Happy Summer!

Here’s hoping your garden is bursting with tomatoes and zucchini and green beans, cucumbers and peppers and melons. Maybe you’ve dug some potatoes. Or headed to a local farm to pick blueberries. Or stocked up at your farmers market, bringing home enough sweet corn to roast on the grill today, as well as cut offContinue reading “Happy Summer!”

Pick-Your-Own Berries in Southwest Virginia

The strawberries ripen sometime in May, then come the blueberries and blackberries and raspberries. In the best years, blueberry picking can continue through September. All around the Roanoke Valley are farms and orchards with fresh, often pesticide-free produce waiting for us to come fetch it. Here’s a place to start if you’re hoping to pickContinue reading “Pick-Your-Own Berries in Southwest Virginia”

Make the Most of Your Herbs

I love herbs. All of them. Mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme, lavender, chives. We grow them as flowers and greenery, as bushes and ground cover. Some of them fill in as quiet background plants, others steal the show in their corner of the yard. I have a dedicated herb garden just outside the back door; the basilContinue reading “Make the Most of Your Herbs”

Maps Make the Perfect Gift

I have two nieces graduating from high school this month so I’m in the market for a couple of memorable, meaningful gifts. Something to decorate the new dorm rooms, perhaps. Maybe a reminder of home for when they’re far away. As I begin to search for inspiration, one concept keeps popping up at every turn: maps. AsContinue reading “Maps Make the Perfect Gift”

Greens, Glorious Greens

As we march through Spring, past the asparagus and the strawberries, waiting patiently for zucchini canoes and tomato globes, we find ourselves in the months of greens. At our house, it begins with kale and spinach — those cold-hardiest of veggies. We often have an early crop of lettuce, too, thanks to our trusty cold frame. ThisContinue reading “Greens, Glorious Greens”

Vegetarian Spring Rolls

Gardens and farmers markets are bursting with greens (like lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula and spinach), fresh herbs (like mint, parsley, cilantro and chives), and other salad veggies (like carrots and radishes and snow peas). Which makes right about now the perfect time to wrap up some Vegetarian Spring Rolls. These beautiful and delicious rolls pack a nutritiousContinue reading “Vegetarian Spring Rolls”

Eating Local Is My ‘Diet.’ What’s Yours?

To any of you who’ve been reading what I write for awhile, the story of how I cleaned up my eating act is a familiar one. In a nutshell, several forces converged to push me toward a healthier, more plant-based life than I’d grown up with: my husband and I put in a garden and weContinue reading “Eating Local Is My ‘Diet.’ What’s Yours?”

Local for Lunch: Welcoming Spring

Salads took center stage for my Spring class at The Roanoke Co-op. We built salads filled with grains and proteins, interesting textures and flavors — and as much local as I could muster. We topped them with a choice of Ginger Sesame Dressing or Poppy Seed Dressing. Then we paired all those leafy greens with aContinue reading “Local for Lunch: Welcoming Spring”

Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in my First Year of Chicken Keeping

I first published this essay on my blog last spring. We’ve now celebrated two adventure-filled years of caring for chickens in our backyard. Since writing, we’ve experienced our first molting season. What a nail-biter!! Here’s the version of this essay that aired on WVTF, my local NPR station, and here’s a story I wrote for The RoanokeContinue reading “Everything I Need to Know, I Learned in my First Year of Chicken Keeping”

Stacking Up a Satisfying Salad

If someone asked my favorite course of a meal, I would, without a moment’s hesitation, tell them: Salad. Not bread, not dessert, not a thick juicy piece of meat. Not even soups or sandwiches or vegetable sides. Nope. It’s salad. I love how fresh and raw most of salad’s ingredients are. I love that soContinue reading “Stacking Up a Satisfying Salad”