Archive for August, 2009

Market Notes: Fermentation Fervor

Monday, August 31st, 2009


Recently, our CSA share included several heads of cabbage, perfect for experimenting with lacto-fermentation — a traditional method of preserving food that is both low-energy and low-tech. However, if, like me, you’re interested in lacto-fermentation but don’t know where to start, several hands-on workshops are being offered this Fall.

This past weekend I was able to attend one such workshop, “Fermenting for Deliciously Preserved Foods”, sponsored by Portland Maine Permaculture Partners as part of their commitment to skill-building and -sharing. It took place at the Community Supported Kitchen in the Portland Public Market House, and was taught with infectious enthusiasm by Alison LePage, a nutritional therapist and practicing locavore. The class covered how the process works, with a focus on in-jar fermentation using whey as a culture. We sampled a variety of foods fermented by Alison, and, as a group, we prepared two different lacto-fermented recipes. At the end, we were able to take home finished jars of fermented salsa and fermented cucumber pickles.

Alison has a series of additional lacto-fermentation workshops scheduled:

• Thursday, September 3, 6pm-9pm – Salsa

• Thursday, September 17, 6pm-9pm – Kimchi (if you prefer, you can make plain sauerkraut)

• Thursday, October 1, 6pm-9pm – Gingered Carrots

All classes will be held at the Community Supported Kitchen in the Public Market House, 28 Monument Square, Portland. More information and registration is available at Alison’s website: Please note, the recipes taught in these workshops involve the use of dairy whey and might not be suitable for vegans.

Also, as previously mentioned here at Seacoast Eat Local, the series of preserving workshops sponsored by the New Eden Collaborative in Newbury includes one on making lacto-fermented sauerkraut, September 9th. For more information: www.firstparishof

Whether you’d like to experiment on your own or just learn more about the process, the following books are recommended: “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon, “Wild Fermentation” by Sandor Ellix Katz, and “Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning” by The Gardeners & Farmers of Terre Vivante. If you know of other lacto-fermentation classes being offered, please leave a comment.

Farm to Restaurant Dinner in Hampton September 24

Monday, August 31st, 2009

If seeing Food Inc. at The Music Hall isn’t already on your calendar for the evening of September 24, there is also a NH Farm to Restaurant Connection dinner planned for that evening:

The Old Salt and Lamie’s Inn
New Hampshire Farm to Restaurant Connection Dinner

Buying your food locally is good for your local economy, good for family farmers, good for your family’s health, and good for the environment. Not to mention how good fresh, local food tastes!

The Old Salt, in cooperation with “Farm to Restaurant Connection” would like to celebrate these local farmers and vendors. Please join us September 24, 2009 for a delicious dinner, made exclusively with local NH ingredients.

$24.99 per person
(Reserve a table of 10 for only $229.99)
Limiting Seating Available Reservations Required
The Old Salt
490 Lafayette Road
Hampton, NH 03842

7 Things She Didn’t Know About Canning

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Rachel Forrest attended the canning demonstration at the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market and wrote about the things she learned:

Recently, I got some information on how to can correctly at the Portsmouth farmers market from Claudia Boozer-Blasco, extension educator in Family and Consumer Resources, with the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension in Rockingham County.

Now, I know how to can veggies and sauces. I’ve done it before, but one thing I never learned were some of the reasons why certain processes are done to avoid illness in canning. I’m one of those people who always asks, “OK, so why did you do that?”

The water bath process is for high acid foods — your jams, applesauce, pickled beets, tomatoes. First thing I didn’t know — the acid and the boiling point work together to eliminate the botulism. With pressure cooking canning, used with lower acid foods like beans and corn, it’s temperature and pressure. The recipe will tell you which one to use.

Second thing I didn’t know — use a book with canning recipes published after the mid-1980s because it reflects the changes made in recipes since the USDA et al tested the recipes and let us know the science behind canning.

Read the full article >

Seafood “Throwdown” at the Rye Farmers’ Market Wednesday September 2

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

From the Rye Farmers’ Market, a really fun and exciting event!

 The Rye Farmers’ Market, in collaboration with the Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, brings the first  Seafood Throwdown on Wednesday, Sept. 2 from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. at the Farmer’s Market next to the Congregational Church and Rye Town Hall.

