Blue Heron Local Cuisine

Cooking, Eating, and Drinking on the North Shore (and beyond)

Drinking Locally November 10, 2008

Filed under: Drinking Locally — blueheronlocal @ 4:21 pm
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(photo from by captjoe06)

(photo from by captjoe06)

Maybe the Eat Local Challenge has given you new resources for eating locally whenever possible. Maybe, like me, you did not participate in the Eat Local Challenge, but were inspired by other people’s hard work to find new ways to eat locally. We’re fortunate to live in Massachusetts, and not just because gay people can get married here.


It’s easy to sneer at the Alice Waters crowd: “Sure, eating locally all year round is a piece of cake when you live in Northern California; but what about March in New England when you haven’t seen a green vegetable in months and are beginning to worry about scurvy?!?” Although we can’t find local avocadoes sold for 10 for a dollar along the roadside, we can at least drink away the winter months in local style! (And gay people can’t get married anymore in California. Don’t get me started.). Last night, inspired by a challenge by No Egrets to find him a local milk stout, I did some research:


Beer is probably one of Massachusetts’ better local products. My favorite is the Berkshire Brewing Company’s line of delicious fresh beers. They are in South Deerfield, Mass., just down the road from Yankee Candles. They have 8 year-round ales ranging from Steel Rail IPA to Drayman’s Porter and 7 seasonal ales, such as Cabin Fever Ale, Raspberry Barley Wine, and Hefeweizen. The Coffeehouse Porter, my favorite beer ever as it combines dark beer with real coffee, is made with Dean’s Beans, a fair trade coffee roaster in Orange, Mass.


There are two breweries on the North Shore: Cape Ann Brewing Company and Mercury Brewing. Cape Ann Brewing Company based in downtown Gloucester. They make four beers: Fisherman’s Brew, Fisherman’s IPA, Fisherman’s Ale, and Fisherman’s Pumpkin Stout. There are a few other beers that are forthcoming or available at the tasting room only. Fisherman’s Brew is a great medium ale and the Pumpkin Stout is subtle and tasty. Their brew pub should be open very soon (check them out at 27 Commercial St.). Also available is Fisherman’s Brew bread at Virgilio’s on Main St.


I drank Mercury Brewing Company’s Ipswich Ale in Cambridge when I first moved to New England and didn’t even know the North Shore existed (sorry, but it’s true!). You can find Ipswich Ale all around the Boston area. Their best product, in my mind, is their winter ale, which is light (but not too light!) and spicy, sure to keep you warm. Mercury Brewing Company also makes an impressive array of sodas in amazing flavors.


No local milk stout yet, but stay tuned for local spirits, and I don’t mean of the Salem variety.



Fried Clam Epicenter of Massachusetts August 27, 2008

Filed under: Farmers market,North Shore — blueheronlocal @ 1:43 pm
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thanks,, for the photo!

thanks,, for the photo!

According to the Boston Globe, Route 133 is the local clam center of goodness. Of the four clam shacks reviewed, only The Clam Box and the all-famous Woodman’s use local clams exclusively. JT Farnham’s and our favorite, Essex Seafood, use local clams for the most part, but will go farther afield if they can’t get local.
Interested in more local seafood adventures? At the Gloucester farmers’ market, you can see, and possibly take gustatory part in, a seafood throwdown, where local chefs are given $25 to spend at the farmers’ market and fifteen minutes to pick out produce and fish. Then they have an hour to cook a meal at the farmers’ market. If you’re lucky, you’ll be one of the people chosen at random to eat blue fish with braised mustard greens, red-skinned potatoes, sweet corn, caramelized leeks, and tomatoes. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it.
The article also mentions the possiblity of Community Supported Fisheries in Gloucester. Anyone interested in picking up a weekly share of fresh North Atlantic fish? Be still my beating localvore heart.



Searching for Alien Strawberries June 23, 2008

Filed under: In Season,Recipe — blueheronlocal @ 5:37 pm
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We went to Marini Farms’ strawberry festival in Ipswich on Saturday. We picked strawberries, challenging the kids with us to find the oddest, most “alien” or “mutant” looking ones, which they did with glee, showing off their bumpy and misshapen prizes like young treasure hunters.


Of course, they won’t find these odd delights in the supermarket, as supermarket berries tend to be large, perfect-looking, and fairly tasteless. One of our young pickers came back with an empty quart box, having eaten his finds. The kids wore satisfaction in the red smears on their faces, hands, and shirts.


If you’re too tired after picking strawberries in the hot sun to bake up a pie or shortcake, try this easier-than-pie recipe. My husband and I discovered it while staying at a hotel in Charleston, SC, in May years ago (B.K., “before kids”):


Get yourself a small cereal bowl, fill the bottom with real whipped cream or yogurt, toss in hulled, local, fresh strawberries and drizzle some local honey over the berries.


Spoon a local taste of heaven in your mouth. Enjoy!




Strawberry Festivals in the North Shore June 20, 2008

Filed under: In Season — blueheronlocal @ 4:31 pm
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This is the weekend of strawberry festivals, they’re all over the North Shore. Go forth and eat strawberries in Danvers and Ipswich.

There are also some yummy Christian strawberries in Amesbury and Saugus. (What is the connection between strawberries and churches? I have no idea.)


Any other strawberry festivities I should know of?