Read my latest work for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, where I’m a staff writer, here.

File_000 (2)Millennials Move Home To Farm Their Parents’ Lawns — for National Geographic’s The Plate, April 6, 2016

“Almost anything is better than grass. That’s the message the creators of Yardfarmers are hoping to get across in a forthcoming reality TV show centered on six twentysomethings who move back in with their parents and tear up their lawns.
“I’m trying to coin a new word here,” says Erik Assadourian. As a senior fellow at the Worldwatch Institute, Assadourian is charged with transforming culture. But after years of churning out reports encouraging Americans to eat and live with the environment in mind, he decided the message needed a bigger, more Kardashian-like stage. The concept for Yardfarmers was born.”

Fuzzy Pigs, Squash Swords And More of the World’s Amazing, Vanishing Heirloom Breeds – for Smithsonianmag.com, April 18, 2016

“Jere Gettle was 8 years old when he noticed the selection in his favorite seed catalogs starting to wane in the late ’80s. He’d been gardening since he was about 3 (there are pictures to prove it), and he didn’t want to imagine a world without lemon cucumbers or white tomatoes.
“That’s when people started thinking about heirlooms,” says Gettle, who went on to found the Missouri-based Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company, which produces a 350-page catalog of hard-to-find seeds each year and runs RareSeeds.com.”

File_000 (3)Maybe this is how ‘artisanal’ foods can finally spread the wealth – for Washington Post, April 11, 2016

“What if the sorts of foods that have turned accountants into artisans could create careers for people who have few other prospects? Since its founding in 1999, Brainfood has used food as the springboard for urban youth development, teaching teenagers how to chop onions and show up on time through popular after school-programs. The idea is to help them build the skills they’ll need to join the workforce — and perhaps cook a decent dinner on the side — while reducing the number of young people in the District who are neither in school nor working.”

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The Brew Shop Slings Craft Brews, Supplies in Arlington – for Arlington Magazine, Feb. 17, 2016

These women left day jobs as forensic accountants to open The Brew Shop in Arlington’s Courthouse neighborhood at the end of January.
The shop’s concrete floors and wood-palette walls provide a fitting frame for refrigerated rows of locally brewed beers. The selection is organized by flavor profile — crisp, haze, hops, malt, roast — rather than brewer, which encourages customers to stumble upon new brands.
“We want to help people experiment, and it’s the way we like to drink, too,” says Helle.

Coastal Cities Need to Radically Rethink How They Deal With Rising Waters – for Smithsonianmag.com, April 7, 2016

“Transitional architecture” is both a futuristic solution to sea-level rise and a hearkening back to older ways of living.

Why a bright idea for growing food in the city had to move…to the country – for Washington Post, Jan. 25, 2016

DSC_0308“All this — the jobs, the investment, the futuristic food growing — was supposed to be in the District’s Ward 8, where, even BrightFarms chief executive Paul Lightfoot admits, “no one needed it more.” Two dozen greenhouse jobs would have been welcome in the ward with the city’s highest unemployment rate, nearly 15 percent. The facility had the potential to transform a blighted area east of the Anacostia River, turning it into a producer of the healthful food that is often out of reach for its residents.”

These $10 Vouchers are Changing the Face of D.C.’s Farmers’ Markets — for Civil Eats, Dec. 15, 2015

Produce Plus“Market managers and nonprofits across the country have been trying for years to get shoppers like Beatrice Evans to the farmers’ markets, with mixed success. In many under-resourced urban neighborhoods these markets are the nearest source of fresh—not to mention local—food. But their in-season offerings are still often out of reach.
While more markets have started accepting federal benefits and even doubling their value at the market—often with privately raised funds—those incentives alone weren’t doing enough in D.C. The inconvenience and high cost of shopping at a farmers’ market still couldn’t compete with corner stores and processed foods.”

Removing a Dam Can Be a Net Win for the Planet (with graphic) — for Smithsonian Magazine, Dec. 11, 2015

“Once trumpeted as river-taming, energy-producing feats of engineering, America’s dams have become the subject of introspection and, in a growing number of cases, demolition.
The country spent millions to erect an estimated 80,000 of these concrete walls across rivers all over the country, but now a variety of interest groups are rallying to remove may of them, even if it happens at great cost.
“Everything has a life,” says Rupak Thapaliya, national coordinator of the Hydropower Reform Coalition, an organization that advocates for building better hydroelectric dams and removing poor performers. “We are starting to see some hydropower dams being decommissioned, and much of it is because of economics.”

What Growing Potatoes on Mars Means for Earth’s Farmers — for Smithsonian Magazine, Nov. 17, 2015

martian-crops.jpg__800x600_q85_crop“In the blockbuster movie The Martian, Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, a brainy botanist who coaxes spuds to sprout in otherwise lifeless dirt.
As the population rises here on Earth, there are plenty of harsh, foodless environments that could be improved with a little ingenuity. And in a plot rooted in plausible science, it turns out that much of what Damon’s character did to turn his Martian “hab” into a makeshift greenhouse is applicable here.”

How to Have the Most Sustainable Thanksgiving Ever – for Smithsonian Magazine, Nov. 11, 2015Tday turkey
“You’ve been trying to up your Thanksgiving game every year, adding essence of cardamom to your grandmother’s sweet potato casserole and latticing bacon across your bird. But have you thought about how to ensure that this annual meal is one Earth can keep providing for generations?”

Roast pumpkin seeds for the season’s best snack food – for Northern Virginia Magazine Oct. 22, 2015
The seasonal seed takes center stage. Quick tips for harvesting and roasting pumpkin seeds.

This bird didn’t start the fires, but it may need them to survive — for SmithsonianMag.com, Oct. 5

warbler photo“Two hundred years ago, the Kirtland’s warbler had its pick of the jack pine forest when it came to choosing nesting grounds. Regular wildfires sweeping through the sandy forests of Michigan, where the majority of these birds still nest, kept the trees not too tall and not too short—just the way the warbler liked them
Then humans moved to town, bringing with them an advancement that was great for civilization but not so great for this bird’s habitat: the ability to control fire.
“It’s a very specific habitat they need that historically was managed by naturally occurring fires,” says Jonathan Lutz, executive director of Michigan Audubon, which bears the iconic bird as its logo. “Now we have to mimic those historic conditions.”

Check out my latest for Arlington Magazine‘s HomePlate food blog, on eight courses of vegetarian eating and the kid-friendliest of coffee shops

Opening Act — for Virginia Living September issue

TODD-Thrasher_20150814_023Just as taste buds grow to love the bitter and bracing later in life, our cocktail culture is coming of age—and seeking something a bit more bittersweet. The signposts are appearing on menus and behind bars across the region under a categorical heading the French tell us we’ve been ignoring for far too long: Aperitifs.
Derived from the Latin word aperire, which means “to open,” aperitifs do just that for palates dulled by the drudgeries of the day, waking them up for an evening (or afternoon) meal. Brightly flavored, mildly alcoholic and typically infused with herbs or roots, aperitifs live at the interplay of bitter and sweet.
They point toward the meal ahead and toward a culture that, increasingly, considers drinking an indispensible part of the experience.
“We’ve had a decade of good cocktail culture in Virginia, at least in my restaurants,” says Todd Thrasher, partner in an Alexandria-based restaurant group whose flagship, Restaurant Eve, had a hand in starting Virginia’s craft spirit movement…”

What keeps The Splendid Table cooking after 20 years — for The Washington Post, Lead of FOOD section on Aug. 11

IMG_1423*It was a real treat to fly out to the Twin Cities to spend a couple days with the women of The Splendid Table to write this piece.*
“‘If you watch, she’ll start salivating,” Sally Swift says from a control room in the Minnesota Public Radio studios. “It’s really funny.”
She’s talking about Lynne Rossetto Kasper, who on the other side of a large window is settling into a detailed description of a marinated chicken dish that Carly from Chantilly, Va., could prepare in a small kitchen.
“This sounds like something from the 1950s, but it really works,” Rossetto Kasper says, spouting off a list of ingredients as though reading a mental recipe: “soy sauce, apricot jam, a ton of garlic, vinegar, a little chili paste and some mustard, dark mustard.”
The two are taping the call-in segment of “The Splendid Table,” the groundbreaking public-radio food show they created 20 years ago. And Rossetto Kasper is squarely in her element.”

