ReLocavore: Redefining "local"

Back to Wisconsin, my cheesehead friends


Old City Falls, Strafford, VT

1-Old Town Falls

I rate waterfalls based on three different factors: 1) the effort needed to get to the falls, 2) the reward once you get to the falls, and 3) the fun you can have at the falls. All three factors contribute to the memorability of the falls. For some falls, I expended a lot of effort, and got a huge reward and had a lot of fun. I call that a win. Other falls didn’t take any effort at all, but were also not rewarding nor fun. I still call that a win.

There are also two paths to get to a falls, you either climb up to them (an “A” shaped hike) or you climb down to them (A “V” shaped hike). I’ll use this system to evaluate each of the falls in turn.

Effort: A moderate “V” shaped hike into a ravine. The ravine was deep enough that it was almost wholly in the shade, even at 11am when we arrived.

Reward: OK. The falls were lovely and there weren’t too many people around.

Fun: Good! There was plenty of rock scrambling, shallow wading, and flat rocks to sit upon.

Pidi and Daisy’s Assessment: Lots of fun smells and shallow water. People were nice and kids weren’t afraid of us. The rocks weren’t too slippery. Daisy went runnoft and had an adventure.


Waterfalls of Vermont Road Trip

Following the MHCDS Residential, Pidi, Daisy and I took a road trip to explore waterfalls of Vermont. I needed some much-needed rest and time away from technology and work. I think my dogs had forgotten who I was, and I had dark circles under my eyes.

Why waterfalls? I saw a listicle.

Pidi Daisy Addi Waterfall

We saw 9 waterfalls over 3 days. I will profile each waterfall for the next few days. However, today, I wanted to share a few thoughts about the overall trip.

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 8.03.32 PM

First, water is as powerful as stone. The whole theme of a waterfall is the slow erosion of rocks by water. At any point, the rocks seem hard and the water more soft. But both are patient, and over long timelines, beautiful things can happen.

When walking in the woods, the sound of the waterfall is distinct from all other noises in nature. The sound changes as you get closer to the source, and as it echoes through the trees and off rocks. For most of the hiking we did, the sound of the waterfalls was a lure down the path, drawing us closer to our destination.

Dogs love nature and water. Pidi and Daisy were happier than I have seen them in a long time. I think I was also happier than I have been in a long time. Nature. The antidote to overwork.


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Eggs at the Norwich Farmer’s Market

Bowl of EggsAt the Norwich Farmer’s Market there are a handful of stands that sell eggs, along with other produce and meats. I talked to all of the egg vendors on May 31 and here’s the info they gave me about their eggs. This year, the average market price is $4.50. Compared to last year, the Norwich farmer’s market has more egg producers (3 in 2013, 7 in 2014) and the average price per dozen increased from $4.17 in 2013 to $4.50 in 2014. I’m going to visit the groceries the area to get a sense of the price per dozen for conventional and high-end eggs.

Farm Price per
Laying Hens Free Range Feed
Highfields Farm $5 100 Yes Pasture
Organic Grain
Ephraim Mountain Farm $4 200 Yes Organic Grain
Thymeless Herbs $4 100 Yes Scraps from the COOP
Minimal Grain
Hogwash Farm $5 Yes Organic Grain
Rabbit Patch Farm $2.25 sm
$3.50 large
$4 jumbo
200 yes Pull pellet
Fat Rooster Farm $4.50 30-50 Yes Mixed grains
Luna Bleu Farm $5 120 Yes Organic Grain

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This week in Veg: the last delivery of the Summer CSA.

This is the last week of vegetables from Cedar Circle. In the fall, Cedar Circle transitions to a pick up CSA model, where we would have to drive up to their farm every other week to pick up our vegetables. We decided the extra driving lessons so worth it, so we signed up with a different CSA for the fall/winter share.

I’m surprised to see we continue to get corn from the farm. There’s also a tiny little head of butter crisp lettuce, which I love to make into Thai style lettuce wraps.



What can I do with 4 cups of tomato liquid?

I need some ideas, quick, about what to do with 4 cups of tomato liquid. It’s not tomato purée, it’s the liquid that I got after straining the jelly and the seeds from middle of a bunch of tomatoes. It’s much thinner than tomato purée, and doesn’t have any fiber in it. What should I do with this?



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.


Foraging Fail- These are not the currants you are looking for…

Mink Brook

Mink Brook

Pidi and I took in the beautiful Summer weather by hiking into Hanover along Mink Brook Trail to have coffee at Umplebys. It takes us about an hour to walk there and the walk is very pleasant along the bubbling Mink Brook.


Berries of an unknown origin

On the way out of town, I noticed some berries and stopped on our way back home to pick what I thought were red currants. If we were in Wisconsin, they likely would be currants, but, TotoPidi, I’m afraid we’re not in Kansas anymore. I took a taste of a few berries and they had the sourness of currants, but also a little bit of bitterness. I picked about two cups into Pidi’s hiking water dish and finished the walk home.

The Foraginging Goddess (God?) must have been smiling on me, because I walked past a bush of ripe blackberries too! I was able to pick a big cup of blackberries, or blackcaps. Beautifully black and sweet. I strode home with a big F of my chest for Forager!

Getting home, the niggling doubt started to eek away at my confidence. Believing myself to be a saavy forager, I turned to the Interwebs for guidance… what were these little berries I had picked? They came from a short (6′) shrub with almond-shaped leaves. The berries grew in pairs along the base of the leaves. They were abundant and ripe in mid-June in New Hampshire.

Winterberries. They were stupid winterberries. Completely inedible due to theobromines, chemicals related to caffeine, found concentrated in the seeds. I had picked compost fodder. Bah. And they were making my stomach upset.

But, unwilling to admit defeat, I did turn the blackberries into some damn good Blackberry Financiers. They’re “rich.” Get it? Look for a recipe tomorrow.

ReLocavore at the Dane County Farmer’s Market

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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.