Inside Rogue Sessions: Spike Gjerde

All of the chefs cooking at the Rogue Sessions will be incorporating local ingredients, but none are more focused on products from the DMV than Spike Gjerde of the highly acclaimed Woodberry Kitchen. For the past four years, the Baltimore eatery has been offering rootsy Americana-themed cuisine that highlights the finest foodstuffs from the Chesapeake watershed. If it’s not available locally, it’s probably not on the menu.

Since Gjerde likes to use a plethora of produce, he is the king of canning. When I spoke with him this past summer, he was hoping to preserve 5,000 pounds of tomatoes, so he could keep them on the menu through the winter. Well, now it’s winter – even if it doesn’t look like it – so I wondered which bright, bold flavors from chef’s larder up north would make their way on to my plate.

Note: To spare readers the repetition and my waistline the punishment, I will be concentrating solely on the visiting chefs’ dishes for the remaining Rogue Sessions.

***1st course

Snow Hill oyster/fish pepper/pickled ramps

Chef Gjerde comes over to our table to personally introduce the first course: a single Snow Hill oyster balance atop a ghost white hummock of salt. A light umber ramp “glass” encloses the bivalve with a sprinkle of fish pepper. Breaking through, I scoop the contents into a single spoonful of contrasting textures – the thin sheet of ramp crackles as it melts on my tongue, while the crustacean has a wonderfully custardy consistency.

Finish the meal by clicking over to CityEats’ Plate blog now.

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A Taste of Home

Walking through a regional farmers market is like checking an edible calendar. Bundles of glistening green asparagus signal springtime; a bounty of berries is a sign of summer; gourds of every shape and size greet autumn’s arrival; and a booming business at the mulled cider stand means the cycle is complete.

No matter what time of year, it’s a showcase of the best bites and the most superior sips from across the state.

More than 130 farmers markets have sprouted up across Maryland, giving ranchers, vintners, cheesemakers, craftspeople, farmers, foragers, and fishermen alike a chance to directly interact with a growing legion of locavores. On the flipside of the stall, community-conscious consumers now have a way to meet the producers who are helping them serve up a taste of home every day.

From the depths of the Chesapeake Bay to the heights of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the sprawling fields of southern Maryland, the Free State offers a diverse landscape to harness.

“Dairies, orchards, produce, local meats, and seafood—we have it all,” says Christine Bergmark, executive director of the Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission.

“There are few states that have all those resources wrapped up into one.”

This attractive advantage cultivates A-list admirers. Chef and reality TV favorite Bryan Voltaggio, for instance, transplanted to Frederick to open haute-cuisine hot spot Volt in the summer of 2008 specifically because of the cornucopia of fresh goods cultivated nearby.

“I get stuff that’s straight out of the ground,” he says. “People show up at the back door with fresh products all the time.”

Finish reading this article on the Maryland Life website now.

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