Boston Public Market

Lucky Boston: earlier this year the city got an indoor, year-round farmer’s market housing local and regional vendors of food and farm products in the North End, right next door to the Friday-Saturday Haymarket produce market. HP hit the road a few weeks ago to visit Boston Public Market and we wanted to share a little tour with you here.

Boston Public Market

At the Boston Public Market, farmers, fishermen, and food producers from Massachusetts and throughout New England offer the public a year-round source of fresh, local food and an opportunity to taste, buy, and understand what our region has to offer.

Chestnut Farms raises grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, pork, lamb, goat, poultry, and eggs, in Central MA.

Meat counter at Boston Public Market

Inside Boston Public Market

Stillman Quality Meats is unique in that they have their own meat processing and butchering facility on-site, which spares the animals a stressful truck ride to the slaughterhouse. That translates to more ethical meat, obviously, but also more nutritious meat: the stress of transport and rough handling before slaughter cause the animals to release fear-induced adrenaline, cortisol, and steroids into their bloodstream, which humans then ingest. Yum!

Happy poultry at Boston Public Market

Happy farm at Boston Public Market

More happy beef, pork, lamb, and poultry from Lilac Hedge Farm, also in Central MA.

Happy meats at Boston Public Market

There’s much more than meat at Boston Public Market: produce, nuts, flowers, cheeses, honey, ice cream, doughnuts, beverages, chocolate…

Boston Public Market

Boston Public Market

Boston Public Market

The Kitchen at the market hosts cooking demonstrations and discussions, and non-food health offerings such as yoga and a run club.

We’d already had lunch (lobster rolls at Warren Tavern in Charlestown, a required stop when we’re in Boston), so did not try any of the prepared meals also sold at the Market, but we had a doughnut from Union Square Donuts and it was so good that it was gone before I could take a picture.

Boston Public Market is a phenomenal addition to the community and I look forward to visiting again with an empty stomach!

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Yoder’s Country Market, Madison VA

Yoder's Country Market

Coming home from a recent work trip to DC, I stopped (as I am wont to do) at one of the big Mennonite country stores on Rt 29 north of Charlottesville. Yoder’s Country Market moved into a huge new location earlier this year, now with more than twice the space for baked goods, bulk items, groceries, gifts and gadgets. I hadn’t been to the new location and was wowed by the variety of local products available, including meats, fish, fruits and vegetables, beverages, prepared foods, and body/health/home goods. It’s a great stop on a road trip for a snack, or to pick up some groceries on your way home.

Here’s a quick tour of some of the happy meats and local products Yoder’s carries:

Local trout from Madison Rainbow Trout, which is also sold at the Charlottesville City Market!

Madison rainbow trout

Natural chicken from Sunrise Farms, producers of grass-fed beef, and free-range chicken (and eggs), turkey, and pork. They also sell non-GMO feed and honey at their farm store in Stuarts Draft.

Sunrise Farms chicken

Happy beef from Wolf Creek Farm: born at the farm, raised on pasture only, antibiotic and hormone free, and not exposed to chemicals in fertilizers or pesticides.

Wolf Creek Farm beef

Salsas, tzatziki, dill dip, and pesto from The Farm at Red Hill, a small organic produce farm in North Garden:

Salsa, pesto, dips from The Farm at Red Hill

A huge selection of local honey of all sorts of types and flavors, including their own Yoder’s honey:

Local honeys

Gray Ghost Craft Soda, all natural, caffeine-free sodas in creative flavors (cotton candy?) from Madison.

Gray Ghost Craft Soda from Madison

Sugar scrub made with essential oils, from Raindrops in Virginia, a Charlottesville company:

local sugar scrub

And, of course, bulk goods as far as the eye can see.

so many bulk goods

Bulk goods

Yoder’s is worth a stop on a trip through Madison on Rt 29 whether you need car snacks or want to stock up on local meats and other goodies. I’ll be back on my next DC trip later this month!

Yoder's Country Market

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Second Annual Locavore Dinner

Last year’s Locavore Dinner was such a stellar success that the public demanded a Second Annual Locavore Dinner, which was celebrated at a local lake late in the summer. Again, there was a complicated/clever/rigged scoring system created by Cheenius, and again, Cheenius won. Hmm. Scoring went as follows:

4 pts. if you grew/raised it yourself
3 pts. if it came from within a 50 mile radius of your household
2 pts. if it came from within a 100 mile radius of your household
1 pt. if it came from VA.

