Archive for April, 2009

facebook fun

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

If you’re into facebook, here’s some fun pages to poke around in, become a fan of, and join the group!

Chickens in the White House – first a garden, now chickens!

Giving Gardens Network – a new network to help each other as we grow a little extra or volunteer our time to get fresh, local food in food pantries

NH Dairy – “Dairy is great from the granite state!”

Slow Food Seacoast – events, potlucks and more

And we have our own page Seacoast Eat Local

Catching up on the news

Monday, April 27th, 2009

I’m taking the easy way out today and just giving you all some links to make sure you’re keeping on the news.  Much of this comes from NHPR, so good for them and don’t forget to pledge!  Below we have stories on Seafood, conserved farmland, a misguided attempt to merge the Dept of Agriculture with a few other departments, and more.

Seacoast Fishermen Begin to Advertise Locally Caught Fish

Littleton Coop Expected to Boost North Country Economy

Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets, and Food, Lorraine Stuart Merrill

Merger Plan Hears Broad ‘No’

Agreement Reached to Permanently Protect Scamman Farm

local food cooking classes — new location

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Nourishing Your Family From the Inside OutEarth-friendly Cooking and Wellness Classes
Location: Attrezzi European Marketplace
, 78 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH
May 18, June 8 – 7:00 – 9:00pm

Slow Foods, Fast Dinner: Quick Meals (Monday May 18)

Super Nourishing Spring Greens!  (Monday June8 )

Instructors: Tracey Miller is a certified health & wellness counselor from Institute for Integrative Nutrition.  She helps individuals and families eat healthier through personal coaching, nutrition education and cooking classes.  Kate Donald is an organic vegetable farmer, and advocate for local, sustainable agriculture. She works with Seacoast
Eat Local to help consumers connect with local farmers and locally produced foods.

$40 for each class, materials included

To register, please RSVP to, 603-380-1080 or, 603-580-5364


Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Home Cheesemaking: Ricotta & Mozzarella


Learn to make your own unprocessed, local cheese right at home. Through a lecture and demonstrations, this introduction to home cheesemaking will get you started on making ricotta and mozzarella and may include yogurt and goat cheese if time allows. Basic equipment and procedures will be covered. This one-night workshop will be held on Tuesday, May 19, from 6–8:30 p.m in Exeter. Course fee is $30. Supplies included.


To register, call Joyce at the adult ed office at 775-8457 or stop by the office 8:30 AM -3:00 PM M-F at 30 Linden Street (old Exeter High School), entrance D, room 137.


Debra Kam and Lenore Smith have been exploring home cheesemaking for over a year as part of eating locally.


Thinking chicken?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Thistleridge Farm in Dover has chicks for sale: broilers, NH reds, white leghorns, Red Silkies, Aracanas, Buff Brahmas, and Barred Rock X. They also have fertile eggs for hatching, chicken, duck, goose and quail,  and rent incubators with eggs included!

If you’re looking for more ready-to-eat food, they have eggs: goose, chicken, quail, turkey and duck.

For more information call Sherri at 603-740-9332

Local parsnips (!) and other foods and vegetable plants at Riverside Farm Stand in North Berwick

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Riverside Farm Stand and Greenhouse
Rt 4 North Berwick ME, (4 miles past the Links at Outlook golf course in South Berwick)
Opening for the 2009 season Thursday, 4/23 at 10am

“One of the oldest family run farms in Southern Maine, we are excited to offer our own parsnips to start the fresh produce season.   We also offer delicious home made chicken pot pies and fresh bread baked daily.  With a wide assortment of jams and relishes that we make ourselves, combined with beautiful spring flower combo baskets, bedding plants, and perennials, we have something for everyone to start the season!   Coming soon, our own asparagus and vegetable plants for your own “eat local” garden!”

fish is seasonal, too!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

From Seaport Fish’s email newsletter:

If you’ve bought haddock recently you may have noticed a difference in the size and consistency of the fillets. Differences in condition are related to the spawning cycle.  Haddock spawn between January and June with late March and early April being the peak.  The reproductive organs start to grow rapidly in October in readiness for the spawning season and even though the fish are still eating, more of what they eat is being diverted to their reproductive organs. As winter progresses, the demands of those organs increase and the food supply diminishes.  The fish have no choice but to break down some of the components of their own bodies to maintain the flow of materials to the reproductive organs.   Proteins are drawn from all parts of the flesh; the hair like cells of which the fish muscle is made shrink and the spaces between them increase and fill with fluid which is why the flesh will feel wet to the touch.  After spawning the flesh becomes softer still until the food supply increases to the point where the fish can obtain enough food to repair the damages.

