Kent County Pet of the Month: Leland

He’s beginning to see the light, but it’s taken a very long time. The past few months have been quite a struggle for Leland, a four-year-old Lab mix. His previous owner surrendered him to HSKC when her health issues became such a burden that she could no longer care for him properly. When he arrived at the shelter, Leland was in major distress, suffering from separation anxiety and scared of everything around him.
On top of his emotional troubles, Leland had severe allergies that had been left untreated for a very long time. Upon arrival at HSKC, half of his fur had fallen out. It took months of work to bring him around, which included veterinary care. He was put on a round of antibiotics and a low dose of Prednisone to treat his medical issues. Almost immediately, his hair began to grow back. It is still growing in, and he will likely need allergy medication for life.
With patience, time and love, Leland moved past his fear and began to wag his tail. He brightened up when staff came to his kennel, and he no longer dreaded going outside. The daily walks and playtime let him forget about his woes. HSKC staff started to see the playful pup that lived inside him. Leland ran with joy, fetching sticks and balls. He started listening at the end of the leash, and he has now become quite adept at responding to commands like “heel”. His stately walk through town in the Chester Gras parade had all of the staff cheering for him!
This dog-friendly dog is wonderful with people of all ages. He will require a moderate amount of exercise through daily walks and/or a large, fenced backyard. Because of his high energy level, we would suggest Leland join a family without very young children, but no doubt, this boy would bring joy to any household! Stop in to The Humane Society of Kent County soon to meet Leland and play a game of fetch with him in the yard.
Also, learn more about all of the animals available for adoption at HSKC by visiting, following the organization’s Facebook Page at or by calling the shelter at 410-778-3648.

Colchester Farm CSA Expands Membership Options for 2015


Whether you were a member last year or two years ago, now is the time to consider joining our CSA for the 2015 season. We have the same great choose-your-own-share pick-ups with over 50 different crops to choose from throughout the season. While we still offer our regular 26-week-long season, we’ve added some new flexible membership options based on feedback we’ve received over the years. So, please take a look and we hope you will consider joining our CSA again in 2015.

To sign up, purchase online or complete and mail in our sign-up form.

Prices remain the same as 2014 for our regular 26-week season, but we have made some changes and added some new options for 2015.

– Farm pick-up will be Saturday mornings 8-10 am

– We’ve added a CSA share box drop-off at Crow Farm on Wednesdays 4-7 pm

– The Middletown share box drop-off will now be on Wednesdays at Real Food Period (5246 Summit Bridge Rd, Middletown, DE 19709). Boxes should be there by 10 am and can be picked up then until the store closes at 7pm.

And, in addition to our regular, 26-week season, we are now offering the following options:

Full Season Flex Share
Pick up vegetables your choice of 13 out of 26 weeks during our regular season starting mid- to late May. If a regular season small share offers too many vegetables for you or your schedule makes it difficult to pick up your share every week, this may be the option for you.

Half Season Share – Summer or Fall
Pick up once a week for 13 weeks and choose: Summer Season (starting mid- to late May) or Fall Season (starting late August).

Price of flex or half season shares:
small share (5 units/week) = $225
medium share (8 units/week) = $280

Installment Option:
You can pay for your share in one lump sum or in three installments.

The first payment is due by the end of February. However, once you make the first payment, you are committing to purchasing a share. Your second and third payments will be due by March 31 and April 30.

Pay with Credit Card through PayPal: This year we are again offering the ability to pay for your CSA share using your credit card through PayPal at our website.

Pay by check, print out the CSA Sign-up Form (pdf) and mail it to us with your payment or give it to us at the Chestertown Farmers’ Market on Saturday mornings (8am until noon).

For more information, visit the Colchester Farm CSA website.

Food Friday: Saving Your Bacon Valentine Granola Bars


If you have been snowbound in New England or if you have somehow managed to forget about Valentine’s Day which has been crammed down our throats since December 24, here is the life-saving answer for you: you can make a nice homemade batch of granola bars with ingredients I hope you have on hand already, and wrap them up in brown parchment paper and colorful twine, and look wonderfully whole earthy and romantic AND kindhearted.

We all know that homemade gifts are the best, even if we also know in our heart of hearts that they were probably assembled in haste, with clumsy fingers, but all the best intentions by people we love, who do not want to slide down that slippery slope to Valentine’s Day purdah. Homemade granola says loving better than the hurried purchase of the last sad, droopy bunch of red and white carnations from the grocery store. Plus, there is chocolate. But no preservatives. And no plastic wrapping! What an intuitive, environmentally sensitive person you are!