Farmer finds bugs, perspective on world farm tour — for NationalGeographic.com, July 10

joneve“Last July, Joneve Murphy left a comfortable post an as in-house farmer at one of Washington, D.C.’s top restaurants to embark on an international tour de farms. While she knows how to grow obscure peppers and microgreens to top elaborate dishes, she had a feeling this wasn’t going to help feed the world, and she was curious about the farming practices that might.
She returned to the states this spring with a taste for bugs—or at least for their farmed potential—and a growing understanding of the best and worst agricultural practices the world over.
During nine months in more than a dozen Asian and European countries, Murphy, 35, stretched her understanding—and ours—of how food is grown, reflecting on her findings via Instagram and a photo-driven blog called “Farmer Seeking Roots.”

SOIL THERAPY — for EdibleDC Summer issue 2015
Check out the e-edition of the story and magazine here.

“Tyler Cunningham has been running the mower at Red Wiggler Farm for 15 years, and he’s good at it.
He can mow back overgrown edges and carve narrow strips into fields of hairy vetch and rye, defining rows for spring plantings, with ease. He can even fix the mower when it breaks, no small feat for a 56-year-old with developmental disabilities, one who’s found a career and identity as a farmer.
Practically predicting the locavore movement that would make its community-supported agriculture (CSA) shares a hit, the farm was founded in 1996 based on two tenets: that people with developmental disabilities need meaningful employment and that there’s nothing more meaningful than growing food for people…”

Why entrepreneurs are suddenly finding the beauty in ugly produce — for The Washington Post, May 26 FOOD section

Ugly produce is midway through a massive makeover.
Misshapen potatoes, multi-pronged carrots and past-their-prime apples — rebranded as “cosmetically challenged” and “beautiful in their own way” — are coming into vogue. Campaigns aimed at reducing food waste are bringing these fruits and vegetables, previously reserved for hogs, compost piles and landfills, to the forefront of our minds, if not quite to our grocery shelves.
And now, food entrepreneurs are picking them up as ripe for innovation.”
he Washington Post, May 26 FOOD sectionUrban Farmers Say It’s Time They Got Their Own Research Farms — for NPR‘s The Salt May 2015DSC_0326

“About 80 percent of Americans now live in urban areas, and more and more of us are growing food in cities as well.
But where’s an urban farmer to turn for a soil test or when pests infiltrate the fruit orchard?
Increasingly, they can turn to institutions that have been serving farmers in rural areas for more than 150 years: land-grant colleges and universities. From Cornell University to the University of Florida to Texas A&M, land grants dispense practical advice to farmers and hobby gardeners across the country…” Read the full story here.

Brass Tacks: How seed suppliers pick their fields — for National Geographic‘s The PlateSkagit seed maps 2 May 2015

My first piece for National Geographic’s food blog about the seed growing tradition of the Skagit Valley and globally.
“Twice a year, a handful of representatives from as many seed companies gather ‘round a toy-sized tractor to draw numbers from it. It’s the NFL draft of the seed-growing world tucked into a fertile corner of Washington state–and it’s pretty mild-mannered, in comparison.
The numbers drawn from the tractor determine who gets first pick in the field, represented by a sprawling map on the wall, marked with–you guessed it–brass thumbtacks and red yarn, the same way it has been done for the last 60 years…” Read the full story here.

Behind Closed DoorsVirginia Living, June issueDSC_0466

The Airlie Center is one of those places that you know has a story when you pull into the long drive. Stately, historic — and a secret to locals for many years. I was thrilled to get to tell this one for Virginia Living’s June issue. I also made it onto the magazine’s contributor page to share a bit more about the background to this story. And I enjoyed a couple of fabulous dinners at Airlie as part of my “reporting.” Read the full story here.

Rallying for better (food) policy in the District — for EdibleDC magazine, Spring 2015

Flip through the e-edition of this beautiful magazine at this link, in the top right corner. My story on the latest developments on DC’s food policy front is on pages 28 and 29.

Forest garden bearing fruit as both food producer, water filter — for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, April 2015

food forest“To reach the patch of land he manages near Bowie, MD, Lincoln Smith crosses a cul-de-sac and a soggy cornfield left bare in winter but for the tender shoots of a cover crop.
This is what most food-growing fields in the Chesapeake Bay watershed look like in late winter, he noted as he slushed through the mud during a recent visit.
But, in the field next door, Smith and his business partner, Benjamin Friton, are growing an alternative.
“This is a forest garden,” Smith said as he stepped inside a towering fence that separates this field from the other and protects burgeoning plants from the region’s ravenous deer.
At the end of a long winter, this portion of the 10-acre plot managed by their Forested, LLC, looks more like an abandoned farm field than a forest or a garden. Volunteer trees have cropped up alongside native ones planted for their fruit or nitrogen-fixing properties. Long grasses and even a few carefully managed invasive plant species fill in the gaps…”

How do you keep Julia Child’s legacy alive? Pay it forward. — for The Washington Post, March 24, 2015

Julia picIt was an honor to write this piece announcing a new award to carry on Julia Child’s legacy.
“It’s hard to forget Julia Child.
More than a decade after her death, those who knew her well — and those who only felt as though they did, through her cooking shows and books — can still hear her tinny voice in their heads, coaxing them into the kitchen with a joie de vivre that made French cuisine irresistibly approachable to Americans.
Starting this year, we’ll have a new way to remember her.
The foundation Child established in the 1990s is launching an annual award in her honor that it hopes will rival the existing suite of culinary accolades in its singularity and prestige. The first Julia Child Award will be bestowed this August on one person whose work in the culinary realm is, to put it succinctly, uniquely Julia-like.

Planting trees in the pasture: Farmer uses silvopasture to produce shade, fruit — for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, March 2015 

IMG_9658“Treading through ankle-deep snow on a January day to reach a row of saplings near the middle of Buck Holsinger’s pasture, it’s hard to imagine a 100-degree Shenandoah Valley summer day, let alone the need for shade.
But that’s what Holsinger had on his mind. “Come back here in the summer — in 10 years even — and there’ll be plenty of shade,” he said as snow fell and his cattle burrowed beneath it to graze nearby…”

Is Georgian cuisine the next big thing? These enthusiasts hope so. — for The Washington Post, March 3, 2015

DSC_0372“Letting a glass of orange wine breathe at his elbow, Mamuka Tsereteli scoured the Japanese menu at Daikaya for something to accompany it.
The wine from Georgia (the former Soviet republic, not the American state) looked the shade of brandy but tasted nothing like it, with tongue-smacking tannins, dried apricot and golden raisins overwhelming any anticipated sweetness.
Tsereteli might have paired it with such Georgian foods as chkmeruli (a garlicky chicken) and badrijani (a walnut-stuffed eggplant roll), if there were a place to order such items over lunch in Washington…” Read the full story here.

