer and food activist, distributing the Shared Harvest CSA at Busa’s Farm Stand. It was _a lot_ of food and a fantastic variety of storage veggies and late-season greens. The stuff we hoarded from our share (as well as some bulk veggies we added on to our share) got us through to April. It is, we think, a very good deal. You can also find some folks to carpool with, to make it an even better deal. Shares are available in two- or three-month distributions and Gretta’s coordinating with local producers/growers to offer some treats as additions to the share, like beans, eggs, cider, etc.

We’ll be in Lexington helping her again this fall. And we’re about to sign up for a share with Red Fire too. This is our third year as Red Fire CSA members (and my first distributing shares for the farm in Cambridge) and we’re pretty enamored with the work they’re doing to transform the food system in New England, including the introduction of this Deep Winter share. About a third of the share is root vegetables; a third greens (including delicate stuff grown in their greenhouse); and a third local products, like grains, pickles and cheese. They’re making egg shares available too, for an extra fee. Pick up is in Somerville again at Metro Pedal Power, but they’re also looking to set up distributions at other locations, too.

Regular CSA members get to claim shares first, but they’ll be opening any extra slots up at the end of the month.

We haven’t checked in with Enterprise Farm yet, but it looks like they’ll be working the East Coast foodshed thing with a year-round CSA again. The oranges that they bring up here from Florida in January or so — they kind of make it possible to keep going. However, I refuse to acknowledge that I am looking forward to them.


A kitchen, for the community.

(Editor’s note: Have you heard about the plans to build a community kitchen in Cambridge? They’re pretty awesome. On Sept. 14 at 7 pm there’s a meeting in Porter Sq to start the discussion on a broader level. We asked JJ Gonson, who helped coordinate the whole thing, to guest blog about it. Hope to see you there! visit www.cambridgecommunitykitchen.org for more details.)

In my culinary wanderings I have seen various solutions to the occasional need for a kitchen that is not a home kitchen.  In rural areas there are places like Grange Halls, where big community gatherings and dinners are held.

In Portland, Oregon, the reason there are so many food carts, is because there is cheap land, but the way they make it happen is that in the city there are multiple commisaries, or public kitchens that the cooks can rent by the hour, to get the food ready to go out on the cart.  Sometimes when caterers start out they share a kitchen, or rent from a restaurant, but there is no kitchen in the area around where I live where I can do that.

And that, pretty much is what I wanted to do.  In many cities and towns around the country there are kitchens, commisaries and public spaces where people can go to make food and share it with other people.  There is even one big building in Boston where developing businesses can go, but there is only one and the waiting list is long.

As I have worked for the past five years (as a personal chef) I’ve looked, seriously, for a kitchen I could use for the occasional really big job, and I know, pretty well what there is.  Or, more to the point, what there isn’t.  The trouble was that I knew that I did not want to own a kitchen, or I would just be a restaurant and stop moving things all the time. When I was approached by a young woman with an idea for a community space, focused on education around food and nutrition I knew that it was a project I wanted to work on.

The project is called Cambridge Community Kitchen, and is, most simply, a mission to build a certified kitchen that can be used by the community and is developed as an educational/community center.  In other words, you could throw a party there, or go there to can a lot of tomatoes and get help doing it, if you wanted it.  Or if you were starting a brownie company you could use it once a week to bake.  Or you could go there to teach a class, or to take one.  Or to hold a conversation about a community food project…

We will have a library, and resources, and we are very excited and quickly realizing that we are not the only people who want these things.  We do not yet have a space, but we have started filing the paperwork we need to get things going, and we are reaching out now to the community–to Cambridge and Somerville, Belmont, Arlington, Watertown, and Boston.

We do not want to own this, we want it to be a place where we can do what we want to do, and do it in a clean, safe environment, together.

The first big meeting to introduce the idea is coming up on Sept 14th. I am really excited about it, and the five of us who have started the ball rolling will be there to talk a little bit about it and, most importantly to encourage your ideas and open up some conversations.  We know that there are a lot of companies looking for kitchen spaces, and we know that there are people who want to take classes.  How do we get from here to there?