Go rummage around in the kitchen cabinets and pull out the rolled oats, the cashews, some raisins, dried cherries, honey, peanuts, almonds and cinnamon, and hope that you have chocolate chips tucked away under the rafters someplace. You are about to make a sweet Valentine’s Day present, and you are also solving snack and breakfast issues. You are practically noble for your efforts and concerns! Look at the cute snacks! Look at those little hearts! And won’t the crumbly bits be great stirred into breakfast yogurt? Amazing. I bet the executives from The Great British Baking Show are going to get in touch with you any minute now! Granola is much more complex than Rice Krispies Treats…

We are also attaching a Valentine card image at the end of the article today that you can print, so you look like the authentically kind, considerate, caring and loving person that you really are if you could just remember that Christmas AND Valentine’s Day roll around every year. Unlike the political cycle, Valentine’s Day is dependable and returns every February, just like the groundhog. But it can be a day rife with romantic neediness and it can be an emotional minefield.

I’ve included the links to a couple of cutting edge granola theories. The folks at Slate Magazine had a granola competition a couple of years ago – it must have been a slow news week – and four varieties of granola were blind taste-tested. Stephen Metcalf’s did not win. But you can judge for yourself.

Get cracking! Romance is in the air. Or is it the roasting nuts?

Homemade Granola Bars
YIELD: 24 servings

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup dried sour cherries, chopped
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup slivered almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla.
3. Mix well using your hands, add in cherries, chocolate chips and almonds. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.
4. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden around the edges. Cool on wire rack for about 30 minutes before cutting. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting because they will crumble.

“Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”

― Zelda Fitzgerald

Food Friday for Valentine’s Day Card 2015

Maryland Raw Milk Cheese Makers Get to Keep Their Cheesy Grins


Dairy cows, goats and sheep will stay cheesy in Maryland under a bill presented Thursday.

After a successful five-year pilot program that enabled five dairy farms in Maryland to produce raw milk cheese from cows, goats and sheep, legislators on the Senate Finance Committee were easily in support of changing the program to be a more long-term business opportunity.

The changes to the program include allowing farms to renew their license for cheese production every year, not limiting herd size to 120 animals or fewer and making more than five cheese producer permits available.

State Senator Adelaide C. Eckardt, R-Caroline, Dorchester, Talbot and Wicomico, sponsored the bill presented Thursday, wanting support in “passing this initiative so our dairies can keep selling cheese.”

Raw milk cheese, also known as farmstead cheese, means that the milk used has not been pasteurized to kill harmful bacteria, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Association.

Under proper precautions and frequent health inspector visits, “the farmstead cheese program has proven to be successful,” said Laurie Bucher, chief of the Center for Milk and Dairy Product Safety within the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Holly Foster, owner of the Chapel’s Country Creamery in Easton said her cow farm would lose a quarter of its profits if changes were not made to the farmstead cheese legislation.

“We’re known for our raw milk Bay Blue — we’ve been making it for over four years now,” said Foster. “Our livelihood is on the desk of legislation today.”

Foster said the herd size limit was originally installed to decrease the chances of disease and to keep production to family-owned businesses, but also limited sheep dairy farmers’ cheese production, as sheep produce less milk than cows and goats.

“(These alterations to the original bill) will support the needed diversity in the dairy industry as the dairy industry changes,” Bucher said, including the need to use milk from different animals.

By Katelyn Newman
Capital News Service

Food Friday: Weekend Pancakes


It is almost time for the weekend! And weekends mean real breakfasts. Eggs, bacon, pancakes…Traditionally, eggs and fats were forbidden during Lent. On Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent starts, pancakes were rustled up to make good use of any of the tempting sinful ingredients that were cluttering up the larder. Pancakes are the last indulgence before the forty days of slim pickings during Lent. We don’t often eschew pancakes. We tend to err on the side of pleasure – ascetics are not us. So in the scant time before Lent, let the pancake flipping begin!

Pancakes are weekend food. Unless you happen to be a Walton, and have Ma and Granny downstairs puttering around in the kitchen every morning, whipping up biscuits and oatmeal and rashers of yummy bacon. We tend to be grouchy crunchy cereal people during the week, barely looking up from the newspaper to make civilized chatter. Peeling a banana is about as fancy as we get in food prep on a workday morning.

