Archive for July, 2008

more on the ban on poultry sales at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Very thoughtful commentary over on Slow Food Seacoast’s blog by co-leader Michelle!

An excerpt:

Though we understand the city of Portsmouth has adopted FDA poultry guidelines out of a sense of protecting the public, many of us believe the concern is misplaced. Many people I talk to are a lot more concerned about the kinds of large-scale poultry operations that have easy access to their own USDA-inspected processing facilities — farmers for whom 1,000 birds is an hour’s production, as opposed to a year’s steady labor.

Slow Food as an organization sees serious concerns with favoring large-scale farming operations over local, small-scale ones. Concentrating animals in large growing and feeding operations, processing them in heavy volume all at once, and then shipping them long distances to sit in grocery cases on styrofoam plates, are unsustainable practices that damage communities, the environment, the enjoyment of food, and people’s lives. Though it is easy for such large-scale facilities to maintain an USDA-inspected facility, that is small comfort given the associated costs of producing food this way.

Read the rest! >

Lee Farm Day – August 9th – more info including maps to download

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Come for a self-guided tour of Lee’s diverse farming community. This year, eight farms will be open to the public. There will be demonstrations and activities at each farm all day long. Some activities will include a sheep shearing demonstration, free horse-drawn wagon rides and ice cream at Coppal House Farm provided by the Granite State Dairy Council and sponsored by Ath-Mor Holsteins. Riding and jumping demonstrations at Echo Ridge Farm, local artists show at Blue Bell Greenhouses, bee keeping exhibit and the Lee Farmer’s Market at Misty Meadows, and more. Lunch to benefit NH Ag in the Classroom will be available at UNH Burleigh-DeMeritt Farm, and lunch will also be available at Velvet Pastures Elk Ranch featuring Elk burgers. Location: For a complete listing of farms, events, and schedules, please visit www.nhcornmaze.com. Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Information: www.nhcornmaze.com.

Download the brochure for a map and farm descriptions, print and share a poster to help spread the word >

A response to the chicken ban article

Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

July 28′s Letters to the Editor of the Portsmouth Herald contained this letter:

July 23 — To the Editor:

I read with interest the article bannered in this morning’s Portsmouth Herald concerning the sale of chicken at the Farmers Market (“Feathers fly over chicken ban”).

I was astonished that the question I was searching for an answer to had never been addressed by either your reporter or the participants in the controversy. It is a fundamental question of the use of government power: does the government respond or prohibit? Has anyone been sickened by the chicken from the market? Has there been a rampage of salmonella or food poisoning?

If not, what is the outrage to the community that Kim McNamara is responding to? Is her suzerainty too small for her ambitions? Or are there ailing citizens by the score? Until this question is answered, I’m all for continuing to have the chicken sold.

Chuck Galle

Greenland

Chuck and all – the answer is a definitive NO on citizens becoming ill from locally raised and processed poultry. No one has gotten sick.

On a personal note, national food illness scares only serve to make local food make even more sense to me. More attention is paid, the food chain is infinitely shorter leading to faster understanding of problems (though there have been no problems because the food producers care about their community).

We need the chicken back in Portsmouth because from a sustainability standpoint we need to be gathering our food as close to home as we can, or in as centralized a manner as possible. We need to give consumers access to good healthy food where they are, and they are in Portsmouth, making this a significant blow to the livelihood of poultry producers. In the meantime, we need to support our producers so they make it through this difficult season. Yellow House Farm chickens are for sale at the Exeter, Dover, and Barrington Farmers’ Markets. Kellie Brook Farm chickens are for sale at the Kingston and Exeter farmers’ markets, as well as at the farm (call ahead if its your first time visiting) in Greenland.

Info on the Exeter, Dover, and Kingston farmers’ markets >

Info and driving directions to the Barrington Farmers’ Market >

Exeter Farmers’ Market holding a raffle for NH Eat Local Week – buy your tickets this Thursday July 31!

Monday, July 28th, 2008

The Exeter Farmers’ Market is celebrating NH Eat Local Week with a raffle of local foods donated by market vendors. Farmers’ Market vendors have donated pies, spice blends, garlic, potatoes, maple syrup, gift certificates for locally prepared foods, and two dozen ears of corn for prize baskets to be raffled off Thursday July 31.

Raffle tickets will be sold for $1 apiece or 4 for $5 at the Exeter Farmers’ Market in Swasey Parkway from 2:15 – 6 PM on Thursday, July 31. Winners will be able to pick up their prize baskets during NH Eat Local Week on August 7 at the Exeter Farmers’ Market.

Upcoming: Slow Food Seacoast’s Edible Garden Tour

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

On Sunday, August 10, Slow Food Seacoast is hosting an edible garden tour in the Portsmouth area. Each gardener will be on hand to answer questions and explain their unique practices – my favorite part of garden tours is learning so many new things that I then try myself. My second favorite part is just enjoying the beauty of others’ labor!

The tour begins at Strawbery Banke Museum, features two gardens on site, and highlights eight additional locations in or near Portsmouth. Ticket sales begin at 9:30; gardens open at 10:00, rain or shine. Purchase a ticket for $5.00 and you will receive a guidebook and map with driving directions to each garden.

