Archive for August, 2007

Borealis Bread – made with Maine wheat

Friday, August 31st, 2007

thanks to Sara H. for pointing out that several varieties of Borealis bread are made with organic (!) Maine wheat from Aurora Mills in Linneus, ME (250 miles).  The fact that the company is committed to supporting increased wheat production in New England gets them a good share of my bread business for the September Eat Local Challenge.

more information on Borealis bread.

UNH Harvest Dinner

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

from the Portsmouth Herald:

UNH harvest dinner celebrates bounty of local food*

Since 2005, the University of New Hampshire has celebrated the region’s rich agricultural heritage with its annual Local Harvest Dinner, gaining fans and patrons for its gourmet preparations of local produce, seafood, meats and cheeses. Building on its popularity, this year’s dinner, on Thursday, Sept. 20, has moved to Holloway Commons, UNH’s largest dining hall. The Local Harvest Dinner runs from 4:30 to 9 p.m. and is offered to all students on the UNH meal plan, as well as to the general public (adults, $12.50 plus tax; children under 10, $6.25).

The meal showcases the diversity of foods from the region, with a menu that includes organic vegetables from UNH’s Organic Garden Club and Tuckaway Farm in Lee; beef and chicken from Lasting Legacy Farm in Barrington; buffalo from Yankee Farmer’s Market Natural Meats in Warner; tea from Portsmouth Tea Company; and cheeses from Full Moon Farm in Rochester, Boggy Meadow Farm in Walpole, and Silvery Moon Creamery in Westbrook, Maine. Honey from Bee Rich Apiary in Hudson, apples and squash from UNH’s Woodman Farm, and cider from Carter Hill Orchard in Concord provide a more traditional taste of autumn in New Hampshire.

Beneath a tent outside Holloway, local producers and food-related organizations such as NH Made and Seacoast Slow Food will educate diners about the impact of eating locally. In addition, Barrington photographer Charter Weeks will display photographs documenting a barn-raising at Lasting Legacy Farm. The photos, shot earlier this summer, include interesting portrayals of several Amish volunteers who requested that their faces not appear in the photos.

This year, UNH Dining hosts several other Local Harvest events during the week of the Local Harvest Dinner. Vegan chef Norma Koski, of Susty’s Café in Northwood, is guest chef in Elements at Philbrook dining hall Wednesday, Sept. 19. Koski has partnered with the UNH Organic Garden Club to bring “radical vegan foods” to student diners and guests that evening. And for the entire week (Sept. 17-21), Panache, the bakery-style sandwich shop at Holloway Commons, will feature local foods, including Portsmouth Tea Company teas and Fogarty’s cheesecake.

For more information, visit www.unh.edu/dining/localharvest.htm or www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.

 

* this is a great event for folks taking the September Eat Local Challenge – a fairly inexpensive night of someone else cooking!

Connecting farmers and chefs, consumers, and retailers

Thursday, August 30th, 2007

from the Union Leader:

Web menu includes NH produce, meat

By PAULA TRACY
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

New Hampshire’s farmers are getting a new way to reach more customers.

The state Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food has entered into an agreement to develop a Web site where chefs, food buyers and consumers can buy fresh produce, meat and other products directly from farmers.

According to the request for approval of a $10,500 contract, Commissioner Stephen H. Taylor said his agency is one partner in this project, “which will create a venue for easy purchasing of local goods and expand market opportunities for New Hampshire agriculture.” Other partners include the University of New Hampshire Office of Sustainability Programs, United Parcels Service and the Farm Credit Service.

The contract, which was approved by the Executive Council at its meeting Aug. 22 in Charlestown, is with the NH Farm to Restaurant Connection/NH Stories Inc. of Andover, for six months.

NH Farm to Restaurant Connection/NH Stories will develop a central theme and Web site where direct connections can be made with farmers.

Funding for the state portion of the contract is being made available by a marketing line item that exists in the Agriculture, Markets and Food budget.

The contractor is Laurie Ferguson, executive director of NH Made.

New Hampshire Stories and New Hampshire Made is a nonprofit corporation formed in 1997 to promote locally made products. It has its own Web site: www.nhmade.com, where there is an online store.

The Web site also notes that a number of “Growers Dinners” are being offered across the state to raise awareness about New Hampshire foods and how they can be used in a restaurant setting.