According to FishWatch, our local Haddock is in good shape.

Sign up for Seaport Fish’s email newsletter for more seafood information >

Portsmouth farmers’ market opens May 2

Monday, April 20th, 2009

From the Seacoast Growers Association:

The start of May brings the start of the farmers’ market season.

Seacoast Growers’ Association’s weekly Portsmouth Farmers’ Market opens Saturday, May 2, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Five additional markets open the first week of June in Dover, Durham, Exeter, Hampton and Kingston.

Rain or shine, more than 50 local vendors can be found every Saturday in the City Hall lot on Junkins Avenue. Local produce, flowers and garden plants, meats and dairy, breads and pastries, prepared foods, fine crafts and more are fresh for the taking, sold directly by the people who grow and make each item.

What you’ll find

Year-round provisions such as fresh greens, maple syrup, wine, meats and baked goods are plentiful in the market’s early weeks, while other vegetables and fruits are yet growing and ripening to be picked.

Spring is also an especially good time to walk the aisles in search of the perfect plants for your own gardens-or to give as Mothers’ Day gifts. Vegetable and herb starts, bedding plants, perennials and hanging flower baskets abound. Not sure the difference between a Brandywine or a Jet Star tomato? Curious if a snapdragon will grow on your shaded porch? Ask the grower, and get some advice on pest control while you’re at it. Farmers’ markets are an excellent opportunity to learn.

Special Events

As always, the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market presents a different entertainer every week. Opening Day’s live music will feature “folk songs and sing-alongs” by Random Acts of Harmony, a trio from Exeter. The rest of May brings: High Range, May 9; Taylor River Band, May 16; special guest TBA, May 23; and Rock Spring, May 30.

Market Tours will also be available on Saturday, May 9, in conjunction with the Sustainability Fair at the Middle School. Volunteers will meet tour-goers at the fairgrounds and lead them up the hill to the market, where they’ll receive a personalized tour, introductions to the vendors, and tips on how to choose and purchase items at a farmers’ market. There is no charge, and tours are expected to last 45 minutes. They will be conducted every half-hour from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Become a Local Food Advocate!  Learn about the implications of local food choices and how to be represent the local food movement in the Seacoast. The first training will be held on Opening Day, Saturday, May 2. Meet at the Market Information Booth; there is no charge to attend. This program is a joint project of Seacoast Growers’ Association, Slow Food Seacoast, Seacoast Eat Local and Seacoast Local. For more information or to RSVP (requested, but not necessary), contact Michelle Moon at (603) 422-7507 or

ACT NOW to save the NH Department of Agriculture!

Monday, April 20th, 2009

From the NH Farm Bureau – time sensitive!

     In a surprise development last Wednesday a floor amendment was offered in the Senate to SB 132, a study bill. The action establishes a Commission directed with developing implementation plans for merging: the Department of Cultural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food, the Department of Fish and Game, the Division of Parks and Recreation, and the Division of Forests and Lands into a newly established Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. The plan calls for all Fish and Game law enforcement functions to be merged under the Department of Safety.

     The amendment was brought forward by Senator Maggie Hassan of Exeter. The merger proposal was identified as a “possible” efficiency by Governor Lynch in his budget address this past February. He said the idea merited further consideration and study for 2012-2013.

     Farm Bureau policy strongly supports an autonomous Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food. The House Executive Departments and Administration Committee has scheduled a public hearing on SB 132 for Thursday, April 23, 11:00 a.m. in Room 306 of the Legislative Office Building. This is a serious threat to the future of the Department. Strong attendance is needed at the hearing. If you can not attend the hearing, please call and voice your opposition to the members of the Committee nearest you and to your representative(s). “Talking Points,” Executive Department and Administration Committee members and Bill Sponsor contact information follows:  

