Poster from the Dig for Victory campaign launched in the U.K during World War II

February Food Feature: Kale

“The finest winter vegetable we have”Thomas Jefferson
Russian Hunger Gap (left) True Siberian (right)

Russian Hunger Gap (left) True Siberian (right)

During these bitter cold days of winter, it is hard to believe anything of nutritional value might be growing outside.  Think again! Kale, in fact, has a history of nourishing people throughout the cold dark months of the year and is considered one of the

true treasures of the fall garden.

– Thomas Jefferson

 Nutritional Profile

“Kale Tops the Nutrient Density Scale” 

Kale is rich in vitamin A, C, K, fiber, omega -3s, calcium, and potassium.  Kale contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and cancer-preventive nutrients called glucosinolates.

Ancient History
Kale’s origins go back to the Middle Ages.  Like broccoli, cauliflower and collards, kale is a descendent of the wild cabbage.  At that time, Kale was the most common green vegetable in all of Europe.  The Romans, for example, ate Siberian kale.  Siberian kale is considered to be the ancestor of modern kales but is more closely tied to rutabagas.
Poster from the Dig for Victory campaign launched in the U.K during World War II

Poster from the Dig for Victory campaign launched in the U.K during World War II

During World War II, cultivation of kale made a comeback in the U.K. when it was featured in the Dig for Victory campaign. Kale was praised because it was easy to grow (being both frost tolerant and a perennial) and it provided nutrients to supplement the rationed diet.  

America’s introduction to kale was in the 17th century, but it wasn’t what the Romans ate.  Our kale came from England and was called sea kale.  Ever since then, kale in Virginia has been most commonly braised, either alone or mixed with other greens, such as collards. Thomas Jefferson grew kale in his own garden at Monticello, and experimented with several varieties such as sprout kale.  He once wrote that kale was one of  “the finest winter vegetables we have”.

Some of the most common kale recipes used in Jefferson’s day are very similar to the way they prepared cabbage and asparagus.  The common practice was to boil the kale until tender. See the excerpt below from the historic 1842 Virginia Housewife cookbook, by Mary Randolph.

Braised Kale with Sausage

Braised Kale with Sausage, see recipe here at Edible blue Ridge blog

Set a stew-pan with plenty of water on the fire, sprinkle a handful of salt in it, let it boil, and skim it; then put in the kale prepared thus: once perfectly cleaned; throw them into a pan of cold water, then tie them into bundles.  When they are tender at the stalk they are done enough.  Great care must be taken to watch the exact time of their becoming tender; take them just at that instant, and they will have their true flavor and colour.

Baked Kale Chips with Parmesan

Baked Kale Chips with Parmesan, see the recipe here!

Kale’s meteoric rise in popularity over the last several years may seem like a fad to the critics of local and raw food movements. Kale is not only NOT a fad, it is fact an Old World food and is a staple in many countries around the world.  Today, you can find kale in sandwiches, salads, soups, juices, desserts (what!) and most commonly used as a healthy substitute for potato chips (see recipe to the left).

Thanks for taking the time to read about the history and heritage of kale.    This blog was posted as part of City Schoolyard Garden‘s Harvest of the Month program.

The Food Heritage Project thanks you and asks you to consider eating some locally grown (preferably organic) kale.

If you forgot some of the reasons why, I will refresh your memory:

you should be eating (and growing) kale because:

1. Thomas Jefferson ate and grew kale.

2.  Kale is highly nutritious

3.  The Romans ate kale, (and today it’s a staple in Scotland, Kenya, Denmark, Portugal, and Italy..need I say more?)

4. It’s inexpensive and easy to grow

5. It is highly versatile, you can practically cook it into anything, even chocolate cakes! (Click here to see the recipe for a chocolate kale cake with sea salt.)

This post was written by Abigail Sandberg

Doughnuts, Unwrapped

Maple Doughnuts, Unwrapped

IMG_20130309_125004

 A treat from Mill Gap, Virginia

By: Susanna Byrd, Allegheny Mountain School Alumn

            If you were born and raised in Mill Gap, Virginia, you know about Maple Doughnuts. But for most of the rest of us, it will be refreshing to hear a story about doughnuts that does not end in an attack of regret or high blood sugar. When they have as rich a story as those that come from Mill Gap, doughnuts deserve a little more of our attention than the drive thru window permits. I’m willing to bet that, surrounded by affection and community as they are, the Mill Gap Doughnuts are ten times more nourishing for your health than their mainstream cousins.

