We just picked our third large harvest of shiitake mushrooms from the logs we inoculated last summer with close to 1,000 shiitake plug spawn—an ingenious present from my sister. The first big crop came in the spring, then the logs went dormant again, producing only an occasional mushroom (frequently lost to slugs). A lot of... Continue Reading →

Good food

Cherisse heard Michael Pollan speak at Brown University a couple years ago. During his talk he pulled out a Twinkie, which he said he'd carried around for years. It was still soft, and so presumably still “edible.” One of the points he continually makes is that we should eat real food, containing ingredients your grandmother... Continue Reading →

Our history in cookbooks

Recently we stumbled on something in the back of one of our cookbooks: a list of meals we had served to friends in Boston (where we lived after graduation), along with a few editorial comments. On a separate page were notes on wines we had purchased. Wine was new for us, and we had such... Continue Reading →

Organic foods

I kept hearing reference to a Stanford study claiming that there was no evidence that organic foods were more nutritious than conventionally grown food. When I finally read more about it, I was disgusted for so many reasons. Mark Bittman summed up most of the study's flaws his succinct and reference-filled style. Among the most flagrant... Continue Reading →

Fabulous fare

These last couple of days I have been perpetually hungry. I ate so much (and so well) over the weekend, I think my stomach expanded and now won’t return to its more modest size. Cherisse and I have just returned from the Common Ground Fair, in Unity, Maine. Unlike past years, we went only for... Continue Reading →

The fruitful month

June has strawberries, July blueberries. Both are eagerly anticipated. But it is early September when we enjoy an embarrassment of riches in fruit. Big, sweet, juicy peaches are still coming, at the same time as early apples. We can still find delicious cantaloupe at the farmers' markets. (My mother and I just bought organic melons at... Continue Reading →

Food and friends

Despite the seemingly endless work staying on top of the pests in the garden (or perhaps trailing closely behind them would be more accurate), and attempting to keep nature from swallowing us with its persistent growth, we have passed some pleasant and restful days with family and friends. One Saturday we spent almost an entire... Continue Reading →

Growing in a changing climate

Last year our own blueberry bushes produced enough for us to eat steadily, with some left over to freeze. Not this year—we’ve picked only a few pints to eat (mostly in handfuls). We weren’t sure why: the bushes were fed in the spring with a special organic fertilizer for acid-loving plants, and the bees were... Continue Reading →

Growing mushrooms

For my birthday last December my sister gave me a crop of shiitake mushrooms, and today we got them started. Cathleen ordered plug spawn (1,000 plugs for each of us), and cut some of her smaller oak trees into 4-5 foot lengths. The logs, which sat for about two weeks, contain nutrients the shiitakes need... Continue Reading →


  We ate our first big harvest of asparagus for dinner tonight. Growing asparagus requires a commitment to the future. Preparing the trenches is hard work (especially in our rocky soil). The plants need to be kept well weeded and fertilized. And you need to be patient. The first year after planting, all you can... Continue Reading →

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