University of the District of Columbia: a leader in urban gardening? — for ElevationDC, March 3, 2015

DSC_0326“On a January morning, Mchezaji “Che” Axum stepped around iced-over puddles to reach a row of heated hoop houses where Asian mustard greens still leafed knee-high. Here at the Muirkirk Research Farm run by the University of the District of Columbia, these tightly spaced greens are grown for optimal space, taste — these were as spicy as horseradish — and nutrition.
“One of the things I’m really concentrated on is nutrient density of crops,” says Axum, who runs the farm in Beltsville, Md., as director of the Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education in the College of Agriculture Urban Sustainability and Environmental Sciences (CAUSES) at UDC…” Read the full story here.

FullSizeRender_1Pick up the March issue of Northern Virginia Magazine for my stories on eating out with a baby and how chefs get their kids to be adventurous eaters. Yes, this would be the first time I’ve been pictured in a cartoon (right) to accompany a story — and the sock bun is spot on. —->

IMG_0072Check out my stories in the March/April issue of Virginia Living (the health issue) on locally grown turmeric (pictured right) and health food companies that deliver to gyms.

And a piece on winter gardening and preparing for spring for Virginia Living’s February issue:

“After moving from Australia to Virginia, Nicole Schermerhorn knew she didn’t want to raise animals on the nearly 40 acres of land that had been in her husband’s family for six generations.
Too much work, she says. “Well, it turns out the herb plants need as much care and attention,” Schermerhorn admits with a chuckle, her Australian accent coming through.
Though Lavender Fields Herb Farm in Glen Allen employs more than 20 people March through May to do that work, as any home gardener knows, there’s still plenty to do in the colder months. Says Schermerhorn, the foundation for a lively herb garden is laid in the dead of winter…” Read the full story here.

IMG_9677See my story about The Boozy Book Club in the Drinks/Winter issue of Edible DC Magazine. —>

8 development projects that will transform DC this year — for ElevationDC, Jan. 13, 2015

Take the H Street corridor or Yards Park as examples that it doesn’t take long for a pocket of this city to be completely transformed by development. The past year brought to completion new mixed-use offerings like retail portions of CityCenterDC (now home to RareSweets, in case dessert helps ring some bells) and the city’s 28th grocery store since 2000 as MOM’s Organic Market opened in Ivy City.

And 2015 promises to be just as full of projects, many of them still revolving around food, better transportation and easy access to the essentials.

D.C. chefs hunt partridge, get conservation lesson at Virginia farm — for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, Dec. 21, 2014 

  • DSC_0517 The chefs had barely laid down their shotguns and shed their orange vests when Joe Henderson started in.
    “Does everyone understand the value of this stream?” he asked, interrupting a few restaurant-focused conversations on the porch of his historic cabin as he gestured toward a picturesque waterway trickling nearby.
    Henderson had invited more than two-dozen chefs from D.C. to his 600-acre farm and preserve near Berryville, Va., for a guided partridge hunt on an unseasonably-warm Monday before Thanksgiving. For many of them, the day was an introduction to hunting and to Randall Lineback cattle, a rare breed Henderson raises on the property, and that he sells as “ruby veal” to area restaurants.

A feature of Joanne Hanley, president of the Gettysburg Foundation — for Washington State University’s alumni magazine, Winter 2014

  • Joanne Hanley ’80 never expected that a master’s degree in environmental science would lead her to Gettysburg—one of the most significant sites in American history—or to supporting and creating several other memorials along the way.
    During a 32-year career with the National Park Service, Hanley worked at more than a dozen historically and environmentally significant locations throughout the country. She oversaw the fundraising, design, and construction of the Flight 93 memorial to commemorate the September 11, 2001, crash. And, after serving as superintendent of the National Parks of Western Pennsylvania for a decade, she turned her energies to the field where a pivotal battle of the Civil War was fought in 1863.

‘Top Chef’ contestants: Nothing prepares you for the show’s surprises — for The Washington Post, Oct. 13, 2014

  • (Hopefully this story isn’t what jinxed the two DC-area contestants, who were eliminated in the first and second episodes of the show–but then George made it back on!) “When Season 12 of the show, filmed in Boston, debuts Wednesday night on Bravo TV, Pagonis and Crump will follow in the footsteps of other Washington-area chefs whose time on the series and its spinoffs served as career springboards. The list includes Carla Hall, Mike Isabella, Spike Mendelsohn, Bryan Voltaggio and Bart Vandaele.
    The two latest competitors have one thing in common: Both have worked for “Top Chef” veterans. Pagonis, 31, is executive chef at Kapnos, one of Isabella’s growing line of restaurants, and was previously chef de cuisine at his Graffiato. Isabella, Season 6 veteran and “Top Chef All-Stars” runner-up, “definitely was an influence” in getting him to compete, Pagonis says. (The show airs as the two are preparing to open a second Greek eatery, Kapnos Taverna, in Arlington late this year.)”

See my stories in the Fall issue of EdibleDC!

Department of Homefood Security: Can Local Food Feed the World? — for EdibleDC Fall 2014

  • PEC-54A wide grin spreads across Marland Buckner’s face as he walks toward an overgrown apple orchard. Clusters of ginger-gold spheres dot the trees’ upper branches, waiting to be picked. A small herd of goats is basking in the midsummer sun just beyond their shade, taking a break from their daily duty of eating whatever apples and greenery they can reach on hind legs.
    Shaking hands with the three farmers he’s hired to care for these animals and this land, known as ForeverView Farms, Buckner steps back to breathe in the view, letting the city and its abstract food policies give way to the tangible scene before him.
    “So this is how local feeds the world,” he says, gesturing to the nearly 40-acre piece of land he bought two years ago.

Q&A with Edible DC’s Susan Able: “If you want to eat local… read local.” — For The Washington Post, Sept. 24

  • Susan Able photoSusan Able was working in management at Deloitte Consulting and obsessing about food in her spare time when she heard something that intrigued her: The license to publish a Washington-area version of the James Beard Award-winning Edible Communities magazine was up for grabs. As it happened, Able was looking for a career move to “something mission-driven,” and she adored the brand for its commitment to local producers and their stories.
    That’s how Edible DC, the local-food-centric magazine that first hit newsstands in 2012 — and disappeared the same year — came back. This month, it releases its second issue under Able’s ownership.

At 2015 World’s Fair, the U.S. Pavilion is poised to address food’s biggest issues — for The Washington Post, Aug. 11

  • World’s fairs have long served as international display cases for innovation — show-stopping events that introduce us to architectural feats like the Eiffel Tower and culinary traditions like ice cream cones.
    The next international exposition, 2015 Expo Milan, will take on one of the globe’s most vexing questions: How do we feed a future of 9 billion people without destroying the planet itself? The expo, which runs from May through October, will bring together more than 140 countries to share possible solutions.

