JJG_locally_growsphotographs by Michael Piazza

to YOU, ❤️ JJ

From May 28 newsletter

Hey there friends!

It’s been al long time since I’ve sat down to write to the Cuisine en Locale mailing list.  It used to be me all the time and I worried about you all getting sick of me.  Now I am so busy with my hands in everything that I can rarely find the waking time to type, and there are other wonderful folks getting the information to you about what we are doing, where and when.
I think of you all the time though, and I write to you in my head, and I’ve been toying with the idea of a podcast, because no matter how far we have come (and darlings. we have come very, very far) there is still a mighty mountainous mess of a food system to be dealt with in this country, and more and more in every other country as well.
I often find so much right in front of my nose that the big picture gets blurred.  That’s when I have to step back and remember why we do what we do.  Or even what we do.  What is it that we do again?  Why, thanks for asking!  We purchase food directly from farmers and cook it for busy city people.  And why?  To support the growth and wellbeing of local farms, with the purpose of repairing our badly broken food systems.
In all of the planning, and cooking and selling, and delivery; when the bags need to be reordered and the art hasn’t been approved, and the sink starts to link; it can get kind of hard to remember that our purpose is what matters.  Our heart is with the farmers and the end goal is to make the most beautiful, delicious, nutritious and clean food we can for you.
To that end, chef Sean and I spent a day with a dear friend and she made little jewel like photos of ten of our dishes, and then a photo of them all together, to show you just what the labour of our love looks like: One week worth of all local, seasonal food.  Sourced, cooked, and served with true love, to you, on behalf of the farmers who want for us all to have a sustainable future.
This is what puts it all into focus.  This is the reality of what we do.  I present love in culinary form, as documented by Melina Vanderpile.  Please check out her work, and call her for any product photo needs.  She gets it.  As do you.

Thank you for supporting local food, happy spring, and love always
JJ and CeL

Maine Sail Freight is coming


Maine-made farm goods soon will wind their way to Boston by schooner

It’s art. It’s protest. It’s celebration. And, who knows? It may even be a practical way to get cargo to market.

Read more

and come dine with us when the ship comes in!

Check out the upcoming roundtable we will be hosting with our friends who are sailing down from Maine to bring delicious Maine products to the Boston Public Market- join Maine food leaders Marada Cook, Severine v T Fleming, JJ Gonson, Wenzday Jane and more and taste the terroir of Maine in our special Maine taco features, Monday August 31st.

Read more about the Maine Sail Mission in the words of Rivera Sun

Maine Sail Freight Revives A Salty History of Revolution & Independence

by Rivera Sun



In this new millennium marked by the looming threat of transnational trade deals

like the Transpacific Partnership (TPP), The Transatlantic Trade and Investment

Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA), one unusual trade

adventure, Maine Sail Freight will embark on a creative, bold journey as an act of

defiance against business-as-usual. When Maine Sail Freight launches its maiden

voyage at the end of August carrying 11 tons of local, Maine-made cargo, the

Greenhorns – a plucky band of young farmers – and the sailing crew of an historic

wooden schooner are declaring their independence from corporate tyranny and re-
invigorating sail freight as a wind-powered transportation agent of the booming

local food economy.

And, interestingly, they will carry one freight item that has a long history of

revolutionary potential: salt.

Yes, salt.

Over a hundred years before Gandhi’s independence movement kicked the British

Empire out of India, the American colonies were roundly beating the same empire

using tools of nonviolent action – noncooperation, civil disobedience, boycotts,

strikes, blockades, parallel governments, marches, rallies, and self-reliance

programs. The two independence movements even shared parallel salt campaigns.

Both the American Revolution and the India Self-Rule movement used salt as a tool

of resistance and liberation. Gandhi’s 1930 Salt Satyagraha campaign is famous. The

1776 New England saltworks expansion is virtually unknown. Indeed, the well-
organized, clearly identifiable nonviolent campaigns are often overshadowed by

violence and war in the retelling of revolutionary era history. The research,

however, testifies to the nonviolent campaigns pivotal role in the struggle.

