Yesterday we set the timer on NHPR's food series Eating In and spoke to Berlin Reed, the vegan-turned-ethical butcher about knowing where our meat comes from. I asked him what happens in places like New England, where we have lots of sustainably-raised livestock, but no places to process them. Well, we’re learning a lot from eating in as well, and today we heard Reporter Elaine Grant’s piece on a new, federally inspected slaughterhouse in Westminster, Vermont that opened three weeks ago So, there is now a place for prospective livestock farmers to close the circle locally.
It's been a lot of fun around NHPR as we prepped for "Eating In," our weeklong food series. People talk about food with a kind of excitement you don't always hear when discussing things like public policy. Yes, we all know the narrative: food brings us together. It puts us all at the table. It serves up a metaphor of nurturance. Its smells and flavors and rituals trigger memories and provide continuity in our lives.
Berlin Reed spent most of his life avoiding meat. He became a vegetarian at age 12, and a vegan at 20.
At first he was just trying to irk his mom. Over time, Reed’s reasons deepened to indictments of animal cruelty and environmental destruction by the meat industry. Then, out of desperation, Reed took a job at a meat counter in Brooklyn. Within weeks of starting the job, Reed was not only up to his elbows cutting carcasses, but dining on them too.
As the days grow longer, gardeners are thinking about what to plant and how much of it, with an eye to frost advisories and heavy rains. According to a National Gardening Association Survey, 41 million Americans grew fruits and vegetables last year - about 13 percent more than the year before. Increasingly, those gardens are not just at home, but at the office. From the uber techies at Google to more traditional outfits like Pepsico and Toyota, corporate-sponsored organic vegetable gardens are sprouting up like garlic shoots.
The Granite State is known for its crisp apples, plump blueberries and abundant maple syrup. Here’s another local ambrosia to add to your table, a bottle of New Hampshire-harvested, fermented and bottled wine.
Wine was first officially produced here in the late 1960s. Today there are 24 wineries in the Granite State. Many vineyards export their bottles out of state, but all promote the movement to drink locally.
Grain is a key ingredient in the American diet. Many of us are familiar with the US Department of Agriculture’s food pyramid with bread, cereal, and pasta forming the large base at the bottom. Local food reliance has a certain appeal, but producing all of the wheat, barley and rye needed to feed the region might be our biggest challenge. As part of New Hampshire Public Radio’s series on food, “Eating In”, Amy Quinton has this look at the prospects for home grown grain.