If the rest of the country has a picture of as Vermonters, it probably involves Birkenstocks on our feet, flannel on our backs, and traces of cow manure on our shoes.

All of which may be accurate in their own ways. But our true post-hippie personae have to do with our connections to the land where we live. It probably won’t surprise you to learn that avid bakers and cooks are also avid gardeners.

At several of the baking stations in the kitchen, you’ll see bags of eggshells collecting.. Sue, Monte and I are all dedicated composters. Our rocky New England soil can also be pretty acidic, and eggshells are the perfect ingredient to balance the ph of our compost. My paper egg shell collection bag stays tucked just behind my mixer. I like paper because any traces of egg clinging to the shells will dry out quickly. I can also compost the bag as well as the shells in it.


Monte has lined a storage bin at her station. The last time she brought home the full bag of crunched up shells, she weighed it beforehand. It tipped the scale at 10 pounds. That’s a lot of eggshells, and from only 1/5 of the baking population in the kitchen.


Sue Gray grabbed a 1-gallon measuring cup and popped in one of our versatile all-purpose bags. Her tomatoes have had some blossom-end rot, and the calcium from the eggshells should help. She does have to convince her dogs to stay out of the compost pile, though.


Given how many egg shells as we generate, it’s a sin and a crime not to keep them out of the dumpster. I guess we are pretty crunchy, especially when it comes to our shells.

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Susan Reid
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About Susan Reid

Chef Susan Reid grew up in New Jersey, graduated from Bates College and the Culinary Institute of America, and is presently the Food Editor of Sift magazine. She does demos, appearances, and answers food (and baking) questions from all quarters.

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