Archive for January, 2009

“New Victory Garden” workshop series!

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Kittery Adult and Community Education (new website! Hurrah!) is offering a series of 10 workshops (can be taken individually):

Victory gardens were prevalent in WW II. Today there is new interest in recreating the Victory Garden to reduce food transportation miles, rising food costs, and to encourage sustainability by eating local organically-grown food in season. This series of 10 individual workshops being held by Kittery Adult Education will help you get prepared to start your own backyard or community New Victory garden.

 
Workshops include: Seed Starting, Edible Fruit Trees and Shrubs, Backyard Beekeeping, Gardening with Children, Season extenders/Intensive gardening, Soils and Nutrition and more!

Each workshop has a course fee of $8, $10 for nonresidents.  For directions, more upcoming workshops is this series, and registration, please call Kittery Adult Education at 207-439-5896 or visit their new website >

in the news: Area fishermen to sell shrimp, lobster locally

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Foster’s picked up the story about fishermen selling shrimp at the next Winter Farmers’ Markets:

Written by Robert M. Cook

DOVER — Bob Campbell has high hopes for the few New Hampshire commercial fishermen who still ply coastal waters for Gulf of Maine shrimp and lobster.

Campbell, the manager of the Yankee Fishermen’s Cooperative in Seabrook, said the fishermen are working with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension to develop new markets closer to home for their locally caught products.

“We’re basically trying to reach out to new customers,” Campbell said.

Beginning in February, commercial fishermen will sell Gulf of Maine shrimp at Winter Farmers’ Markets sponsored by Seacoast Eat Local that will encourage Seacoast residents to buy locally-caught seafood, Campbell said.

The first market will be held at the Exeter Congregational Church in Exeter on Feb. 7, followed by a second fish market at Stratham Town Hall on March 7, he said. Both markets will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Campbell said people will definitely be able to pay less than the average $2.99 to $3.99 per pound they pay for fresh Gulf of Maine shrimp at area supermarkets and retail stores. They could also score some good deals on fresh caught lobster, he said.

Campbell, a former ground fisherman from Kennebunk, Maine, said this new marketing strategy may help the state’s remaining ground fishermen and lobstermen stay in business.

read the full article >

More information about the Winter Farmers’ Markets >

Workshop Round-up + information about McIntosh Culinary School

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

If you weren’t among the lucky to attend the January 24th workshop held at McIntosh culinary school, organized by Wendy Berry of Lasting Legacy Farm and other local farmers, here are two blogs that do a great job sharing and summarizing:

Living the Local Life

What Did She Do Today?

Virginia of Living the Local Life also linked to the blog Save McIntosh. We are about to lose a really valuable part of our community, just when it seems that we are turning the tide in changing our food system to a more sustainable, self-sufficient, local one. McIntosh culinary school has played a very valuable part in educating students in a way that exposes them to these ideas and connections – they aren’t just learning to cook with halfway processed food.

I believe the writer of the Save McIntosh blog has the right idea – McIntosh could and should be part of our community college system. As an educator in the public school system for the last 8 years, I know that students need diverse, local, and financially reasonable options. Community colleges are a great place for students of all ages to reasonably get great educations and make the kind of investments in themselves that will have value for the long term.

Save McIntosh suggests that we write letters to our representatives and media outlets, and I agree. But I also urge all that care about this issue to write our state community college system.

Letters are more effective than email:

Chancellor – Dr. Richard Gustafson

26 College Drive, Concord NH 03301

But if email is all you have time for, the emails of the assistant chancellor, etc. are listed on their website >

CSA Fairs

Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

If you live a little further north in Maine, MOFGA, Slow Food Portland, and the Maine Council of Churches are hosting a series of CSA Fairs, where you can meet area farmers and figure out which CSA option will work best for you, on February 8th.
More information >

Closer to home, Slow Food Seacoast is hosting a CSA Fair on February 14th, from 10am-1pm at the Portsmouth Public Library.

Come to learn about CSAs, talk to farmers, discover your options, and make a small but sound investment in the health of your family and community.

more information >

The following farms have contacted Seacoast Eat Local and let us know they currently have shares available for the 2009 season:

Back River Farm

Heron Pond Farm

Meadow’s Mirth Farm

Northern Shrimp – sustainable, local, delicious!

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

It’s time to eat northern shrimp in earnest! Also called native or Maine shrimp, these sweet shrimp are fast cooking and tasty.