Food with a story is important, as the Virginia Food Heritage Project is so ardently trying to demonstrate. What I crave is food that comes wrapped in the layers of generations, the ebb and flow of cultures, the changes of many thousands of seasons. I don’t want food that comes wrapped in only plastic. If there were a plastic wrapper on the Mill Gap doughnuts, it might display nutritional values, breaking the woven whole of the doughnut into the parcels of guilt associated with fat, sugar and carbohydrate. But a Mill Gap Doughnut is so much bigger than its parts. In its own way, it nourishes community. To find its wrapper, you have to see the places it comes from, talk to the people who make it and share some of yourself in the process.

So we’ll start in Mill Gap. Located near the intersection of Routes 84 and 600 (Little Back Creek Rd), Mill Gap is a small, rural place. It sits strategically in the low place where Rt. 84 comes through one ridge of the numerous North-South mountain chains in Highland County. There is undoubtedly an old well of community in this area, now mostly maintained by church functions and the Ruritans club. That community shows up in force every year on the first and second weekends in March to make and sell maple doughnuts in Monterey at the Highland County Maple Festival. “If your father was a Mill Gap Ruritan, you did something with doughnuts every year,” says Cappie Hull, who grew up in Mill Gap. “When we were little…the Mill Gap Ruritans decided that ‘we have fun making doughnuts down in Mill Gap. Let’s make doughnuts for the maple festival.’ And so in the very beginning, the Ruritans would sell one doughnut and a cup of coffee…”

The Highland County Maple Festival has been held every year since 1958 and now attracts thousands of visitors, who tour ‘sugar houses’ and the ‘sugar bush’ (the grove of Sugar Maple trees that are tapped to make syrup) and partake in all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts, replete with the authentic maple syrup made all over the county. But even before the days if the festival, Mill Gap residents often came together for special occasions of their own like birthdays and holidays. At these gatherings, according to Cappie, there more often than not would be doughnuts frying:

“The people in Mill Gap…had the sleigh ride and they had a family day where generations got together and made the doughnuts, which was usually a Sunday or a weekend or a birthday or a special occasion…and as a family you made the doughnuts. And the grandma and your mom usually made the dough and the children did the hole picking…And it was an event to work together, make the product and then eat it, like a gorge.”

Donna Hooke, who grew up in Mill Gap and now owns a small food store in Monterey called ‘Evelyn’s Pantry,’ remembers her birthdays in Mill Gap:

“For my birthday…in January, we would go to my grandparent’s house and grandaddy would always…pack that hill down and he had barrels alongside the route with fires in them so you could see. And everybody from the neighborhood would come and sleigh ride at night time. And then when you got done, grandma and mom had doughnuts ready to fry and we had a big doughnut feast and hot chocolate or milk.”

And how to make these oh-so-special doughnuts? Well, you’ll have to go to the next Maple Festival (March 8-9 and 15-16) and find the Mill Gap Ruritans themselves selling doughnuts. Even then you’ll only be seeing the facade of what can be a mighty endeavor. In the first years of the festival, the Mill Gappers would set up the doughnut-making operation in the smallest house in town: “Well, back then size didn’t matter, so we went to the smallest house because they were the only people who had ties to Mill Gap. But they lived in Monterey… They had this itty bitty house, and we made doughnuts in that itty bitty house,” recalls Cappie.

Cappie was a young girl in those first years, but she remembers who did what: “The daddies came out to town and probably just sat around. They all sat there, probably 20 of them, to sell you doughnuts. But [the mommies’ and children’s] job was to produce them in that little house…The whole house, the beds, the whole house had doughnuts raisin’.” The youngest children were in charge of “pickin’ holes.” After a mother had used the doughnut cutter to shape the dough, the kids would go and pick out the centers. With maturity came the job of easing the doughnuts into the hot oil to fry. “And then we became professional glazers,” says Cappie fondly, in charge of making and applying the famous maple glaze.

So the Mill Gap doughnuts really brought the community together. And they still do; “If you don’t have your own personal business, you’re still making doughnuts [during Maple Festival],” says Donna. Cappie nods, saying that during the Maple Festival, she always helps out. “We couldn’t come to town and not feel like we had to.” I personally am glad that the community holds so strong; Now, “unwrapped”, I can taste that distinct flavor, as I sink my teeth into stories and maple sweetness all at once.