Know your history, as the saying goes. The British certainly should have. In 1930, one

hundred and fifty years after American Independence, Lord Irwin, Viceroy of India,

commented on the brewing salt law resistance saying, ” At present the prospect of a

salt campaign does not keep me awake at night.” Too bad . . . if he had stayed awake,

studying the history of salt, colonial governments, and independence movements, he

might have lost sleep . . . but he wouldn’t have lost India.

Over a century ago, in 1776, the British Empire lost the American colonies over a

famous tax on tea . . . and salt.

Everyone knows the story of the Boston Tea Party – rowdy colonists, incensed by the

tax on tea, dressed up as Indians and stormed Boston Harbor to dump the contents

of a ship carrying import goods into the water. The colonials boycotted tea,

demanding “no taxation without representation”. Less well known is that the tax on

tea also contained a tax on salt. At the time, salt was a necessity of both household

survival and for the economic functionality of the colonial fisheries, which exported

salted fish. There were, however, no saltworks along the lengthy coastlines of North

America. The salt used by the colonists was imported from the British Caribbean.

When the new tax laws were announced in the colonies, the colonists declared they

would boycott imported goods from Britain, refusing to cooperate. Of course, they

didn’t use the term “boycott”, which would not be coined until 1880, when the Irish

rebelled against the land agent Charles C. Boycott.

The colonists rebelled against the tax laws, declaring independence. A crippling

embargo was placed on the colonies, cutting off the supply of imported salt entirely.

In response the Continental Congress placed a “bounty” on salt to encourage the

young nation to build saltworks and produce this essential resource. Cape Cod

responded to the call, even inventing new elements of the salt production process.

They rejected the process of boiling out the water, as it used too many cords of

wood, and instead developed a system of producing salt that used wind power to

haul the seawater to the drying troughs, natural solar power to evaporate the water,

and a unique construction of rolling canvas roofs that would keep the rain out of the

troughs, then pull back on sunny days to allow the light in. The production of salt

increased the Americans self-reliance, lessened their dependence on the empire,

and strengthened their ability to resist British oppression.

These three dynamics – increasing self-reliance, lessening dependence, and

strengthening the ability to resist oppression – are all elements of what Gandhi

would later call “constructive program”. Gandhi employed eighteen different

constructive programs in his movement, one of which was the production of salt.

The 1930 Salt Satyagraha was a powerful demonstration of the two-fold strength of

nonviolent action. In addition to the constructive dynamics, it also utilized the

“obstructive” dynamics of noncooperation and mass civil disobedience, as well as

many acts of protest and persuasion including marches, rallies, picketing, letter

writing, and demonstrations.

The story is simple: the British Empire held a monopoly on the production of salt in

colonial India, operating the saltworks to their own profit and charging the Indians

for the staple. In 1930, Gandhi decided to openly defy the salt laws, inciting

thousands of Indians to make and sell salt, rendering the salt laws unenforceable

through mass noncooperation. Gandhi, as always, added his usual political clarity

and dramatic flair to the undertaking. Where the Americans pragmatically made salt

as a necessity of survival and a tool of self-reliance, Gandhi’s marches, public

announcements, mass disobedience, and inimitable sense of humor made humble

salt the downfall of British authority over India. Gandhi overtly challenged the

British over salt . . . and won.

Today, contemporary struggles revolve not around colonies and crowns, but rather

between citizens and trans-national corporations. The basic lessons of salt still hold

true for modern times. Increase self-reliance. Lessen dependency on oppressors.

Refuse cooperation with injustice. Build parallel institutions. As Maine Sail Freight

travels from Portland to Boston, reinvigorating traditional ocean trade routes, the

participants are also joining the growing popular resistance to global corporate

domination. As history will attest, their success lies in the willingness of the people

to non-cooperate with business-as-usual, and instead participate with the

constructive actions of local, sustainable, and renewable economies. Here’s where to

find out more and join the Portland to Boston adventure.


Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection, Billionaire Buddha, and

Steam Drills, Treadmills, and Shooting Stars, the cohost of Occupy Radio, and the

cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network. She tours nationally speaking and

educating in nonviolent civil resistance. Her essays on social justice movements

appear in Truthout and Popular Resistance.



