Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taste of the Nation: Share Our Strength’s Boston Benefit

“It’s like Christmas for people who love food and wine!” my friend Elsbeth promised. How could one say no to such a proclamation? I don’t believe I’d ever been to a party so described, and it piqued my curiosity.


Taste of the Nation advertisement, photo credit http://taste.strength.org/

Taste of the Nation is a nationwide event to raise funds for the mission of Share Our Strength, a nonprofit organization working to end childhood hunger. To attend, in Boston (prices vary per city), costs $90 for general admission and $150 for VIP benefits. Yours truly, after wondering if I could attain a press pass and then quickly admonishing the thought in the name of charity, put nearly her entire weekly budget toward the general admission ticket. I’ll eat pasta at home this week, for the children, I told myself. Plus, 100% of the cost goes directly to Share Our Strength. I lassoed my friend Laura, owner of Groovy Baby Music (who certainly wants her students well fed), to be my date and cohort.

Held at the Hynes Convention Center, Taste of the Nation hosted Boston’s best restaurants, bars, and wine and spirit purveyors, all donating their time and wares. Elsbeth was not joking, complete with star chef sightings, Taste of the Nation was like a candy store of fine foods. Nearly all of the heavy hitters were there: L’Espalier, Hamersley’s Bistro, Craigie on Main, Neptune Oyster, Taranta, Iggy’s Breads of the World, South End Buttery, and many, many more. Also to be noted was M.S. Walker and Ideal Wines, whose tables served the best wines of the evening.

Iggy's rolls, photo credit fun and fearless in beantown blog

The standout of the evening, for a few reasons, was Roxbury’s Haley House Bakery Café. I know this may sound incongruous—that the top-rated, James Beard recognized, starred and diamond rated establishments took a backseat to a café seems impossible— but hear me out. First, they had the most buttery, flaky, and perfectly seasoned empanadas I’ve ever had. Ever. They were so beautiful that I heard murmurs in their regard in all four corners of the room. Equally important to note is that they were vegetarian! I do not subscribe to a vegetarian lifestyle, but oftentimes a way to make something more delicious (this I do believe) is to add pork. To attain such beauty in a little pastry pocket with the support of little beyond flour, butter and some peas shows true genius. Secondly, their chocolate chip cookies broke my heart into tiny, lovelorn pieces. I only had one. I’ll have to go to Roxbury to relive the moment. Best cookie ever. Really.

 But I fell for Haley House for another reason. It’s a nonprofit organization. Originally started in 1966 as a place of shelter for the homeless in the South End, Haley House has for many years supported those in need. In 1996, they expanded to open a cafe where they taught baking and job skills to underemployed men and women. The popularity of the goods helped them expand to a catering commissary and a full training program in Roxbury. This strikes a particular chord with me, for I worked for a food justice organization in a neighborhood much like Roxbury in California. Like the Haley House and Share Our Strength, People’s Grocery works to end hunger, provide jobs, and promote healthy living. From what I could gather, Haley House was the only table at Taste of the Nation that was a nonprofit, and for donating not only their time and energy, but their products too, seconded their commitment to the overarching purpose of the evening. They were, in effect, donating twice, and you’ve got to respect that.
Second runner up was L’Espalier’s goat cheese panna cotta with rhubarb foam and pistachio crumble. I loved the goat cheese flavor that crept up on you after the initial sweet-sour rhubarb rush. This was a beautifully executed and creative dessert. Iggy’s bread and Neptune Oysters proved as reliably perfect and delicious as always, and honorable mention goes to Whole Foods Market, for serving up sustainably harvested, smoked fish and caviar combinations. Lastly, I had an ossubuco dish that was so out of this world that I forgot who made it.  It was that good.

 L'Espalier goat cheese panna cotta, photo credit: fun and fearless in beantown blog

For all the good that Share our Strength does, bringing children’s hunger in our own country to a forefront, there is a small twinge of irony at such an event. This was an expensive, fancy event where those least likely to ever be hungry were fed lavishly. I wonder at the practice of wining and dining those who donate in order to make the donation seem more worthwhile. Maybe that's just the fun of it. Afterall, we paid for a very nice dinner. Still, such an event will create a clearer and more achievable route to sufficient nutrition for our children. Regardless of any inconsistencies, any path to that end is worthwhile, and if in doing so we get to visit each of our favorite restaurants in one night, so be it.

