Holiday Egg Nog with Walnut Kitchen Homestead

F.O.O.D. Focus on the Organic Difference
vol. 10 December 21, 2018

Profile and recipe from Ellisa Miller of Walnut Kitchen Homestead of Orange, MA
By Christy Bassett for The Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

Elissa and her family are small scale farmers in the North Quabbin region of central Massachusetts.  With a focus on organically fed and humanely raised pigs and chickens, Walnut Kitchen Homestead is known for the quality local food that they produce.  Follow them online at, on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and right here on The Organic Food Guide.

Speaking of quality local food, if you’re feeling indulgent, treat yourself to this amazingly rich and decadent dessert drink made from organic pasture-raised eggs, raw milk and Massachusetts maple syrup.  This homemade egg nog will get your name on everyone’s guest list this holiday season.

Elissa Miller of Walnut Kitchen Homestead

Are you a farmer, gardener, homesteader, consumer, landscaper or food activist?

I’d classify myself as a farmer these days, although back when I started getting into farming I would have chosen homesteader.

What type of food to do grow, if any?  Do you sell it and where?

The focus of our farm is about producing high quality animal products, but we do have a couple side ventures as well (cut flowers, for instance).  Walnut Kitchen Homestead (WKH) is mostly known for the pork and eggs we sell, but we also have seasonally dependent supplies of lamb, chicken, and goat. Every week we go to the local markets to sell our products: Orange, Athol, Petersham, and also Princeton.  If a customer has a request to purchase outside of those days, we are happy to try and accommodate if we are contacted.

Why do you love local food?

I love local food (and locally created products) because I think it is so important to keep communities alive. There are several arguments out there on why local is better: reduced carbon emissions from transport, ability to support animal/plant species biodiversity, all the way through indirectly supporting local bee/pollinator populations.  And while these are all valid, I love nothing more than the sense of connection that I have to a place when I am able to buy my tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and garlic from those who live here and work on the same general land area as I do. Not to mention, the food usually tastes better!

Why do you choose organic?

There is a distinction that I find important between Certified/USDA Organic and non-certified, but raised with organic standards in mind.  Either of these are valid choices, but when I choose organic, I focus on looking for products where I understand how they are produced, more so than the official ‘Certified Organic’ label.  This is because I prioritize local over organic.

I want any animal’s products that I’m buying to have had good welfare standards – and if a cow was sick two years ago and needed non-organic treatment to recover, then I will quite happily buy from a producer who uses the animal’s welfare as their first priority.  However, the aforementioned scenario is a far cry from some forms of conventional farming that I have witnessed in the Midwest, where gallons of herbicides/pesticides are sprayed onto crops with the potential to contaminate run-off water during heavy rain.

So, I choose organic because I want to support an effort that aspires to better farming practices.  But above all – I choose organic because I am connected to my food, and want to know what went into it and how it was raised.  If I can talk to a farmer and find that information out, then that’s good enough for me.

Why do you love Massachusetts?

My family has moved quite a bit over the past twenty years.  I don’t generally put down much in the way of roots when I get somewhere, but my husband and I think this is the place we are going to be for a while, and it’s because Massachusetts feels like home.  We love our neighbors, the hill towns, maple syrup, winding roads, and crisp air first thing in the morning.

Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg for true gourmet taste.

Holiday Egg Nog


  • 12 large organic pasture raised egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups maple syrup
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 quarts raw organic whole milk
  • 2 Tbs vanilla extract
  • 2 cups organic raw heavy cream
  • 1 tsp plus a dash of ground nutmeg


  • In a large saucepan, beat egg yolks, syrup, salt with a whisk until well blended.
  • Add 1 quart milk and bring to a simmer over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon well. (About 25 minutes or until temperature reaches 160 degrees F.)  Do not allow to get too hot, as the custard will separate.
  • Pour custard into a large bowl. Stir in vanilla and 1 tsp nutmeg and remaining milk.  Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  • When ready to serve, beat heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into cooled custard with a whisk.
  • Serve with a dash of ground nutmeg on top. Makes about 16 cups.

Maple Cardamom Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Grain Free Maple Cardamom Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

F.O.O.D. Focus on the Organic Difference
vol. 5  11/16/18

By Christy Bassett for The Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

Pulling carrots from the ground is one of my all time favorite gardening activities.  The bright green tops waving in the wind like a flag declare that there is more than meets the eye beneath the surface.  I grasp each banner individually, visualizing the hefty root that will be uncovered when I finally tug it free from the soil.

I know you’re in there, carrots…

More often than not, my ideas of carrot bounty are not quite actualized, since I never tend to thin them properly or pay close enough attention to the garden as they are growing.  The slender threadlike root stares back at me as I decide whether it is worth bringing into the kitchen or handing straight to the goats.  But, sometimes, the size of the prize exceeds my expectations.  It is a psychological rush to be rewarded with the occasional jackpot when you are bracing yourself for disappointment.


This year, our organic rainbow carrots were the stars of show.  Likely due to Mother Nature keeping the ground continually moist and NOFA/Mass enlightening us on soil amendments, we seem to have struck it rich in root vegetables.  I’m not complaining.  When life gives you carrots, make carrot cake.  Especially if it is this grain-free, organic, Scandinavian spiced, version of carrot cake.

Rinsing the dirt from these beauties was so gratifying.


Dry ingredients:
1 cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
¾ cup tapioca starch
1 ½ Tbs cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp cardamom
1 Tbs baking soda
4 cups shredded organic carrots

Wet ingredients:
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup organic applesauce (unsweetened)
8 large (or 12 small) organic, pasture-raised eggs, beaten
½ cup virgin organic coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp organic apple cider vinegar
1 cup chopped organic walnuts
1 cup organic raisins

For the frosting:
16 oz organic cream cheese (best if you make it yourself!), at room temperature
1/4 cup virgin organic coconut oil, melted, but not hot
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom

This moist, double layer cake will serve 16-20 guests.


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Grease two 9” round cake pans
  • Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl, adding shredded carrots last, tossing to coat.
  • In another bowl, mix wet ingredients together with a whisk. Then add to dry ingredients and stir well.
  • Add walnuts and raisins, dispersing into batter without overmixing.
  • Divide the batter evenly into the two greased cake pans. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the top is firm and an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and allow to cool until you are able to handle the pans without burning yourself. Turn the pans upside down to release the cakes and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  • To make the frosting mix the room temperature cream cheese in a stand-up mixer until smooth. Add the melted, but not hot, coconut oil and maple syrup.  Mix at low speed until incorporated, then whip until fluffy.
  • Spread an even layer of frosting on one cake, then place the second cake on top. Frost the cake as a whole.

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

Blueberry Kale Smoothie

By Christy Bassett for the Organic Food Guide and NOFA/Mass

Blending nutrient dense superfoods together can only make them better.  Well, at least in the case of fruit and yogurt it does.  On days when you don’t have time to construct a complete meal or to sit down at the table to savor the flavors of farm fresh ingredients, this blueberry kale smoothie delivers the brain food you need to keep you going.  Blueberries are referred to as a “superfood” due to the high level of antioxidants found in their nutrient profile.  Add in the kick of vitamin C and vitamin K that they pack, and it’s hard to say no to just a few more berries in your breakfast.
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