ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends

Leave a comment

Glorious Gammon 2: The Porkventory

The hang weight for the hog was around 236lbs, and we know our half was 118 lbs (hang weight).

This year we split the hog with 2 other families, so this is my inventory for one quarter of a hog:

  • 5 lbs ground pork,
  • 6.5lb rib end roast
  • 9.6lb ham, butt end (not the shank end)
  • 4.3lb pork butt roast
  • 5.6 lb loin roast
  • 1 shank, uncured, 1.4 lbs
  • 5 lbs bacon

I would take pictures, but you would only see frozen hunks of meat wrapped in plastic with a label. Nothing to see here (yet).


This Week in Veg: I confess… I don’t love cauliflower


I don’t hate cauliflower, but if don’t love it either. It seems to always be the leftovers from the crudités platter, or the bad cheese and cream soup, or mushy and over-cooked. So, this week it will be a challenge for us to eat an entire head. Our former CSA in Wisconsin didn’t grow cauliflower because it was too much of a hassle, and we didn’t get any in our box last year. So… I can roast it. What else?

Thanks to Sam for taking the pictures. We pickup on Tuesday nights when I am teaching. He’s masterfully taken over the responsibility of photographing and packing away the share in the fridge.

Leave a comment

Welcome back to Relocavore!

Welcome back to Relocavore! After this past Winter hiatus, I’m eager to update y’all on the fun that we’ve had since this past fall.

New URL…

Over the next 48 hours the DNS servers will refresh and typing into your web browser will bring you right to the blog. Also in a few weeks,I’ll be rolling out a weekly email digest. Sign up and you’ll get an email on Saturday morning with a summary of the previous week’s posts. In another bit of outreach, I’ll be posting short synopses to the Upper Valley Locavore mailing list. (

Relocavore goes Hyper-Local

Relocavore House

I always think of the most local eating is the food you grow, forage or hunt yourself. It’s great supporting local ag, but it’s also great to work for your food too. In that vein, the Relocavore family relocated this past December to 1.3 acres in West Lebanon, New Hampshire. There’s a house and garage and plenty of room for garden plots. The hubby and I put in two 6 ‘ x 6 ‘ raised beds, with plans for expansion to 6 beds in the next three years. I’ll talk much more about garden planting in the near future. Those posts will be separately categorized as “gardening” if you want to focus or filter.

Relocavore Guest Bloggers

I’m reaching out to other foodies, locavores, and bloggers to contribute content to Relocavore. You’ll see some guests posts coming out from foreign travelers, home gardeners, cheese makers, and home brewers.

Kanning Klatch

This summer, I will be joined by other members of the Relocavore Kanning Klatch in putting food by for the season. This means more informative canning posts under the heading of CanningU. I’ll introduce the Kanning Klatch members later in the season.

New Videos

I’m focusing more on video production and sharing with the hope of assembling a few cooking videos. If you’re interested in helping with video production reach out and we’ll make it happen. Stay tuned.

This is going to be a great year for local eating. We’re anticipating a robust harvest, warm weather, and lots of new farms, vegetables and adventure!


This Week in Veg… A lot of veg!

Over the past few weeks, my kitchen has exploded with Veg. I thought it would be funny to do an inventory, instead of taking a picture of the CSA…


Top shelf: Grapes. Local eggs.
Middle shelf: Growler of beer from Harpoon. Kale, Bok Choi, 6 ears of sweet corn. 3 red heads of cabbage. 1 green head of cabbage. 1 quart homemade Sauerkraut.
Bottom Shelf: Radishes. 3/4 head of red cabbage. Pesto. 5 lbs carrots. 1 lb green beans. Celery. Cheese.
Left Drawer: Romaine lettuce. 3 cucumbers. 2 zucchini. 10 jalapinos.
Right drawer: 3 heads of lettuce. Arugula. Swiss Chard.


On the Counter:
Peck of local apples. 5 Carmen peppers to be pickled. 4 peaches. 2 sweet potatoes. a seedless watermelon.


Out on the kitchen table:
Cherry tomatoes. Garlic and onions. An avocado. Bosc Pears. Gala apples.