Visit Share Our Strength’s website, and buy tickets to the event in your city:

See more photos and hear what others thought of the event at:

Friday, April 22, 2011

Maitland Mountain Farm: Urban Oasis and Pickle Heaven

It’s a pickle phenomenon.

Holly Maitland and Andy Varela have been making pickles for some time now, but they can hardly keep up. Supplying restaurants and farmer’s markets, Chive Events caterers and the habits of all of their friends, they’ve had to begin ordering cucumbers wholesale through the restaurant Holly works for. Otherwise, there aren’t enough cucumbers in the city of Salem to cover their needs.

And the hype is worth it. I ate from my quart driving in the car. You can picture what a gamble that was; I risked the smell of pickling juice—forever—in order to eat the pickles. I live on the edge when it comes to things like this. I couldn’t wait to reach a safer locale; the fresh herbs swirl enticingly around the quartered cucumbers, coriander and juniper berries bob and wink at you, the bits of spice promise to deepen the whole experience. These crisp and delicious pickles were inspiring.

In fact, bartenders on the North Shore agree. These Maitland Mountain Farm pickles can be enjoyed in an icy martini at both The Blue Ox in Lynn and Duckworth’s Bistrot in Gloucester. A friend made such a drink once at a party I attended, and while I didn’t get to have my own, I drank half of hers when she wasn’t looking. They make for a dirty martini with spice and freshness. It’s like using Hendricks gin, when there’s no Hendricks in sight. The pickles will also be on the food menu at Duckworth’s soon, paired up with their grass-fed beef burger. Holly and Andy have a running list of other businesses that they are in contact with about carrying the product too. It appears as if the North Shore of Massachusetts cannot get enough.

There’s more though, Holly and Andy run a full-fledged urban farm as well. Pickles just tide them over. In full harvest season, pickle buyers can feel even closer to the source, knowing that all the cucumbers come directly from their farm in Salem. Located on 2.5 acres of land, one of which has optimal farming conditions, they grow greens, lettuces, herbs, cucumbers, horseradish, tomatoes, and will triple their cut flower production this season. While only in their second year farming, they already are aware of the best crops to grow for efficiency, quick return, profitability, and popularity. They have even been commissioned to do the flowers for a wedding this summer.

Operating out of a greenhouse during the winter, they already have starts ready to be transplanted in the field. Wary of losing any plants to frost, they plan to start putting things in the ground within the next few weeks. Until then, their greenhouse is bursting with tatsoi, arugula, lettuce greens, herbs and tiny tomato plants. The arugula created a veritable carpet of cushy greens, so much so that someone expressed a desire to sleep on it. We ate a salad of arugula and tatsoi for lunch, and oh man, that was the best salad I’ve had all winter.

Their 64 chickens, most of which are Rhode Island Reds, roam free all day long. They were meandering around, front and back of the house, throughout the construction site (the farm is going solar- placing panels on the back roof that will pay for itself in five years), and waltzing in and out of their coops. I imagine this place in summer: flowers bursting, fruits and vegetables flowing out of the field, chickens roosting, completed solar project contributing back to the grid. They have a bamboo garden with a Buddha resting in the center, and have used this bamboo to create artful fences and dividers, supports for hops and vines. The chicken coops add to the rustic charm of the place. All this accomplished in the heart of Salem, Massachusetts. This is what I love about urban farming- that one can create an idyllic space complete with all the beauty and attributes of rural farmland, but with the benefits of being proximal to their customers, compact enough to use minimal energy and water, and diverse enough to meet all the needs of their supportive base.

Andy and Holly are young and excited, readily admitting that they are learning exponentially with each passing season. Holly’s background is in garden design and restaurant work, Andy’s in cooking. Having worked as a private chef in East Hampton, NY, Andy became accustomed to working directly with farmers and learning the benefits of sourcing seasonally and locally. Together, the two create delicious food and a lovely atmosphere. Holly’s father Peter helps with the chickens and runs the tractor, in addition to his more seminal contributions of owning of the land and offering the seed money for the greenhouse. A friend and restaurant coworker, Kim, is their only real employee.

Their flowers, produce and pickles can be purchased at the Salem Farmer’s Market and, hopefully, a growing number of grocers and restaurants nearby. They are pondering the possibility of a CSA program next year, but will only know as the time approaches. Until then, I’ll continue to barge in on Tuesday mornings for a quart of pickles and the freshest of greens. I’ll drive home with abandon, fingers in pickle jar.

