Archive for the ‘local food’ Category

Mid April Morels: Musings From a Town in Transition

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017
Fresh morels found under an ancient apple tree in downtown Davis

Fresh morels found under an ancient apple tree in downtown Davis

This morning I was shocked to find a small band of morel mushrooms, right by the alley, underneath an ancient apple tree. Tonight they will be added to pasta, along with fresh ramps foraged from a nearby hillside.

I’ve never found morels when actually looking for them…they always appear unexpectedly. It’s a great life lesson that nature teaches us daily here in the mountains: wait, and keep your eyes open, and see what good things come your way when you least expect them.

Early spring in Canaan Valley and the towns of Davis and Thomas begins drearily. And then, suddenly, spring happens. Today the delicate serviceberry are popping up on the edges of the towns. In a few weeks the apples will be blooming…and they are everywhere.

These towns have been growing apples since the beginning. They were an important food source for the lumbermen and later for the coal miners. They fed whole families with apples; particular varieties for pies or sauce or butter and others just for eating. In those days our towns numbered nearly 2000 each. Today we’re lucky to have 600 people living in Davis, about the same in Thomas, and more houses are vacant every year. Like so many other places, as the elderly die off their children and grandchildren take root in distant states. 

Still, it’s a great place to live if you can figure out how to make a living. And it’s surprising the number of young entrepreneurs and artists who have come here and have done just that. They’ve opened shops and restaurants, started a Montessori school, and created a vibrant young art scene in Thomas. But we need more: people who can move here and join a few hearty telecommuters who find the no traffic, no stoplights, no fast food lifestyle appealing. Liking snow helps, and loving the outdoors is essential. But the key is to bring your job with you.

The morels I found this morning popped up under an ancient apple from the days when Davis was booming and there was plenty of work. I hope that someday I will look up unexpectedly and find Davis booming again, in a good way, a thoughtful way, a way that respects nature and nurtures people too.

 

Practicing the Art of Breakfast

Saturday, June 4th, 2016

The Bright Morning Inn is unique among local bed and breakfasts in that we have a restaurant that serves meals to the public. Serves breakfast. Only. And only from 7:30 to 11 am five days a week (closed Tuesday and Wednesday). Obviously serving breakfast is important, but it’s not our core business, which is lodging.

That being said, we serve awesome breakfasts, artful breakfasts, with lots of variety. Because people are different and have different tastes. We get a lot of basic bacon and egg eaters here. And gravy and biscuit lovers. But we also get athletes, and healthy eaters and city foodies with refined tastes. Thankfully, we get mostly easy going people, who are needing fuel for hiking, biking and skiing, which is why they come here.

It’s hard to please all these different tastes, though we try, and we try, also, to support our local farmers. Most of these operations are small, and mostly they are labors of love–no one gets rich from a small vegetable farm or pig operation. Now that summer is coming we are starting to see the results of their labor. This weekend, for instance, we are serving a spicy chorizo burrito from Ben Neustadt’s New City pig farm. Imagine such a thing — pigs in Canaan Valley! And we have Scott Weaner’s luscious asparagus cooked with eggs and white cheddar cheese, too. Delicious!

We wish we could offer more local foods, but sometimes it’s too expensive. Plus, our seasons are short and most of the year we have to buy from the big food guys or we wouldn’t have any food at all. Still, when we can, we will try to serve some of this local food to you. It’s an honor and privilege to cook this way, and we know it’s appreciated by the compliments we get.

CAM00529



»