Award-Winning Chef Spike Gjerde to Headline “Food Fight!” Planning Conference

The Eastern Shore Land Conservancy (ESLC) has released the agenda for its 17th Annual Planning Conference,“Food Fight! Healthy? Sustainable? Realistic?”. The all-day affair, to be held on Thursday, November 10th at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club in Stevensville, MD, boasts an impressive list of national and regional speakers. Attendees should expect to be engaged in interactive sessions with the goal of helping to discover what an optimal food system based on Eastern Shore agriculture would look like in the future.

food-fight-master_cropWoodberry Kitchen’s Spike Gjerde, Baltimore’s first winner of the James Beard Award for Best Chef(Mid-Atlantic), was recently confirmed as a speaker at the conference. Gjerde’s presentation, entitled “From My Perspective – My Take on Healthy, Local, and Sustainable”, will provide an informed view of what a celebrated chef in a major metropolitan restaurant goes through on a daily basis in order to prepare and serve healthy, locally-sourced food.

International speaker Dr. Solomon H. Katz, Director of the Krogman Growth Center & professor of Anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania will speak at the conference, presenting “A Biocultural Perspective on Food, Food Waste, and Beyond.” Other speakers include American University Professor T. Garrett Graddy-Lovelace, Chesapeake Bay Foundation Scientist Beth McGee, FRESHFARM Co-Founder Ann Yonkers, and many more.

Home to some of the region’s richest soil, the Shore produces a substantial portion of Maryland’s wheat, soybeans, and corn, as well as poultry. Whether you operate a farm, food-related business, or simply do the food shopping for your family and would like to know more about where it comes from, this conference will leave attendees better informed to make decisions that can positively affect our region’s overall health and sustainability.

One issue that will be examined during “Food Fight!” is that of food waste. Whether in the production, distribution, consumption, or waste management aspects of its lifespan, the millions of pounds of wasted food our system produces has deservedly become a hot topic.

“It’s shocking to learn that a region with so much agriculture has such severe food access issues,” says ESLC Program Assistant and conference organizer Rachel Roman. “Approximately 40% of the food that is produced goes to waste before it even reaches the grocery store. Dr. Katz will talk extensively about this problem as it often goes unnoticed in our daily lives.”

Interested attendees can register online at eslc.org/events. Act quickly, as early bird pricing has recently been extended until Saturday, October 15th ($45 instead of $55). Students are encouraged to attend the conference with a discounted ticket price of $25.

ESLC has included free admission to a screening of the food-based documentary “In Defense of Food” (based on the book by Michael Pollan) with each conference ticket, which will be held the evening prior to “Food Fight!” at the Eastern Shore Conservation Center in Easton, MD.Tickets to the film screening may be purchased separately for $10.

For more information about the conference, please contact ESLC’s Program Assistant Rachel Roman at 410.690.4603 (x156) or rroman@eslc.org.

About Eastern Shore Land Conservancy
ESLC is a private, nonprofit land conservation organization committed to preserving and sustaining the vibrant communities of the Eastern Shore and the lands and waters that connect them.Our vision for 2050 is an Eastern Shore where towns are vibrant and well defined; farms, forests, and fisheries are thriving and scenic; historic, natural, and riverine landscapes are maintained. www.eslc.org.

Food Friday: Squirreling Away

Luke the wonder dog and I have been enjoying our daily walks around town quite a lot these days. I am thrilled not to be sweating and panting from the merciless heat of summer. He, being a happy kind of guy, is just glad to be out of the studio and in a world of swirling smells and sights. And then there are the squirrels. The squirrels are everywhere!

Luke is a mutt of indeterminate parentage. We adopted him from the Humane Society four years ago when he was just a wiry black, brown and white pup. Since then we have learned that he sheds about a bale of fur every day, his favorite spot in the house would be smack in the middle the white sofa if he were allowed on it, he does not like the UPS man, he loves to play ball, and his heart’s desire is to catch a squirrel.