Heritage French Fries?

maryrandolphKnown as Virginia’s best cook, Mary Randolph published a recipe book called The Virginia House-wife in 1824. She was known for combining “knowledge of English cooking with native Indian [and African] food influences”. In this blog post, a Monticello culinary historian recreates one of Randolph’s recipes: fried potatoes. Mary Randolph was the first person buried in Arlington Cemetery. She was a descendant of Pocahontas and relative of Thomas Jefferson. For more information about her, click here.

A Spoken Dish!

aspokendish logoA Spoken Dish is a storytelling project dedicated to celebrating and documenting food memories and rituals from people across the South. “The goal of A Spoken Dish is to document the palate of a changing South; one that demonstrates the diversity of our communities by way of what lands on the supper table,” producer Kate Medley said. Learn more and watch videos here!

Nelson Farm Memories: Then + Now, with Margaret Henderson, Nelson County

This film was directed and produced by Laura Bell as part of the Virginia Food Heritage Planning course at the University of Virginia, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in Spring 2012.

Farm Memories: Then and Now, with Margaret Henderson – Nelson County

by Laura Bell

When Margret C. Henderson mentioned that her parents were sharecroppers for, “a white man,” there was an obvious distain in her voice. Margret noticed my puzzled expression. I was surprised that sharecropping would be common in Nelson County in her lifetime. She responded, “That’s just the way it was.” After some research, I learned tenant farming in Virginia was common well into the 1930’s. Framed as a means to offer freed slaves a ‘start’, the tenant system was often more domineering and unfair than one might imagine. Virginia farming changed dramatically after the Civil War. Due to post war poverty and social change, thousands of former slaves and white farmers lacked the farmland, seeds, and livestock needed to begin farming. Many land owners divided their plots of land and entered into labor contracts with tenant farmers. Sharecropping remained common in the South until the Great Depression.

The date was Monday March 12, 2012, and Alex Howle, Katelyn Kresse-Smith and I had piled in Katelyn’s car for the drive to the JABA day care center in Nelson County, Virginia. Constance, who works at JABA, was the first to grant us an interview. After displaying some nervousness and curiosity about the project, she began talking about her life in Nelson. She described the life of a child on a sharecroppers farm. Her family raised chickens, beef, and pork with a medley of vegetables.  Because crops are temperamental and money must be paid to the tenant, a large family had great difficulty providing materials beyond what was produced on the farm.  To meet needs, it was necessary for the children to work hard. Margret said she hated farm work as a little child tied to a weeding row, but now she appreciated her food and life heritage. If they didn’t have to learn to preserve foods and prepare for the future, she might not have learned how to can from her mother.  After a grain crop was ready to harvested, the planter or landowner took the crop to market or to a mill. The resulting money, or food product, (after deducting the tenants required amount), was used by the farmer for things like food and clothing . She explained that after grains were ready to be harvested, her father would take them to the local mill where the grains were kept on ‘reserve’ so that they could be retrieved whenever the family needed them.

She seemed surprised that I should care what she ate and why. She admitted her farm fresh healthy eating was superior to much of the processed foods she has today, although when asked why other people do not choose a farming lifestyle, she had no hesitation in saying, “You don’t have to. You don’t have to.” Margret’s conclusion is a bludgeon of reality that threatens to destroy the new idealized interest in farming. Although she acknowledged that living on a farm and growing your own food was healthier and was all in all a good life, it is also hard work with unstable and sometimes few returns. In reality, how many people are willing to work so hard for only the possibility of a return?  Unfortunately, this is the situation in which the U.S. finds itself, and until drastic changes occur, farms similar to the one that Constance grew up on will continue to struggle to persevere.

For more about the Virginia Food Heritage Planning course, visit http://ien.arch.virginia.edu/courses/food-systems-resources.