Talking Points

  • Financially the Department pulls its own weight. It sustains itself on a very modest budget. It is in no way a cause of the state’s budget problems.
  • Merging the Department would not save the state money. A merger could be used to mask a cut in services.
  • Losing the Department undermines the nearly billion dollar agricultural industry in the state ($975,000,000) and the local production of fresh and safe food. The farming industry strongly opposes any change or loss of the Commissioner of Agriculture position. The position and Department are nearly a century old and the Commissioner is a leader and spokesperson for the industry, particularly within state government.
  • Closing the Department will be viewed by farmers as demoralizing. Agriculture would lose its identity within state government.
  • With the state’s growing urban and sprawling suburban communities, many NH residents have little understanding of the basics of agriculture, which provides the sustenance of life itself- food and agriculture’s contribution to the quality of life. The Department’s role is more important than ever. It has a series of experienced staffers who are readily accessible to the public and are able to explain this specialized industry.
  • The Department is home to a long list of important services to agriculture and the general public (consumers): consumer and environmental protection, commodity, industry and state promotion, control and eradication of contagious and infectious diseases of domestic animals and poultry in the state, enforcement of animal welfare and abuse laws, ensuring safe and proper use of chemical pesticides, insect and plant inspection and monitoring, farm product inspection, (commodities, feed, seeds, fertilizer), organic certification program, easement monitoring, oversees product labeling and quality laws, manure management issues and conflict resolution, BMPs promotion, weight and measuring device inspection and regulation (gas pumps, store scales etc.), liaison with government including- USDA, academic and research institutions (UNH, Cornell) and numerous state and local agencies. All this and more is coordinated with 36 full-time employees and 3 part-time staffers.

 Agriculture in the state is growing:

  • From 2002 – 2007 the number of farms in NH increased 24%, 3,363 to 4,166 (2007 Census of Agriculture)
  • From 2002 – 2007 land in farms increased 6%, 444,879 – 517,879 (2007 Census of Agriculture)
  • NH is ranked #1 in the nation in percentage of farms having direct sales to consumers (nearly 25%)
  • NH is ranked #1 in the nation in percentage of farms with women as principal operators (30%).    

NH House Executive Departments and Administration Committee:

(note: while phone calls are most effective, if you need an email address use Who’s My Leg?  to communicate your opposition to the merger of the Dept of Ag under other departments)

Name/Title                             Towns Served                                                  Phone

Anne-Marie Irwin, Chair                        Peterborough, New Ipswich, Sharon, Greenville  924-6617

Laurie Harding, V.Chair              Lebanon                                                          448-5206

Maurice Pilotte, Clerk                 Manchester                                                       623-8173

Patricia McMahon                     North Sutton, Newbury                                     927-4705

Jean Jeudy                                 Manchester                                                       645-5290

Peter Schmidt                            Dover                                                               743-3751

Catriona Beck                            Bennington, Francestown, Greenland, Deering    588-3053

Daniel Sullivan                           Manchester                                                       627-5044

Don Petterson                          Brentwood                                                        772-4519

Charlotte Houde-Quimby          Meriden, Cornish, Grantham                             469-3205

Joan Flurey                                Manchester                                                       624-0525

Ken Hawkins                            Bedford                                                                        472-8270

Russell Day                               Goffstown                                                        497-3672

John Reagan                             Deerfield, Nottingham, Northwood, Candia       463-3009

Kenneth Gould                         Derry                                                                432-9189

Stella Scamman                          Stratham, Exeter, North Hampton                      772-3062

Carol McGuire                          Epsom                                                             782-4918

Calvin Pratt                               Goffstown                                                        497-4337

Donald Ryder                           Hollis, Brookline, Mason                                                465-2706

Carol Vita                                 Middleton, Barrington, Farmington, Milton         755-9955

                                                New Durham, Strafford

Representatives who are sponsors of SB 132:

Name/Title                             Town Serviced                                                 Phone

Donna Schlackman                   Exeter, North Hampton, Stratham                      772-4934

Sharon Nordgren                      Hanover                                                           643-5086

Melissa Lyons                           Kingston, Hampstead, Plaistow                          770-3979

Joseph Russell                           Stratham, Exeter, North Hampton                      580-1504

Public Hearing: Thursday, April 23

Executive Departments and Administration, Room 306, LOB

11:00 a.m.         SB 132,  establishing a commission to develop implementation plans for merging state agencies and programs to enhance efficiency and lower costs.


Swine Seminar in Durham

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

New Hampshire Pork Producers Council and the UNH Cooperative extension have paired up to offer a swine seminar. The concentration is basic swine care. Topics to be covered include: nutrition, housing, diseases, and rules for bringing swine into NH. The seminar is Saturday May 2nd. The cutoff date for registration is April 27th. For more info please visit the website at