Chef Célèbre: A feature of David Guas of Bayou Bakery — for Virginia Living, July issue 

  •  DSC_0413Serving collards and cappuccinos, beignets and boudin, and grits and grillades out of an order-at-the-counter kitchen may make a chef sound confused, unless you’ve met David Guas. For him, the items on the menu at his Bayou Bakery, Coffee Bar & Eatery in Arlington do more than demonstrate his New Orleans roots (and keep diners coming in the door from early morning to late night); they express who he is.
    “I’ve tried to jam what I know about food into a casual operation where no one wants to wait more than eight minutes for a sandwich,” Guas says over a cup of coffee, a Mardi Gras-masked gator hanging over his head as the eatery comes to life on a recent Friday morning.

An interview with Dan Barber of Blue Hills — for The Washington Post, July 7

  • Dan Barber chefs coatHow did a chef who opened a restaurant on a Hudson Valley farm come to write a book questioning the very thesis of the farm-to-table movement? It started with a magazine’s prompt to illustrate the future of food on a plate.
    Dan Barber, 44, the co-owner and forward-thinking executive chef behind Blue Hill in Manhattan and the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, answered the question by sketching three philosophical plates instead of one, as he explains in his book, “The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food” (Penguin Press, 2014)…

#DCFood4Thought discussion: How food impacts community — for ElevationDC, July 1, 2014

  • Improving access to healthful, local foods is not only making the District a better place to live but also building community in pockets throughout the city, according to a group of experts from a cross-section of disciplines who shared their findings during a panel discussion last week.
    “There’s a lot of action and energy around our food systems,” says Laine Cidlowski, an urban sustainability planner for the D.C. Office of Planning. “Most of it is being driven by the community; they’re demanding a better situation in the city.”

Elevating the Chinese Dumpling — for Asian Fortune News, June 23

  • dumplingsDan Zhu grew up eating dumplings, both at his childhood home in Montgomery County, Md., and on biannual trips to see his grandmother back in China.
    He said he didn’t appreciate them or the homemade labor they required as a kid. But, when he decided to start a food business with his two best friends a couple years ago, they were the first thing that came to mind.
    “We made the decision that we really want to elevate this kind of food,” he said, referring to Chinese food that, in America, is often relegated to takeout and buffets. “Dumplings were a natural place to start.”

Capital Area Food Bank demonstration garden’s aim: to grow more gardens — for The Washington Post, June 17

  • Food bank gardenThis past spring, M.J. Crom took a perfectly good plot of soil in the garden she was hired to maintain and covered it with gravel. She wanted it to look like a patio or, better yet, a parking space.
    “You don’t have to have green space to grow food in a city,” says Crom, standing on the quarter-acre she has helped cultivate behind the Capital Area Food Bank in Northeast Washington. “But we do have green space, so we’re creating this gravel area to demonstrate what you can do with just containers.”
    The garden also features more than two dozen raised beds of varying heights already sprouting leafy greens, peas and pole beans. In other sections, recycled cinderblocks form the boundary for circular herb beds, and eight freshly tilled rows of soil provide space for bigger crops such as corn, though only enough to show that it can be done.

Legal bees in the city have urban beekeepers abuzz — for ElevationDC, June 3

  • beesThere’s nothing new about keeping bees in the city, says Toni Burnham. She brandishes a 1914 article fromPopular Mechanics magazine featuring a female stenographer running a “profitable bee farm” on a Philadelphia rooftop.
    “Although the building is in the center of the business district and apparently miles from a pasture ground for the bees,” the article states, “they find the flowers somewhere, collect the honey and fly back to their hives without seeming to object at all to their metropolitan mode of life.”
    Hopefully, the bees still feel the same about city life, because their presence in the District and other urban areas is on a steady rise.

Could farmed fish help take the pressure off wild stocks? — for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, cover May 2014

  • Photo by Dave Harp

    Photo by Dave Harp

    This story takes an in-depth look at the potential for new forms of land-based aquaculture to not only improve the conditions in which fish are farmed in and near this country but also to provide viable fish protein alternatives that could help bolster wild populations in the Chesapeake Bay. We visit a research institute in West Virginia, a sea bass operation on the Eastern Shore and discuss other trends like hydroponics that are fueling much-needed changes to the way fish are farmed.

The Brunch Issue – for Northern Virginia Magazine’s May Issue

  • Check out my stories on oysters and bloody marys and the elevation of coffee at brunch in NoVA Mag’s May issue, on newsstands now!

Farmed salmon, coming (temporarily) to a restaurant or store near you — for The
Washington Post 
Food, April 18

  • Freshwater Institute_salmon on iceStill have farmed salmon crossed off your short list of eco-friendly fish? A local version that’s available for a limited time in the Washington area could temporarily rewrite your rules.
    Most farmed salmon are raised in open nets or pens in the ocean, where their waste and potential to introduce parasites, diseases or non-native fish to the wild present serious environmental concerns. The Freshwater Institute, a program of the Arlington-based Conservation Fund, has been trying another way.

Feed Dating: Local Farmers Court D.C. Chefs at Matchmaking Event — for Washington City Paper, April 3

  • FarmerChef2014_06

    Photo by Molly Peterson

    It’s hard to tell who’s a farmer and who’s a chef in the plaid-heavy crowd of 90 people gathered at Birch & Barley. Both groups have come to meet, schmooze, and ultimately see if they find the spark for a new relationship.
    To help sort through the mob, Pam Hess, executive director of Arcadia Center for Sustainable Food and Agriculture, and other organizers circle the packed downstairs dining room, introducing cooks and cultivators to one another. The goal is that they’ll find a culinary love connection. This President’s Day event was, after all, billed as a “speed dating” opportunity for local growers to meet D.C. chefs who want to source nearby produce and meats.

One farmer’s new mission: to explore the world and write about how to feed it — for The Washington Post Food, March 26

joneve

Photo by Molly Peterson.

  • For three years, Joneve Murphy has been growing food for a living at the whim of chef Patrick O’Connell, a gig that comes with a steady paycheck, praise and plenty of microgreens. Yet this summer, the farmer is leaving her dream job at the Inn at Little Washington (which is hiring another farmer) to live another dream: She’ll spend a year satisfying her wanderlust and curiosity about foreign farming methods…

HEAVY DUTY: Citing youth obesity as a threat to national security, military leaders hope to turn the tide, starting with schools. — for American Legion Magazine, April issue

  • Marines combine combat techniques with endurance trainingA story that’s been a long time coming about how the military — and its retired leaders — are addressing mounting concerns about the rise of obesity in America. How is this trend impacting the country’s ability to recruit a fit force both now and in the future? I interviewed several military leaders past and present for this piece, which includes a sidebar story about an officer who shed the pounds to encourage his subordinates to follow suit. View a PDF of the story here or pick up a copy of the magazine.

Farmer goes wild fostering wild plants alongside organic produce — for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, March issue {one of my favorite articles of the year}

  • DSC_0347“In many ways, the more than 400 acres that Nick Lapham manages and farms south of Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is the wildest it has been since the 1750s.
    Native meadows flourish on scattered plots, abuzz with pollinators and busy with coveys of quail scurrying underfoot. Deer and bear wander over from the thickly wooded areas of the national park, helping themselves to apples and pears lingering in the orchard. (Bears don’t seem to mind the deer fences.) Salamanders and pickerelweed are as much a part of the operation as kale and winter squash.
    But that’s just the way Lapham, an environmentalist-turned-farmer, wants it…”

Where to find cheese making classes and tours in and around the District — for Washington City Paper, March 20

  • sona cheese2Cheese tastings meet the petting zoo at a handful of local fromage-making operations. And many now offer tours or classes. Some of these places are true farmsteads, with farmers milking the sheep or goats before dawn and then putting on their cheesemaking hats. For those who don’t appreciate long country drives, there will soon be a Metro-accessible option to see how cheese is made.