Get your own: $7/quart, Salem Farmer’s Market: http://salemfarmersmarket.org/

Market runs: June 16 – October 20, Thursday, 3-7PM

Visit the Farm Website: http://www.maitlandmountainfarm.com/

Twelve Chairs Shop+Studio designs for beauty and comfort

It’s the kind of shop I want to live in. It is uncluttered, beautifully curated, welcoming and comforting. The floor to ceiling windows warm the space even when it is snowing outside. The large loft space is designed like an open floor plan apartment (probably why I want to live here…). A bed in the corner displays pillows, quilts and material swatches, a couch and chairs and their upholstery and fill options in the center, and a table behind filled with recipe cardholders, tea towels and cookbooks. There are bookshelves with artfully designed new edition classics- think Little Women and Great Expectations in cloth-bound hardcover with gilded lettering. These are books we are likely to already own, however the beauty of the cover sways your judgment and you very nearly buy them again, just for the effect they are likely to have on your shelf. There is linen, handmade soap, letterpress cards and wool. It is everything I dream of when wishing that the world still required hand sewing and writing with pen and ink. The objects are handmade by artists and artisans, mostly American, using traditional techniques and raw, unprocessed materials. They even sell a goat’s milk soap alongside the maker’s book about leaving New York City in search of the pastoral life in Vermont. If you’ve been following my debut on this site, you know my affinity for goats and that I am likely to be a sucker for all things related. I buy the soap each time I visit- it’s my little indulgence. Twelve Chairs Shop and Studio is just down the road from my house, and it’s truly a treasure in the neighborhood.
Now six months into their endeavor, Roisin (“Row-sheen”) Giese and Miggy Mason, friends from the Cornell University Interior Design program, are happy with their progress so far. When they conceived of opening a design studio together, they laugh now to think that they never questioned whether it was a good idea. They had chatted about the mutual desire to own their own studios while dressing for Roisin’s wedding, and then two weeks later—just after the honeymoon—Miggy was eager to discuss her ideas, having decided they should open one together. It was settled then, without a second thought and seemingly without ever second guessing themselves. They knew one another’s aesthetic and ability, and shared a vision that included comfort, beauty and sustainability.
http://www.wineandfoodtravel.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC05325.jpgWith the help of the book 16 Weeks To Your Dream Business, Giese and Mason approached the project with structure and resolve. While living on opposite coasts and both working full time, Giese in commercial and residential interior design and Mason at Anthropologie, they each took chapters of the book to complete. They would then have marathon-length conference calls to discuss their ideas and progress. It took them much longer than 16 weeks, but they accomplished their opening date goal of September 2010, after one and half years of planning.
In addition to locally- and sustainably-sourced  home furnishings, they provide design services. Just recently, they feel that their business has fine-tuned itself; they shop has begun to run smoothly enough to concentrate 50% of their energies toward design. Both roles are inspirational to them; they are able to continually change the layout and design of the shop, creating vignettes and new dimensions, while designing for a client’s unfamiliar space pushes them to readjust and tailor their ideas. It is in design that they see they have the most potential to expand, for they don’t want to grow in number of shops. Design allows them the creativity of new projects and challenges, while using the shop as their main showroom and advertisement of their abilities. They count the actual space as the third influence on their design, noting that the high ceilings and industrial quality allow for larger pieces with reclaimed wood and steel.