Farm Memories: Then and Now, with Margaret Henderson – Nelson County

by Laura Bell

When Margret C. Henderson mentioned that her parents were sharecroppers for, “a white man,” there was an obvious distain in her voice. Margret noticed my puzzled expression. I was surprised that sharecropping would be common in Nelson County in her lifetime. She responded, “That’s just the way it was.” After some research, I learned tenant farming in Virginia was common well into the 1930’s. Framed as a means to offer freed slaves a ‘start’, the tenant system was often more domineering and unfair than one might imagine. Virginia farming changed dramatically after the Civil War. Due to post war poverty and social change, thousands of former slaves and white farmers lacked the farmland, seeds, and livestock needed to begin farming. Many land owners divided their plots of land and entered into labor contracts with tenant farmers. Sharecropping remained common in the South until the Great Depression.

The date was Monday March 12, 2012, and Alex Howle, Katelyn Kresse-Smith and I had piled in Katelyn’s car for the drive to the JABA day care center in Nelson County, Virginia. Constance, who works at JABA, was the first to grant us an interview. After displaying some nervousness and curiosity about the project, she began talking about her life in Nelson. She described the life of a child on a sharecroppers farm. Her family raised chickens, beef, and pork with a medley of vegetables.  Because crops are temperamental and money must be paid to the tenant, a large family had great difficulty providing materials beyond what was produced on the farm.  To meet needs, it was necessary for the children to work hard. Margret said she hated farm work as a little child tied to a weeding row, but now she appreciated her food and life heritage. If they didn’t have to learn to preserve foods and prepare for the future, she might not have learned how to can from her mother.  After a grain crop was ready to harvested, the planter or landowner took the crop to market or to a mill. The resulting money, or food product, (after deducting the tenants required amount), was used by the farmer for things like food and clothing . She explained that after grains were ready to be harvested, her father would take them to the local mill where the grains were kept on ‘reserve’ so that they could be retrieved whenever the family needed them.

She seemed surprised that I should care what she ate and why. She admitted her farm fresh healthy eating was superior to much of the processed foods she has today, although when asked why other people do not choose a farming lifestyle, she had no hesitation in saying, “You don’t have to. You don’t have to.” Margret’s conclusion is a bludgeon of reality that threatens to destroy the new idealized interest in farming. Although she acknowledged that living on a farm and growing your own food was healthier and was all in all a good life, it is also hard work with unstable and sometimes few returns. In reality, how many people are willing to work so hard for only the possibility of a return?  Unfortunately, this is the situation in which the U.S. finds itself, and until drastic changes occur, farms similar to the one that Constance grew up on will continue to struggle to persevere.

Gardens, Quinces and Nelson County, with Elizabeth Ferguson

This film was directed and produced by Alex Howle as part of the Virginia Food Heritage Planning course at the University of Virginia, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in Spring 2012.

Gardens, Quinces and Nelson County, with Elizabeth Ferguson

by Alex Howle

Elizabeth Ferguson is a native and life-long resident of Nelson County Virginia.  Now, as an aging African-American woman, she recalls being raised by her mother and grandparents.  Her earliest food memory involves the raising of gardens and livestock.  She, her mother, and grandparents raised most of their own food from a garden.  They preserved the fruits and vegetables from the garden by canning in the summer for the rest of the year.  They also raised livestock, some of which was used for meat.

Figure 1: Quince, The Simple Green Frugal Co-op http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com/2012/01/quince-paste.html

When asked if she knows of any fruit or vegetable that once grew in Nelson County when she was a child but is now either rare or no longer grown, Mrs. Ferguson recalls the quince.  Her grandfather had a quince tree when she was growing up.  She describes the fruit as being like an apple, but the size of an egg.  Her grandmother used to make preserves and jelly with the fruit, but she does not see it much anymore.  In fact, there are many, including this filmmaker, who do not know what it is, and have never even heard of it.

Mrs. Ferguson continues to by saying that the families in Virginia who did have quince trees had quite a few in their yards.  So, the quince was relatively common in Nelson County.  However, it is now longer as prevalent.  What happened?  She recalls a particularly dry year, after which most of the quince trees died out and she has not heard much about them since.Having only ever heard the name, but not knowing anything about the fruit itself, I set out to learn more about the quince and its connection to food heritage in Nelson County.  The quince is a small deciduous tree that originated in Southwest Asia.[i]  It is a relative to the apple and pear, hence its resemblance to both.[ii]  The fruit is bright and golden when ripe, but is rarely eaten raw because it can be hard and sour.[iii]  The fruit is high in pectin, which makes is better for use in preserves.[iv]  Its strong fragrance also ideally suits it for use in jams or jellies.  In fact, the word marmalade derives from the Portuguese word for quince, “marmelo.”[v]  The fruit is also commonly roasted, baked, or stewed.[vi]