Luke is a short hair something. Passersby often comment that he looks like a blue tick. Or a short Doberman. Or a tall beagle. Or something else with papers and lineage. We think he is a true American mongrel – our own mid-sized melange of a dog. He is not a water dog, although he loves to swim – but only if he is retrieving his ball. He is not a retriever, until you hurl his ball though the air, and then he goes tearing across the field like a race horse, intent upon catching his ball. He is a snob. No common tennis balls for him. He is not a Lab. Only orange and blue Chuckit!® balls for Luke.

Luke is not nearly as fussy about squirrels. He is pathetically comical when he sees a squirrel. Suddenly he assumes his cloak of invisibility and cartoonishly slows his pace, as he tiptoes, silently, toward his intended. The squirrels will sit, unblinking, staring back at Luke, munching on their nuts, until the dog is inches away. Then, in a tiny furry flash, the squirrels pivot and exit the scene, often vertically. Keep in mind that I am part of this scenario, every time, as Luke and I are attached by 6 feet of heavy duty leash. In the cartoon that is our life, I am the dust and debris behind Wiley Coyote and the squirrels are the Roadrunner.

Fall is a marvelous time for the squirrels. There are acorns and pecans and dogwood berries pelting down from the trees. We squashed our way through some ripe-smelling ginkgo fruit yesterday. But the best part of fall for the squirrels (and for Luke) seems to be enjoying the Episcopal church pumpkin patch. We walk by the pumpkin patch a couple of times a day. This morning it was swathed in a cool wispy fog. Yesterday it was sunny, and before the church ladies arrived to set up their cash box, the church yard was buzzing with busy squirrels, grazing on the pumpkins and gourds. We saw one squirrel who was enjoying the buffet with a dinner plate-sized slice of pumpkin while sitting on a flat gravestone. It was a tasty looking breakfast. The squirrels had nothing to fear from Luke, because they were behind the wrought iron fence, and Luke was on this side. He paused often and poked his nose through the rails, sniffing, willing his luck to change. Luke is ever vigilant and ever hopeful. With almost a dozen squirrels to consider, surely the odds would tip in his favor eventually.

Back in the real world we are enjoying the notion of fall. As we turn back into the kitchen to prepare warmer meals for the cooler days, I am like Luke, and always hoping for a tasty schmackeral or two. I’m not hanging out at the churchyard, hoping to catch a squirrel for dinner, but I am always looking for something deelish and easy. Fall means the return of root vegetables. Get down to the farmers’ market this weekend, and load up on some local produce. Squirrel some away for an easy dinner (or two) this week. Roasting vegetables fast and easy, and you can take a little leisure time walking through the fallen leaves, watching the squirrels stock up for winter.


“Experiment to me
Is every one I meet
If it contain a Kernel?
The Figure of a Nut
Presents upon a Tree
Equally plausibly,
But Meat within,
is requisite
To Squirrels,
and to Me”
-Emily Dickinson

Author and Environmental Scientist Joan Maloof to Speak at Adkins Arboretum

joan-maloof-1How can we save the earth? More specifically, how can we stop the downward spiral of the earth’s forests? Author and environmental scientist Joan Maloof has considered this question from the view of an author, an activist and, most recently, a nonprofit director and founder of the Old-Growth Forest Network. She has probably visited more US old-growth forests than anyone alive today. Join a discussion of special forests and how they might be saved for the next generation when Maloof presents Nature’s Temples: Biodiversity and Old-Growth on Wed., Oct. 26 at Adkins Arboretum. The program begins at 2 p.m.

In this gathering for tree lovers, Maloof will discuss remains of these never-logged forests and what makes them so special—including the latest scientific findings. She will also discuss the successful expansion of the Old-Growth Forest Network, an organization formed to ensure that each county in the US capable of supporting forest growth will preserve at least one forest open to the public.

Maloof is the author of two previously released forest-related books: Teaching the Trees: Lessons from the Forest (2005) and Among the Ancients: Adventures in the Eastern Old-Growth Forests (2011). Her latest book, Nature’s Temples: The Complex World of Old-Growth Forests, will be released later this year. She is a Professor Emeritus at Salisbury University, where she founded the environmental studies program. She has experienced many of the nation’s old-growth forests firsthand.

