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Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

The 2012 HOMEGROWN Holiday Gift Guide

Friday, December 7th, 2012

As the cacophony of consumerism clangs around us, let’s take a moment to consider gifts with meaning—those that come from our hands, our hearts, and our local communities. Here it is, folks: the annual HOMEGROWN Gift Guide.


Everyone loves gifts in jars. Personalize and prettify with fabric squares, ribbon, handmade tags, or a bundle of herbs.


PARDON ME…DO YOU HAVE ANY HOMEMADE MUSTARD? A homemade whole-grain mustard is grand—especially when paired with a few unexpected recipes that use said mustard. This recipe from Hunter, Angler, Cook is terrifically easy, while this one from TV food nerd Alton Brown sure would look cute paired with a few soft pretzels!

FLU FIGHTER: Rich, golden, homemade chicken stock—pressure canned for safety—is a welcome addition to anyone’s pantry, especially those without a pressure canner! Robert offers everything you’ll need to know to get a good batch simmering, sealed up, and ready to give in this HOMEGROWN 101.


DELAYED GRATIFICATION: Fresh salad greens are one of the easiest things for the home gardener to grow. Give the gift of salad by promising to make a hanging moss salad basket for your giftee. If you are targeting a fellow DIY-er, simply package up the necessary materials, along with suggested planting dates for his or her region! Those in warmer climates can get right to gifting and planting (note: thinly veiled envy, enclosed.)






LIVE IN A BUBBLE: Yes, they’re all the rage (still)—and, boy, are they dreamy. Make your own giftable homemade terrarium using this HOMEGROWN 101.





We can’t make it all, so when the wallet opens, here are some suggestions for making holiday shopping meaningful.

Minnesota slingshot!

LOCALLY SOURCED: By now we’ve all seen the data proving that dollars spent at local businesses means more of those dollars stay in the community. Shoestring Magazine offers suggestions for locally made gifts with a snazzy clickable map. Have any favorites for your state? Let them know, and maybe they’ll add it! New Mexico, you’re looking a little thin: We’re looking at you!

THREE MAGIC WORDS: A Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share brings fresh, local farm goods to the table—and much-needed support to local farmers! Depending on the farm, you can choose a winter, summer, or year-round share.

SPOT ON: For $10 a month, a Spotify membership gives loved ones access to all of that new music you’ve been telling them about. Make some custom playlists to start them out!

TURN TURN TURN: A food mill is an indispensable tool for jam makers, sauce lovers, and mashed potato aficionados. Make note of Kate’s tips for finding the best one for you and yours.



Our picks for books to cuddle with over the winter:


Above all, let’s acknowledge that most of us already have what we need, while some folks are struggling for the basics. Give from your heart—and happy holidays!

Photo credits: Mustard by Chiot’s Run using CC Licensing on Flickr. Chicken Stock by Christene on Lettuce by Pete & Izzy’s Mom on Terrarium by Joshleo using CC Licensing on Flickr. Slingshot by Radishes by Norm Halm on Headphones by Beats by Dr Dre using CC licensing on Flickr. Food Mill by Island Vittles using CC Licensing on Flickr.

Dinner Discussion: Spring Foraged Dinner and Pickled Knotweed

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

I’ve been meaning to share about a magical evening that I had a couple of weeks ago, and am just now getting around to it. I was invited to a Dinner Discussion hosted by Leif Hedendal and attended by people far more fabulous than I. Leif travels the country, putting together extremely fresh and foraged ingredients — The New York Times featured his work today, incidentally. I greatly enjoyed the evening’s conversations about art, music, community gardens and apple trees, and the highlight was the menu.

David Craft is a star forager here in Boston, and he had spent that morning picking greens and weeds at The Arnold Arboretum in my very neighborhood. Supplemented by locally-baked bread, and stewed beans, here is what we ate:

Cold salad containing: chickweed, violet greens and flowers, redbud flowers, linden leaves, lamb’s quarters, garlic mustard weed.

Warm salad containing: milkweed, pokeweed,  and stinging nettles.

Japanese knotweed pickles

The real revelation for me was the knotweed. That persistent, aggravating weed that makes its way under the fence from my neighbor’s yard now has a useful purpose — PICKLES!! Eureka!