Figure 2: Champion Quince http://quincefive.org/index1.html

In North America, the quince is now rare because of its susceptibility to fireblight disease.[vii]  The U.S. now produces only about 200 acres of the fruit commercially.[viii]  The quince is primary used today as a dwarfing rootstock for pears.[ix]  But in Central Virginia, the quince is beginning to back a comeback.  Vintage Virginia Apples has planted more than ten varieties of the quince, including the Champion, which is one of the few varieties that is sweet enough to eat, the Crimea, which has a pineapple and citrus fragrance, and the Havran, which bears a fruit that can reach more than two pounds.[x]  The strong fragrance and delicious jelly of the quince may someday soon be well-known again in Virginia due to the efforts of Vintage Virginia Apples and the people who understand the heritage of the quince.

The quince has a long and illustrious history both in American and abroad.  The acknowledgment of the heritage of the quince helps provide a wider glimpse into the history of Virginia, the United States, and the global environment.  The quince, though rare in Virginia, lives on in the memories of those who know its smell, uses, and taste, and will continue to live in the imagination of those to learn about it and, perhaps, seek it out in the future.  By actively reintroducing the quince into the food culture of Virginia, Elizabeth Ferguson’s food heritage can be preserved.  So, go out and eat a quince!

Links:

Vintage Virginia Apples:  http://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/quincemenu.htm

Endnotes:


[i] Quince. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince. Accessed April 9, 2012.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] “Marmalade” in Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper apud Dictionary.com

[vi] Quince. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince. Accessed April 9, 2012.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Quince Varieties. Vintage Virginia Apples. ©2001 Vintage Virginia Apples. Site updated on: 7/17/2007. http://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/quincemenu.htm. Accessed March 9, 2012.

For more about the Virginia Food Heritage Planning course, visit http://ien.arch.virginia.edu/courses/food-systems-resources.

Figure 2:  Champion Quince
 http://quincefive.org/index1.html

Gardens, Quinces and Nelson County, with Elizabeth Ferguson

by Alex Howle

Elizabeth Ferguson is a native and life-long resident of Nelson County Virginia.  Now, as an aging African-American woman, she recalls being raised by her mother and grandparents.  Her earliest food memory involves the raising of gardens and livestock.  She, her mother, and grandparents raised most of their own food from a garden.  They preserved the fruits and vegetables from the garden by canning in the summer for the rest of the year.  They also raised livestock, some of which was used for meat.

When asked if she knows of any fruit or vegetable that once grew in Nelson County when she was a child but is now either rare or no longer grown, Mrs. Ferguson recalls the quince.  Her grandfather had a quince tree when she was growing up.  She describes the fruit as being like an apple, but the size of an egg.  Her grandmother used to make preserves and jelly with the fruit, but she does not see it much anymore.  In fact, there are many, including this filmmaker, who do not know what it is, and have never even heard of it.

Mrs. Ferguson continues to by saying that the families in Virginia who did have quince trees had quite a few in their yards.  So, the quince was relatively common in Nelson County.  However, it is now longer as prevalent.  What happened?  She recalls a particularly dry year, after which most of the quince trees died out and she has not heard much about them since.Having only ever heard the name, but not knowing anything about the fruit itself, I set out to learn more about the quince and its connection to food heritage in Nelson County.  The quince is a small deciduous tree that originated in Southwest Asia.[i]  It is a relative to the apple and pear, hence its resemblance to both.[ii]  The fruit is bright and golden when ripe, but is rarely eaten raw because it can be hard and sour.[iii]  The fruit is high in pectin, which makes is better for use in preserves.[iv]  Its strong fragrance also ideally suits it for use in jams or jellies.  In fact, the word marmalade derives from the Portuguese word for quince, “marmelo.”[v]  The fruit is also commonly roasted, baked, or stewed.[vi]

Figure 2: Champion Quince
http://quincefive.org/index1.html

In North America, the quince is now rare because of its susceptibility to fireblight disease.[vii]  The U.S. now produces only about 200 acres of the fruit commercially.[viii]  The quince is primary used today as a dwarfing rootstock for pears.[ix]  But in Central Virginia, the quince is beginning to back a comeback.  Vintage Virginia Apples has planted more than ten varieties of the quince, including the Champion, which is one of the few varieties that is sweet enough to eat, the Crimea, which has a pineapple and citrus fragrance, and the Havran, which bears a fruit that can reach more than two pounds.[x]  The strong fragrance and delicious jelly of the quince may someday soon be well-known again in Virginia due to the efforts of Vintage Virginia Apples and the people who understand the heritage of the quince.

