That’s how Mattapoisett-based author Karen Covey felt when she ended up in the Buzzards Bay region twelve years ago. “Something about here felt right,” she said, recalling her move from Boston to what she’d originally intended to be a beach home. “I loved it here, living by the water. It was where I wanted to be.”
Even though Covey grew up in Vermont, miles away from the sea, Buzzards Bay became part of who she was. Now she’s translating her love for her newfound home into a quarterly food-focused magazine called The Coastal Table, inspired by coastal life right here on our Bay.
The Coastal Table magazine is based off the concept of Covey’s 2013 cookbook of the same name. The cookbook is a collection of more than 100 simple, straightforward recipes that capture southeastern Massachusetts’ unique coastal culture, from soups and salads to seafood feasts.
“I wanted to tell a cohesive story about the region, because there’s so much here to celebrate in the food community,” Covey says in describing the cookbook. “We found the best makers with a wide variety of offerings – wine, cheese, seafood – and used them as the backbone for the book.”
After the cookbook was published, Covey heard from lots of readers who appreciated that the book was more than just recipes. “They liked learning about the people and the places around the region.”
That’s what led Covey to create The Coastal Table magazine, founded in the same philosophy that infuses the cookbook with a distinct seaside character and fresh, local flavors. Covey describes the magazine as “a compilation of seasonal recipes and narratives about people who live on and love the coast.”
But The Coastal Table isn’t just about food. The magazine’s photos and stories evoke the emotional side of living by the water. “If you grew up on the coast, you have those memories: the smell of the sea, putting your feet in the sand, the first day you open your cottage for the season.” The magazine, Covey says, “focuses on those emotions and connects people back to their own meaningful memories.”
For instance, the inaugural issue of The Coastal Table features a pictorial story about a spring brunch with a decidedly coastal twist. Illustrated by full-page photos of freshly shucked oysters and bright green spring vegetables, the feature summons up memories of backyard parties with friends and family. You can practically feel the sun on your skin as you imagine serving the recipes for roasted potatoes, herb-infused lemonade, and coconut cake.
Another way The Coastal Table stands out from other coastal lifestyle magazines is its emphasis on sustainability – a deliberate choice for Covey, who wants to make her readers aware of environmental issues that affect their beloved coastal areas. “Part of our mission is to be a different type of coastal magazine,” she explains. “Because how can you talk about the coast without paying attention to what’s going on?”
True to her word, Covey is putting her thoughtful approach into practice with the magazine’s production. The Coastal Table will tackle some of the coast’s most pressing environmental issues in its stories. In the spring edition, the magazine spotlights the issue of plastic microbeads in skin care products, which are getting into the ocean and harming fish. And each issue of the magazine is printed on high-quality environmentally friendly paper.
Plus, with every print copy sold, Covey will donate a small portion of proceeds to a cause that’s working to protect coastal areas. For sales of the spring edition, the Coalition will receive a donation. “With this first issue, we’re starting local because that was my inspiration,” Covey says. “So we deliberately picked a local cause to give back to.”
The Coalition will also be featured in the magazine’s summer edition, which will be available in June. Through photos captured at one a Learn to Quahog Bay Adventure in Marion last summer, The Coastal Table will teach readers how to dig for their own clams.
Although Covey used the Buzzards Bay region as her jumping-off point for the magazine, future editions will explore stories and recipes from seaside regions around the United States and, eventually, the world. Already, The Coastal Table has subscribers located nationwide and internationally.
But no matter how far The Coastal Table spreads, Covey’s heart remains here in Buzzards Bay. Her favorite local spot? Nearby Ned’s Point Lighthouse, where she walks every day with her dogs.
“Once you live here, you appreciate the simplicity and natural beauty, and you want to take advantage of it as much as you can,” she says.
We couldn’t leave without asking Covey for her favorite recipe inspired by southeastern Massachusetts. She’s partial to chourico, a Portuguese sausage, which she grills and serves warm with a dollop of fresh basil pesto. It’s like all the recipes she shares in The Coastal Table cookbook and magazine: a simple, straightforward meal best shared with family and friends.
You can take advantage of coastal life on Buzzards Bay by picking up a copy of the inaugural issue of The Coastal Table this spring. It’s available online at thecoastaltable.com or at the Town Wharf General Store in Mattapoisett, Newsbreak in New Bedford, and The Bookstall in Marion. One percent of proceeds from sales of the spring 2015 edition will be donated to the Buzzards Bay Coalition.