David has been kind enough to share the recipe from his book, which is definitely worth picking up.

Japanese Knotweed Hot Pickles
1 part vinegar
1 part water
Bring this to a boil and add some sliced garlic, pickling spices and salt. I like whole black peppercorns and red pepper flakes.

Add enough tender knotweed (first couple weeks of growth, whole stalk, after that, just the top section that easily breaks off) so that it is just covered. Remove from the flame. It does not need to cook at all, just being plunged in the boiling water vinegar solution is fine.

Put into sterilized mason jars. Ready for consumption as soon as they cool off! Great in salads.

This is, of course, a pretty basic recipe, so feel free to experiment with your wild edibles!

The Boston Tree Party

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Our incredibly industrious and creative friend Lisa Gross has a new project that we think is just the coolest. Lisa founded the Urban Homesteaders League and held skillshares under her Market Stand tent at a local farmers market last summer.

Here’s more about the Boston Tree Party:


“The Boston Tree Party is a collaborative campaign to plant 100 pairs of heirloom apple trees in publicly used spaces across Greater Boston. The tree plantings will take place in partnership with a diverse range of institutions, organizations, businesses, and communities.

As an urban agriculture project, the campaign will create vital gathering places, build community connections, and improve community health. As a conceptual art project, the Boston Tree Party engages with metaphor and symbolism, and playfully reimagines patriotic and political language, imagery, and forms of association.

Like the Boston Tea Party, the Boston Tree Party is a symbolic political act. The project takes a stand for universal access to fresh, healthy food; for greening our cities; cleaning our air and waterways; reducing our city’s carbon footprint; creating habitat for urban wildlife; and for protecting the biodiversity and heritage of our food. Collectively, the 200 apple trees will become a decentralized public urban orchard that crosses social, economic, political, and geographic boundaries.

The apple has a long and deep connection to the history of Boston. The first apple orchard in the American Colonies was planted by William Blackstone on Beacon Hill in 1623. The oldest variety of apple in the United States, the Roxbury Russet, was developed in Roxbury in the 1630s. The Boston Tree Party will celebrate and recontextualize this history and make Boston a city of apples once again.

Participating Tree Party Delegations (e.g. schools, hospitals, universities, faith communities, businesses, non-profit organizations, and other community groups) will each receive a Tree Party Kit that will allow them to design and create their own festive Tree Planting Parties. Each community will be asked to make a contribution of $300 to the Party (the materials cost of the kit). Funding assistance will be available, but we ask that each community make a minimum contribution of $50. The planting campaign will kickoff on April 10th on the Rose Kennedy Greenway with the Boston Tree Party Inauguration—a rally, parade, and celebratory planting of the first pair of trees, and it will culminate on May 14th at the Old South Meeting House with the Boston Tree Party Convention—an opportunity for participants to celebrate the project, form new connections, and get inspired.

The Apple Corps, a Youth Corps developed in partnership with YouthBuild Boston, will be trained in organic fruit tree care and horticulture and will act as an “extension service” for participating Delegations. The Apple Alliance (a partnership between the Boston Natural Areas Network, City Sprouts, Groundwork Somerville, and the Northeast Organic Farming Association/Mass) will offer free and low-cost organic fruit tree workshops all over the city.

The goal of the Boston Tree Party is to catalyze a movement—a movement that works across boundaries to make healthy, fresh food accessible to all; a movement to green our cities; a movement that plants fruit trees in public spaces all over the country; and a movement that comes together to care for these trees and the well-being of all citizens.

We have many phenomenal partners in this endeavor. Please check out the list below.

“Civic Fruit” is our motto. We call for fruit trees in civic spaces, and we promote the fruits of civic engagement!

There are many exciting ways to participate in and support the project:

  • Spearhead the formation of a Tree Planting Delegation at your place of work, faith community, school, or neighborhood! (For this spring we’re focused on the Greater Boston Area, but there is some discussion of a National Tree Party…stay tuned.)
  • Volunteer! We need lots of help in lots of ways!
  • Join us at the Inauguration and/or Convention!
  • Follow the project on the blog.
  • Become a fan on Facebook.
  • Follow us on Twitter.
  • Help us spread the word to your friends and colleagues!”

Here’s more from on the project.