Sylvia Davatz’ Solstice Seeds Catalogue

Wheat drying in Sylvia’s solar-powered greenhouse

Sylvia Davatz, of Hartland , VT,  develops seeds using a variety of criteria, looking for seeds that will contribute to our year-long food supply, be well-adapted to our growing environment, have great flavor, be productive and disease-resistant and, thereby, worthy of preservation. She has once again made her seeds available through her Solstice Seeds Catalogue which you can download below:


Sylvia’s Garden & Greenhouse

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Food Swaps

When visiting my daughter Alisa and her husband Sean in LA this March, I noticed a lot of unpicked citrus in many neighborhoods. It was heartening to learn there are food swaps in LA attempting to solve the “problem” of this abundance.

Alisa and Sean benefit from a highly productive avocado tree next-door; avocados rain down on their roof and they collect them in buckets.


On Saturday, they took their avocado bucket to the neighborhood produce swap. In exchange for avocados, they brought home grapefruits, lemons, limes, loquats, eggs, fennel, herbs, and marmalade.

Citrus and Fennel




There was once an Upper Valley Home Gardeners Facebook page through which local gardeners could swap or sell their produce . . .  but it seems to have disappeared. If anyone is aware of such a web site or an organized Upper Valley swap, please let us know.  I do find a Pioneer Valley Food Swap – but I’m hoping there is something more local!  Or maybe you’ll want to organize one?!

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Sylvia Davatz’ 2016 Seed Catalogue

Sylvia’s Garden & Greenhouse

Local seeds from Upper Valley seed saver, Sylvia Davatz of Hartland VT

A message from Sylvia:

It has long been, and continues to be, a core part of my mission to preserve varieties that are in danger of being lost. This now seems more urgent than ever. In the pages of this catalogue you will find many rare, endangered, beautiful, tasty, old, hardy, and historic varieties. All are worthy of being curated by our generation in order to ensure that future generations will be able to enjoy and be nourished by them. All will feed you in more ways than one!

If you are interested in cultivating your seed saving skills, remember that our Upper Valley Seed Savers group continues to meet monthly for lively conversation and the sharing of knowledge and seeds. Let me know if you would like more information about our meetings.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy browsing in these pages and entertaining visions of overflowing gardens. Heartfelt thanks to all for your support over the years, and warmest wishes for health and bounty in the new year.



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Compost Cooking!

Mindful cooks, through the generations, have had ways to reduce food waste: stir fry, frittata, quiche, quesadillas, soups, stews, homemade broth, etc. Of late, many professional chefs are challenging themselves to use food that would otherwise be wasted. Here are a few of their successful experiments:


Brussels Sprout Stems

* San Francisco Chef Chris Cosentino splits Brussels sprout stems lengthwise and roasts them with salt, pepper, and olive oil; the inner “marrow” of the stem can be delicious when served on grilled bread.

slicedBSleavesBrussels Sprout Leaves

  • Leaves of Brussels sprouts can be cooked like kale or collards: Stack the leaves and cut horizontally into wide strips, then sauté in a hot skillet with olive oil. (You can crush a couple of garlic cloves and let them warm in the oil before adding the greens. The whole crushed cloves lend a soft garlicky flavor – remove them or eat them before serving.) Add a scant pinch of chili flakes for some spiciness.

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Carrot Tops

* Carrot Top Pesto – (recipe developed by James Beard Award-Winning Cookbook Author Diane Morgan)

Serve as a dip with crackers and/or crudites or on top of bruschetta smeared with fresh goat cheese . . . or any way one uses traditional pesto. Great on pasta. (Makes about 2/3 cup)

1 cup lightly packed carrot leaves (stems removed)

5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 large garlic clove

1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt

3 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted

1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano

Puree it all in a blender or food processor.

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Broccoli Stalks

*Broccoli Stalk Soup (from Food: Too Good to Waste)

You can use leftover stems of leafy vegetables such as Brussels
sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, spinach or kale. Adapted from Irene
Pizzie and Love Food Hate Waste UK. Yields 4 servings.
4 potatoes, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
1 handful pearl barley, red lentils, or leftover rice
1 cup leftover broccoli stalks
1/2 Tbsp fennel seeds (optional)
salt & pepper
sour cream or Greek yogurt
fresh herbs
Put the potatoes, onion, carrots, pearl barley (or lentils or rice) in a large
pan and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat and simmer
for about 10 minutes. Add the broccoli stalks and fennel seeds and
continue to cook until all the vegetables are just tender. Remove from
heat and allow to cool. Purée until smooth. Taste and season. Pour into
warm bowls and add a little sour cream or yogurt, swirl into the soup and
add a few sprigs of herbs such as tarragon (optional).

* The New Yorker has a great read on what Chef Dan Barber is doing in New York. And there’s more about his WastED project at

Also see . . . and

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Norwich Farmers Market – August


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Local Tortillas Coming to Vermont!

Custom Shaping Brass Tortilla Cutter

Custom Shaping Brass Tortilla Cutter

Read Seven Days story of collaboration of  Vermont Bean Crafters and City Market to help All Souls Tortilleria get started.

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Local Acorn Flour!

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I splurged this weekend. For some, a splurge might be a bottle of wine or a meal at a fine restaurant; for me, it was a quart jar of acorn flour purchased at Killdeer Farm Stand, where Jason Avis was premiering his Oaklore acorn products . . . and offering samples of delicious acorn pancakes. That quart jar set me bsck $24.99 . . . but if ever there was a value-added product, this is it! Gathered in the fall, the acorns have been sorted, dried, shelled, ground, leached of their bitter tannins, and dried again.

The annual nut crop from oak trees in North America surpasses the combined yearly yield of all other nut trees, both wild and cultivated. Acorns were the staff of life for many Native American groups, who ground the nuts into meal for bread and mush. Might acorns once again become a source of nutrition for modern day localvores? My breakfast this morning was a localvore treat made with Beidler Family Farm whole wheat flour, Oaklore acorn flour, Luna Bleu eggs, Strafford Creamery milk, and Vermont maple syrup.

Killdeer Farm stand’s Scott Woolsey says he has made delicious pasta by substituting 2 tablespoons of acorn flour in his regular recipe. I look forward to experimenting with this “new” local product.

More info on Jason’s venture at  as well as an earlier story

Valley News article:

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