ReLocavore at the Dane County Farmer’s Market

Leave a comment

For your viewing pleasure, I shot and edited some video of the Dane County Farmer’s Market (DCFM) while we were at our vacation in Madison. I wanted to give everybody a sense of what an insanely huge Farmer’s Market goes on every Saturday in Madison.

For size comparison, I’ve taken two Google Map images of the permanent site of the Norwich Farmer’s Market, our regular market here in Vermont, and an image of the DCFM, highlighting in red the streets that are lined with vendors.

Dane County Farmer's Market takes up 8 city blocks around the Capitol Square in Madison.

Dane County Farmer’s Market takes up 8 city blocks around the Capitol Square in Madison.

The Norwich Farmer's Market occupies a permanent space.

The Norwich Farmer’s Market occupies a permanent space.














Leave a comment

Locavore Survival Guide: What is a locavore?

So I need to address the obvious – What is a locavore? The most boilerplate comes from the very first post of this blog – The dictionary definition, “A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.” There’s two problems I have with this definition. First, it frames locavore as a “diet” and second, the definition leaves “local” to be defined elsewhere. Please excuse me as I pick at nits.

I don’t like diets – in the modern use of the word as a set of guidelines on choosing food, not in the Anthropological meaning of the word as anything that people eat. Diets come as arbitrary sets of rules or guidelines that ossify eating practices and attempt to define the world into “good” and “bad” foods. Lard? Bad. Broccoli? Good. Locally-raised pig lard? Bad (unless you’re a locavore, then it’s good). Conventionally farmed broccoli from Argentina available in New Hampshire in February? Good (unless you’re a locavore, then it’s bad…) I really do NOT want anyone to think there is some list of goods and bads making up the Locavore diet and that you may only eat things on the good list and nothing off the bad list. Diet also emphasizes choosing foods and avoiding foods – a universe of possibility that neglects what you do with the foods you choose or what happens to the foods you avoid. I want locavore to mean more than just choosing foods that are good and avoiding foods that are bad because locavore is more than just the food – it’s about preserving food, cooking food and enjoying food too…

Second, the dictionary leaves out what “local” means. The dictionary defines “local” as “belonging or relating to a particular area or neighborhood, typically exclusively so.” Local as geography. So each locavore is a pin on a map with a circle around it. I don’t much like that either. We can use other definitions of “local” to broaden our understanding of food. I think of food using a network definition. Imagine a network of food producers, packagers, distributors and consumers. Each person or organization is a node and is linked by the transactions between nodes. We all eat within this type of network-I buy a can of tomatoes sold at the coop, shipped by a grocery wholesaler, packages by a plant, picked by a person, grown by a farmer. Alternatively I go to my pantry and get a jar of home-canned tomatoes that I bought at a farm stand that were picked by the farmer. Local, to me, means both geography AND relationship networks. How can we act to minimize both distance and connections?

So, I’m being pedantic, but I want to explore these ideas more fully in this blog… This is why I started in the first place. To gain a better understanding of how and why I eat locally.

So back to my original question: What is a locavore? The dictionary says, “A person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.” Let’s modify this…

A locavore is person who acquires, preserves, cooks and eats food in order to minimize the distance between the food production and consumption.

What do you think?


Locavore Survival Guide: Storing Greens in the Fridge

This is the first post of a new series – the Locavore Survival Guide. I hope to provide some advice for novice locavores who are trying out the Farmer’s market, maybe purchasing a CSA (Community sponsored agriculture), or just choosing from the “locally grown” section of the supermarket. After 10 years of eating locally, I hope to have learned a thing or two, and I can share some of my experiences making this same transition. Look for Locavore Survival Guide posts on Tuesday mornings…

Storing Greens in the Fridge

In the early Spring,  my winter stores are low, my kuhlschrank is empty and turned off, and I have more empty canning jars than full. Spring vegetables don’t take well to preserving – they’re leafy and tender. So, in the Spring we scramble to eat all of the veg before it goes mushy.

