May 1st, 2012
10:00 AM ET
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Oregon truffles fare well in blind tastings against their European counterparts. Meet Jack Czarnecki, a mushroom forager, oil maker and restaurateur who's making it his mission to raise the profile of his native treasure.

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Filed under: Foraging • Oregon • Travel


June 28th, 2011
10:00 AM ET
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What do you do with a 12-year-old niece who has just started her summer vacation and is already bored? You put her to work picking blueberries.

I picked Susie up early so we would beat the heat. My pick-your-own fruit history was limited to apples and peaches, so I wasn’t sure how labor intensive, bending, stooping or squatting, the picking would be. It turns out to require a bit of all three, but not to a point where my back hurt.

We arrived at Homestead Farms in Poolesville, MD just before 10 a.m. loaded with re-usable plastic blueberry containers and sturdy bags. After a quick tutorial on how to identify and pick ripe berries we were off. A ripe blueberry is entirely blue. If the berry has a hint of red on it then it will still be a bit tart.
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Filed under: Farmstands • Foraging • Lick the Screen • Local Food


Scorpacciata: On ramps
June 8th, 2011
12:45 PM ET
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Scorpacciata is a term that means consuming large amounts of a particular local ingredient while it's in season. It's a good way to eat. Let Mario Batali pronounce it for you.

"Ramps...huh?" "What the heck is ramp puree?"

As soon as we posted the menu for last night's White House State Dinner, the question began rolling in from my colleagues, commenters, folks on Twitter - and I realized I oughta get my head out of my ramp patch and explain.

Ramps are a member of the allium family (Allium tricoccum if you care to get all categorical about it) and are akin to a wild onion. The flavor is pungent and slightly nutty - somewhere between garlic and leeks, and both the leafy tops and tender bulbs are edible.

Food fanatics get all het up about them because they're, well, incredibly delicious - but also because they're somewhat of a rarity. They're difficult, if not impossible to cultivate, so they must be foraged from the wild or as is often the case, bought at a premium from someone else who's gone out to do the dirty work.
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