If you would like to attend, RSVP to cambridgecommunitykitchen@gmail.com.  Even if you can’t make the meeting, let us know if you want to be kept in the loop about the kitchen as it develops, and tell us if you might want to use it, or get involved later.

Hope to see you on Tuesday!


Stuffed roasted red peppers

peppers

This was a really satisfying, quick and easy lunch.

First we cut the peppers and removed the seeds, and stuck them under the broiler for about two and half minutes on both sides.

Meanwhile, we threw together a stuffing of feta cheese (Narragansett now sells theirs at Harvest Coops), two egg yolks, yogurt, garlic and parsley. We stuffed them, and topped them with just enough grated parmesan (the only non-local item) and threw them back under the broiler until the parmesan browned and bubbled. The whole affair took about ten minutes.


White Oak Farm

We paid a visit to White Oak Farm in Belchertown on Saturday, to pick up grains some Boston people had ordered.  Here are some photos from the day.

(By the way, in the fourth photo down, behind the tractor, is a circular pattern in the dirt. This is a fresh tractor donut, that Arnie, the farmer in these photos, made to please us. It did.)

diptych2

diptych1diptych3diptych4

queen-anne

arnie1


Home-grown black beans

blackbeans1

These are the first of our black beans to dry and be ready for harvest. There will be another one or two harvests of this size to follow. We grew them for fun and out of curiosity in our community garden plot.

Aren’t they freaking adorable??!!!


Cheese, the wrap up.

cheese-tri

Thanks folks for the tremendous turnout at this year’s tasting. By 4:30, there were well over 100 of you hanging out in the Growing Center — a bit more than we anticipated, so our apologies for those of you who came later and missed out on a few.

Here’s this year’s lineup! Please support these talented and generous cheesemakers by visiting these shoppes, the best places to buy local cheese in the area: Sherman Market, Formaggio Kitchen, Central Bottle, Harvest Co-op, Dave’s Fresh Pasta, Dairy Bar@Kick Ass Cupcakes, City Feed and Supply and Don Otto’s Market.

Cheese Tasting 2010
–starring –

Cabot Clothbound -— An approachable but sophisticated cheddar aged in the magical caves at Jasper Hill in Greesnboro, Vt.

Cabot Vintage Choice — An extra sharp cheese made with cow’s milk and aged up to 24 months in the Cabot caves.

Cabot Private Stock — Cabot’s smoothest, most even cheddar. Smooth maybe to a fault.

Crystal Brook Chevre — A mild chevre from a herd of very happy goats in Sterling, Mass.

Crystal Brook Australian Ginger — See above, and add some zing. Yes, that’s ginger from Australia!

Fiore di Nonno Mozzarella — Made fresh daily here in Somerville with cow’s milk from farms in upstate New York and Mass.

Foxboro Cheese Fromage Blanc — A soft, creamy cheese made with pasteurized milk in the shadow of Gillette Stadium, flavored with honey and lemon.

Narrangansett Feta — A tangy, “old world” style feta that’s gently brined in sea salt, made from Rhode Island’s only cheese producer.

Narrangansett Ricotta — A kettle-heated, hand-dipped and absolutely divine ricotta.

Jasper Hill’s Moses Sleeper — A rich, buttery cow’s cheese that’s been likened to a fresh glass of milk.

Shy Brothers Cloumage — A fresh lactic curd made with cow’s milk in Westport, Mass.

Shy Brothers Hannahbells — Tiny hand-made thimbles named for the Shy Brother’s mum, Hannah. (The Shy Bros. are two sets of fraternal twins. Seriously.)

Vermont Shepherd — An aged raw sheep’s cheese made only during pasture season, when the sheep graze on clover, grasses and wild herbs.

– and introducing –

Matt from Sherman Market — A semi-ripened man aging on the other side of the hill in Somerville. Very knowledgeable about cheese. The Sherman Market carries all kinds of regional goodies, and he’ll be sampling some of their cheeses today. Be sure to visit him.


Attention Davis Sq. area yogurt and community-lovers

We got an email that might interest you recently. It’s an interesting idea. If you want to email with Sam, the organizer, drop us a line at info at bostonlocalvores.org and we’ll hook you up with his contact info:

One quart of homemade yogurt per week for only $2!

