Archive for March, 2008

green publishing

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Gary Hirschberg, the ceo of Stonyfield Yogurt, made sure his new book was printed in an environmentally smart way. The paper he insisted on was not only post-consumer recycled, but also “Manufactured with electricity that is offset with Green-e® certified renewable energy certificates” (from the manufacturer’s website).

Seacoast Eat Local and Slow Food Seacoast are currently in the midst of our annual resource guide revision, with plans for bigger, better, more. But one thing we don’t want more of is paper pollution, so we’ve gathered quotes on printing on these same papers that are beautiful quality, 100% post-consumer recycled, and green energy certified. It ain’t cheap, but it’s important. Eating locally is a good and wonderful thing we can do, with environmental reasons being one of my own personal motivations. But it’s not worth as much if we’re printing lots of stuff unsustainably, or taking home lots of plastic bags from the markets, and so on.

The new guide [with its new name, Seacoast Harvest] will be ready the beginning of July. In the meantime you can help out by becoming a sponsor, helping us keep the guide free for farmers and consumers, and helping us make the smart choice in printing.

More info on the good printing decisions of Gary Hirschberg’s new book from Publisher’s Weekly > 

Local Foods Moving to the Big Time

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

I found this article front and center, including pictures on the Washington Post website. This is an old haunting ground of mine, and it was great to see local foods moving into the mainstream. A real change from the typical food system.

Polyface Farm supplying large local restaurants

Maine Cheese, Beer, & Booze

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

My wife Kate and I recently took a long weekend to enjoy some of the local food that Maine has to offer and to relax a bit before the farming season begins in earnest. We started off in Portland (which I forget is only 1 hour away) and then went as far north as Rockland before turning around and heading back. Here are some highlights from our trip.

Beer

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see as many microbreweries as we would have liked because of some scheduling glitches. One of the brewers we had hoped to visit couldn’t meet with us because his son was giving a presentation for 4-H that day. However, we did get to try Sebago Brewing Co’s Frye’s Leap IPA which was quite good as well as Gritty McDuffs Scottish Ale (of which we brought home a 12 pack) and their Best Bitter. We also brought back a variety of local 22 ounce bottles to share with our neighbors.

Booze

While we didn’t make it to Cold River Vodka in Freeport, we did stop by Sweetgrass Winery & Distillery in Union, ME. Sweetgrass is located at the top of a beautiful hill and provides quite the view. I think we were the only customer they’d had in a week but they still gamely took the time to provide a tasting of all of their fruit wines as well as their gin. The fruit wines, not usually my favorite, were all nuanced, interesting, and not overly sweet. Fortunately for them, but unfortunately for us, they were sold out of the apple cranberry wine, made from local fruit. Finally we made it to the Back River Gin, which is why we had come. I must say, it was certainly a bit better than the Gordon’s that I normally drink, and it’s made with Maine blueberries to complement the juniper berries and other aromatics. We most certainly brought a bottle home. Sweetgrass also makes vanilla extract and is hoping to begin producing rum and vermouth next year, to which I can only say “Maine-made martinis, hurrah!”.

Cheese

Oh, the cheese! To find creameries to visit, we consulted Jeffrey Roberts’ Atlas of American Artisan Cheese. Our first stop for cheese (after calling ahead, of course) was Town House Farm in Whitefield. Town House makes ‘ewe’gurt and sheep’s milk cheese as well as ‘moo’gurt and cow’s milk cheese. Upon our arrival Beth immediately invited us in for Chai and was eager to discuss her operation as well as the local food movement. She later cooked us up a couple of slices of Haloumi, a Cypriot cheese which can be fried without melting and tasted quite good. She gave us a tour of her cheese room, offered us a taste of a cheese she was still working to perfect and introduced us to a couple of her sheep. We left with some maple moogurt that we later ate for lunch. All in all, a great visit.

Our next stop was Mystique Goat Cheese in Waldoboro. There was no cheese-making happening in March, but we did get to see the lovely (if odd) Nubian goats that supply the milk. Such long, floppy ears! And of course we left with a couple of containers of spreadable goat cheese. Mystique makes a number of other types of cheese as well, but was sold out (definitely a good sign). From there we went to State of Maine in Rockport. The store was just being cleaned up after the winter farmers’ market they had hosted that morning. After perusing a store full of Maine-made food (and some goods) we also received a tour of the kitchen where the cheese maker does his work. After spending the night in Rockland we visited Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Pineland includes a non-profit educational facility as well as numerous cross country skiing and snow shoeing trails. There weren’t any tours that day, but we did bring home a nice Monterey Jack.

