Holiday Cheers!

Holiday traditions are steeped in love and lore, creating stories and memories that span the decades. Many of these traditions revolve around food: specific dishes annually brought to the table either as fan favorites or in touching deference to a passed family member. Months of patience, days of preparation, long nights of intricate construction, and finally the big day(s) arrives. After a fork or a spoonful, we sigh, blissfully content. It was well worth the wait. With an abundance of local ingredients at our disposal, concocting tasty food and sparkling libations is at our fingertips whether at home or at local establishments.

For this holiday issue of eSS&SC, we communicated with our readers and other denizens of southeastern Massachusetts to dive deep into multi-generational family traditions and recipes. We learn how preparing loved ones’ sweet sweets is a labor of love with heartwarming rewards, and how local ingredients give holiday beverages a unique flair. Greg Jordan of The Quarry shares timely tips on surviving the season while still being a star in the kitchen. Butternut squash and Parmesan cheese also get a fresh look and just in time for family gatherings.

Need some new family traditions? Check out all the new breweries in Plymouth either on foot or on tour. Or go to Indiefirm and learn how to make the hot drink of the moment, kombucha. If you live in the New Bedford area, get your favorite restaurants’ meals delivered to your door, so you don’t miss any of the festivities or football games you’re enjoying at home.

The holidays are also a time to give thanks and learn about special people and places that have invited hope, provided hospitality, and increased food security in our area. Bristol Agricultural High School teaches teens hands-on skills to becoming our future farmers, while also providing food to soup kitchens. We’re introduced to Uncle Ed, a renowned farmer and host of many on Clark’s Island exemplifying what being a good neighbor really means. In addition, we explore how some creative South Coast individuals in New Bedford (and elsewhere) have not only improved food security, but have done so by adding fresh produce and other perishables to the web of food.

Gratitude surrounds these stories. You may find yourself walking down memory lane and searching for a long lost recipe from your great-grandmother. The memories that food evokes or the “have-to-haves” on the table, combined with beloved family and friends makes us grateful for the traditions that surround the season. While the stories are different, there is something for everyone in this issue. It is also at this time that we give thanks to all of you who encompass the eSS&SC network and strive to build a sustainable nation. At our core, eSS&SC celebrates the abundance of southeastern Massachusetts, and we are both happy and honored to be celebrating it with you over this holiday season.

Terry Vandewater, Assistant Editor

Eat thoughtfully, Laurie Hepworth & Michael Hart