I am seeking members for a Davis Sq. based yogurt making coop. Members will receive a weekly supply of home-made yogurt with a minimum of cost and effort by sharing the work among the whole group. Additional benefits include reducing waste by using only reusable glass bottles for milk delivery and yogurt production, learning to make yogurt, a shared community around making food and a model for an expanded cooking coop.

The initial yogurt coop will offer twelve shares. Each share will receive one quart of yogurt per week and require four nights of yogurt making per year at a shared kitchen. The cost per share will be approximately $96 or $2 per quart. Note that this only accounts for 48 weeks, due to a variety of limitations such as keeping the math simple and the size of the canning pots.

Please let me know if you are interested and feel free to forward this message.


Cheese, the tasting.

WHAT: 3rd Annual Local Cheese Tasting
WHEN: Sunday, Aug 8 from 3-5ish
WHERE: The Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave, Somerville
COST: Free, but we welcome a small donation to help cover our costs

Three summers ago we were doing some volunteer weeding at the Growing Center when we met Lisa Brukilacchio, a board member and founding organizer of this sweet little garden space in Somerville.

We had just launched this site and were relatively new to the area and somehow it got proposed that it might be fun for us to organize an event with the Growing Center, to amplify what we were doing and meet more like-minded folks. And in a couple of weeks, we were hosting a cheese tasting.

We’d never done this sort of thing before and it was kind of a spectacular turnout for us, who didn’t really know anybody then, and for the nascent local food scene, which had been gaining steam for years, of course, but was certainly gaining momentum by some confluence of food scares, Michael Pollan books and growth in farmers markets.

About 50 people showed up, snacked on cheese and introduced themselves to strangers. We met people that night who have become some of our closest friends and best allies. It was a lovely evening. We’re still grateful to everyone who showed up that year, as well as last year — which was just as lovely — and to the Growing Center for continuing to partner with us and providing such a warm space.

We’re continuing the tradition for the third straight year now. We promise, we’re slightly more organized and we’ve got several new types of cheese to share. We’ve got a special celebrity guest: Matt from the cheese counter at Sherman Market!

Over the course of the week we’ll be finalizing the stars of this year’s tasting, but for certain, you can count on seeing stuff from these generous producers:

-Crystal Brook (Australian ginger goat cheese)
-Foxboro Cheese (lemon honey fromage blanc)
-Narrangansett (feta or ricotta)
-Cabot (cloth bound, private stock and vintage choice cheddars)
-Fiore di Nonno (mozzarella)
-Shy Bros Farm (Hannahbells and cloumage)

also probably stuff from…
-Jasper Hill
-Vermont Shepard

See. You. There.


We went to the Cape and ate fish + bivalves

oysters1

I have two things I’m quite proud of in this life. One is introducing Kristi to oysters, and the other is learning to shuck them. And I suppose that eating them together counts as one of the great pleasures in this world, as well.

We don’t eat a lot of fish or oysters, but we bought a pound of fresh local haddock and two Wellfleet oysters this weekend while we were in Provincetown. Kristi oversaw the preparation of the haddock - bread crumbs from a leftover Iggy’s baguette were combined with Kate’s butter and a whole lotta garlic from our CSA. We covered one side of with the breading, slid the two fillets into a crappy pan at our rental cottage, and cooked them slowly, letting the butter poach the top parts of the fish and drip into all the rest. It was perfect.

I oversaw the shucking. For those of you who’ve never tried, you wedge the point of a short, strong knife into the hinge of the oyster and move it until you feel the hinge pop. Then you glide the knife, ever so gently, between the top and bottom shells, careful not to spill the liquor inside. When you remove the top shell, there’s a bit of the oyster clinging to it, so you have to be careful to cut if off before you separate the two. Lastly, and not everybody does this, I run the knife under the oyster, separating it from the bottom shell, so that it’s easier to tip into your mouth. We ate them with a squeeze of very unlocal lemon, but decided after that even such a simple dressing was unnecessary.

Later, we tried to determine what made oysters so good. The conclusion: it’s impossible to describe.