Sanders Fish Market and Sanders Lobster Company (right around the corner) in Portsmouth has head-off northern shrimp as well as Great Bay smelts, all caught by local fishermen >

Seaport Fish in Rye is also featuring native shrimp

And, you’ll be able to buy northern shrimp directly from the fishermen at the next Winter Farmers Markets, on February 7 in Exeter and March 7 in Stratham.

Nancy Harmon Jenkins wrote a really great article about our wonderful northern shrimp and an initiative in Maine to work toward direct sales and marketing. In the article, she gives provides basic cooking and handling techniques:

“Whenever possible, I like to get my shrimp with their shells and heads on as a guarantee of freshness. The heads break away easily, and peeling is easy once you get the rhythm. They do not need to be deveined. The roe, which varies in color from bright blue to gray, is tasty, but many cooks remove it for appearance’s sake. Save the heads and shells (and the roe) to make a savory shrimp broth (see recipe). If you’re not using it right away, you can freeze the broth and add it to future chowders or seafood stews. The shrimp are of course best fresh, but you can freeze them, too, for up to a month.

Cooking Maine shrimp isn’t difficult, but, because of the tender nature of their flesh, less is decidedly more: They are all too easy to overcook. A quick dip in boiling water or a mere flash in a pan of hot oil is sufficient to cook them through. In fact, many Maine shrimp fans find the greatest pleasure is raw shrimp, perhaps marinated briefly, to firm up the flesh. Old-fashioned Maine cooks like me agree that the best way to serve a mess of shrimp is simply boiled (half a minute is plenty of time, done in batches to avoid overcooking), quickly drained and turned out on a kitchen table covered with newspaper. Add a dipping sauce as simple as extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice or as complex as Vietnamese nuoc cham (fish sauce with garlic, chili peppers and lime juice) [Recipe for Nuoc Cham]. Then it’s just peel, dip, eat.

In judging quantities to serve, keep in mind that about half the weight of each shrimp is in the head. Thus, a pound of whole shrimp, with their heads and shells on, will produce six to eight ounces when shelled and beheaded, or enough for two people as a starter or mixed into a risotto or pasta. For main-course shrimp, I count on at least a pound of whole shrimp per person.

Read the full article and get recipes for Northern Shrimp salad, risotto, and saute >

Seafood at the Winter Farmers’ Market – Feb 7 in Exeter

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

nhfisherman.jpgA New Venue for Buying Fresh Seafood Direct from New Hampshire Fishermen

By Charlie French and Ken LaValley

Residents of New Hampshire’s seacoast region can now purchase locally and sustainably-caught shrimp and lobster direct from local fishermen at the Winter Farmers’ Markets. With shrimp and lobster prices at near 20-year lows, this is just the boost that local fishermen need.

New Hampshire’s rich history in commercial fishing has helped to shape the state’s character and sense of community. In fact, commercial fishing has been a vital component of the state’s economy for over two centuries and has grown to a multi-million dollar industry in New Hampshire employing approximately 100 commercial fishermen. Equally important, recent economic studies based on National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) data suggests that New Hampshire’s seafood industry has lead to the creation of approximately 250 jobs in other sectors including food processing, tourism, restaurants, boatyards, etc.

However, the seafood industry is at a critical juncture that will determine its future viability. On the one hand, fishing regulations aimed at protecting declining fish stocks have made it difficult for commercial fishermen to turn a profit. Couple this with rock-bottom prices for shrimp and lobster, commercial fishermen worry that their livelihood is in jeopardy.

The question is; how can the shrimp and lobster industries sustain the resource and increase profits from fish sales? The answer may lie in establishing direct markets for local and sustainably-caught seafood.

This winter, the Yankee Seafood Co-op, based out of Seabrook, New Hampshire, will begin selling shrimp and lobster direct to consumers at Winter Farmers’ Markets sponsored by Seacoast Eat Local. As Bob Campbell, Manager of the co-op explains, the idea is to build stronger links between the commercial fishermen and local fresh markets and area restaurants. And what better venue than a farmers market where a variety of locally produced foods can be purchased.

If you are interested in purchasing locally-caught seafood, below are the dates and locations of upcoming farmers markets where pre-packaged shrimp will be available in the Seacoast:
•    Saturday, February 7th from 10am-2pm at 21 Front Street, Exeter, New Hampshire
•    Saturday, Saturday, March 7, 10am-2pm at Stratham Town Hall, Stratham, New Hampshire

More information about these winter farmers’ markets is available at www.seacoasteatlocal.org

more winter local food closer to Concord

Wednesday, January 21st, 2009

a new winter CSA and winter farmers’ market starting up in Concord!

from the Concord Monitor:

Most gardens are buried in inches of snow. But that doesn’t mean it’s not possible to get fresh vegetables in Concord.