Meet one of the early pioneers of meal delivery and locavore-ing: JJ Gonson of Cuisine En Locale, in Somerville, MA. Part 1. By Chas Wagner


Screen Shot 2015-03-30 at 8.07.58 PM

Chas: We’re sitting here on a themed taco night. However, it’s not a Tuesday. But rather, a Monday. What’s up with tacos not on a Tuesday? More like, how did Taco Mondays come to be?

JJ: Partly to be contrarian, mainly to be difficult. We just seem to keep up with anti-promotions on a daily basis. We’re coming up with bad ideas all the time.

We do tacos on a Monday, because Monday is the day we cook and pack our once-a-week meal delivery program, so, we’re here.

It actually started because we did tacos last Cinco de Mayo, which went over well. Funny enough, it was a Monday!

So, we did it again. And people liked it. Then, we just kept doing it.

It coincides that just as we are finishing with putting the program together, and as the kitchen wraps up, we open for dinner.

It stuck, because, obviously, people love tacos.

At this point, we’ve introduced one other really serious, themed night as part of the weekly rotation.


On Bristol Bay


If you have been in to eat in the Lounge at 156 Highland Ave, you may have noticed that we have been offering housecured wild Bristol Bay Salmon, which is from Alaska, on our menu. And you may have thought, “HEY!  Wait.  Alaskan salmon is in no way local to Massachusetts! What’s up, “locavores”?”   Well, I’m glad you asked, cuz this is really important to me, and I’ve been dying to tell you…


In Alaska there is a place that I have only seen in photos, called Bristol Bay. It is the home to many people who fish for their livelihoods as well as their basic sustenance. It is also vital to the the last remaining wild salmon run that is hearty enough to be commercially fished.


Yes, you read that right. If you are eating salmon that is not wild AK it is farmed. I don’t care if it is called “Wild Atlantic Salmon” on the sign at Whole Foods, that is the name of the type of fish. Most of the stuff we see over here is farmed, and that is a whole other conversation about sustainability and ocean toxification.


Save that, let’s get back to Bristol Bay.


Unfortunately for the fishermen and the fish, Bristol Bay sits on top of an ungodly amount of copper and gold, and there are mining companies who want to blow the place apart to get at those “valuable resources”. The Pebble Mine company has fought long and hard to dig there, and so far has been sort of held back by a variety of studies and restraints put in place by the EPA as summonsed up by the people of Bristol Bay.

Regardless of those restraints, the “valuable resources” remain down there, and the companies who want them will keep trying to prove that they have a better case.

This is where you and I come in. We are not in Alaska. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been to Alaska, and I’d like to go, but it’s not going to be soon. Although we over here are not really aware of what is going on over there, there are lots of interested lobbyists who go to politicians in states far away from Alaska and convince them that the EPA is putting restrictions on their mining activities that will compromise the growth of industry, limit jobs, etc. They put pressure on those politicians to support bills that will limit the EPA’s ability to suppress the mining companies progress in any situation, including Bristol Bay.

Do you see where I’m going here?

I’ll get to the point. If Pebble Mine succeeds it will wipe out the last remaining wild salmon run in the country. Maybe in the world, if you look closely. Salmon cannot survive the level of disturbance and pollution that will be caused by the mine. It will be the WORLDS BIGGEST copper and gold mine. The fish do not have a chance. This pisses me off. The ocean is a mess, and getting worse, and this is a really obvious moment to come to the defense of the fish. I cheered when the EPA slowed this project down, and a major investor dropped out, but that was just a little band aid. It matters that people in North Carolina and Massachusetts know what is going on in Alaska because the ocean is everywhere and this affects everyone. You can help by buying wild Alaskan salmon, by telling people about wild Alaskan salmon and by watching out for bills that will reduce the right of the EPA to stop progress on projects that will create environmental disasters.

There is an organization that is well named to help us remember this call to action. It is “Eat Wild, Save Wild”. I am asking you to recognize the importance of the problems we are creating in our food systems everywhere, and to eat local, think global, and sometimes that means acting global too.

If you would like to dig deeper you can do that here:

and I absolutely encourage you to watch the movie Breach to learn more about this important topic.