Nature’s Temples is $15 for Arboretum members and $20 for non-members. Advance registration is appreciated at adkinsarboretum.org or by calling 410-634-2847, ext. 0.

Design for You: Really Comfortable Dining by Pamela Heyne

I advocate sit down dining in my book, In Julia’s Kitchen, Practical and Convivial Kitchen Design Inspired by Julia Child. Recently in my own family room I made two changes to enhance that activity.

screen-shot-2016-10-18-at-9-14-05-amThe first change was the chairs. I took away the dining chairs and added traditionally styled easy chairs to the glass topped table in the family room. These chairs are comfortable; blissfully soft, they say, “stay”. So….you lean back in them rather than sitting ramrod straight. Your head is supported. You relax. Maybe you scrunch your legs up. The effect is remarkable…my husband and I linger at the table far longer than we did in the past.

The second change was the TV. Oh we still have one, in an armoire. But, as the phrase goes, we “cut the cable.” Now we are not paying a fortune a month for shows we don’t watch and a few of those news shows we watched too much. We get all the news, commentary and specialized shows we really need, all delivered through the internet. But now, much of the time the armoire doors are closed.

In my book I mention that Julia Child enjoyed watching Tom Brokaw’s news show every evening, but never while dining. As I often say, the meals we enjoy and remember are the ones we share with others rather than with the TV. It takes twenty minutes for our brains to get the message that we have eaten enough. Distracted dining in front of the television often results in our eating more food than we need, and enjoying it less.

So maybe one solution to our national obesity epidemic is to make sit-down dining really, really comfortable. And, take a cue from Julia, no seconds! But, conversation has no calories…it is just food for thought.


Pamela Heyne, AIA is head of Heyne Design. pam@heynedesign.com 410-714-9040 her book is available through her, at local stores and online.

Food Friday: Boeuf Stew – Winter is Coming

There are many schools of thought (and even more recipes) about beef stew. Every family does it differently. It is a good and hearty meal to have bubbling away on the back burner; fragrant and fortifying. Julia Child’s famous Boeuf Bourguignon might be a little daunting, as can be seen in the fey (and much admired) Nora Ephron film, Julie and Julia. Lots of steps, lots of prep work, lots of cooking time – for a meal that gets consumed in a flash! You have barely ladled the chunky, meaty morsels into a pretty antique porcelain soup plate, just scraped the knob of sweet Irish butter across the hunk of artisanal French bread, and had your first sip of perfumed red wine – when the meal you have labored over for two days is but a memory. Poof!

My mother watched Julia Child on The French Chef on PBS, back in the old days, on the black and white Zenith console TV in the living room. She kept a supply of little three by five notecards to remind herself of some of Julia’s witticisms and helpful kitchen techniques. This must been the time when my mother suddenly decided to add red wine to her stodgy winter staple: beef stew. Otherwise, the fanciest she had ever gotten, cooking-wise, was when she bought a garlic press and introduced her WASP-y family to the flavors of Continental cuisine. Julia Child then brought us into the vibrant 20th century world of the global kitchen. Good-bye Jell-O molds! So long to Velveeta! Howdy, La Tarte Tatin. My mother never got to level of Pâté de Canard en Croûte, probably because the butcher she patronized around would never have stocked duck, but her curiosity and appetites were whetted and our meals certainly became more flavorful.

I haven’t had a chance to recreate many of Julia Child’s recipes. I dip in and out of Mastering the Art of French Cooking from time to time – when I want something ceremonial or mind-blowingly impressive. Boeuf Bourguignon is not a recipe to be entered into lightly. However, given a couple of home-bound hurricane days and a well-stocked kitchen it is a good way to while away the hours.

Be sure you have wine, bread, a small salad and then whip up a batch of Julia’s favorite brownies while waiting for hurricane season to end. Winter is coming.





And if you would like to addle your sad winter-tinged brain with more possibilities and permutations – here are 42 recipes from the clever folks at Food52, who had a contest for the best beef stew recipe ever.