It lists a number of dinners being organized, including Sept. 21 aboard the MV Mount Washington at Weirs Beach in Laconia (366-2628); at New Hampshire Farm Museum, Milton, on Oct. 20 (625-7840); and in November on a date to be determined at Orchard Street Chophouse in Dover (749-0006.)

Preparing for September

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

As September gets closer, I’m spending more time preparing for the month’s challenge.  I’m going to be pretty rigid, and stick to the 150 mile radius for the source of all my calories. The exception I’m making will be for grain, I’ll do my own bread baking with Maine grown wheat. It’s starting to feel pretty intense as I sort out my fridge and cupboards. I’ve been eating at one extreme (grabbing sandwiches from the health food store, eating out frequently), so my switch to the other is a real change (planning ahead, eating food with known provenance).

I’ve put some berries in the freezer. I’ve emailed friends and family to keep a look out for local stuff for me. I’ve made friends with some chickens for their eggs. I bought more storage containers to better preserve the food I buy.

 The other big part of this is that I’ve been a vegetarian for 17 years, more than half my life. There are no local sources for soy, or nuts, or quinoa. I’ve decided to eat fish during the challenge, in the interest of a diverse enough diet to keep me healthy and active (I’m a yoga teacher with a part time job at a bakery, I have a pretty full schedule). My reasons for being vegetarian are many, and they’ve evolved since I became one at age 12. But one of the main reasons is the ecological impact your diets creates. My attraction to the eating local diet is because of it’s sense of responsibility towards community and land. So for one month of my life, I’m happy to experiment with eating responsibly procured seafood, rather than irresponsibly farmed agriculture.

I enjoy learning in the extremes of experiences…a few more days till my diet moves to my backyard!

Slow Food Harvest Supper

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Mark your calendar! September 15th, Slow Food Seacoast is hosting a harvest supper and contra dance featuring locally grown and locally produced foods.

from Slow Food Seacoast’s blog:

Slow Food Seacoast Brings in the Harvest

On September 15, 2007, Slow Food Seacoast invites the public to a Harvest Supper featuring the best of the season from local farms, bakers, cheesemakers and more. Celebrate the natural abundance of a New England autumn with a chef-prepared meal, guided tastings, and an old-fashioned contra dance for all ages. Held in conjunction with the Garden Harvest Festival at Strwabery Banke Museum, the event celebrates the Eat Local Challenge month of September by bringing the harvest home to Portsmouth. It’s a time when the year’s hard work is rewarded with enjoyment, and it’s the perfect way to bid a delicious farewell to summer and welcome the transition to fall.

A multi-course meal , prepared by the chefs and students of the Atlantic Culinary Academy, will present the best of the season in classic New England dishes updated with contemporary flair. The evening begins with guided tastings of regionally made New England cheeses and breads and concludes with an old-fashioned harvest frolic, featuring a contra dance with Craig Edwards and the Rhythm Method String Band.

The public is invited to join in the sit-down outdoor supper, to be held under comfortable tents amid the gardens of Strawbery Banke Museum. Menu items include Breezy Hill Farm pork, Silvery Moon cheeses, Meadows’ Mirth farm produce, and much more. Greeting, guided tastings, and appetizers begin at 5 PM; 6 PM supper, followed by dancing until 9:30 PM. Tickets for the entire evening’s entertainment – educational speakers, tastings, harvest meal, and music and dance – are $25/adults ($20 for Slow Food members)/$10 kids. Reservations are strongly recommended; to reserve, please contact Slow Food Seacoast at SlowFoodSeacoast@GMail.com

more info from Slow Food Seacoast

the September Eat Local Challenge is almost here!

Friday, August 24th, 2007

I hope you all are raring to go for the September Eat Local Challenge, but if you need more ideas on how to participate, check out EatLocalChallenge.com’s 16 thoughts on how to participate.

How you play the game is up to you – one meal a day, one week, a few days, or the whole month. How you define local, what foods you are going to exempt, and so on. Remember that the challenge is supposed to help you broaden your understanding of local foods, but also be fun!

Read what other people have pledged to do for the challenge, and then sign yourself up!

local food on tv (for real this time)

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

No tv at home, but thanks to a chance encounter with a stranger I learned about the recent NH Outlook program LiveFIT NH: Media’s Influence and Food Insecurity . At around 15:45 (you can watch the whole thing online, thanks NHPTV!), there is a segment interviewing John Carroll of UNH’s Office of Sustainability in which he sums up very well what we can do to help ensure a healthier, food secure future: make farming economically viable by buying local produce.