http://www.wineandfoodtravel.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC05360.jpgAnother extremely important component to their business is its location and the community to which it belongs. Located in Boston’s Fort Point neighborhood, they purposefully chose the area because of its dedication to local, independent art. Fort Point Artist Community helps make the neighborhood art and design dense. Through Glovebox, a Boston group committed to helping undiscovered artists find unconventional gallery space, Twelve Chairs hosted artist Kate Castelli this winter in a show called “Chairs @ Twelve Chairs.” The next collaboration is with artist Christina Watka, whose beautiful installations are currently showing. In addition, an opening party for four Fort Point artists, Adam O’Day, Sean Flood, Jacob Higginbottom, and Jodie Baehre (one of the Glovebox founders) will be held in mid-April. All four artists paint Boston cityscapes, but in incredibly differing styles. It is these opportunities that make Mason and Giese agree that this neighborhood is rife with anticipation and is bursting with potential, and they are smitten with the energy and warmth with which they have been welcomed.
http://www.wineandfoodtravel.com/wp-content/uploads/DSC05367.jpgWhile Mason and Giese want all aspects of their business to be environmentally and socially responsible, they are wary of being “earthy/crunchy.” Instead they hope to show that one can feel good about their purchases knowing that the products are hand crafted, manufactured and designed locally, and without unnecessary chemicals. They specifically focus on small production and independent designers, for they love that they can call up the artist and speak with them about their products directly. These personal relationships help them not only choose their products with more knowledge and confidence, but can even help tailor a product for Twelve Chairs’ specifications. They hope to make the shop home-like but sophisticated, unpretentious and accessible. In an effort to mix old and new, they love to look for antiques wherever they can, always searching for a new piece to create fresh arrangements around. Twelve Chairs subscribes to their People and Planet Principles, only carrying an object that fulfills at least six categories. Such categories include requirements such as: the product is designed and manufactured by a company within the USA or Canada; the inks, dyes, and/or finishes used have minimum impact on the planet and are not harmful to people; the materials used are from natural, renewable resources; the methods used to produce the product are focused on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and worker protection; and the people that create the products are paid a fair, living wage and there is a commitment to social and environmental standards.
Both Giese and Mason look forward to a vacation. Between working in the shop six days per week, meeting with clients before and after work, and setting up the next art installation in the shop, the two are quite busy. They remain enthusiastic though, inspired by their favorite blogs (Oh Happy Day and Coco+Kelly), excited by recent publicity from the revered Elle Décor, even reading business books before bed. Miggy was recently proposed to in the shop, and her mind is already aflutter with her wedding’s design. I can only imagine how beautiful it will be.

Twelve Chairs is in my neighborhood, at 319 A St, Boston. But if you don’t live here, go find your own Twelve Chairs inspired store on your own, I promise you'll be transported.

Monday thru Saturday | 10 to 6
Sunday | By Appointment

A Love Letter to Anthony Bourdain

I’ve been thinking about Anthony Bourdain a lot lately. While the new season of his seven year-old show, Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, has certainly hijacked my Monday nights, my love affair started when I had the opportunity to see him speak at the American Dietetics Association’s annual meeting.
I know, seems weird that he would be addressing dietitians, given that he celebrates all things pork. I was curious if he’d be booed off the stage.