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.”
-Dr. Seuss

Spy Moment: The Garden Club of America comes to the Mid-Shore

The Spy loves gardens and gardeners, so when we heard that the prestigious Garden Club of America Flower show, hosted by the Talbot County Garden Club, was taking place at St. Marks Church in Easton last Tuesday, we immediately sent one of our agents. The assignment was to gather vital intelligence on the sights, sounds and smells of this remarkable display of horticulture, flower arrangement, photography, and work by children from all over the Mid-Atlantic region.

Guided by Flower Show Chair, Bobbie Brittingham, and Garden Club member, Hannah Byron, our spy submitted the following reconnaissance report capturing some of the award winners and their stunning examples of our natural world’s beauty.

This video is approximately two minutes in length

Adkins Arboretum’s Fairyfest is Oct. 22


Magic is in the works for Adkins Arboretum’s Fairyfest on Sat., Oct. 22. Photo by Kellen McCluskey.

Bring your wings and wands for a day of magic at Adkins Arboretum! The Arboretum’s first Fairyfest, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 22, celebrates fancy, fantasy and fun in the forest. Follow a trail of artisan fairy houses along enchanted forest paths, hunt for dragon tracks leading to a golden treasure trove, and join in a meadow maypole dance. Summon the courage of knights of yore while practicing archery with wooden bows and arrows, and bring your camera for photos with the Fairy Queen. Natural materials will be on hand for crafting wands, fairy houses, gnome houses and toadstools.

The event includes live entertainment throughout the day in the woodland theatre, shimmering fairy face painting, bubbles and magical games. Children ages 12 and up (or younger children with an adult) can create one-of-a-kind acorn fairies inspired by nature in Master Naturalist Beth Lawton’s Fairy Makers workshop. The workshop is $10 for members, $15 for non-members; advance registration is required.

Admission is $5 for ages 3 and up and free for children 2 and under. Pay your entry fee in advance at adkinsarboretum.org and receive a pass good for free Arboretum admission for two. Inspired refreshments will be for sale.

Fairyfest is sponsored in part by Garden Treasures of Easton and Dr. Ramirez’s Pediatrics. For more information, call 410-634-2847, ext. 0 or visit adkinsarboretum.org

CBHS to Learn About Sacred Geometry in the Garden

Stephanie Wooton will explain what sacred geometry means for the garden at the Oct. 13 meeting of the Chesapeake Bay Herb Society.

Ms. Wooton, a CBHS member, currently works at Unity Nursery in Church Hill, where they have a demonstration garden based on “Sacred Geometry.” The area includes an organic garden, labyrinth and stage for music and presentations. She worked at Garden Treasures in Easton for 17 years before moving to Unity.

Not knowing a thing about sacred geometry, she decided she had better learn fast since it is the foundation of Unity’s gardens. The more she read, the more fascinating the subject became as it related to gardening. Her presentation is a fun introduction to some basic principles.

Wooton was born in Germany and spent her youth in many countries due to her father’s diplomatic career. She obtained a degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin before moving east where she married and raised two sons. Working at a garden center in Frederick led her to pursue her horticulture degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. When she gets home from work these days, she says she continues to “play (toil!) in my own garden with two (un)helpful cats.”

The society usually meets the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. at Immanuel Lutheran Church, 7215 Ocean Gateway, Easton. Meetings include an herbal potluck dinner, a short business meeting and a presentation on an herb-related topic. The theme for the October dinner is herbs and spice blends of the Dutch Empire.

CBHS was formed in 2002 to share knowledge of herbs with the local community. The group maintains the herb garden at Pickering Creek Audubon Center.

For more information, call (410) 827-5434 or visit www.ChesapeakeBayHerbSociety.org.

7th Annual Columbus Wine & Food Celebration Saturday October 8th!

Simpatico, Italy’s Finest, celebrates Columbus Day with its 7th Annual “Columbus Celebration” of Italian Wine & Food in honor of explorer Christopher Columbus, on Saturday, October 8th, 2016, from Noon to 5 PM at 104 and 106 Railroad Ave. in St. Michaels, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

murray-as-columbus-in-tent-jpg-close-upOnce again, Christopher Columbus will be in attendance and will share tales of his exploration adventures, as part of the festivities planned for adults and children of all ages! The event will be held rain or shine in the tented parking lot adjacent to Simpatico. Stop by and transport yourself to Italy! Special pricing promotions for the wide range of wines will be offered, discounts on wine-related ceramic items and other items in the shop.