Next month, Larry Pletcher, owner of the Vegetable Ranch in Warner, is starting a winter CSA and farmers market. A CSA – an acronym for community supported agriculture – will give members a chance to pre-buy shares of the farm’s produce, then pick up fresh lettuce, bok choy and other fresh veggies every two weeks from the end of February through early May.

“It’s becoming a growing thing,” Pletcher said. “I know lots of people interested in local foods, the local situation, but everyone wonders what can they eat locally during the winter.”

Pletcher has run the Vegetable Ranch as an organic farm since 1988. He has been working there full time for about seven years, selling his goods at farmers markets throughout the area.

In the summer, he participates in the Local Harvest CSA, which includes a large number of farms around Concord, and the Kearsarge Mountain CSA, a smaller program run from his farm.

This year, after putting up a new greenhouse, Pletcher decided to start his own CSA in the winter. He has stored potatoes, onions, beets and carrots, which will be distributed. He also has three greenhouses filled with lettuce, spinach, bok choy, chard and kale. Come spring, there should be fresh radishes, beets and carrots.

Pletcher said that some vegetables, like lettuce, need to be grown in heated greenhouses. Others, like spinach, are simply covered in an unheated greenhouse. The greenhouses generate solar warmth, and covering the vegetables in mid-afternoon keeps the heat in. “It’s amazing,” Pletcher said. “You have days when it’s down 5, 6 below. You go out the next day and they’re not frozen.”

read the full article>

Food Democracy Now – join the petition

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

With change in government comes hope for positive change is the Department of Agriculture. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be shaping up as President-elect Obama has nominated a new secretary that has been heavily involved in agri-business and the status quo. But it isn’t a done deal, and it’s not too late to let our incoming government know that this is a critical issue for our future and to help nominate the second in charge in the department.

“Food Democracy Now! has created a list of 12 candidates for the crucial Under Secretary positions that will stand up for safe, healthy food, clear air and water, animal welfare and soil preservation. These 12 candidates have spent their lives fighting for family farmers and we’re calling them the Sustainable Dozen. Help us send them to Washington.  Sign the petition”

from the comments: smelt!

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Mike of Sanders Fish Market wrote a comment on a smelt post from last year, and so that it wouldn’t get lost I’m re-posting here:

Mike says:

To the best of my knowledge, smelt in general are not overfished or endangered. The ones in found here in Great Bay are Rainbow Smelt (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_smelt). They have been fished there for years. It is true that human change to the surrounding environment (man-made dams, etc.) have lowered the local smelt population over the years according to this 2007 article (http://archive.seacoastonline.com/news/03052007/nhnews-ph-p-estuary.html). On the other hand, they are typically only caught a few months out of the year (when Great Bay is frozen) and are sometimes considered an invasive species for other fish…

(and look! native shrimp with their heads off, a great way to get them!)

Cider Night at The Portsmouth Brewery, January 28th

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Farnum Hill Ciders has partnered with the Portsmouth Brewery to offer a Cider Night!

Wednesday, January 28, 7:00-9:00 pm, downstairs at the Portsmouth Brewery.
Featuring Farnum Hill Ciders with a four-course menu.
Tod Mott of The Brewery and Brian Goodwin of Farnum Hill will talk first-hand about making local beverages.
$30 per person (tax & tip included).
Reserve at the Brewery, 603/431-1115, or with Corrie at Farnum Hill: 603/252-0737.

7:00-7:15 pm
Welcome and introduction by Tod Mott, Brian Goodwin, other Farnum Hill people.
7:15-8:45
Four ciders with four courses, brief comments from Brian.

Tasting Menu:
Farnum Hill Semi-Dry Cider with Rosemary Apple Puffs
Farnum Hill ‘Farmhouse’ with Arugula and Boggy Meadow Fiddlehead Tomme Salad
Farnum Hill Kingston Black Reserve with Braised Spanish Porketta, Stewed Lentils with Fried Taleggio Cheese
8:45 Dessert and Wrapup
Farnum Hill French Martinis with Apple Crisp and Cinnamon Cookies

This event is part of New Hampshire Wine Week:
Information at www.nh.gov/liquor/