Archive for October, 2008

we’re in the news: Stocking Up the Local Way

Friday, October 31st, 2008

Allison has a great post over at the UNH Sustainability Blog about the food baskets program we’re working on for the Holiday Farmers’ Markets:

Perhaps you’ve read the headlines:
Food Bank Inventories at an All-time Low
Demand is up – Donations are Down at NH Food Banks

Unfortunately, these are not from last week’s papers but illustrate an issue that has been ongoing for the last two years here in NH. Increased cost of heating and transportation leave many families without enough money to pay their bills and buy food for the table. Thus an increase in demand and a decrease in people’s ability to donate, have strained food banks in NH and the rest of the country.

It is now the time of year – with holidays’ approaching – that many food drives begin and food banks and food pantry’s are hoping to restock their shelves before winter. At UNH, the Cornucopia Food Pantry serves the local community and perhaps you have seen information about the “basket of hope” program where individuals or UNH Departments come together to donate an entire basket of food for a family. This has been an incredible successful program and much appreciated by the families who receive the baskets.

I’m a local food supporter and one of those who mostly shops the perimeter of the supermarket. Okay – there is the occasional foray into the snack food aisle for cheese puffs – but other than that, I just don’t eat a lot of canned or processed food. Looking into the food donation bins at the supermarket exit, they are usually loaded with boxes of potato buds or cans of creamed corn. I’m not likely to buy that sort of item so what can I do to support local families in need?

This year there is a great alternative! Cornucopia has partnered with Seacoast Eat Local to donate baskets that are full of locally grown food. On November 22 and December 20, Seacoast Eat Local is hosting Holiday Farmers’ Markets at the McIntosh Atlantic Culinary Academy in Dover. A group of UNH students and other volunteers will be there accepting monetary donations from market shoppers on behalf of Cornucopia. They will then take those dollars and purchase food directly from farmers at the market and deliver the food to Cornucopia in time for distribution before the holidays. I can’t think of a better way to support both local families and local farmers!

Kudos to the minds and hearts that came together to make this happen! To me, its a perfect example of how to creating a healthy and supportive food community. If you want to add to the success of this fantastic program, here’s how you can do it.

  • Shop at the market, take home some local holiday food and donate a few dollars for baskets.
  • Sign up to donate a fresh produce basket to Cornucopia directly. http://www.cornucopia.unh.edu
  • Volunteer to help Seacoast Eat Local work at the market or help assemble the baskets. http://www.seacoasteatlocal.org
  • Go to the Slow Food Seacoast annual 100-mile Thanksgiving potluck on November 14 at 6:00. Your donation at the door will directly benefit this program and you’ll enjoy an evening of great fun, food and community friendship. More info at http://www.slowfoodseacoast.org

What Allison may not know is that it was a connection made by the Office of Sustainability that brought this collaboration together and sent Sarah T., the UNH student in charge of the program, our way!

Visit UNH’s Discover(ing) Sustainability blog  >

Cooking classes at Flag Hill Winery

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

these local food focused classes fill up quick because they are such an amazing bargain and so much fun so make your reservations soon!

Winter Cooking Classes by

Chef Ted McCormack at Flag Hill

Planning, preparing and eating seasonally

with local meats, poultry, cheese and produce

 

November 1 “Pumpkin Party”

          Apple & Pumpkin Fritters

          Roasted Pumpkin and Kale Salad

          Pumpkin Bread Pudding

 

 November 21 “Cooking with Poultry ”

Yellow House Farm Roasted Heritage Duck

Braised Kellie Brook Farm Coq au Vin

Turkey Cutlets in Cider Sauce

 

December 5 “Cooking with Flag Hill Liqueurs”

Puff Pastry baked Brie with Raspberry Liqueur

Butternut Raviolis in Sage & Maple Liqueur

Apple Crepes with Cranberry Liqueur

 more information >

Email ted@flaghill.com to sign up for a fun time learning about preparing a seasonal meal.

All classes are $40 per person. Pre payment is reqired at least one week in advance.  

Classes are  Friday nights 6-8 pm and are limited to 12 people of all ages and abilities.

Participants will help prepare recipes and then enjoy dinner in the dinning room with Chef Ted and wine.

Slow Food Seacoast’s 100-mile Thanksgiving, November 14th 2008

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

from Slow Food Seacoast’s website: 

On Friday evening, November 14th, 2008, Slow Food invites the public to a 100-Mile Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner at the Portsmouth Pearl, 45 Pearl Street, Portsmouth, NH, from 6:00-9:30 PM. Slow Food Seacoast will serve up locally raised roasted turkeys from Kellie Brook Farm in Greenland, NH and present a fun program featuring speakers, music, and information from organizations working toward a sustainable, healthy and affordable regional food supply for everyone.

