Deirdre Heekin & Caleb Barber, Osteria Pane e Salute
November 2, 2009
I have a thing for Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber. This thing is more like a crush, a serious crush. Well, perhaps it’s more like a rabid fascination with and aspiration for what they are… a sweet couple who cares so much about authentic food and old-fashioned hospitality that they’ve carved a great life for themselves and their guests out of some green hills in Vermont.
I met them about five years ago when I stumbled upon Osteria Pane e Salute, their unique and very special restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont. Their menu elevates Vermont’s local harvest with the techniques of real Italian cooking, skills acquired during their Italian honeymoon and on every return trip since. They’re so into Italy that they now even host adventures there, in conjunction with Garber Travel.
Deirdre and Caleb have written several books. I smile every time I cook from Pane e Salute: Food and Love in Italy and Vermont as it’s this cookbook that introduced me to the story behind my fabulous meal. (They’re “Salmone al Pepe Verde” on page 231 always impresses my guests.) I devoured In Late Winter We Ate Pears, as it’s serious and too charming for words.
Air America Blog
5 Tips To Growing Your Own Produce
By Verena von Pfetten
With the Obamas’ recent visit to Blue Hill restaurant in New York, and Michelle’s White House garden in full bloom, the topic of locally-grown produce has never been hotter.
But for many, the idea of growing your own vegetables is daunting, if not seemingly impossible.
Deirdre Heekin and Caleb Barber, the owners of Osteria Pane E Salute, a restaurant and wine bar in Woodstock, Vermont and the authors of In Late Winter We Ate Pears: A Year of Hunger and Love and Libation, A Bitter Alchemy, are veritable experts on the subject and grow 75% of the produce they use in their restaurant. When asked what their five tips would be to growing your own, this is what they had to say:
1. Grow something you like that you can’t easily find locally. For example: We love radicchio, but I can’t find any grown within easy local reach. It’s readily available through our produce purveyor, but the source isn’t anywhere near us. And we want to try to raise several varieties of radicchio, so that we can offer an unusual selection at our restaurant, not to mention at our own table. Growing different varieties contributes to plant diversification and healthy soil, lessening the effects of monoculture.
2. Water. Gardening gold for vegetables. If it hasn’t rained for two days, start watering every day. Just remember to water the ground, not the plant, and if you can, water after sunset. Even right before you go to bed is best, when the soil is cooler and more able to saturate and retain the water. Don’t drown everything, just dampen the soil well. Collect water in a bucket off your roof, or out in the open to help conserve water from the well or reservoir. And when you wash that lettuce, save that water for your plants.
3. If you have space, grow more than you need and give away what you can’t use. Donate extra produce to soup kitchens or food shelves that take perishables. Share the bounty with your neighbors and your friends.
4. If you don’t have much space, grow something in a container. Pole beans make a beautiful plant, and produce over a long period. Be sure to give them something sturdy to grow up that can’t be blown over.
5. Find a way to compost if you can. City or country. It is the single best source we have for renewing the soil.
Both books are published by Chelsea Green and just came out this month. To kick off their book & restaurant tour, Heekin and Barber are headed to NYC this week, event details can be found here.