Freebies: you don’t have to count herbs, oil, vinegar, salt, or pepper.

Estimate each ingredient’s proportion of the whole and multiply by the point value, so the total for the entire dish is out of a maximum of 4 points.

And show your math.

The rules were promptly amended thusly by the non-Cheenius attendees: if you don’t (want to) show your math, you must submit a haiku.

Cheenius won again this year for Most Local with a potato strata created primarily of ingredients grown in her own garden; the Tiny Twosome won Best Tasting with an amazing biscuit-based peach cobbler; and, in the absence of other voters, I hereby declare myself the winner of the haiku competition with a heartfelt poem that is not fit to print on this site.

Thanks to the Cheeniuses for getting us organized and hosting another successful Locavore Dinner! Let’s do it again next year!

Locavore Dinner in Photos

The gorgeous setting, complete with local flowers from a City Market vendor and beeswax candles made by Cheenius herself:

table by the lake

We enjoyed local beverages from Blue Mountain Brewery, Champion Brewing Company, Bold Rock Hard Cider, Barboursville Vineyards, and Prince Michel Vineyard.

local beverages

Nadia’s bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed jalapeños were a close second in the Best Tasting category.

bacon-wrapped jalapenos

Mr.Dr. Cheenius made an addictive fruit dip with Caromont Farm goat cheese and honey from the Cheeniuses’ own bees. Apples and peaches came from Carter Mountain Orchard.

goat cheese dip

Mr. HP and I brought local beef purchased from JM Stock Provisions, thinking we weren’t just providing a delicious dish, but also crafting brilliant a strategy: our dish had a single ingredient (plus freebies salt and pepper) sourced from within 50 miles of our home. That’s a solid 3-point entry, with no math required!

local flank steaksslicing the steaks

Can you tell we were a mostly vegetable-based group? The winning potato strata, Ewe-nique‘s egg muffins (with sausage!), Annie’s veggie kebabs, and Melissa’s marinated green bean salad were all delicious.

sausage muffins and veggie kebabsa very local plate

Drumroll… the winning dish, a peach cobbler. It was fantastic.

peach cobbler

peach cobbler

To celebrate local food, you need local spirits. Cheenius, ever resourceful, curious, and talented, shared some homemade mead and blackberry wine with us. They were… not so good. But A for effort, Cheenius!

homemade mead and blackberry wine

Winners chose prizes from a variety of environmentally-themed goodies: magazines, books, the best honey around, and local Gearharts chocolate.

the locavore prizes

And finally, where better to pass around samples of Soylent than at a gathering of folks interested in eating REAL food? Mr.Dr. Cheenius ordered it out of curiosity and mixed up a batch at the end of the evening. It could have been that we were all too full from feasting, but it was fairly unanimous among those who tasted it: Soylent is terrible. I thought it tasted like pancake batter, if the pancakes were made of cardboard.

soylent: not local food

For more of Cheenius’ wacky adventures, see:
Cheenius’ adventures in homemade wine
A visit to Vermont’s Shelburne Farms
Cheenius fights the law: Urban Chicken Keepers vs County Planning Commission
Cheenius in Missoula: The Good Food Store
Cheenius and the Mushrooms, Part I

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Product review: The Eggstractor

Eggs are delicious and versatile protein powerhouses, and eggs from happy, pastured chickens should be a staple in every (non-allergic) person’s diet. I eat eggs scrambled with veggies for breakfast most days, but my favorite way to enjoy eggs is when they are deviled. Last time I attempted to make deviled eggs the shells did not want to go peacefully, and I have not laughed so hard in a decade as I did when assembling those pitiful, mangled eggs to take to a fancy luncheon. So sometimes not being able to prettily peel an egg may be a positive, but generally, when one peels an egg, one wants it to peel easily and come out with a smooth, intact surface.

Enter the Eggstractor. The Eggstractor “Peels Hard Boiled Eggs Instantly & Perfectly”! It’s fast and easy: just tap the egg to break the shell on one end, put it on the specially designed Eggstractor egg holder, and press on the billows to pop a perfectly peeled egg out of the bottom of the apparatus. Seems too good to be true, right

Fun and easy!

