Sunday, April 17, 2011

My First Jersey

In 1969, I was a 12 year old 4-H member who was tired of losing to the fancy Holsteins I was showing my home grown calves against. I decided I wanted a Jersey and bought one at the sealed bid auction at the Litchfield County (CT) 4-H Fair for $157. I borrowed $10 from my younger sister who claimed the tail until I paid her back. My new calf was named Peet Farm Julhous Rita but we called her Jersey. Briggs and Beth Cunningham, who had a farm in Kent, Connecticut, were the generous donors of Rita. I adored Beth Cunningham!! She had strawberry blond hair, loads of freckles and was always smiling. Thus began my life long love of the Jersey cow.

This week, the Worton Elementary School’s kindergarten class visited the farm . Lo and behold, one of the delightful students on the field trip was Braydon Michael Wallace, the Cunningham's great grandson! Small world!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chestertown Literary Festival

Last weekend, Chestertown bookstores and other local food supporters sponsored the first Locavore” Literary Festival. The two day event provided locals the chance to hear and meet local bloggers and several renowned authors. The Lit Fest opened on Friday at Washington College with Chef Kent Tilton serving St. Brigid's Farm grass-fed beef in the dining hall to compliment the philosophy of the first speaker Lierre Keith, a former vegan and the author of The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice and Sustainability.

On Saturday, author Nancy Taylor Robson and bloggers Aundra Weissert and Tara Holste shared their experiences and insight as food writers. Robson has written freelance articles for 35 years and authored two books: a memoir of her six years on a coastal tug titled Woman in the Wheelhouse, and the award-winning novel Course of the Waterman. A Master Gardener, she writes and edits sections on gardening and food for the Chestertown Spy.

Bob and I split our work day so we could each attend a presentation. I was among the crowd of thirty or so at the Complete Bookseller who heard Bonny Wolf, author of Talking with My Mouth Full, discuss her adventures in eating locally in Talbot County. Her tales of cooking muskrat, searching for wild asparagus and foraging for mushrooms and dandelions were delightful.

A truly special part of the day was our invitation to lunch sponsored by Washington College's Center for the Environment and Society featuring local foods with the authors and other guests at Brooks Tavern. The menu included the St. Brigid’s Farm burger, a three egg omelet with Kennedyville eggs, shad roe and a Bibb lettuce salad with bacon. It was my lucky day as I sat next to Lucie Snodgrass, author of Dishing Up Maryland, 150 Recipes from the Alleghenies to the Chesapeake Bay. Drew Debnam, who works for us after school, gave us the book for Christmas so I was already a big fan of Lucie. She is very down to earth and fascinating to talk to.

Bob sat next to Paul Greenberg at lunch and then went to his session. Paul wrote Four Fishes, The Future of the Last Wild Food. In his session and book, he examined the history of the fish that dominate our menu – salmon, sea bass, cod and tuna- and investigated where each stands at this critical moment in time. Bob found the session a bit depressing but has hope that with the help of Paul’s book, educated consumers can start to heal the oceans and fight for a world where sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.