In this “learn by eating” event, participants are invited to bring potluck dishes featuring at least one ingredient grown or raised within 100 miles of home. Guest speakers from farmers to food writers will give short talks on the history and lore of the familiar Turkey Day dinner, and share hints, sources and methods for planning your own hometown harvest celebration. How did the classics – turkey, cranberries, pumpkin pie – end up with a permanent place on our Thanksgiving menus? Why is Thanksgiving a perfect time to celebrate New England agriculture? Where can a home cook find the makings of a local Thanksgiving meal? We’ll explore all these topics and more to provide new inspiration for your holiday table. Seacoast Eat Local will be present to share information about their upcoming Holiday Farmer’s Markets, timed just right to stock up on fresh, locally grown foods for special dinners.

“Historically, the majority of our food came from within 100 miles of our kitchens,” says John Forti, co-leader of Slow Food Seacoast and Curator of Historic Landscapes at Strawbery Banke Museum. “Today, less than 6% of our agricultural products come from NH — some might say a dangerously low percentage. This Slow Food Seacoast event offers us a chance to meet the pleasant and worthwhile challenge of cooking from fresh ingredients sourced locally. Truly something to be thankful for!”

And the sharing of the bounty won’t stop at the table. Money raised from admission donations will help the UNH Cornucopia Food Pantry distribute “Baskets of Hope,” holiday baskets featuring delicious produce fresh from local farms. Funds from 100-Mile Thanksgiving will purchase food directly at local holiday farmer’s markets. UNH students will assemble baskets on the spot and deliver them in time for needy residents’ holiday meals.

for the complete story and full details, visit Slow Food Seacoast’s website >

Seacoast Eat Local at Wiggin Memorial Library

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

Three speakers from Seacoast Eat Local will be at  the Wiggin Memorial Library in Stratham on Wednesday, Nov. 12 , at 6:30 p.m. to discuss the local food movement and why eating local matters. They will cover environmental issues surrounding eating locally, and will answer questions about sources of local food. Free and open to the public.

Keep South Berwick Warm Community Supper – Wednesday, October 29, 2008 5-7

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

From 236diner.com:

Townspeople are hosting an “old school” community supper at Spring Hill Restaurant to raise funds to supply local families with heating oil and “Keep South Berwick Warm” this winter. Just like days gone by, there’s no set donation or entry fee — there will be a bucket by the door where people can give whatever they can to help their neighbors get thru this difficult time.

To that end, restaurants in South Berwick and York are pitching in and providing soups and breads for the event. Among them are: Nature’s Way Market, Pepperland, Forgarty’s, The Catered Event, Redbarn at the Outlook Farm, The Brixham General Store, Spring Hill Restaurant, Muddy River Smokehouse, When Pigs Fly Bread. The South Berwick Senior Center, and the Red Hat Hotties are hosting a bake sale.  Local merchants The Little Hat Company, The Kittery Trading Post, Salmon Falls Gardens, Sobo Book and Bean, Vacuum Village, So Berwick Yoga and Childlight Yoga are providing prizes for raffles to be held during the event.  Jeff Lind and Carl Pehrsson will play acoustic jazz music.

full article >

Changes We’ve Made

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

This year my family has been practicing the Red Queen principle from Through the Looking Glass:  “In this place it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place.”   Barbara Kingsolver speaks of this principle used by evolutionary ecologists to explain how plants and animals can stay ahead of the game from disease pathogens and predators.  I think this principle can also be applied to the human race trying to stay ahead of slowing down global warming, ironically though, brought on by themselves. My family of five challenged itself by practicing what we preach, which took a lot of running to stay in the same place, but we did it.

We took on eating locally, making our house and our habits energy efficient, consumed less, recycled, decreased our driving by biking and combining errands.  I took on a new job as a farmer’s assistant at our local CSA, Willow Pond.  We grew a  much larger vegetable garden,  worked towards making room for food storage, and took classes on canning and preserving food.

We erected a fence around our 25×60 foot garden, to insure that our resident ground hog would not be sharing our vegetable loot.   We rehauled our dilapidated greenhouse that came attached to our money pit house we bought 3 years ago, to help keep our tiny seedlings warm. We also had grand plans for a root cellar in our basement, but one large lesson we learned, was, “Wow! you really have to grow a LOT to save for everything for the winter.”  But that did not discourage us, we are proud of our butternut, red kuri and spagetti squash that is 20 deep each that take up a small space next to the 20.3 cubic foot freezer we purchased.    The 50lbs of  yukon gold potatoes we grew were so absolutely delicious, we ate them all already.  At least we have about 40lbs of French fingerlings left.