We finished our trip with a visit to one of our favorite creameries, Silvery Moon in Westbrook at Smiling Hill Farm. Silvery Moon is one of the cheeses offered through my wife’s CSA to her members. The cheddar curd makes me happy to be alive. Jen, the cheese maker, took time on her day off to show us where she has been making her cheese as well as the partially finished space where she will soon be working. She gave us the full tour, talked to us about the cheese making community in Maine, and happily answered any and all of our questions. We left with 2 delicious rounds of Camembert.

Miscellany

It’s time to end this unusually long-winded post but I would be remiss if I didn’t briefly mention seafood. In Rockland we ate dinner in a sushi restaurant called Suzuki’s where we ate delicious local shrimp and benefited from excellent service. The next morning while I ate my grilled biscuit, haddock cake, scrambled eggs, and hollandaise sauce we overhead 2 fishermen discussing whether or not their boat would be going out later that day, which was pretty neat.

Eat the view

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

 From the New York Times comes a story on people who are turning their landscapes edible by planting fruit trees >

“Nothing is more local than the backyard, after all, and home orcharding, as the practice is sometimes called, guarantees freshness and cuts the energy costs for transportation to nil.”

One of the best pieces of advice is to plan your backyard orchard so that your harvest is spread out over time, instead of having a too large bumper crop of any one thing, so that you can have a continual supply of your own fruit throughout the summer and fall.

And now, your Friday potato video

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm, at RiverRun Bookstore in Portsmouth, 7pm tonight! (March 20)

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Gary Hirshberg is one thoughtful dude – and he’s built a business around that. Stonyfield Farm yogurt is only kinda local, but it is a very environmenally conscious product. Hirschberg did extensive studies looking into the carbon footprints of the milk for Stonyfield, discovering that getting powdered milk from New Zealand, where most cows are grass fed and pastured, shipped on a boat to NH would be environmentally more sensitive than getting liquid milk trucked from Wisconsin, where the corn the cows eat and the cooled trucks for the milk added a lot more carbon to the journey. Of course, he’d get it all locally if he could, but we don’t produce the quantity of organic milk that Stonyfield needs – but we should talk about all that sugar and where the fruit is coming from. I would love to see yogurt sweetened with honey or maple syrup – and where’s my rhubarb flavored yogurt?

updated 7/17/08 – just in case this wasn’t clear, Stonyfield didn’t go ahead with milk from New Zealand, just looked into it. 

More from the Seacoast Local press release:

 

What can small businesses learn about sustainability from international companies? Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm, comes to Portsmouth on March 20 to talk about building profits based on a message of environmental and social responsibility,The “Making the Connection” speaker series, sponsored by Seacoast Local and RiverRun Bookstore, aims to be a catalyst for continuing education, community connections, and sustainable change.Hirshberg’s “Stirring It Up: How to Make Money and Save the Word” (Hyperion Books, 2008) outlines how consumers and businesses can be forces for positive and tangible change.Hirshberg, 53, has overseen the growth of Stonyfield Farm from its infancy as a seven-cow organic farming school in 1983 to its current $300 million annual sales as the world’s largest organic yogurt company. This growth has been built with innovative marketing techniques that often combine the social, environmental, and financial missions of the company. One of the company’s five missions is “to serve as a model that environmentally and socially responsible businesses can also be profitable.”In fact, Hirshberg has been at the forefront of movements working for environmental and social transformation for 30 years. In the early days of Stonyfield, he wore many hats – from yogurt-maker to bookkeeper. He served as director of the Rural EducationCenter, the small organic farming school from which Stonyfield was spawned. Before that, he was executive director of The New Alchemy Institute, an ecological institute devoted to organic agriculture, aquaculture and renewable energy systems. Hirshberg was also the Founding President of the Cape Cod Environmental Coalition which sued the US Air Force over a large radar facility that has recently returned to the news. And he was the Founding Chairman of the Cape and Islands Self-Reliance Corporation. Earlier in his career, he was a water-pumping windmill specialist, an author, an environmental education specialist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and a manager of environmental tours to the People’s Republic of ChinaHirshberg is a New Hampshire native and was one of the first graduates of Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He has received six honorary doctorates. He serves on several corporate and non- profit boards including Honest Tea, Sambazon, Inc., Peak Organic Brewing and as the Chairman/Cofounder of O’Naturals, a chain of organic and natural fast food restaurants. He co-chaired The Social Venture Network for 5 years and is the Founder of the Social Venture Institute, a “boot camp” for community-minded entrepreneurs.Hirshberg will read at RiverRun Bookstore, located at 20 Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth. For more information on the book, visit www.stonyfield.com/stirringitup. For more details on the event, call 603-431-2100 or visit www.riverrunbookstore.com. For more information on Seacoast Local, visit www.seacoastlocal.org.

