Features in the Fall 2015 Issue of Edible Cape Cod:
I take a lot of comfort in the fact that Farm Girl Confidential contributor Veronica Worthington, who has been growing organically on the Cape for many years, can be as surprised by what goes on in her garden as I am by mine. In this issue, she writes about the bumper crop of early apples her family has been enjoying eating all summer from a tree that has never produced an edible apple before. The heavy snowfall this past winter protected the roots of our perennial plants and trees from the cold, and as a result they have yielded abundant flowers and fruit. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much of a harvest ourselves, as another garden surprise has been helping itself to our bounty. In the ten-plus years we’ve had a garden, this is the first serious pest problem we’ve had to deal with. First to go was the lettuce, chewed down to the stump every time a decent head formed. Whatever was eating them managed not to trample the rows of garlic they were planted among. Rabbit? The next to be attacked were the Brussels sprouts, chewed from the crown down. Deer? They haven’t been seen in our area, and since I’ve surrounded that raised bed with chicken wire, the plants have managed to come back unmolested. Then all the Bosc and Seckel pears vanished virtually overnight without any damage to the slender boughs. Only a single stem with a bit of pear remained on one tree. Squirrels? Or could it have been the clutch of 14 turkeys that occasionally passes through the yard or the fat groundhog I frequently flush out of the hydrangeas? Unless we surround the entire yard with chicken wire, we’ll just have to accept the fact that we have to share our harvest with the wildlife around us.
Just as the Cape has seen a significant rise in the number of farms in the last ten years, so, too, has the number of small-batch food artisans grown appreciably. Up and down the Cape, locals are rolling up their sleeves and tying on their aprons to craft everything from hot sauce to pasta to breads and myriad sweet inspirations. We love to share these discoveries with you in our magazine. It’s especially exciting when these mom-and-pop businesses expand their operations to meet rising demand, like Local Pops and The Local Juice, both of which we write about in Notable Edibles. What’s especially nice about these businesses is that they incorporate products from many other Cape businesses in their product. The Local Juice aims to source 50% of their ingredients from local farms, while Local Pops uses Cape-made beer and wine (yes!), sea salt, caramels and chocolate in their line-up of gourmet frozen treats. In a similar vein, AstraLuna Brands (Four Guys and a Distillery) is using Harwich-grown potatoes in their Cape Cod Vodka. While the vodka is currently produced off-Cape in Medfield, the four owners of AstraLuna are planning to open an on-Cape distillery in the near future, and farmer Brent Hemeon is expanding his potato crop in anticipation of increased production. These are win-win-win stories and we hope to have more of them coming your way in the future.