Our freezer is filled.  Upon opening the door, you see red, mixed with orange, and the occasional green.  The jars of homemade jam from strawberries, raspberries and peaches, stand coldly next to pesto of all kinds including, lime basil and garlic scape.  It’s got local meat, such as bacon (“we treat it like gold”, says farmer Kate from Willow Pond) from Kellie Brook farm,   ground lamb (to go with the Kusa grown in my garden to be eaten with the secret Kusa recipe, please see previous posts) from Riverslea Farm, and free range chickens from Lasting Legacy farm, all sitting aside of homemade chicken stock.  And don’t forget the veggies.  We have many bags of summer squash, corn, green beans, peppers, and green tomatoes.  Yes, mostly green, because our tomatoes and Willow Pond’s did not escape the extreme weather conditions this summer that had tomato plants wilting with humid happy diseases.

We have also been busy making extra large dishes of locally prepared foods and freezing entire ready to eat meals, such as chicken, green tomato, and serrano pepper chili for a cold winter’s day when the kids are screaming and time is short.

In the spirit of community, we decided to share  all this with another family.  We split our gardens, the connections we made, and most importantly the mishaps.  We learned oh so much through the mishaps…  the planting of 100 seedling tomatoes and then realizing only 15 each would actually fit in our gardens (they are so tiny and cute when they are young).  The challenging weather then caused those poor tomato plants to yellow and rot, but not before the alien monster tomato hornworm grew to at least 3 inches long (I swear) devouring them.  The eating of all the potatoes in hash browns, mashed potatoes and potato salad long before the leeks were ready to be added for soup, also will effect how I plan my garden for next year.

My family has come a long way this past year in the changing of our habits.  We hope all around it’s good for us, good for the environment, and good for others, because we love to share a wonderful meal with company we enjoy.

Fall Fun at Lasting Legacy Farm October 26th

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Come Have Some Fall Fun

Lasting Legacy Farm 148 Second Crown Point Road

Barrington, NH 03825

Sunday October 26, 2008

10 am ~ 4pm

Enjoy

  • Maple soft serve ice cream and other maple treats from Sugar Mama’s Maple
  • Hot Apple cider doughnut from Pat’s Cider Doughnuts made right before your taste buds!!
  • Lunches from Atlantic Culinary Fresco Club to warm up the toes
  • Come see us finish the barn that is being preserved from the 1800’s
  • Come tour the farm and see the animals!
  • Reserve your holiday turkey!
  • Take a walk on the trails!
  • Press some apple cider from an old hand crank press to take home and enjoy!

directions to Lasting Legacy Farm:

View Larger Map

latest issue of NH Center for a Food Secure Future’s newsletter now available

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

the latest issue of Renaissance is available online (.pdf) and is full of information about good food in schools, including encouraging news about available funding to bring more fruits and vegetables to schools with populations of low-income students.

“Putting food by” workshops part of the Interfaith Sustainability weekend

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

If you are looking to learn more about root cellars and extended season gardening, you might want to check out the workshops on Saturday offered as part of the Interfaity Sustainability weekend at the Portsmouth Public Library.

 

An article in the Portsmouth Herald details the background of the group and provides more details about the planned events.

Friday, Oct. 17

7 p.m.: “The Slow Food Movement: International and Local Perspectives,” Dover Friends Meeting House, 141 Central Ave., Dover, with John Jemison, University o Maine Cooperative Extension, and representatives of Slow Food Seacoast and Seacoast Eat Local.

Saturday, Oct. 18

1-4 p.m. :”Putting Food By” workshops on preserving food, root cellars, extended-season gardening and community gardens, Portsmouth Public Library.

Sunday, Oct. 19

10 a.m.: “Sustainability and Faith” joint service presented by Rev. Roberta Finkelstein and Rabbi David Mark, South Church, Portsmouth.

a chance to meet a local-food interested politician

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I can’t say I know too much about Jackie Cilley, but I am so happy to see an area campaign pay attention to the government issues that are impeding but could be promoting local food!

From the campaign manager’s email:

We are having an event showcasing the local foods of Senate District 6, next Sunday, October 19th at Yellow House Farm in Barrington.  Here is the link: http://www.tasteofthedistrict.com  Jackie Cilley has been working small farms in the district to open up markets for local food and to try to eliminate some of the bureucracy that has been set up to favor agribusiness to the detriment of small farm.

District 6 includes Rochester, Somersworth, Barrington, Nottingham, and Madbury – and the food, of course, is sure to be amazing!