Francis Moore Lappe at South Church Tuesday, March 18th

Monday, March 17th, 2008

Tomorrow night at 7pm, Francis Moore Lappe, author of Diet For A Small Planet and now the new Getting a Grip: Clarity, Creativity, and Courage in a World Gone Mad, will give a talk at the South Church in Portsmouth. The event is brought to us by RiverRun Bookstore, Slow Food Seacoast, and South Church’s Minds Alive! and Green Sanctuary Programs.

If you’re going, why not bring along a snack to share at the reception afterward? From a Slow Food volunteer comes the details for this request: “The parameters are simple: it should be fingerfood, not needing any bowls or plates. You can drop off your food donations between 5 pm-6:30 pm on March 18 in the basement at South Church. Volunteers will be on hand there to accept your food donations. The food will not be eaten until after the talk, which starts at 7:00 pm. Probably the easiest thing to do is bring food that can keep at room temperature for 2-3 hours or so. Please mark your serving dish so it can easily be reclaimed after the reception. “

kids + gardening + help teaching kids to garden = summer awesomeness

Friday, March 14th, 2008

The Strafford County Cooperative Extension is pairing up kid wanna-be gardeners with Master Gardeners for a really cool summer project:

  • Learn to build your own raised bed garden and to grow plants using the square foot gardening technique
  • Help build and plant a community garden with your team on the Strafford Cty Farm
  • Learn from your Master Gardener; who will inspire and teach you about local agriculture, where your food comes from, plants, soil, bugs, seeds and so much more
  • Share our community garden’s harvest of vegetables, herbs and flowers with Riverside Rest Home
  • Have the opportunity to have your “Home Garden” judged by our Master Gardeners for the Rochester Fair.  This judging will take place on July 17th (or as weather determines.)
  • Have the opportunity to join with other KCG youth gardeners in developing a “Kids Can Grow” exhibit at the Rochester Fair.  All youth wishing to be a part of this experience will meet at the 4-H Building at the Rochester Fair on September 10 between 6:00-8:00pm to create this exhibit.
  • Learn about the new Food Pyramid, nutrition and food safety
  • Have fun, make new friends and have a great time under the summer’s sun

Kids Can Grow Cover Letter

Kids Can Grow Application

My only question, since I am older than 8-14, is: Where can I get a Master Gardener mentor willing to come to my house and give me advice and materials and help for only $10?

state meat inspection

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

I was poking around the NH bill tracking website, inspired by reading too many sad articles about sad agriculture setbacks in other states, when lo and behold I came across what I thought looked promising: legislation on state meat inspection.

So please correct me if I’m wrong, but from what I understand, 4 legged animals (ie not poultry but cows, pigs, sheep, etc.) must be slaughtered and processed at USDA inspected facilities in NH. Since USDA inspection is expensive and not readily available, due to their own budget shortfalls, plus having a facility to accommodate USDA inspectors is cumbersome, we have an overall shortage of appropriate and local slaughterhouses. In Maine, they have state inspected facilities and that meat can be sold within the state of Maine (it cannot cross state lines, that becomes USDA territory).

So when I first read this title, An Act Relative to State Meat Inspection, I thought we here in NH were making some progress toward having state inspected facilities. I am no bill-reading expert (a skill I am looking to improve), but this looks like it is not the dream bill I had hoped. What it would do is amend the applicability to include a possibility of state inspection should the USDA allow the interstate sale of state inspected meat, before it allowed state inspection should the USDA withdraw from NH. So it’s not a bad thing, it’s just not really anything, unless there’s something brewing at the USDA – a highly unlikely scenario given recent meat scares that tend to make bureaus want to have tighter reins to avoid public outcry, though that method isn’t working. I welcome other interpretations, clarifications, opinions and thoughts –

For fun and profit:

Livestock and meat inspection rules in NH

NH Bill Tracking system

NH Statutes Title XL: Agriculture, Horticulture, and Animal Husbandry

Maine Bill Tracking System

Maine Statutes: Agriculture and Animals

Food For Thought: Reading and Discussion Series

Friday, March 7th, 2008

Kittery Adult Ed has another amazing learning opportunity!

Food For Thought: Reading and Discussion Series

Starts week of April 28

This 6 week course sponsored by the Granite Earth Institute, will give you the opportunity to examine the issue of food for your health and for the planet through readings and group

discussion. Some topics that will be explored are: how industrialized agriculture has changed what and how we eat, the global imbalance for healthy food, the local food movement, and options to consider in making personal decisions in the future. Call for starting date. Course Fee: $20 book or readings


For more information call 207-439-5896 

or visit us at www.kitteryschools.org