What if the Anacostia had it’s own nature center? — for ElevationDC, March 18

  • 20140314_bls_kingman_034A pair of posters on the wall in Living Classrooms Foundation’s D.C. office bears the renderings for a state-of-the-art environmental education center planned for the Anacostia River’s Kingman Island.
    The center that’s pictured features a green roof, a greenhouse and the capacity to treat its own wastewater and generate its own electricity. It looks futuristic yet blends in with a natural environment that, in the drawings, is teeming with greenery and wildlife.
    But, nearly eight years after pro-bono firms penned this visual draft for a nature center, it is still just a dream.

See my (updated) guide to Coworking in the city for ElevationDC.

Raw Milk: Devotees seek their fix, despite warnings about health risks — for The Washington Post, Jan. 22, 2014

DSC_0086Sheep creamery in Virginia churns out award-winning cheese — for Inspired Magazine, Fall 2013

  • “The Pride of Bacchus is soaked in wine before aging, and the Shenandoah is dry-aged to infuse Swiss-style holes and tangy flavor.
    But these varieties are just building on an already unique kind of cheese — the kind of cheese that comes from sheep.” Read the full story in the online issue here.

HOPE Project brings DC natives out of poverty, into IT jobs — for ElevationDC, Jan. 14, 2013

Pick up a December issue of Northern Virginia Magazine for my story about NoVA’s famous winemakers Jean & Steve Case and the Trumps. 

Obesity not seen as a big problem among Asians, but still may be — for Asian Fortune News, Jan. 12, 2014

Production in the City: making space for DC’s creators — for ElevationDC, Nov. 26, 2013

In Turkey, touring Cappadocia’s caves and fairy chimneys by ATV — for The Washington Post, Nov. 10, 2013

  • DSC_0185“I’d already done my share of grumbling by the time I threw a leg over the seat of a dusty four-wheeler and gave the kick-starter a weak attempt.
    It was a pleasant morning for Turkey’s desertlike region of Cappadocia, but a bit too early for this jet-lagged traveler to be chirpy. Not to mention that there were few things I wanted to do less than take this four-wheeler for a spin.
    Let’s just say that this was not my idea.
    In fact, I’d been the least enthused in our group of eight about the prospect of this testosterone-fueled outing-on-wheels when some had first floated the idea a couple of days earlier.
    We’d come to this region of Turkey to help Iranian refugees and immerse ourselves in the culture. Did we really want to use our one sightseeing day to putter around on rented all-terrain vehicles?” Read the full story.

Engaging absentee landowners in conservation — for the Chesapeake Bay Journal, Nov. issue

  • absentee“Joe Thompson wasn’t in the Armstrongs’ town-and-country-style living room long when riparian buffers came up.
    The Armstrongs, whose family has lived on the almost 200-acre farm north of Upperville, VA, since the early 1940s, didn’t know they were talking about buffers when they mentioned their desire to mow down the “trash trees” that have grown along the creek in order to have a clearer view of the water.
    Thompson, who was visiting the Armstrongs in his role as landowner adviser with the Potomac Conservancy, knows that tree- and brush-lined streams are one of the best ways to improve water quality. He was biding his time.”

Vendors at local farmers market ‘dream of a big kitchen’ to make tamales, a living — for ElevationDC, Nov. 5, 2013

  • TamalesFrom her one-acre yard in Adelphi, Rosa Linares grows enough vegetables to fill a small stand at the Crossroads Farmers Market every Wednesday. And, with a little more help, she’d like to sell her way out of poverty — by making tamales.
    Linares is one of three women at this market alone that a new commercial kitchen will help once it’s completed next year by a coalition of local partners, including the Crossroads Community Food Network that hosts market in Takoma Park.
    Housed at the Takoma Park Presbyterian Church, the new kitchen will offer food preparation space along with micro-enterprise development and classes about cooking and nutrition for low-income residents.

Bringing the Asian street-food experience to D.C. — for Asian Fortune, Oct. 10

photo 3

  • My face was still ringed with sweat when Chef Erik Bruner-Yang stopped by to seehow we liked the first course. It was a traditional Khmer papaya salad called Bok Lahong, paired with an equally adventurous Taiwanese pig’s blood cake.
    “Spicy,” I said of the salad, which I still couldn’t stop eating, “but the cake helps.”
    He nodded, glad to have the feedback as he headed back to the kitchen to prepare a dim sum cart between courses. This restaurant-in-residence operating out of Hanoi House on Washington, DC’s popular 14th Street exists solely for the feedback… Read the full story at Asian Fortune here.

Blue Catfish: Overabundant and the key to a new nonprofit group’s mission — for The Washington Post Food section, Oct. 9, 2013

  • Catfish paper photo“The name “blue catfish” doesn’t carry the same villainous ring as that of its invasive counterpart, the snakehead, but the whiskered fish are proving even uglier for the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Having vacuumed their way through local flora and fauna — even some precious Maryland blue crabs — they now outnumber other fish 3-1 in bay tributaries.
    A new nonprofit group is putting this source of protein to work for a noble cause, turning its plentiful numbers — and mildly sweet, malleable flavor — into affordable food for Washington’s hunger-relief organizations and the broader market.

The Luck of the Truck: How mobile dining charms city councils and evades tickets — for Northern Virginia Magazine, September

  • “When Kyle Johnson first started the site Food Truck Fiesta to track mobile vendorsfood truck across the Washington area, there were fewer than ten. Three years later, more than 200 meals-on-wheels are rolling around the region — and about a third of them regularly park in Northern Virginia.
    Though much of the scene built up in the District before spreading out to the suburbs, several trucks are now choosing to launch closer to home in Arlington, Fairfax and Loudon counties. NoVA’s food truck frontier comes with less competition — for both parking and customers — and an audience that’s hungry for the variety these trucks bring.” See a PDF of the story here.

On Cozumel, a Mexican restaurant that makes down-home memories — for The Washington Post Travel Section on Sunday, Sept. 22

  • We visited Cozumel for a scuba-diving vacation (our first) in April and stumbled upon EM nachos 2this gem of a restaurant. I got to write about it for the Post’s Tavel section:
    “El Moro is the sort of eatery that plays to a Rick Steves sort of traveler, the kind who wants to eat like a local and have a conversation with the people behind the food. It’s off the island’s main strip, providing open-air dining in what was once the owner’s home.
    Go there once, and you’re bowled over by the comfortably authentic food and the hospitality. Go there twice, and you’re family.
    If you hold still long enough, it’s likely that you’ll get to hear the restaurant’s endearing story, told to us by one of the owner’s three sons, Ray Chacón…” Read the full story here.