Juliana Hatfield Three and Potty Mouth


Coming to our event space at 156 Highland Ave in Somerville on April 19, we are very excited to present The Juliana Hatfield Three with guests, Potty Mouth.

We will be serving all local fare in the ONCE Lounge starting at 5pm.
Ballroom opens at 7pm
Potty Mouth 8pm
Juliana Hatfield Three 9pm

Tickets are on sale now for $20 in advance

Tickets will be available for $25 at the door after 4pm on the day of show

All ages, 21+ with positive ID to drink


Winter Moon Roots & Future Plans


Winter Moon Roots

The Winter Market is back in full swing…

…over at the Somerville Armory and our friend Michael Docter is there again with his amazing root vegetables! Michael is the owner of Winter Moon Roots, a farm where they grow the sweetest, most beautiful roots this side of the Mississippi.

Stop by the Armory on Saturdays this winter to say hello, sample a carrot, and snag a radish or three. He’s got a CSA pick up at Clover, too!

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Shopping, Rocking & Noshing Locally – staying close with CeL!


Local Gifts for the Holidays

Plenty of ways to shop local this holiday season.

Super delicious food is always a good way to go and our ONCE a Week Gift Certificates make a great stocking stuffer!

For your friends who already have their cooking down, there are a couple cool fairs to check out.

  • Holly Fair is Cambridge’s oldest crafts fair, featuring over 70 vendors coming together in Harvard Sq on December 13 & 14.
  • Local is for Lovers is Somerville’s local crafts market, where you can get a good chunk of holiday shopping done in the Center for Arts at the Armory on December 14.

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Adventures on Oyster Island



Last week the Cuisine en Locale crew ventured out to Island Creek Oysters to see where our favorite mollusks originate. The folks at Island Creek are as experienced as they are hospitable, and we learned all sorts of amazing factoids, like how oysters don’t reproduce in the cold Duxbury Bay waters and have to be nurtured in Island Creek’s personal nursery before heading into the big blue sea.



Giant algae tubes and empty round breeding tubs gave us room to imagine the detailed process of growing tiny oyster babes. Looks like we’ll have to come back again in February, when they begin the breeding cycle, to witness that.

We also learned that oysters hibernate in the wintertime, like bears. Who knew? They squeeze their shells together so tight that no water comes through and then hunker down until the snows thaw.


Mark finds all the cool dead things.


Sea yoga.












Ahoy! Captain Ken at your service!

We motored out on the mud flat during high tide. Twelve feet of frigid seawater blanketed the oysters as we giddily examined the tiny boat house with our tour guide, Annie, and our skipper, Hadley. Mollusks and crabs vied for our attention, but the oysters beckoned. Everyone took a turn cracking open the shell and slurping out the just-caught delicacy. Usually I cringe from oysters, but they were so fresh how could I resist? I tried one and ate with relish, shucking a few more for myself and the crew. The deep, mineral-rich seawater and chewy meat invigorated us all.


Kaitlin and I donned the giant mud pants used to harvest during low tide and splashed our feet off the back porch while Ken gave Sandra lessons in shucking. By the end Sandra’s technique was flawless! Maybe we’ll have new oyster shucker at next year’s Valhalla.



Kaitlin and Luc, ready for harvesting.


Ken teaches Sandra the art of oyster shucking. It takes patience, finesse, and a good knife!












We’re so glad we got to take the trip out to Island Creek. If you can’t make it out to Duxbury, never fear! You can find their delectable oysters over at the Island Creek Oyster Bar on Commonwealth Ave in Downtown Boston.

Keeping Things Warm & Toasty

Winter is coming!! Yes, we’re another month closer to chillier winter days, but we plan on keeping things warm and toasty here in the CeL kitchens with all the cooking we’ve got planned for you and your guest.  That’s right, we do catering so keep us in mind when your friends and family come over for the holidays.  Maybe you’ll want to beef up your order, make it a double, so you have some extra food around.  We’ll also be cooking up some special side dishes for you to use at your Thanksgiving dinner so keep a look out for a menu of what we’ll be offering over the next couple weeks.

Menu Preview below…