He also advocates for more year-round farmers’ markets to provide greater access to food – it just so happens that Seacoast Eat Local is helping to organize two winter farmers’ markets this year – November 17th and December 22nd, to coincide with Thanksgiving and Christmas. They will be at the Atlantic Culinary Academy in Dover, NH from 9am – 2pm. Bring the whole family! And if you are a farmer or food producer (or know of a farmer or food producer) who would like to vend at these markets, drop us a line!

Local eating on tv?

Sunday, August 19th, 2007

ok, not really. But since I don’t have tv, I’m relying on you folks to fill me in here –

Lobster Wars, the follow up to Deadliest Catch, starts on August 23rd.

If the program gets it right at all, it will be very very interesting. New England fisheries are in rough shape, but seafood remains awesomely delicious and generally healthy (watch out for that mercury). As people interested in local food, seafood seems like a good option, except . . . which seafood? Between the pollution of fish farms, overfished waters, and toxins like mercury, it is all so very complex. Along with several Slow Food Seacoast folks (and consulting some UNH folks who are experts in the field), we put together a short (very short) list of locally available seafood that addresses the above criteria and helps us all come out ahead of the game. It’s available as part of the Seacoast Local Foods Resource Guide (.pdf).

A few of my favorites (including Maine crab) didn’t make the list – for me this means making Maine crab more of a treat, while the other foods become more frequent passers-though on my plate. Mmmm . . . sardines.

(found via Kreblog)

Lee Farm Day – mark your calendars

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Sunday, August 19th, 2007 is Lee Farm Day, a day when 14 of Lee’s farms open their barns and fields for us. The day is organized and sponsored by the Lee Agricultural Committee and Friends of Lee Open Space.
More information is available on the Flag Hill website.
The Lee Farm Day 2007 brochure (.pdf) includes a map, addresses and highlights of each farm, and suggested route.

The Lee Agricultural Committee is an amazing exemplar of how agricultural committees can affect positive change – the town of Lee is now known for being farmer friendly, thanks to the work of the Ag committee.

Creating an Agricultural Commission in Your Hometown (.pdf), a publication of the NH Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture has more about the history and projects of the Lee Agricultural Committee.

Visit Seacoast Eat Local’s calendar of local food events for more fun.

Local Foods Addict

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

eat local

I’m addicted. I absolutely love opening my freezer and seeing all the fresh local food waiting to be eaten when the growing season ends. My habits are changing. Granted my family has a long way to go in preservation of food if we want to go year round, but I think every year we will get better and have more food. So far, I have bags of blueberries, containers of raspberries, 1 sad and lonely, but cherished container of strawberry jam, lots of raspberry and blueberry jam, asparagus, squash, and fabulous steak cuts from Lasting Legacy farm.

One of my new habits, is every weekend I head over to Monahan’s Farm and pick fruit for about an hour right when they open. It’s been a really nice time spent with my almost 4 year old, Isabella, who has become a fairly proficient picker. I have also been joined by quite a few friends, and it’s a great time to catch up, especially for moms. We’ve commented on how relaxing it is; maybe it’s our hardwired foraging genes coming to surface.

A motivation for picking fruit, besides blueberry pancakes and the ability to eat raspberries by the handful, a typically expensive task from the grocery store, is a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that does not contain corn syrup and is all locally made. For whatever reason, this sandwich is coveted by the under age 10 population and by parents for it’s easy serving. For the bread, I use either homemade bread or pick from one of the many locally made ones, a family favorite, is Mathew’s All Natural from Lowell, MA. It’s easy to get, even at the big grocery stores. The jam is homemade because it is soo easy to make and the most difficult ingredient to buy without breaking the bank or containing corn syrup or substituted other cheap fruit. The natural peanut butter is becoming more popular and easier to find. I have not researched thoroughly yet to find the most local version, but On the Vine has some, and even Shaw’s carries some jars from MA and New York.

So one result from my new healthy addiction is a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich I can feel good about serving. And my most vocal food critic in the house, Isabella, will eat the entire sandwich and ask for more. I think the Grandma bought t-shirt says it best, “I like my grapes in jelly.”

eat local eat localeat local pic

Photo caption from the top: my freezer with no bar codes, raspberry picking with friends at Monahan’s Farm, Chase Stuber blueberry picking, Isabella with McTague family blueberry picking