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About the Author

Sharon Kitchens is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She writes about bees for The Huffington Post and stuff she loves on her personal blog, deliciousmusings.com.

When she is not writing, she enjoys edible gardening, reading books on food and/or thinking about food, hanging out by her beehives and patiently tracking down her chickens in the woods behind her old farmhouse.

In her blog, Sharon profiles farm families, reports on farm-based education and internships, conducts Q&A's with master beekeepers, offers tips on picking a CSA, and much more.

Sharon can be contacted at kitchens.sharon@gmail.com or on Twitter @deliciousmusing.

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Previous entries

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

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September 2013

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July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

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March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

Tuesday February 04, 2014 | 06:38 AM

A drawing by Master Butcher Hans Sebald of pig parts.

Take it from me, buying pork direct from a farmer will mean (a) you will never ever buy it again from a run of the mill supermarket – at least if you can help it (b) you need a freezer (c) you need to have or acquire patience (d) you need a farmer you can trust.

Practically speaking you should probably find the farmer first. That’s pretty easy in Maine thanks to the direct access you have to farmers via the plethora of outstanding farmers’ markets. If a farmer is selling meat he/she might be willing to sell you a whole pig or know someone who would. During the winter, when access to markets is more limited, you could search the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s farm database.

Thursday January 30, 2014 | 02:37 PM

 

"Wabanaki - Molly Muise, Mi'Kmaq", 2013. Image Copyright 2013 Scott Kelley, Courtesy of Dowling Walsh Gallery, Rockland, ME

In writing about Maine’s food sources I believe it is essential to look at the practices of those early Native Americans who inhabited Northern New England. In Maine there are a number of Indian tribes – we have the Wabanaki, a confederacy of Algonquin tribes, and other tribes stretching down the coast. Over the course of the next few weeks this blog will focus on the Maliseet, Micmac, Penobscot and Passamaquoddy, known collectively as the Wabanaki, "People of the Dawnland."

Helping guide this series is George Neptune, Museum Educator at the Abbe Museum in Bar Harbor, Maine. With Neptune’s help we will begin the Root’s Native American series with a look at oral traditions. While, as Neptune explained to me, many are fantastical in nature, he stressed the importance of understanding these stories as ways of understanding important historical events through a very specific cultural lens. According to Neptune, it cannot be said what the significance of Wabanaki stories is within Wabanaki culture, because each story has it's own significance.

Tuesday January 28, 2014 | 09:11 PM

Wild blueberry farmers in Washington County.

Today the House and Senate agriculture leaders announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement on a five-year farm bill. The House is expected to vote on the 900 plus page bill Wednesday morning and the Senate could then vote on the bill as early as next week.

The overdue bill has a huge impact this country, with more than 16 million Americans working in agriculture related fields.

Thursday January 23, 2014 | 06:43 AM

Hand pieced blocks for a Farmer's Wife quilt. Image by Shelby Faux, courtesy of Alewives Fabrics.

In recent years people have become fascinated with rural life. An increase in farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture has helped fuel this interest, by offering opportunities for customers to engage with the very person who grew the tomatoes and raised the chickens that laid the eggs they will serve to their family for breakfast. With more people taking an interest in how their food is grown, the idea of self-sufficiency has also begun to take hold. People want to learn how to make cheese, raise a small flock of backyard chickens, pickle and preserve fruits and vegetables, and other skills more often associated with a 19th-century farmer than a 21st-century urban dweller.

Helping to propel one’s dream of being a “hobby farmer” is the digital world and sites like Flickr and Pinterest, where thousands of beautiful and inspiring images are shared daily.

Monday January 20, 2014 | 06:55 PM

Pizza cooking in Pat Manley's masonry oven at his home.

There are a number of reasons why people still opt for the centuries-old practice of cooking with fire over using a conventional stove - the process is more interesting, you can experiment with flavor by using different kinds of wood, and the results can be absolutely delicious. During the winter, it is also pretty darn nice to stand next to a wood-fired oven.

But for stonemason Pat Manley, who lives in Washington in a house he built out of salvaged wood and materials and contains an impressive masonry heater that has a bake oven built into it, cooking with fire is quite simply a pyromaniacs delight. For three decades he has built wood-fired pizza and bread ovens, amassing an admirable list of Maine clients including Black Crow Bakery in Litchfield and Cafe Miranda in Rockland. Manley has also built ovens for Matchbox in Washington, D.C.; Loaf in Durham, North Carolina; Spread Bagelry in Philadelphia; and Fitzpatrick Winery and Lodge in Fair Play, California.