Hello Memorial Day

Hello new purple & white striped petunias.

Hello new spearmint that I finally caved in and
planted even though I know you'll spread everywhere.

Hello tender rosemary that I have to replant
every Memorial Day because winter kills you.

Hello new beach umbrella that also fits Patty O'Furniture.

Hello summer. Because we're in New England, summer starts RIGHT NOW.

Red Wine Vinegar, you fine old dame

I decided to buy myself a present at the food coop today. It was supposed to be retail therapy, getting a treat just cuz. I could enjoy browsing for, and then consuming, whatever. Would it be a brownie? A croissant? A slice of cake? It turned out to be a bottle of red wine vinegar.

I am not the member of my family who is All About Vinegar, so I feel a little funny going on about it. I'm not the person who makes salad dressing the way W.C. Fields makes a martini--letting the vermouth pass near the gin seems like about how much olive oil gets in our salad dressing. That dressing can be pungent. And then when the salad is gone, this person will lift the plate and drink whatever vinegary stuff is left at the bottom. That is dedication.

I am not even known for liking salad very much (or anything not made of cheese, chocolate, coffee, wine or crackers). I have definitely said smug things like, "Salad is what food eats." But after a long winter of carrots and apples and butternut squash, I was ready for greens today, with a lovely red wine vinaigrette.

Here are my vinaigrette ingredients--garlic & chopped herbs on the cutting board, plus seasoned salt, pepper, dijon mustard, canola oil, olive oil, and the precious red wine vinegar. Not shown: Agave nectar.

Shake it all up in a Mason jar. I love how the red wine vinegar imparts a touch of pink.

Hey, did you know coupons.com has a $1 coupon for Olivia's salads right now? See how this one is marked 2.99? That means I got it for 1.99! I don't know if that's actually a good deal, but it excites me because I am peevish about sorting lettuce. With this stuff I can just wash and eat. Or... just eat.

Bonus addition from a quick round of weeding this afternoon--fresh young dandelion leaves. I tore these up and added them to my salad.

Put it all together with some carrots and peas. This was just what I wanted. The dressing was both silken and bracing. Crunch!

Do you make your own dressing? I shoot for a 50-50 vinegar to oil ratio, what do you think?

CSA Gourmet: The biz plan

Often on Fridays I will have brilliant new business ideas. By the next week (if not sooner) they don't look so great and I discard them. One time I decided to build a local house-cleaning business. Another I was going to create a 2-week detox program and sell special herbal teas to go with it. Or I could start a kind of new-media-closet-cleaning business, where we'd take people's unedited video footage (aka boxes and boxes of film, tape, etc.) and turn it into sleek and awesome finished products to show off to friends, family, business prospects or whoever. My tag line would be "turning footage into film."

Meanwhile, here's an idea from last winter. Want it? It's localvore-y.

Glossary: As you probably know, CSA means Community Supported Agriculture. You pay for a share of a farm's produce in advance, then get boxes of the produce all season long. You've supported the farm by investing in their agriculture upfront.

Business idea/title/tagline:

CSA Gourmet: Taking Fresh to the Next Level

Summary of concept: Showcasing seasonal, local foods in ready-to-eat formats. A bit like if there was an "Iron Chef America Battle: Farmer's Market." Besides being interesting and creative, the project serves as public relations for CSA vendors at the Brattleboro Farmer's Market.

To do:

Assemble a list of typical CSA foods available, organizing roughly by season.

Come up with at least one recipe for each food.

Produce that recipe for public purchase, along with a small sheet about the produce item used and the recipe. Include an email address for feedback & recipe sharing.

Provide other flyers on localvorism, local CSAs & signups, other recipes, organic vs. local vs. both.

Interview local farmers about their CSAs: what are typical items, what are recipe recommendations for items.

Arrange rotating pickups with farmers for Weds or Thursdays, so produce will be fresh but can be cleaned and prepared in time for Saturday market.


It's an info booth that sells food. Not a restaurant. The key words are sustainable, local, seasonal. One goal is not to compete with the FM vendors. In fact, it would be like free advertising for them. "Where'd you get this jicama?" "Over there, at Gooseberry Ridge Farm. They're $3 a pound today." Or rather, it's like advertising that PAYS (because the food is purchased from the farmer originally).

Ideas for fare:

For each week, plan 3 items. For example, salad, sandwich (could be hot), other hot thing.

spring: mixed greens with sunflower sprouts. sourdough toasts with fresh chive ricotta & last fall's sauerkraut.

summer: banh mi with carrot-daikon pickles & cilantro. Localvore BLT. Edamame hummus.

fall: mushroom patties with chopped herbs and hot new potatoes. Kale chips. Root chips with rich onion dip. Garlic-ginger chicken skewers.

Aim to have 1 vegan and 1 gluten-free item per week (cd be same item)

Also serve a hot or cold herbal tea, depending on weather/season.

Homemade bread (sourdough) and sauces (vinaigrette, mayo, Real Pickles tartar)


coolers, gas stove, ice tea container with spigot, hot tea carafe, squirt bottles.

Utensils, paper dishes for items, paper cups for sauces, napkins

That's as far as I've gotten. What do you think--would you buy food from a CSA showcase booth? Would it be a good way to raise interest in local produce? Would it even be necessary? Maybe it should be a food truck? Maybe it should be a cook book. Maybe it should be a bunch of blog posts!

Happy Apple: very small rock (Song of the Week)

First it's the Cole Porter trick, the same note repeated for, like, ever. Then comes the drum and it's sounding like Ui, with drum and lots of bass, driving. They could be leading up to anything. Sonic Youth? Something synth-y? But there it is. A liquid sax line, falling and soaring and weaving. Like Stan Getz just stepped in. Or Bach. That sax is playing a fugue statement, deceptively simple, infinitely mutable, plus just gorgeous. I spend the rest of the song listening for the restatement, cuz that's what a fugue does. It gets you hooked, then it plays around and around and around with those ideas while never sounding quite the same. You're panting and impatient, enjoying the sounds but also just waiting to hear that first magical bit again. Just as things start to wane and I give up hope, it returns. 40 seconds left maybe. I'm obsessed with this song right now!

This isn't on soundcloud for me to embed--please visit the track at bandcamp and press play. Easy. Or buy from Amazon by clicking below, heck!

P.S. Does the title of this song remind anyone else of a certain witch trial?

Craigslist ad as cultural commentary

I had this brilliant idea for a Craiglist ad last month. I'm selling a now-rare plastic bag for $5. Here's a screenshot. I find this hilarious, but I'm also shocked that nobody has snapped this up yet! If you want this valuable piece please visit http://burlington.craigslist.org/clt/2321836990.html

What's the strangest thing you've seen on Craigslist? I just read a Village Voice article about a guy who sells heroin on craiglist. Golly.