Weekends are different. And glorious. It seems as if there is an abundance of leisure time; when it is pleasurable and we feel unrushed and we can actually talk and laugh and plan how many trips to the hardware store we think we are going to need to make. And will we be able to pencil in a nap? Or a movie? The endless possibilities that present themselves at the beginning of a weekend!

We have noticed that the meals over which the most time is devoted are the meals that get eaten in the shortest amount of time imaginable. Thanksgiving takes at least a day to prepare, and the meal’s temporal length is about 20 minutes. Pancakes practically disappear in a snap as they are transported from the griddle to the plate. A nanosecond is spent pouring the maple syrup and cutting a little square of salty butter. Then the pancakes vaporize as quickly as the dog’s kibble is scarfed up. Ten minutes to mix, 20 minutes to let the batter rest, 20 minutes to cook, equals about three minutes to devour.

There is a nice rhythm and tempo preparing the pancakes, though. (Assuming you square away the bacon before you start pouring pancake batter.) Measuring and stirring, testing the griddle with a drop of water, tasting the bacon, wasting the first batch, pouring out the second, third and fourth servings, watching the pancakes bubble, dropping one for the dog, flipping pancakes one-handed with Merrie Melody aplomb. Whoops. Another pancake for the dog. Maybe it is just the good Saturday-morning-cartoon vibe. It is time to enjoy. I remember watching my brother make pancakes when I was a tot, and thinking how wise he was in the ways of the kitchen, because he knew to wait for the bursting bubbles to slow down before turning the pancake. What a brilliant guy!

We are getting a little fancier these days. We remember fondly the Maine vacation where we picked our own Sal-like blueberries for the breakfast pancakes. Another summer trip is remembered mostly for the friend who added peaches to the pancakes– amazingly deelish. The Tall One likes chocolate chip pancakes. The Pouting Princess likes bacon “infused” pancakes. I spent a summer during college waitressing at an iHop, which, amazingly, didn’t cause any sort of lifelong aversion to the humble flapjack. This is a good thing, Martha.

Buttermilk Pancakes

3 eggs, separated
1 2/3 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
Beat the yolks until pale and smooth.
Beat in the buttermilk and then the baking soda and mix well.
Sift in the dry ingredients mixing as you add; make sure the batter is smooth.
Add in the melted butter and mix well.
Beat the egg whites in another bowl until stiff.

Fold into the batter until no white bits are visible.
Let batter stand about 20 minutes before pouring out pancakes.
Make sure your griddle is really hot – do the water test.
Ladle batter onto griddle; turn when bubbles form across the cakes and allow to lightly brown on the second side.
Serve with lots warm maple syrup and sweet salty butter and lots of bacon. And tall glasses of cold milk. Yumsters!

Impressive vacation-worthy pancakes from our friends at Food52:

And if all else fails – Bisquick pancakes taste fine, too!

“Hope makes a good breakfast. Eat plenty of it.”
― Ian Fleming

Register for Home Gardening Lectures in March


The Kent County Extension Office will begin its seventeenth annual Horticulture Lecture Series for the home gardener on Friday, March 6, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. The programs will be held at the Kent County Public Library, 408 High Street, Chestertown, MD 21620.

Pre-registration is required. Call 410-778-1661. These events are free of charge. All sessions run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The schedule is as follows:

March 6, 2015, “Food Gardening Fun – For Pollinators To People”, lecture by Laura Sanford, Land Protection Specialist with the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy

March 13, 2015, “Straw Bale Gardening”, presentation and panel discussion with Kent & Queen Anne’s County Master Gardeners.

March 20, 2015, “Simply Orchids” by Roger Cole, Owner/Operator of Arvec Orchids, Queen Anne, MD.

March 27, 2015, “How To Save Seeds From Your Favorite Plants”, by Sabine Harvey, UME Kent Program Assistant, Horticulture.

Special Event: Saturday, March 7, 2015, “Seed Swap” at the Kent County Public Library, 408 High St., Chestertown, MD, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Do not need to register. Open to all. Free.

The University of Maryland, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources programs are open to all and will not discriminate against anyone because of race, age, sex, color, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, ancestry, or national origin, marital status, genetic information, or political affiliation, or gender identity and expression.

Defy Winter at Tracy’s Smoothies Place

Tracy Davenport

Tracy Davenport

You might not be thinking about a blueberry or Chunky Monkey smoothie in January, but Tracy Davenport would like to convince you otherwise. Give her five minutes, try a sample, and it won’t matter if a blizzard is on or high summer is wilting your daffodils.  You’ll be ordering one, and planning to return for more.