This not-to-be-missed event will feature the following activities to the public at a cost of $25 per person, $10 for designated drivers, kids free. Highlights include:

Italian Wine Tastings (& a couple of Spanish wines!) of over 60 wines, Limoncello, Italian Vodka, Prosecco, & Bellinis, the famous 3 B’s of Italy: Barolo, Barbaresco, Brunello! New wines to Maryland will be introduced at this event!

Italian Food Served & Tastings including Regional Artisan products. Also serving our Antipasti, Chicken Pesto, Caponata, Pasta & Wild Boar Sauce, Orange Olive Oil Cake & more!

Wonderful Artisan Cheese Tastings flown in from Italy every 2 weeks. Take some home to pair with your wine!

Chef Demos: Chefs will perform cooking demonstrations in the tent and provide samplings starting at 1 PM & 3 PM.

Italian Music – come listen to your favorite Italian songs played by Sergio on his accordion!

Italian Trivia – Answer all the questions and you win a bottle of wine

Meet Columbus and hear about his adventures in exploration, and have your picture taken with him!

Gift Sets available: Food, Wine and Ceramics in attractive gift sets perfect for Host/Hostess Gifts & Holiday events.

Selected Local Shops are offering special offers for attendees with their wrist bands.

For more event details, and to purchase tickets, go to Events on www.simpaticostmichaels.com or call 410-745-0345.

Food Friday: Back Into the Kitchen

Summer ended last week. It is time to reacquaint yourself with the pots and pans and woks and cast iron skillets and cookie sheets that are going to be your seasonal life savers. Turn up the heat and welcome back to the kitchen.

I have some favorites that will be coming back into rotation now that I can’t foist most of the evening grilling on Mr. Friday. And I am relying on one of my favorite food resources, The New York Times.

Some folks have headed back to college, and have gone off their comfortable meal plans, and are fending for themselves for the the first time. There is more to life than ramen noodles and cold pizza. The rest of us come crawling into the kitchen each night, and wonder what on earth we can possible make for dinner without feeling totally keelhauled. Before heading directly for the cheap white wine (although it will be time to switch up to a nice inexpensive Malbec soon!) I want to point out that here are some basics that work without much risk of disappointment or failure.

These are easy peasy, as we are wont to warble. Throw that chicken in the oven and let the Slate Culture Gabfest podcast amuse you with their take on the intricacies of modern culture. And now you can have some wine. http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/culturegabfest/2016/09/slate_s_culture_gabfest_on_don_t_breathe_high_maintenance_and_harry_potter.html

Fettuccine Alfredo: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/9025-elaines-fettuccine-alfredo?smid=fb-nytdining&smtyp=cur

If that seems too fancy, here are eight, 8, ways to make mac & cheese: http://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/961504-amazing-ways-to-do-macaroni-and-cheese

Salmon, for the fish eaters: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/5703-salmon-roasted-in-butter

Cast Iron Pan Steak: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016334-cast-iron-steak

Bearnaise to go with that fine steak: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1017389-bearnaise-sauce Because if you are going to hell, you might as well go in style. Yumsters.

Because you really could have spaghetti every night.
Spaghetti: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016833-spaghetti-and-drop-meatballs-with-tomato-sauce

It took me years, YEARS, to get rice right. Here is a never fail approach: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1016673-cant-miss-rice

Craig Claiborne’s Beef Stew: http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1321-craig-claibornes-beef-stew It is going to get chilly, honest.

Even easier is a good meatloaf. Although if your household is anything like ours, you have some ancestral meatloaf recipes in place already. Still, does yours count pancetta among the ingredients? Doubtful. http://cooking.nytimes.com/recipes/1012686-fancy-meatloaf

And here is the definitive list of the New York Times’s 50 most popular recipes: http://cooking.nytimes.com/68861692-nyt-cooking/3238216-our-50-most-popular-recipes

You are on your own for salads and desserts. For this week, at least. Next week – breads!

“No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention.”
-Christopher Morley