The A-Team and Haute Pasture teamed up to try out this magical tool. Carefully following the instructions, we made several attempts and ended up with a pile of crushed and/or exploded eggs, and much hilarity. We filmed our eggsperimentation for your education. Please watch this video before purchasing an Eggstractor.

Or if you’d prefer a photographic journey:

Many others have tried the Eggstractor with similar results, but there are some success stories in the comments of that article, claiming that you should only press down part of the way on the billows to avoid an eggsplosion. Maybe we’ll repeat our experiment in the future and employ some of these tips, but for now we can confidently say we do not recommend the Eggstractor, eggcept for a good laugh.

Thanks to the A-Team for their help with this eggsperiment!

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Tips for feeding bugs to your family

I mentioned a special surprise dessert in my satay post.

chocolate-dipped crickets

You may recall from my birthday gathering last fall that a chocolate shop in Charlottesville sells chocolate-dipped worms, crickets, and scorpions. Mr HP and I thought it would be fun to surprise the family, which includes a brave 4-year-old girl and a slightly timid 7-year-old boy, with some crickets. Mr HP and I made a big show of savoring our cricket treats, but alas, nobody else would try one. The other adults wimped out completely, and after careful consideration, our niece asked to take hers home “to eat later.” (We have not yet received confirmation that it actually happened.)

my niece vs the crickets

Our nephew asked to take his home too, and then burst into hysterical tears. He was so torn between wanting to do this thing that seemed really interesting and cool, and his general fear of bugs. It was kind of adorable.

The bugs were packed up and conversation moved on.

Five minutes later, through his sobs, he declared he was ready to eat the bug and proceeded to stand in front of us all, bravely pop it in his mouth, tentatively chew, and then triumphantly open his mouth for inspection. He said it tasted like chocolate.


Fast-forward one week, and my sister and her husband were visiting. Since the adults of Family Weekend #1 passed on the chocolate crickets, we presented them on a dessert plate to the adults of Family Weekend #2. My brother-in-law didn’t hesitate, eating one with zero fanfare. My sister, however, wavered. She stalled with questions (“do I eat it cricket-side up or cricket-side down?”) and made all sorts of dismayed sounds while alllllmost pulling the trigger. Finally she did it… and said it tasted like chocolate.


What is the moral of this story?

Feeding your family bugs is fun for everyone. Chocolate helps the process. Read this post to learn more about why eating bugs is a good thing to start practicing. If you haven’t tried a chocolate-dipped bug and have them available to you (ahem C’villans), you should try one, and tell us how it goes in the comments!

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Cheenius’ adventures in homemade wine

More educational fun from Cheenius! Thanks, Cheenius!

What if you could make your own wine???

Well, Cheenius can’t. Or at least the initial attempt was slightly flawed. But, while it was nothing you’d want to force on anyone, Cheenius’ blackberry wine was actually drinkable, and talk about local! Check it out:

Cheenius had been scoping out a nearby empty lot with lots of brambles for some time. Last July she happily trespassed once the blackberries were ripe, and within an hour had a huge bucketful. These wild berries weren’t the tastiest, but Cheenius figured they had enough sugar to make alcohol and make her trespassing worthwhile.

The recipe was easy:

  1. Smash up berries
  2. Let them sit
  3. Add water, wine yeast and sugar
  4. After four days, strain with cheesecloth

straining the wine  becoming wine

Six months later you have something that tastes alcoholic, and with a teaspoon more of sugar to your glass, isn’t too much of a chore to drink. Rousing endorsement, for sure.

blackberry wine

OK, maybe you’re thinking this particular experiment wasn’t a success… and yet, Cheenius MADE ALCOHOL from scratch. That’s like playing God, people.

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Malaysian satay recipe

My mother-in-law spent two years in Malaysia with the Peace Corps in the 60s. During that time she was exposed to all sorts of wonderful food, and fortunately for our family, she brought many cooking skills and recipes home with her.

One of our favorite dishes she introduced us to is satay: meat marinated, skewered, grilled, and served with a dipping sauce. Preparation is long and involved, so it’s a special occasion dish, best saved for when it can be tackled as a team effort. This past weekend was just such an occasion: the family was all together!