It all happens at Tracy’s Smoothie Place, 503 Washington Avenue.

Davenport loves a good challenge. Combined with an ongoing quest for understanding dietary health issues—she has a Ph.D in Human Development and a Master’s in Psych.—she sees her smoothies business as a way to offer opportunities for others to learn about dietary health while enjoying some delicious and healthy smoothies and frozen yogurts.

“I hope these smoothies—made without sugar or high fructose corn syrup—give people a chance to learn more about what they eat,” she says. But Davenport doesn’t proselytize, she engages. “To each his or her own about what they want to eat, but I think that information can be powerful and help us to identify options.”

It all started with her second child Ben, born in 2003 with a lifelong gastroesophageal reflux disease that requires ongoing dietary vigilance. Not only was it a painful struggle for the infant, but it impacted the whole family. And the ever inquisitive Davenport was not happy with the medical advice she received.

“There was a dismissive quality with some of the health care providers who treated my son, and I wasn’t getting the answers and information I needed to help him,” she says.  “So I decided to study it myself and I suggest that anyone who has a child with the same disorder do some research and talk to those who are experiencing the same issues.”

At that point, Davenport, inspired by her need to understand how the healthcare field  worked, enrolled in a doctoral program at the University of Delaware and began her journey to learn about human development and healthcare. Already she’d started to read food ingredient labels carefully to protect her son from allergic reactions.

In her third year at U of Delaware, she also began as a contributor to the online where she started a series about Digestive Health but has since broadened her health topics. One recent article addressed the benefits of swimming as part of one’s whole body winter workout.

Co-authoring with her husband, Mike, an athletic  coach At Washington College, Davenport wrote a book about gastroesophageal reflux disease hoping to help others avoid some of the pitfalls she endured. “Acid Reflux in Infants and Children” is billed as “a practical guide for parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers” and offers firsthand experience framed by her own research.

“I’m also planning a ‘Clean Eating Day,” Davenport says. “I’ve done it with some of my students in the past—she taught Psychology for four years at Chesapeake Community College—and it’s a fun way to learn about what we actually eat.”

Participants simply write down the ingredient labels to everything they eat for a 12 hour period, bring it into Tracy’s Smoothies and find out about each ingredient.  “It’s not about putting anybody down for their choices. It’s about discovery and learning. It’s fun. Keep up with us on our Facebook page for more information and announcements.”
While Davenport’s mission is to continue teaching about diet and health, one look at the list of smoothies on the blackboard will quickly dispel any idea that healthy food can’t be delicious, even slightly whimsical and decadent,

Try, for instance, Tracy’s  Chunky Monkey, with peanut butter, banana and nonfat Greek yogurt to Coach Jonnie’s Recovery with blueberries, bananas, peanut butter and protein powder, to freshly blended frozen yogurt—strawberry, peach, pineapple-mango—and you’re beginning to realize that Tracy’s Smoothies Place is another great addition to Chestertown’s growing assortment of fun places to eat.

And why wait for warmer weather? Tracy offers Frozen Hot Chocolate for the daring and regular hot chocolate for the shivering.
Check out Tracy’s Smoothie Place Facebook page.

(410) 778-2203
Open 9am-4pm, Monday – Saturday

Food Friday: Simply Chicken Potpie


I have been out of town this week, so here is a merry little stroll back in time, in our own Spy Tardis:

On a recent dark and stormy night I was about to go through the motions of whipping up an uninspired stir fry of chicken, peas, onions, carrots and some celery for crunch, but it didn’t seem like a warm, inviting meal for a raw winter day. It’s not that I harbor any illusions that coming home to our house every night is a journey to Martha-in-Wonderland, but sometimes I like to pretend that Mrs. Cleaver lives here. Even though I do not wear the high heels and the starched shirtwaist dress, I am wearing pearls along with the scarf, the sweater and the turtleneck. I bet even Mrs. Cleaver would be wearing woolies this week! And clad in her double-thick black leggings, Mrs. Cleaver would use these same ingredients to bake an amazing chicken potpie.

Here is something to keep in your freezer at all times of the year – a package of puff pastry. This is essential, Home Ec 101 information. Write it down. In cursive! Or tell Siri to remind you the next time you go to the Food Lion: “Buy puff pastry.”

