Sunday, March 28, 2010

First Harvest

After months of toiling with the construction of our incubation and grow rooms, hanging plastic, acquiring supplies, cutting straw, boiling large quantities of water, and inoculating bags of Gray Oyster mushroom spawn, we have finally harvested our first crop! On Tuesday we culled about four pounds from the bags that we had worked on a little over a month ago, selling our first pound to a local chef the very next day. I cooked up the remainder in some olive oil, adding rosemary, oregano, garlic and salt, then finished them with fresh lemon juice and served them up to my coworkers. The dish received a lot of compliments and my little sampling experiment yielded another sale, this time to our friend Amie.

Things are chugging along at a snail's pace at this point, but we hope to be able to put more energy into inoculation as the weather warms. In the meantime, we are feeling great about our accomplishments and look forward to the upcoming onslaught of fresh mushrooms!

Here are some pre- and post-harvest photos of our first crop of Gray Oysters:

Ready to pick
In the kitchen
Time to cook 'em up

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Town Meeting

We just attended our first-ever town meeting, where we spent three hours with our neighbors, selectmen, and town moderator discussing various budgetary matters. Liz and I were lucky enough to land in front of what appeared to be the only Libertarians in town. They were a loud and outspoken couple, who spent the majority of their time bitching about spending taxpayer money on frivolous things like police salaries, with the wife receiving instruction from the husband about when and what to say publicly, since he had attempted to air his views as a non-registered voter only to be silenced by our skilled and steadfast moderator (and full-time chicken farmer), Ernie.

My love of Walpole grew exponentially at town meeting, which immediately took me back to the famous scene from Footloose, where area teenagers quote scripture to reckon with the local pastor on the issue of holding a school dance. Our townsfolk prudently addressed a variety of town matters, carefully weighing the pros and cons and fully informing themselves before voting via a vocal "yea" or "no". Motions were made and seconded, amendments were suggested, minor arguments ensued—what a great time!

Liz and I stuck around for the whole meeting so that we could be sure not to miss the vote on Article 18, an underhanded, right-wing attempt to undo the recently enacted gay marriage law in New Hampshire. Article 18 reads: "To see if the Town will vote to approve the following resolution to be forwarded to our State Representative(s), our State Senator, the Speaker of the House, and the Senate President. Resolved: The citizens of New Hampshire should be allowed to vote on an amendment to the New Hampshire Constitution that defines marriage."

This article, brought by special petition to town meeting (normally reserved for town, not state, business), caused a hushed silence in the hall. The originator of the petition went up to the podium to spew his misinformation and biblical nonsense, at which point he was tactfully and decisively shut down by the townspeople! The motion was made to move to the vote on the article and the vote was a resounding "NO!" This, of course, does not mean that gay marriage in New Hampshire is not in jeopardy. It does, however, signify that the town of Walpole has its priorities in place, choosing to embrace, not discriminate against, diversity.

Just one more reason to love calling Walpole home.

As a strange aside, we ran into an old friend from Pittsburgh (!) on our way to town meeting. Renee Piechocki happened to be driving by with some friends as we were walking to the meeting. I only wish that we had some time to spend with her. Hopefully one day she'll return and we can bask in the glory of our small New England utopia.