More information, descriptions and pictures of each garden – to tantalize you and stir your curiosity – can be found at www.ediblegardentour.org

nibbles: local food and ag in the news

Friday, July 25th, 2008

Early Welcome for Bumper Blueberry Crop Foster’s Daily Democrat

Blueberry season has arrived in the region a little earlier this summer, thanks to a perfect combination of rain and hot weather. Even some longtime blueberry growers are somewhat surprised at how ripe and bountiful this year’s blueberry crop is turning out to be.

“It is a good crop. We’re usually one of the earliest as far as blueberries go,” said Anne Lake, owner of Berrybogg Farm in Strafford. “For us, it’s pretty much right on time.” Lake, whose family has owned the farm for 34 years, said blueberry picking began on July 11 this year, which was one day earlier than last summer. She believes the weather was perfect to create an early blueberry picking season.

“Blueberries love rain,” she said, “and they need nice, bright sunshine also.” The farm has three fields of blueberry bushes and sells plenty of blueberry pies, cakes, cookies, plants and ice cream, Lake said.

read the whole article at Foster’s website >

Bull Market: The ‘eat local’ trend has translated into more business at farmers’ markets The Hippo

Rising fuel costs and concerns over food safety have people swarming their local farmers’ markets, joining CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) groups and sourcing local, humanely raised protein.
For farmer Diane Souther this trend has meant a sharp spike in business. “I can honestly say that over the past two seasons we’ve seen a 40-percent increase in sales at farmers’ markets and the farm stand we have,” Souther said. Souther owns Apple Hill Farm in Concord. There she offers pick-your-own berries, and grows produce like lettuce and peas. Souther began hitting the farmers’ market circuit seven years ago. Like most farmers, she saw it as a way to both promote her farm’s pick-your-own business and move produce. The result has been positive; Souther estimates that most of the farmers she speaks with are seeing a 25- to 40-percent increase in sales.
“A farmers’ market gives farmers the best word of mouth advertising. And with more people wanting to reduce their carbon footprint and get to know their local farmer, we are seeing more and more crowds at the farmers’ markets each week,” said Souther, who sells at markets in Concord, Manchester and Bedford.

read the full article at The Hippo’s website >

NH Eat Local Week is coming August 3-9. How will you participate? Read more and sign up at www.nheatlocalweek.org >

Poultry Ban in the news

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

Make sure to read Rachel Forrest’s “Feathers fly over chicken ban at city farmers market” in today’s Portsmouth Herald – the article is extraordinarily helpful in laying out the situation and positions of the key players:

“If you were to go to the city’s farmers market this Saturday, you could buy beans and some pork, lamb, beef and eggs, but if you were looking for chicken for the barbecue, you would be out of luck.

While Kellie Brook Farms’ Tim Rocha has been selling chicken meat since 2002 at the city market, this May the city’s Health Department clipped the wings on his poultry offerings, though Rocha said he follows state health guidelines for safety.”

Read the whole article at the Portsmouth Herald website >

(and if you are looking for Yellow House Farm or Kellie Brook Farm chickens in the meantime, visit the Exeter, Dover, or Kingston farmers’ markets)

Back River Farm and the Fresh Local Truck on NHPR

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

Serving Local Food From A Bright Orange Truck

“One lamb wrap please.” “One lamb wrap.” “No hot.” “No hot.”

It’s lunchtime on a warm and breezy Saturday at the Portsmouth Farmer’s Market.

Customers line up outside a bright orange truck with the words “Fresh Local” painted on its side.

Co-owner Josh Lanahan started the business last month with his partner, Michelle Lozuaway.

After more than 15 years of working in hot, dimly-lit restaurant kitchens, he says he wanted to do something a little different.

Listen to the full story at NHPR’s website >

Back River Farm

Fresh Local Truck

Hannah and Sammy the slideshow

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Somehow when I read this article profiling Hannah and Sammy’s Magical Egg business, I missed this wonderful slideshow with audio by the girls. In case you, too, missed hearing them talk about sassy chickens and selling eggs to be able to buy bicycles, here it is >

Read the full Portsmouth Herald article here >

Hannah and Sammy’s Magical Eggs are available at On the Vine in Exeter, NH

NH Eat Local Week in the news

Monday, July 14th, 2008

Eating locally: NH seeks consumer-farm link

By PAULA TRACY
New Hampshire Union Leader Staff

Riding a wave of concern over tainted vegetables, rising transportation costs and a surge to go green, the state Agriculture Department is using the opportunity to sink new roots in local farms.

Rolling out a “New Hampshire Eat Local Week,” Aug. 3-9, the state is marketing farmers’ markets and promoting farm tours to connect consumers and vacationers to New Hampshire’s 3,400 farms and the food Granite Staters eat.

This summer, for the first time, the state is trying a new sort of challenge to get residents to eat local. Merrill said next month’s New Hampshire Eat Local Week will coincide with Farmers Market Week.

A new Web site, www.nheatlocalweek.org, details the effort to get people to try a new vegetable, take a friend to a farm stand, find a restaurant that serves locally grown food, discover a new farm and other ideas to help expand the state’s almost $1 billion farm industry.

read the full article at the Union Leader website >

(cross-posted at www.nheatlocalweek.org)