The quince has a long and illustrious history both in American and abroad.  The acknowledgment of the heritage of the quince helps provide a wider glimpse into the history of Virginia, the United States, and the global environment.  The quince, though rare in Virginia, lives on in the memories of those who know its smell, uses, and taste, and will continue to live in the imagination of those to learn about it and, perhaps, seek it out in the future.  By actively reintroducing the quince into the food culture of Virginia, Elizabeth Ferguson’s food heritage can be preserved.  So, go out and eat a quince!

Links:

Vintage Virginia Apples:  http://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/quincemenu.htm

Endnotes:


[i] Quince. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince. Accessed April 9, 2012.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Ibid.

[iv] Ibid.

[v] “Marmalade” in Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper apud Dictionary.com

[vi] Quince. Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quince. Accessed April 9, 2012.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Quince Varieties. Vintage Virginia Apples. ©2001 Vintage Virginia Apples. Site updated on: 7/17/2007. http://www.vintagevirginiaapples.com/quincemenu.htm. Accessed March 9, 2012.

Connections to the Land, with Doris McCray – Louisa County

This film was directed and produced by Laura McCoy as part of the Virginia Food Heritage Planning course at the University of Virginia, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning in Spring 2012.

Connections to the land and the “stuff that goes way back”: A story of one woman’s food

by Laura McCoy

As I pulled into the drive at her house, I found Doris McCray and her son Glen working in the backyard.  She called me over, and I started to wade through the wet grass.  As it turns out, Doris was watching her son with his newest project—an espalier for the grapevines, which she has been growing there since 1958.  They are “red, white, and blue” grapes, as she likes to call them—Fredonia, Concord, Niagara, and Brighton.   We spent the next quarter of an hour touring her garden, in early bloom on a mid-March morning: the asparagus, apples trees, collards, Brussels sprouts, kale, spinach, sugar snap peas, cabbage, onions, and strawberries.  Doris’ garden is important to her; she loves being outside, the land, and having “room to roam.”

Growing up on a dairy farm in Louisa County, Virginia, with her grandmother in charge of several farming families, Doris learned a lot about food and farming, and staying connected to the land.  Doris’ family grew most of their own food and even raised a few hogs.  She remembers shelling butterbeans and selling them to women in Gordonsville, Virginia, and the cream her mother made from their own cows’ milk, on top of freshly picked berries and homemade biscuits.

Doris and her son, Glen, in the back yard garden
Espalier for the grapevines, built by Glen McCray, Doris’ son

Her grandmother’s word was always law, but one of the most important lessons she learned is “waste not, want not,” a saying that has resonated with Doris throughout her life.  Throughout her life she has been very involved in educating her grandchildren, as well as school children about where food comes from, and how it is grown.  Through this, and through her lifestyle as an adult she has maintained the linkages to her roots.

Doris defines heritage food as the “stuff that goes way back,” the traditional foods that were used back then, and still today.  Doris has preserved her food heritage by making the lessons she learned as a child common practice in her own home and life.  Doris and her husband Lloyd raised hogs the first few years they were married, along with cows and chickens.  The tradition of hog raising also goes back to Lloyd’s father, from West Virginia.  Even when they were not raising their own meat, Doris and Lloyd bought hog meat from a neighbor, ensuring their food came from a local, natural source.  She is proud of what she grows because she knows what is in the foods she raises, and that is what is important.  Her food tastes better because of it.  Doris believes that it is “important to let people remember that we have been connected to the land forever.”  That connection to the land and to place and to our food is critical, and is what Doris is all about: teaching people to remember our roots.

Doris shows the Brussels sprouts in her garden

Doris shows old tools and knives. She often brings them to school groups and Boy Scout troops to show them how things were made and how these tools were used in the past.

For more about the Virginia Food Heritage Planning course, visit http://ien.arch.virginia.edu/courses/food-systems-resources.