Blue Heron Local Cuisine

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

The end of farmer’s market season October 25, 2008

It’s a very sad day; we went to the last Marblehead farmers’ market of the season. We stocked up on cheese; feta; red-wine lamb sausage; gala apples; and fougasse (our newest discovery, a circular flat bread with sesame seeds, salt, and pepinas on top that tastes like a distant but infinitely superior relative of the fresh pretzel). We also came home with pea tendrils, dandelion greens, and a jerusalem artichoke. The pea tendrils will go into a stir fry, the dandelion greens will serve as the base for No Egret’s Hot Bacon Salad, and the jerusalem artichoke, which is new to us, will be used in a stew or shephard’s pie later on in the month.

(photo from wikipedia)

(photo from wikipedia)


My apple of the day is the Cameo, which is red-striped over yellow. It has a nice aromatic taste and the apples are small and crunchy, just the way I like ’em. Cameo is a surprise cultivar from Washington and is thought to be a cross between red delicious and yellow delicious (delicious is quite the euphenism for those bland supermarket apples—it almost moves me to quotation marks).


Best of luck to those of you finishing off the Eat Local Challenge.




Local Food in the Salem News June 27, 2008

Filed under: Farmers market — blueheronlocal @ 6:25 pm
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weeding potatoes (thanks, tinyfarmblog!)I learned some great things about local cuisine in the North Shore from this article from Salem News. There’s a new farmers’ market in Newburyport and look for one is Salem next summer. The article covers the usual ground: how farmers’ markets build community and are a great way to move beyond the near-interchangable tastes of supermarket tomatoes and strawberries. It also discusses how customers in Marblehead may not mind paying a lot of money for exotic vegetables, but customers in Peabody may be more interested in the savings and quality achieved by buying directly from the farmers. I find farmers’s markets are often cheaper than the grocery store, especially if I’m looking for organic produce. Many farmers’ markets accept WIC too.


The farm facts were the most interesting to me. Did you know that 5% of farmland in Massachusetts is located in Essex County? Essex County also ranks thirty-fifth in the country for the value of agriculture sold directly to consumers. Long live the farm stand and the co-op!

Expect some new links to show up on the blogroll as I explore more places and ways to eat locally in the North Shore.


(thanks, tinyfarmblog, for the photo, and cara for the heads up!)






The Beginning June 18, 2008

Filed under: Farmers market — blueheronlocal @ 2:33 pm
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Beet greens at market

(photo from Tinyfarmblog, thanks!)


I’m pleased to begin this blog with the first farmers’ market of the year in Marblehead, Massachusetts. I’m the person picking through shriveled apples in late November, trying to eke out my supply of fresh local vegetables for another week. One of the things I loved about living in Boston was the sheer number of farmers’ markets. It was City Hall on Monday and Wednesday; Copley Square on Tuesday and Friday, Thursday was Brookline, and Saturday was the farmers’ market in my very own JP. Sunday was the day to cook up all my lovely vegetables before I ventured out again to buy more. Now that I live on the North Shore I go to the farmers’ market on Saturday, but the quality of the Marblehead Farmers’ Market makes up for the fact that it only happens once a week.


The first farmer’s market of the season is always about greens. Back in the days I lived in North Carolina (sigh…the Carrboro Farmers Market was better than any Yankee market I have seen thus far….) greens season began in March. There would be collards, kale, mustard greens, arugula, red-leaf lettuce, beet greens, turnip greens, and watercress. The good folks of Marblehead have their greens in mid-June. I saw three kinds of lettuce, along with some spinach, and garlic snips, which are sprouts from the garlic bulb. They have a mild garlic flavor and taste very good sautéed in olive oil and served over fish (or anything else). I bought a cup of fair trade coffee to console myself for the lack of mustard greens. Our favorite Vermont cheese lady was there and we cheerfully stocked up on Cambridge cheese and the best lamb, rosemary, red wine, and feta sausages I have ever eaten.


Marblehead Farmers’ Market is open June 14 through October 25, 912. It is located at 217 Pleasant Street in Marblehead (take a dramatic 165-degree turn onto Vine Street just past the middle school to enter the middle school parking lot). Or just park in the shade across from the school on Pleasant Street.