My sister, a nutrition expert (see http://www.chicagonow/eatright), was in town for the ADA Food and Nutrition Conference this past November. Anthony was offering the conference’s closing speech in a talk entitled “How to Stop Worrying and Enjoy Globalization.” This was a terrifying title to me—I studied Environmental Studies, Food and Environmental Justice—and was wary of a shortsighted viewpoint of the issue. I was compelled to hear his arguments. At that point, he had not yet won my heart. I hadn’t read his books, rarely watched his show (mostly because this lucky jerk had my dream job!), and anyone who is going to advocate for globalization surely doesn’t understand the entire scope of the issue. I went in a skeptic…and obviously came out a groupie.
Dinner with a Cambodian Rice Farming Family. Credit www.travelchannel.com
He was humble and endearing to a surprising degree. He was both aware—and appreciative—of the tremendous professional good fortune he has experienced. He also was articulate, knowledgeable, and conscientious. And, most importantly, his view of globalization was not as pessimistic as mine. He reveled in the transportation of food culture and traditions to all corners of the globe. He offers the tip- wherever you have the highest concentration of a particular population in a community is where you will find the most authentic foods from their respective countries. Why would that, from a culinary perspective, ever be anything but a boon to a region? This is a way to travel internationally without leaving your home. Noting Korean food for its complete lack of Americanization, he says that the food they serve stateside could easily be the food you’d get in a Seoul street market. Whenever he travels, he eats what the locals eat, not the food presented for tourists. This, he claims, allows him to know what food offered at home is most similar to the real thing. Being in America, a true cultural amalgam, Bourdain argues that we should embrace our myriad backgrounds and relish in one another’s offerings.
Art Maze in Port-au-Prince. Credit www.travelchannel.com
Bourdain credits sushi’s rise in popularity in the US as a tipping point for foreign food acceptance. This, he believes, created an atmosphere more welcoming and desiring of ethnic foods.  Before sushi, Americans were wary of raw fish, chopsticks, wasabi.  But its introduction created a place where foreign food was not only available, but less intimidating, even sexy. Once Americans wrapped their heads around such an entirely different form of meal, the door was opened for all other food traditions to be introduced.  Suddenly, Indian, Vietnamese and Brazilian were more palatable and available. It was as if a memo went out that Americans were suddenly willing to spend money on crazy foods, so the response was to expose us to more of them. Sushi created a pivot point where Americans not only began desiring foods unlike their own, but sometimes preferred them. This in turn, made the US a more likely place for immigration to occur, since one could rely on the sale of their ancestral foods as an assured income. Our country is now a place where foods from all cultures are represented, a true international food court.
Nicaraguan houses in La Chureca. Photo credit www.travelchannel.com
Beyond these completely logical arguments advocating the worldwide spread of delicious food, Anthony impressed me as a man who has grown up a lot since his television debut. He even pokes fun of himself, having been such a cocky young chef, swearing, smoking and boozing his way around the world for us all to watch in wonder. I always wondered if he even appreciated how lucky he was to be there- if he appreciated his position as the one in a million lottery ticket win it was. I am convinced now that he did, as he certainly has said it again and again recently. In the past few years he has gotten married, had a child, and wised-up quite a bit. This season’s shows put him in places that ask a lot more a traveler and he has been visibly moved a few times. The shows in Haiti and Nicaragua in particular showed a Tony that is aware of his role and his effect on the places he visits. His point of view is pragmatic, his respect for foreign places and people significant. This, and his humble stage demeanor, won me over. His extensive travels have provided him with a unique perspective one can only realize after a life doing just that- traveling. I dare say that the entire convention of dietitians were so charmed by him that they forgave him all his unhealthy habits. We left completely enamored of this straight talking, food obsessed man.
Bourdain and Ripert talk advertisement. credit www.eater.com
I have seen him again since, on his tour with chef and restaurateur Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin fame. They spar back and forth about one another’s reputations and qualifications, beliefs on farming, fishing and vegetarianism. They also just sat and chatted about food: their favorite snacks, restaurants most desired to have time to visit, the greatest chefs...etc. Bourdain’s perspective on vegetarianism reveals his intentions best; that when you are invited into another’s home that you eat anything they serve with a smile on your face. He refers to it as the Grandma’s House Rule- that you never complain and always ask for more, sometimes having to take one for the team. This is the outcome of a life spent meeting new people in places with unfamiliar customs and growing wiser as a result of it. If the rest of us are not so fortunate as to be able to be food and travel writers trotting around the globe, at least we know that he, as the luckiest of the long-careered ambassadors in the spotlight, has grown into a proper representative of the spirited stuck at home.

Watch Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations Monday Nights at 9pm on the Travel Channel

Follow him on Twitter (@NoReservations) and Facebook

Read his books (I may even read them now!): Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary UnderbellyA Cook's Tour, Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, The Nasty Bits, Bone in the Throat, The Bobby Gold Stories, and No Reservations: Around the World on an Empty Stomach (book list credit of http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Anthony_Bourdain/About_The_Show/Meet_Anthony_Bourdain).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Newborn baby goats at Valley View Artisanal Cheese Farm

They make a little wailing sound. They wobble and sloth around, blink their foggy eyes, and settle down again next to the warmth of one another. My friends and I each pick one up, wrapped in old bath towels. Mine, with long white and grey ears and a silky black coat, moans and headbutts me. He does it again. And then my nose is in his mouth. He gums at it—he won't have teeth for a few weeks—and I feel his soft and slippery tongue on my nose. He lets go. He moans and does a little wail as he settles down. I don’t know what he is wailing about, so I jokingly tell him, "I know, I'm upset too." He is getting accustomed to life on the outside, having just been born a few hours earlier, and I am experiencing an absolute dream come true. I am holding a baby goat. I almost want to write "I. Am. Holding. A. Baby. Goat." so that you know exactly how important this is to me. I declare to my friends, and the goats owner, Liz Mulholland, owner and operator of Valley View Farm, that we have fallen in love. It's that easy.

These baby boys we held were born that morning. They have eaten their first meal, dazed in and out of consciousness, and are even still a bit damp. Their coats still have remnants of the birthing process on them; their hooves are white and gelatinous. They are getting used to their bodies. I am reminded a bit of young teenagers, awkward arms and legs disproportionate to their bodies, with limbs so long and uncontrollable that they seem prohibitive to movement. I watched one kid launch himself into a contortionist backbend; he pushed his body with his hind legs into a corner of the box in which he and his brothers were resting, arms lost under his body and head bent back unnaturally against the wall. As hard as it seems to believe, these boys may take their first steps today.