I bought several pounds of steak and chicken breasts from JM Stock, a local, sustainable butcher in Charlottesville, my brother-in-law provided the marinade and sides, and he and Mr. HP supplied the skewering labor and grilling prowess.

Typically we use flank steak for satay, but JM Stock recommended a bavette steak, which I hadn’t heard of before, and it worked perfectly.

bavette steak

The beef and chicken is cut into thin strips and threaded onto skewers, basted with coconut milk, and grilled, then served with a peanut dipping sauce and accoutrements such as rice squares, cucumber salad, and pineapple cubes.

beef and chicken skewers ready for the grill


basting the chicken

cucumber salad and rice squares

beef skewers

SO GOOD. Thanks, family!




  • 3-4 lbs. thinly sliced meats (flank steak, chicken breasts, tofu)
  • skewers
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Large ziplock bags


  • 2 T curry powder (Malaysian/Indian brown)
  • 1/2 t anise
  • 1/2 t coriander
  • 1/2 t ginger powder
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t turmeric
  • 1/2 t cayenne pepper
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 c vegetable oil
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 4-5 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 T sugar


  1. Mix marinade ingredients; add to large ziplock bag with sliced meat and marinate for 1 day
  2. Thread marinated meat onto skewers
  3. Grill skewers, brushing them liberally with coconut milk while on the grill



  • 1 c peanuts
  • 1 large onion
  • 4-5 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 in piece ginger
  • 4-5 dried red chiles
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 2 t coriander
  • 1 t cumin
  • 1 t curry powder
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3 T brown sugar
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 2 T soy sauce


  1. Puree peanuts and set aside
  2. Puree onion, garlic, ginger, chiles and set aside
  3. Heat oil in saute pan over medium heat. Cook onion mixture until it smells of onions and garlic
  4. Stir in coriander, cumin, curry powder and simmer on low heat for 5 minutes
  5. Stir in coconut milk, peanut puree, brown sugar, lemon juice, soy sauce until combined



  • 1 1/2 c short grain white rice
  • 2 1/2 c water


  1. Boil water
  2. Simmer rice, covered, for 25 minutes
  3. Press cooked rice into a glass dish; refrigerate at least 2 hours
  4. Cut chilled rice into cubes



  • 3 cucumbers
  • 2 shallots
  • 4 T sugar
  • 4 T white wine vinegar


  1. Chop cucumbers and shallots
  2. Mix sugar and vinegar
  3. Marinate vegetables in mixture overnight

skewered meat with peanut sauce, pineapple, and rice

This post got too long so I’ll save the surprise dessert for another day.

Have you ever made satay? Let us know in the comments!

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A visit to Vermont’s Shelburne Farms

Another sustainability adventure from Cheenius. Thanks for sharing, Cheenius; sounds like a wonderful trip!

Cheenius and Mr. Cheenius ventured north! First stop was Shelburne Farms near Burlington, VT.

Descendants of this Vanderbilt “country house” decided in the 1970s to put their tremendous acreage to work for sustainable agriculture and education:

We believe that soil, plant, animal, environmental and human health are interconnected and that agriculture is the base of a healthy culture and civilization. Our goal is to be a diversified, organic farm that supports a healthy local food system and creates an inspiring learning environment.

Shelburne Farms country house

They have a large herd of dairy cows, make their own cheese, and manage the manure in an amazingly responsible way through a system of field filters. Cheenius was excited to try their cheese, and was impressed with the variety of cheddar they were able to produce through aging or smoking.

Cheese samples

They grow organic produce and raise chickens and goats too. They also have an entire herd of solar panels! Their plan is to be completely energy self-sufficient in the next few years.

Shelburne Farms solar panels

Their main focus is much broader than just another sustainable farm, however. They partner with schools in and out of the area, and have brought THOUSANDS of kids to learn where their food comes from, and about sustainable agriculture in general.

We care about the sustainability and quality of life on earth. We care about young people having hope for the future. We believe that sustainability is grounded in individual awareness and action in our own communities.

Today at the Farmyard
The day we were there they were preparing for kids to come in and bake their own bread — starting with wheat from the field! I’m sure later they were going to smear homemade butter on it, and probably sing this song:

The Butter Song

Shelburne Farms offers visitors a Welcome Center and Farm Store, and general admission to the property gets you access to walking trails, a Children’s Farmyard, and cheesemaking viewing. For the ultimate Shelburne experience, stay at the Inn and have dinner at the restaurant:

At one of Vermont’s premier farm-to-table restaurants, our menu items are built around what’s being harvested in our Market Garden or from area farms on any given day or week.