Bar Class: GMU’s ‘Sustainable Virginia’ connects suburban to rural, students to craft, food to drink — for Northern Virginia Magazine‘s September issue

  • When these college students show up at a distillery — the place where whiskey sours DSC_0006and Manhattans begin — they can actually say they’re “researching for class.”
    All 21 and older, they are part of a new course at George Mason University that connects students living and learning in suburbia to the food creation — farming, fishing, distilling — happening just outside the Beltway.
    “We’re using food as the lens to tackle larger social issues,” says professor Gabriella Petrick, who started the Sustainable Virginia course this year… Read a PDF of the story here.

DC school lunchrooms put local, healthy products on kids’ plates — for ElevationDC on Sept. 17

  • Though gorgeous weather during the first week of school can be a sore spot for schoollunchesstudents in the District, it happens to be a boon for the outdoor aspects of their education. These days, that category includes not only recess but, for many, a school garden.
    Nearly half of all schools in the District have school garden programs, up 15 percent from the previous school year, says Karissa McCarthy, farm-to school-coordinator for the nonprofit DC Greens.
    And inside the schools, more students are getting access to local and healthful foods through a combination of successful farm-to-school programs and new federal requirements about what’s on their plates.

Brother-and-sister pickle business finds success at DC farmers markets — for Asian Fortune News on Sept. 11

  • Yi Wah and Caitlin Roberts didn’t grow up eating a lot of pickles. Their Chinese No. 1 sons picklesmother considered them a pricey treat in the same category as Oreos. “You don’t buy pickles,” she’d say, “because they’re cucumbers.”
    But, over the past year, the Roberts siblings have built a business on the assumption that at least some people prefer to purchase their pickles.
    After launching last year, their Number 1 Sons business sells pickles, along with sauerkraut and kimchi, at 14 farmers markets in the DC-metro area.

Made in DC: Food entrepreneurs think big — for ElevationDC on Aug. 27

  • Gen & Conan cheeseBrandon Partridge thought he’d move to a food-and-beverage hub like Chicago or New York before launching his line of drinkable yogurt products this year. Cities like these, where businesses have already paved the way for the industry, would be an obvious option for any food entrepreneur.
    But Partridge, who got his MBA from Georgetown University, lives in and loves the District — so he decided to stay.
    “Even though the economic ecosystem isn’t oriented toward the food-and-beverage industry, we have a very strong food culture,” Partridge says. “It’s actually a tremendous area to launch a product like this.” Read the full story here.

Chez le Commis chef launching pop-up wine bar at Union Kitchen — for Washington City Paper’s Young & Hungry, Aug. 19

  • Previously limited to those who can respond to an email within three minutes, Chez CHEZLECOMMIS5le Commis supper club will soon be coming to a parking lot near you.
    Vin de Chez, a 40-seat pop-up wine bar, will operate out of a parking lotat food incubator Union Kitchen on select Sundays while the weather holds out, starting on Sept. 29, chef Tom Madrecki announced today.
    Madrecki, who learned to cook during unpaid gigs at some of the world’s best restaurants like Noma in Copenhagen and Le Chateaubriand in Paris, maintains a full-time corporate job on the Hill and will be running the pop-up with partner Liz Bird. The 25-year-old cook has said since starting Chez in March of 2012 that he prefers the challenge of serving a six-course dinner from his Clarendon apartment to professional chefdom… Read the full post here.

Making Graffiti a ‘Gift’ to the Community — for Parks & Recreation Magazine, August 2013

  • “Graffiti has long been a menace to public parks, viewed as vandalism more than art, Graffiti muralas it appears unsolicited on walls, benches or buildings. But a program at one park is putting spray cans into the hands of teens, teaching them how to legally use them as a form of expression.
    “I’m a real proponent of graffiti art within the community in a legal way,” says Alec McDowell, manager of Wakefield Skate Park in Annandale, Virginia. “I wanted to give the kids a way to practice their skills with a real artist.”
    View the full story here.

Out of a Pickle: what’s fresh, fermented & acidified at Virginia markets — for Northern Virginia Magazine, August 2013

  • Who knew canning photo 1 ould be so controversial? This year, Virginia passed a law making it the fifth state to allow acidified foods, like canned pickles, relishes and salsa, to be sold at farmers markets without a kitchen inspection. This story features three Virginia producers and their three different styles of making produce last longer: fermenting, acidifying or keeping it fresh and in the fridge. Read a PDF of the story here or in the August issue of NoVa Magazine.

WALK THE PLANK: Could the Tough Mudder’s first death become a reason to run? — for Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine, July 2013 

  • My first-person story about running in the Tough Mudder race that resulted in the DSC_0177 - Version 2event’s first death. “At some point during the half-mile, slightly uphill trek toward transportation — complicated by seized-up hip flexors and frozen fingers that couldn’t get the Clif Bars into my mouth quickly enough — I started thinking about what would come after the Tough Mudder we’d just completed…” Read the full story here and see a PDF as it appeared in the magazine here.

MODERN HUNTER: Where locally grown food means backyard target practice — for Northern Virginia Magazine, July 2013 

  • “Come winter, these hunting buddies are perched in trees, in full camo, waiting on does with bows in hand. What is unusual is that they’re usually in a friend’s backyard—not in some rural outpost of Virginia, but in the classically suburban enclave of Woodbridge. Such is the life of the urban bow hunter…” View a PDF of the story here. Online text here.

Food in the City: How food trucks, farmers markets and more shape DC’s new dining scene — for ElevationDC Media, June, 4, 2013

  • Shedding its image DSC_0003as a destination for take-out-only transients, the local food scene has matured over the last decade into something distinctly D.C.
    The District is becoming known as much for its food trucks as its five-stars, a place where the lunch hour has become more of a conversation starter than a pit stop and the latest hotspot could have literally popped up within the last week.
    So how does a city that’s just stepping into its food identity grow its reputation as an eating destination? How do the new food concepts that grab headlines or turn heads also bring people together or revolutionize a neighborhood? And how can the city keep it going?… Read the full story here.

Sweet Job: Volunteer’s passion for bees keeps them alive at Virginia park — for 

Beekeeper Story, PDF

Parks & Recreation Magazine‘s May issue

  • After more than 20 years of working with bees — first as a naturalist and now as avolunteer with the Fairfax County Park Authority in Virginia — Karen Waltman says she still hasn’t figured them out.
    “A lot of times they die off and I don’t know why,” said Waltman, who’s logged some 330 volunteer hours with the bees since her retirement in 2009.
    “I’m really fascinated by them.”

Covering the Scripps National Spelling Bee — for the Skagit Valley Herald, May 29, 2013

  • For a spelling & word nerd like me, I was a little too giddy about the opportunity to DSC_0160cover the National Spelling Bee for my former newspaper in Washington state. Though 11-year-old Trina Desquitado’s stint at the Bee was short-lived (despite spelling both of her words correctly) she represented her state on the stage at the championships, albeit not as a contestant. And I got to have a ghost-like byline in my former newspaper.
    I didn’t realize until I got to the Bee (or spent my time not at the Bee following it on ESPN’s live feed) how painful it would be to see these kiddos suffer through the process. The New Yorker writer got it right when she noted that these kids are young enough to not know how to hide their emotions, which is what makes watching so painstaking and, at times, hilarious. Read my story for SVH here.

A guide to coworking in DC — for ElevationDC Media, May 21, 2013

  • It’s easy to compare D.C.’s coworking scene, like its tech scene, to the likes of San
    al-confFrancisco or New York City, rendering the nation’s capital somehow behind on a trend that’s been sweeping the nation.
    But founders of local coworking spaces say that — despite being few in number compared to other cities — the demand for such spaces here is only growing, especially in the District’s suburbs, and the resulting spaces are uniquely D.C… Read about DC’s spaces here.

