Uber Tubers

Another food posting?  Yep – this is yet another piece of fascinating information I came across in the continued work for our upcoming food site. I haven’t published an article about these crops (yet) but am thrilled to have had the opportunity to see them before the snow falls.

Jerusalem artichokes, chinese artichokes, and Welsh onion

Jerusalem artichokes, chinese artichokes (or “mint root”), and Welsh onions are three food crops that were introduced to me during a visit to a residential permaculture plot in Conway, MA. These plants grow perennially in New England, meaning they can provide food (albeit in tuber and leek-like onion form) without having to replant every spring.

The permaculture plot is being designed and maintained by the Regenerative Design Group (link goes to their page about this residential project). There were several other food crops that we discussed that day that weren’t available for free samples, but that we will certainly be highlighting on our food site soon. Stay tuned!

Kiwis in New England?

As we prepare to launch our upcoming food website, I am on the search for any last food stories to gather before the growing season shuts down in our region. Imagine my excitement when I saw “kiwis” listed as a crop at Apex Orchard in Shelburne, MA! When I called, they had just finished harvesting, so I rushed over to take some photos.

The “kiwis” were, well, rather underwhelming at first. They are      small, sweet fruits that grow on vines and have greenish brown    edible skin. “Kiwis?”, I confirmed, wondering if  the word for  “grape” had been changed since my last interaction with the  English language. “Yes, they’re delicious,” the woman at the  farmstand said, and gave me a few to ponder.

Upon further inspection (and research), I found that the small fruits do indeed have the center seed arrangement of a kiwi. They’re closely related to the brown fuzzy variety, and are known as “hardy kiwis”. They can grow as far north as Maine, and are quite invasive. I didn’t get a chance to talk to the farmer to find out why he chose to grow this new crop, but I’ll have more information for our kiwi post in the upcoming blog! (Much more on that in a few weeks).

Emus Are Good For You

I was so excited after my visit to the local Songline Emu Farm in nearby Gill, MA this past summer. I couldn’t stop talking about the strange sound the birds made, or the way their heads bobble around backward atop their necks. And yet, I didn’t post the article when it came out a few weeks ago. How quickly my enthusiasm fades. Anyway, go ahead and take a look – they’re fascinating creatures.

“Hadley Grass” photo essay

Here in the Pioneer Valley (our little pocket of Western Massachusetts) we used to have one of the biggest asparagus industries in the country. I put together a photo essay and brief article about the history of the crop, and a modern day asparagus farmer, for the Valley Advocate. There’s only one photo in the linked story, but here’s the layout. You can see some additional photos here. I just couldn’t stop snapping shots of these beautiful plants!

Fish Empire

We have a strange claim to fame in our area: the world’s largest producer of barramundi fish resides in the land-locked town of  nearby Turner’s Falls. The story, found in the Valley Advocate, has lots of connections to our region, though: an effort to make more healthy, sustainable food sources, all organized by a Hampshire graduate.


I visited Sidney Chang in South Deerfield to tour his giant sprouts facility. Read the article here for the full account of this small business owner’s sprouting ambitions!

Elderberry Power

Elderberries always make me feel like a superhero: the instant I drink their syrup, the flu seems to disappear. I wrote a spotlight on this magical berry for a mid-winter issue of the Valley Advocate.