I have used store-bought pie shells in the past because I am hopeless at home made. Everyone would politely shovel the chicken concoctions into their hungry little mouths. But the puff pastry made this pie an occasion! It was spectacular! It was as if Jiffy Pop Pop Corn had waved a magic wand over my chicken pie ordinaire, and puffed it upward and outward with importance and historical significance. Well, it looked very pretty when it came out of the oven, and was warmer and more comforting than that pedestrian chicken stir fry would have been.

I used the same ingredients that would have gone into the stir fry, with the addition of the puff pastry, and some chicken broth. And a little flour. I’ll trot out some other recipes for you later – but you need to keep it simple, for your own sanity. I read one recipe that wanted me to weave strips of pastry into a latticework on top of the pie. That was sheer foolishness. The pastry rises and looms like ocean cliffs – do not diminish that drama by getting all crafty. Use that time you would have been weaving pastry strips (like those long ago potholders) wisely. Dig out the latest Garden & Gun Magazine and plan your Mardi Gras strategy instead.

I boiled a boneless chicken breast, although if you have a leftover roasted chicken, you can pull off enough meat for a pie for two people. After boiling the breast, I chopped it up and shredded it – the howling cat was very grateful that my knife skills need some polishing, as some shreds flew off the cutting board into her KP area. I chopped up a couple of carrots, some celery, and half an onion, and tossed them into a frying pan with some butter for a few minutes. The onion should be translucent and fragrant. Then I added a handful of flour and 2 cups of chicken broth and the chicken. (Sometimes I skip the flour and the broth and just add Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup and a little milk.) After everything heated up and bubbled along nicely, I poured the mixture into my cute little Le Creuset baking dish. But a pie pan works just as well. (Remember, I am waiting for Mr. Cleaver, and want to make a favorable impression. Sometimes Ward has had a rough day down at the insurance office, or wherever it is that he works…)

Roll the thawed dough out on a floured surface, just to take out the creases. Then lay it on top of your pan, and with kitchen sheers, or even your office Fiskars, trim the excess dough, leaving about half an inch hanging over the edge of the pan, for drama.

Whisk an egg with a little water, and then brush it across the pastry. It will add color and a shiny surface to the pastry. Then remember to cut a few slits in the dough to let steam escape during the baking process.

Put the pastry-topped pan on top of a cookie sheet, and pop in a 375°F oven for about 30 to 35 minutes. See – you didn’t need to waste your time basket weaving at all. And now there is a little extra time to read a The Goldfinch, or chill the wine, or to watch last night’s Daily Show. Ward wouldn’t have enjoyed the spectacle of woven pastry as much as he is going to enjoy this huge, flying buttress of a chicken potpie.

I like The Pioneer Woman website. She has a droll sense of humor. I could imagine spending a little quality time with her out on the prairie. Although I do not have turmeric – so I will never know exactly what her pie tastes like:

Here’s Martha’s take, although she spends quality time worrying about the crust. “Pshaw!” I say! Worry about your time with young Theo Decker instead!

“Promises and pie-crust are made to be broken.”
-Jonathan Swift

Chestertown Garden Club Goes Batty


Are you afraid of bats? Did you know that bats are very helpful in controlling the insect population, reseeding cut forests, providing food for humans, and have even taught us about sonar? Not having the correct information regarding bats has resulted in harm to bats and myths about them that are incorrect.

The Chestertown Garden Club will increase your knowledge about bats with a program Tuesday, February 3. Elizabeth (Beth) Hill will be our speaker and will enlighten us about the World of Bats and the part they play in our world and gardens. Elizabeth is the Faculty Extension Assistant and since 1996, has taken over the program for 4-H Youth Development at the University of MarylandExtension for Kent County. Through the 4-H

Through the 4-H program she develops and teaches programs for youth and adults on the Eastern Shore in the area of youth development, entomology, environmental and agricultural sciences, animal science, team building and other programs. Beth grew up in Lancaster County, raising Black Swallowtail butterflies and Cecropia moths. A graduate of the University of Delaware with a BS in Entomology Applied Ecology, Beth interned at the Delaware Nature Society and then began working for the University of MD Extension.

Please join us at our next meeting on February 3rd, where Beth’s program will broaden our environmental knowledge, provide horticultural alternatives for our gardens and eliminate “old wives tales” about bats. Through learning more about bats, we hope you will like, respect and help protect these endangered species. The meeting will be held at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 101 North Cross Street, Chestertown, MD at 11:00 am.