They are three of the thirty-one new kids born this season at Valley View Farm. There are more to come too. The very pregnant ladies remaining were resting in the sunlit barn, one or two of which may have begun to labor within hours.  These are lovely Nubian goats, quite large in size, soft haired, long eared and polite. Their milk is mild in flavor and especially good for making cheese.

Valley View Farm is the only cheese producer in Essex County; they make terribly delicious farmstead goat milk cheeses, artisanal cow’s milk cheeses, and produce maple syrup from trees on the property. Located in Topsfield, MA, they truly are a mom and pop labor of love. Run by Liz, her husband Peter, and her mother Mary, the owner of the property, they have only one intern, my friend and coworker Sabina. They are currently considering adding a cheesemaker, Luca, from Italy to make cow’s milk Italian style cheeses. Their operation is manageable and small enough to make beautiful cheeses in a quantity sufficient to meet immediate local demand.

Valley View produces seven signature cheeses. Besides a fresh whole goat’s milk feta and a chevre, the Highlander is reminiscent of a Valencay and their New Meadow similar to a goat’s milk Camembert. For their mixed milk and pure cow’s milk cheeses, Valley View gets Jersey milk from Appleton Farms and Holstein milk from Artichoke Dairy, both nearby in Essex County. Made with Jersey milk, the high butter fat helps make the Essex cheese similar to a Camembert/Double Crème cross. I polished off a round of Essex last year with a friend- it was creamy, nutty and runny, everything I look for in a brie style cheese.  To make Harmony, a mix of Jersey and goat’s milk is used in the same technique as the Essex. Lastly, the Holstein milk is used to make a cow’s milk feta when goat's milk is in short supply. Luca is experimenting with making some fresh Mozzarella, Primo Sale, and Scamorza, among others. I took home a Primo Sale, nearly finishing the entire container on my afternoon train to New York.

I came to Valley View with Chive, a zero waste, sustainable event design and catering outfit located in Beverly, MA. Sabina and I work with Chive from time to time, serving sweet nibbles and working out menus. They are known for their commitment to local farms, and this is how we have come to meet Liz.  I originally met Chive through the restaurant I help run in Gloucester, MA, also committed to local sourcing and seasonable ingredients, where we use Valley View’s cheese. It is a match made in culinary networking heaven.

I have been interested in visiting the farm since last year, and kidding season is the perfect time to visit a goat dairy for the first time.  The slightly older kids in the barn are sure footed, running and jumping off of crates and stools, long legs splayed out in mid-air glee.  We feed them mother’s milk from sanitized reused Corona bottles with nipples on them.  Like human babies, the kids look you in the eye as you feed them. They are tan, black, white and dark brown, soft to the touch and eager to play. These goats have sharp baby teeth, and weren’t allowed anywhere near my nose. When the milk bottles are empty, they suck on your fingers searching for more.

Upon meeting Liz, I turned into a teenager with a crush and could barely utter a starstruck word- she’s living my dream! She is surrounded by a beautiful farm full of tapped maple trees, vegetable gardens soon to be teeming with springtime growth, and the sweetest herd of dairy goats.  Her home, an 1830s farmhouse, has been in her family for years. The land is beautiful and hilly, the view far reaching.  The farm will keep all the does born, and maybe a billy or two, but the rest of the boys born will be sold off as pets, meat, or as studs.

Chive is currently planning a dinner where we will highlight some of Liz's cheeses.  We will serve an assorted cheese plate starring the Harmony and Essex cheeses, which we will serve with Marcona almonds, membrillo (a quince paste jam), a winter fruit chutney, and fresh local baguette. I also plan on crumbling the Primo Sale, the ricotta-like goat cheese, with local honey and dried fruits on puff pastry. While Valley View Farm is not open to the public except for special events, their products are available in shops in the North Shore Massachusetts region and in many a local restaurant. You can also sign up to be on their mailing list via their website. Look for a small goat farm near you where you could both support a local artisan and experience the total elation of having a newborn goat gaze into your eyes, rear up, and headbutt you in the face.  If you're lucky.

To buy Valley View cheeses, see the listing of purveyors on their website.
Valley View Farm
Topsfield, Massachusetts

Hello All!

I'll be writing bits and pieces for an online publication and wanted to reach a wider audience, possibly under a name just my own.  so, friends, welcome, I'm here to regale you with my articles and my experiences otherwise. I'll write on travel, artisans, food, wine, restaurants, and good times. Hope you'll follow along.