Have you been to Shelburne Farms? Let us know in the comments!

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Left Bank Butchery in Saxapahaw, NC

Last month I visited a few fantastic local sustainability resources in the Burlington, NC area: Burlington’s food co-op Company Shops Market, Piedmont Feed and Garden Center in Chapel Hill, and Left Bank Butchery in Saxapahaw.

Left Bank Butchery

Have you been to Saxapahaw? It’s a magical oasis of local food, drink, art, music, and nature in the middle of rural Central North Carolina.

Food and drink: Saxapahaw General Store, The Eddy Pub, Haw River Farmhouse Ales, and of course Left Bank Butchery

Art, music, nature: Haw River BallroomPaperhand Puppet InterventionHaw River Canoe & Kayak Co.

Combining all categories: the weekly farmers market and outdoor concert series Saturdays in Saxapahaw, running from May through the end of August; and this coming weekend (May 2) is the annual Haw River Festival!

On the gloomy March day of our visit, we stopped only at the General Store for a delicious lunch (I wrote about our first visit there here), and Left Bank Butchery for some treats for dog (pig ears) and human (grass-fed local steak from Braeburn Farm).

Left Bank Butchery believe in using sustainable farming practices to raise healthy, happy animals. They start with whole carcasses from cows, pigs, and chickens pasture-raised (or, for the pigs, pasture- and forest-raised) on local farms, and butcher them in-house to ensure the highest-quality cuts of meat possible.

Our arrangement with local farms is simple- we buy from farmers that use the highest standards in regards to animal welfare, ecologically sound farming techniques, and quality of meat.

The day we visited our only planned destination in Saxapahaw was the General Store for lunch; we were thrilled to see Left Bank Butchery a few doors down. Next trip to NC we’ll have to go back on a summer Saturday for Saturdays in Saxapahaw… or to see a band at the Haw River Ballroom… or for dinner and beers at The Eddy… or to paddle the river. So many reasons to return to Saxapahaw!

The New York Times and Washington Post love Saxapahaw too. If you go there and don’t want to leave, here’s who you should talk to about real estate.

Have a Saxy day!

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Piedmont Feed and Garden Center in Chapel Hill, NC

The next stop on our tour of local shopping highlights in the Burlington, NC area, was Piedmont Feed and Garden Center, right down the road in Chapel Hill.

I’ve been dragging my feet on this post because my sad, sorry, rainy day pictures are an embarrassment and don’t do the place justice. The store is bright and welcoming, full of feed and products for livestock, dogs and cats; a carefully curated equestrian section; bulk farm and landscaping supplies; and anything you might need for your garden. And if the greenhouse was lovely on the dreary March day I was there, it must be gorgeous now in Spring bloom.

See their Facebook page and Instagram feed for photos full of vibrant colors that show off the store way better than I do here, or better yet, go visit in person!

Piedmont Feed & Garden

The greenhouse 

This was before the Spring plants were fully stocked; the greenhouse is even more impressive now.

Greenhouse plants

Greenhouse plants

Greenhouse plants

The equine section (my favorite)

Equine section

Wanted: everything

Purchased: a Shires grooming kit bag (I am absolutely loving this bag), and a hoof pick/corkscrew combo (for emergencies)

The pet, poultry, and livestock sections

Poultry and livestock sections

Wanted: the fancy chicken coop and the squirrel-proof bird feeder (the sales video at the feeder display is pretty entertaining)

Purchased: a duck-shaped dog toy (HPuppy’s current favorite) and some limited-ingredient dog treats

If you live in the Burlington or Chapel Hill areas, Piedmont Feed and Garden should be your go-to gardening and farming resource. Check their events calendar to learn about upcoming plant and animal workshops and seminars, and go see Chris and Lilly–then vote for them as Best Garden Store and Best Pet Store for Chapel Hill Magazine’s 2015 Best of Chapel Hill Awards! Hurry, polls close on Wednesday the 22nd.


Next and final Burlington area tour stop: Left Bank Butchery in Saxapahaw. (We also stopped at Saxapahaw General Store for lunch but I’ve already written about how wonderful that place is.)


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