Edible garden installation company turns tiny yards, black thumbs into fresh veggies — for ElevationDC Media, May 7, 2013

  • It’s that time of year when, beckoned by the idealism of spring and a desire to grow their own food, people decide to plant an urban garden. Many of them (and I would include myself in this category) have no business doing so.
    And after those initial endeavors have shown forth their (lack of) fruit, these people call Meredith Sheperd… Read the Full Story.

Maryland’s Seafood Evangelist — for Foodshed Magazine, Spring

  • A feature story on Steve Vilnit, the man employed by Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources to promote local fishermen and seafood to area chefs and, therefore, eaters. Those snakehead “frankenfish” tacos you’ve seen creep onto menus? He was the one who convinced chefs to give it a try on their menus, helping to reduce the presence of an invasive species in the Bay. And he’s got perhaps the ideal background for the gig. Take a peak through the slideshow below, and read a PDF of it here.
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Horses and the Chesapeake Bay: 
Horse farms becoming larger part of Bay’s landscape, nutrient efforts
— forChesapeake Bay Journal
, April

  • DSC_0081“From the apex of her aptly named Rolling Acres Farm in Brookeville, MD, Pam Saul pointed to the gridlike pattern of horse paddocks below. A brown square of wooden fencing encloses each one, allowing for a row of grass between them that Saul said keeps the horses from playing across the fence, making mud tracks along the edge”… Read the Full Story.

Lamb Four Sundays, Four Ways — for NPR’s Kitchen Window, March 27

  • “It’s 9 a.m. on a Sunday, and my bathrobe and hair already reek of garam masala — Lamb chopsburnt garam masala, to be exact. Who’d have known that the key to this Indian-Pakistani recipe for lamb biryani would be the French cooking mantra of mise-en-place? Or that the minute it takes for the pile of spices to get “aromatic” in hot oil is not nearly long enough to both measure and photograph them before they turn to ashes?”… Read the Full Story, and a blog post about it at thinkabouteat.com.

Covering Innovation & Job News for ElevationDC Media — I wrote a story a day while covering startups and new businesses, filling in for the contributing editor. March 21-28, 2013

Series on Farming at the Metro’s Edge — for The Delmarva Farmer, March 19

  • Suburban farming: where tractors on road not so welcome — The dairy farmDSC_0065 that Eric Spates grew up on just outside of Poolesville has changed over the years as dramatically as the county and region surrounding it.
    His father sold the dairy cows in the mid-1980s and Spates, now 43, phased out the replacement heifers when he took over after college…
  • Paying big-city prices to get to farm nearby — Besides the inconveniences of farming near the city — getting neighborly complaints about the scent of manure or tractors on the road — the real issue can be the cost of doing business where there’s a high cost of living…
  • Farms proven to survive right at metro’s edge — Wade Butler’s orchard doesn’t have room to expand beyond his 300 acres, where his parents first planted peaches on what was a swath of sheer countryside in 1950.
    But, at a location that’s now just 45 minutes (depending on traffic) from millions of potential customers in the nation’s capitol, Butler is among a handful of farmers who find the city squeeze worthwhile.
    We hear often about how farming and development collide, but the two can, occasionally, find some mutually beneficial ground… 

Number of farms in Virginia down slightly — for Delmarva Farmer

  • The number of farms in Virginia decreased slightly in 2012 from the previous year, reflecting a reduction mostly in the number of mid-sized farms as larger operations get bigger, according to the state’s department of agriculture.
    The growth in the number of small-scale farms is not necessarily reflected in these latest statistics.
    The 46,200 farms counted last year by the Virginia Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service is down 200 from the number of farms counted in 2011…

New online grocers put local food a click away — for Elevation DC Media March 4

produce

  • Elissa Parker came home from a vacation to the Florida Keys last month to find a box
    of groceries waiting on her D.C. doorstep. She had placed her weekly order — for organic vegetables and a few items for her meat-eating husband — on Relay Foods’ website a couple days before. “I tell all my friends who work that they should do this,” says Parker, who pulls long hours at an environmental think tank. “You literally come home from work or travel to fresh food at your door.” Full Story.
  • See a blog post about my experience ordering from Relay Foods here.

Harvesting Energy for the Win — for Elevation DC Media March 4, 2013

  • A team of students from three universities in the District will be the first to represent the nation’s capital in the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon next fall, which — as luck would have it — will for the first time not be held in D.C. Full story.

MDA makes transition from cropland to grazing easier — for The Delmarva Farmer

  • ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s Secretary of Agriculture agreed earlier this week to DSC_0018begin including permanent grazing pasture as a best management practice eligible for agricultural cost share funding from the state. Myron J. Martin switched his family’s Washington County dairy and beef farm over to grazing practices in the early 2000s and has seen the benefits in his soil — and in the prices he gets for his organic meat and dairy products… “There’s positively no runoff that would get into the bay, and that’s just a beautiful thing for the environment,” Martin said. “Still, farmers have to make it pay.” Full Story.

Small-town Kansas food comes with a helping of hospitality — for American Food IMG_2943Roots

  • You won’t find braised pork belly or quail terrine on the restaurant menus in this street of a town — although such proteins are often hunted in the nearby prairies. Small-town Kansas food is not haute cuisine. The half dozen restaurants in Sedan (population 1,200), nestled amid the cattle-spotted flint hills of southeast Kansas, serve up something better than fancy food: a hot plate of hospitality… Full Story.

Pilot project links farmer hopefuls with landowners — for The Delmarva Farmer

  • ROCKVILLE, Md. — When a taskforce focused on boosting the county’s “green” economy considered how it could help grow new farms here, its members made a simple recommendation: Start a farm incubator program.
    Incubator programs — which typically provide short-term land access to beginning farmers following some sort of educational component — have become a increasingly popular method for training, equipping and launching new farmers across the country… Full Story.

Working toward a more affordable city — for Elevation DC MediaCNHED

  • In a district where the median rent for a home is nearly double that of the U.S. average — and the average home value is double the rest of the country’s — the term “affordable housing” can feel like an oxymoron (especially for those of us paying rents and mortgages here)… Full Story.

Virginia’s Piedmont region conserved 9,500 acres last year — for The Delmarva Farmer

  • More than 9,500 acres of land in the nine-county Piedmont region of Virginia were placed into conservation easements in 2012. That’s according to a report this month by the Piedmont Environmental Council, a nonprofit land trust that helps landowners with the voluntary agreements to permanently protect the agricultural and environmental resources on a property… Full Story.

Chefs go fishing for sustainable menus — for Elevation DC Media

  • DSC_0094A waterman on a boat in the Chesapeake Bay lifts a female blue crab into the air, its legs and claws flailing, and John Snedden is mesmerized. The owner and cook behind Rocklands Barbeque and Grilling Co., with four locations in and around D.C., is relishing the opportunity to see the region’s signature seafood in its natural habitat… Full story.