Some examples of Spring vegetables that we ate in Wisconsin and hope to eat in New Hampshire include: Spinach, radishes, lettuce, asparagus, cooking greens (frisee, endive), Chinese vegetables (bok choi, tatsoi), tiny beets, and sweet salad turnips. Most of these are leaves, a few stems and swollen roots, and no fruits yet…

Most of these leafy greens will wilt and dry out if just put in the refrigerator. Compared to store-bought greens, locally-bought greens will stay crisp and moist much longer in the fridge. The local veg that I get in our CSA is often only 1 or 2 days out of the ground, while some veg in the grocery store may have been picked weeks before. For locally picked veg, by my accounts, you have about 2 days in the fridge with unprotected greens before they’re wilted and inedible. However, if you put a little effort up front, these vegetables will stay very crisp and moist in the fridge, without getting soggy and mildewy. You can plan to pick up your CSA on Friday and still have crisp veg to cook with on the following Thursday. It’s all about moisture control.

First, all leafy greens need to be in a bag to keep in the moisture, but if there’s too much moisture, then the greens with get soggy. To absorb extra moisture, I wrap greens in paper towels, then put them in the bag, and twist the bag shut. This gives an environment where the moisture will stay constant, and any extra will be absorbed by the towels. Store the bagged veg in the bottom of the fridge, in a “crisper” drawer, if you’ve got room. However, bagged like this, the greens should stay crispy for 5 days, longer if they’re really recently picked.

Lay the veg out on a clean, dry paper towel. If the greens are visibly dirty, spray off the dirt, but don't leave too much water clinging to the veg.

Lay the veg out on a clean, dry paper towel. If the greens are visibly dirty, rinse away the dirt, but don’t leave too much water clinging to the veg.

Just like a tiny infant, bring all of the leaves together and tightly wrap in the paper towel.

Bring all of the leaves together and tightly wrap in the paper towel.

Put the paper towel-wrapped veg into a plastic bag. Twist the top closed.

Put the paper towel-wrapped veg into a plastic bag. Twist the top closed.

1 Comment

Stuffed Chard

A few years ago, I tried to make sushi using chard leaves instead of nori. It was a complete failure, but what emerged was this recipe for stuffed chard.

Stuffed Chard

This recipe makes 8 chard rolls  (4 servings) stuffed with creamy rice.

  • 8 large (about a foot long) pieces of Swiss chard with stems and leaves
  • 8 slices of ham
  • 8 slices of provolone cheese
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • 4 tender aromatics (ramps, green onions or green garlic)
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine

Cook the rice – You’ll have to look elsewhere for directions because I use my rice cooker.

Prepare the vegetables. Wash the chard well and dry in the salad spinner. Lay each piece on the cutting board and make a V shaped cut to remove the stem (See picture). Dice the stems. Set the leaves aside. Similarly, wash and dry the aromatics, and dice the leaves and stems.

Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small skillet or saucepot over medium heat. Sauteé the chard stems and aromatics until soft.

Off the heat, add rice to the sauteed greens, along with an additional 2 tbsp butter and cream. Mix well using a folding motion (to not break the rice grains) until the rice absorbs the additional fat and moisture. The rice should stick together, not be separate grains. (Think sushi rice, rather than Uncle Ben’s.) Add pepper and salt. Don’t skimp on the salt or else the rice will taste boring.

Assemble the Stuffed Chard:

If your chard is very fresh and crisp, like in the picture above, microwave each leaf for 5 to 10 seconds to soften it and make it easier to roll.

Lay the chard leaf on your work surface and close the hole from the stem by crossing over the two “lobes” that were on either side of the stem.  Lay a slice of provolone centered on the leaf. Lay a slice of ham centered on the chard leaf. Using an ice cream scoop, #6 disher or 1/2 cup measure, mound 1/2 cup of rice on the center of the provolone. Starting with the chard, gently roll the chard, ham and provolone around the rice. Add to a 9×9″ glass baking dish with the seam side down. If the roll is wider than about 5″, tuck the ends into the rice.

Repeat these rolls, arranging them 2 across in 4 rows in the glass baking dish. Add 1/2 cup white wine to the baking dish. You can add 2 tbsp melted butter if you’re not watching calories. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 8 minutes on high, then for 8 minutes on 50% power.

Optional: If you really like cheese, take the dish out of the microwave, top with cheese and broil it (6″ from the broiler) for 5 minutes until the cheese is melted and browning.

Serve two rolls per serving, topping with liquid from the bottom of the dish as a sauce.