Baltimore chefs put bay’s bounty on the menu — for BmoreMedia.com

  • When Ryleigh’s Oyster first opened more than five years ago, the raw bar in
    Baltimore’s Federal Hill shucked about 500 oysters per week for its most adventurous eaters. Today, with the oyster’s briny and Chesapeake Bay-friendly reputation luring more patrons to the bar, the place can breeze through as many as 5,000 of the bivalves in a week, Executive Chef Patrick Morrow says. More and more of those oysters are harvested from Baltimore’s backyard bay, thanks to a growing number of local oyster farms… Full story.

A three-part series for The Delmarva Farmer looking at some of the certifications farmers are seeking that fall between conventional and Certified Organic: Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013

  • Farms seek certifications to satisfy curious customers DSC_0117
    CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. ― While Trickling Springs Creamery’s milk comes in idyllic glass bottles and is either organic or “FarmFriend Natural” — not to mention locally produced — the company’s managers found that grocery store consumers still wanted more information.
  • Certification gains ground for growers in Virginia
    A chicken grower in Dayton, Va., Winston Horst always wanted to grow vegetables on the side.
    When the Shenandoah Valley Produce Auction began providing a venue for him to sell that produce — within horse-and-buggy distance of his farm — he and his family jumped on board, growing and selling peppers, potatoes and cucumbers.
  • Va. producers stay ahead of certification regulations
    For fruit and vegetable farmers still on the fence about spending the time and money necessary for certain certifications, now is a good time to get the ball rolling for the upcoming growing season.

Farmers gambling on making more profits with less nitrogen – For Chesapeake Bay Journal | December 2012

  • “Anthony Beery gestures across the road from his dairy farm’s milking barn to a gently sloping field with just the stubble of a harvested corn crop left. He remembers, about a decade ago, when heavy rainstorms would wash so much dirt off the field that a skid-loader was needed to scrape it from the road below”… Read it here.

Squirrel Fest: It’s what’s for dinner in Romney, W. Va – For The Washington Post Nov. 28, 2012

  • “ROMNEY, W.Va. — The news that another critter has been added to this year’s Squirrel Fest buffet fails to impress at least one arriving guest.“I don’t want no ’coon,” he says, even as he meets the man who supplied it and is told how it will be prepared”… Read the story here.

Farming a la mode: Virginia dairy family finds success with drive-thru ice cream shop – For The Delmarva Farmer Nov. 20, 2012

  • “REMINGTON, Va. — After retooling a former antique store into a quaint, barn-like retail shop, seamlessly outfitted for making and selling of ice cream, Ken and Pam Smith said they laid awake at night thinking no one would come…” Read it here.

USDA’s new Farm to School grants to benefits D.C.-area programs – For The Washington Post‘s All We Can Eat Blog Nov. 14, 2012

  • FOOD — “The USDA has announced the recipients of its first-ever round of Farm to School grants — with some $280,000 destined for programs and farms in the Washington area and Baltimore…” Read it here.

These guys want to provide the nation’s capital with a steady source of local food For Grist.org
Nov. 12, 2012

  • FOOD & AG — “The maze of greenhouses, warehouses, and office spaces that is home to the Elkwood, Va.-based Blue Ridge Producecould have been custom-built for the company’s unique vision: to aggregate, process, grow, and promote local produce. But it wasn’t. In fact, the company’s founders lucked into finding an existing facility sprawled across 33 acres of land just south of the D.C. suburbs…” Read the full story.

Amber Waves: Making a go of Virginia-grown grains For Foodshed Magazine
 Autumn 2012

  • FOOD — “Five years into his grand experiment, Brian Walden finds himself knee-deep in a niche of local agriculture that barely exists around here: growing, processing, baking, malting, and doing whatever it takes to sell locally grown grains to local mouths…” Read the full story(Or pick up the magazine! Everything looks better in print.)

New dairy farmers bring latest technology to family farmsFor The Delmarva Farmer October 2012

  • AGRICULTURE — “After just three years at Virginia Tech, Matthew Heldreth returned to his family’s dairy farm in Rural Retreat, Md., with a degree in dairy science — and a “boatload of Excel” spreadsheets…” See the full story.

The Chesapeake Bay: Another possible casualty of this year’s farm billFor Grist.org Aug. 29, 2012

  • AGRICULTURE & CONSERVATION — Visited a fourth generation beef and poultry
    farmer near Harrisonburg, Virg. to see the conservation work he’s done on the farm. Despite his aversion to government as a libertarian Mennonite, Buff Showalter sees farm bill funding as one of the ways to get cleanup projects done sooner.

Bringing grains full circle – Aug. 7, 2011

  • FOOD — The vision is to help people think about grains and bread the way they think about veggies: buying local is better. The trend has taken off nationwide, with the Skagit Valley taking a big lead. A link to story here.
  • DRINK — A pair of retired restauranteurs launch one of the first small distilleries permitted under a new state law. Story.

Loyalty, trust saves Skagit farming family– Nov. 24, 2011

  • AGRICULTURE — The touching story of how four Japanese farming brothers, whose descendants now run the most renowned berry farm in the state, were able to stay in Skagit County because of the promise of another farming family.
  • PRESERVING FARMLAND —
  • Just before leaving the Skagit Valley Herald, I got to write a sort of capstone story about the area’s nationally recognized efforts to preserve local farmland, which ranked Skagit No. 1 out of a dozen Puget Sound counties for its progress.
  • As many in this farming region worked to preserve farmland and its workers, this story about young farmers looks at what is attracting a small but passionate group of young farmers to the field — and how that trend could bode well for the future of local agriculture.

A Sense of Place – 2011

  • FEATURES — Our staff wrote a dozen mega-features, one for every month, on the diverse communities that make up Skagit County. I spent weeks getting to know each of the communities I covered. See my pieces on EdisonAnacortes and Bay View.

 

A year later, moving on from Tesoro tragedy – April 3, 2011

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String on Steroids — mega rope maker in Anacortes – July 12, 2011

  • BUSINESS — A business feature on an industrial rope manufacturer. A fascinating glimpse into what makes one little company so cool. Picked up by the AP.
  • MORE BUSINESS — I covered county unemployment numbers each month and worked ahead to find an interesting angle and tease out the biggest news. Here’s a story on a hopeful January jobs report. And a story about Rep. Rick Larsen‘s bill to help businesses retain their key HUDzone status to compete for government contracts.

Farmers and the environment – Downriver Dilemma – Dec. 19, 2010

Sheriff’s candidates spar on character, at forum – Oct. 6, 2010

  • POLITICS — A records request led to telling details about one candidate’s anger issues. He then displayed his anger at a forum (hosted by the newspaper) in which he ripped up the above article. The story about that forum is here.
  • A long-time public official and incumbent candidate for county assessor hired his campaign manager as an employee of the Assessor’s Office. The story.

Military coverage:

The need to unite: the potential of a public-private hospital partnership – Oct. 23, 2011

  • HEALTH CARE — Leaders of a rural hospital district and a much larger Catholic nonprofit share how a partnership between them could benefit both parties. Their reasons mirror those of many other providers in the state who are linking up to compete amid a new health care economy. View more health care stories here:
  •  a battle between two hospitals (stories one, two & three). And the judge’s ruling on the case.

Exhausting their options – Jan. 25, 2011

  • LABOR — After learning that 400 workers in this county had exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits, I sought out some of the people trying to find work at the end of a lifeline.

One Response to “CLIPS”

  1. […] a freelance journalist who often writes about the folks behind our food, I love collecting so many story ideas in one place (and my poor husband thought we were just going […]

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