The Seafood Throwdown will feature Sylvia Cheevers of Rye Harbor Lobster, a favorite among the weekly vendors at the Rye Farmer’s Market and Justin Bigalow of the Carriage House, a well known restaurant on the Rye coast.  They will educate and entertain you with their cooking skills as they show how to prepare whole, fresh, and local seafood. Chefs get $25.00 and 15 minutes to shop the Farmers’ Market for ingredients, cook for 45 minutes, and then present their entry for consideration.  Judging the prepared dish will be Rachel Forrest, Food Writer for the Portsmouth Herald and Duncan Boyd, local chef and fisherman.

The Throwdown is sponsored by NAMA, Northeast Atlantic Marine Alliance. “Even though we live in a fishing community we don’t necessarily understand how those headlines in the paper about fisheries management measures add up to what ends up on our plates,” says Gloucester MA resident and NAMA’s director, Niaz Dorry.  “We think about where our tomato comes from, who grew it, how they grew it and how far it traveled before it ended up on our plates.  We need to think the same way about your seafood.”

Our not-so-secret agenda is to promote support for the NH fishing industry and fishermen, while keeping economy here in NH, through Community Sustained Fisheries (CSF), Restaurants, Farmer’s Markets and Seafood Markets.

It doesn’t make sense to send NH fish out-of-state, only to be returned, one or two days later, paying more for fish that’s not as fresh. ” Buying sustainable, means purchasing fish in season and different fish, like pollock, hake, or cusk,” says Carolyn Eastman of Eastman’s Fish Market in Seabrook. “We try to elevate exposure and raise awareness of buying seafood locally.” More information can be found at

“A CSF reconnects people to the ocean that sustains them and builds a rewarding relationship between the fishermen and their community.  Tailored after the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model, a CSF brings freshly caught local seafood to our kitchens while providing fishermen with a better price on less catch.  CSF members give the fishermen financial support in advance, and in turn the fishermen provide a weekly share of locally caught seafood to their shareholders.”

This is a free event, open to the public.

Cider Hill Farm to Table Dinner — September 12

Sunday, August 30th, 2009

Good Tastes Kitchen presents another in its series of Farm to Table dinners:

September 12, 6 PM
Cider Hill Farm to Table Dinner
45 Fern Avenue, Amesbury
Festivities include a four course meal prepared by Good Tastes Kitchen, sourcing from local purveyors including Cider Hill Farm during their fruitful harvest!  Wine, beer & beverages from local artisans including, Jewell Towne Vineyard in Amesbury, and Mercury Brewing in Ipswich. The Farm to Table Dinner at Green Meadows Farm earlier this month was a huge success featuring thoughtfully prepared, deliciously local eats. Five producers were in attendance, among them, Cape Ann Fresh Catch and Andrew and Diana Rodgers from Green Meadows Farm. Enjoy live music, great food and the company of friends and neighbors! Seats are limited to the first 100 tickets sold, $80 each. Purchase tickets by Sept 6. For more information and to buy tickets visit

September 12 is shaping up to be a day with a lot of local food activity options! It is also the date of the Lee Country Fair, and the event we’re really excited about, the Natural Heritage and Agricultural Fair! Visit for more information on that event.

Market Notes: Chocolate & Zucchini

Thursday, August 27th, 2009


It wasn’t what I was expecting. To celebrate this year’s International Kitchen Garden Day, we toured several neighborhood vegetable gardens, all within easy biking range. With the tour ending at our garden, it seemed an apt occasion to bake a chocolate and zucchini cake. I’d assumed it wouldn’t be so very different than making zucchini bread. Well, yes and no. When it came time to mix the chocolate in with the zucchini, I hesitated. It felt startlingly counterintuitive, not to mention how it looked. However, there were enough online testimonials for me to persevere, and the results made me glad that I did. The cake was tender, moist, and rich but still light in texture, with the zucchini somehow adding an element to each one of those components.

Many thanks to all who generously shared their gardens as well as knowledge. It may be that our guests were simply hungry after bike-touring all afternoon but, judging by the cake’s disappearance, I think I could have sneaked in another zucchini.

 Chocolate & Zucchini Cake

– 2  cups  (240 grams) all-purpose flour [may substitute 1/2 cup (60 grams) whole wheat flour]

– 1/2 cup (40 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 teaspoon baking soda

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup (1 4-ounce stick or 110 grams) butter, softened

– 1 cup (160 grams) light brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 1 teaspoon instant coffee or espresso granules (optional)

– 3 eggs, at room temperature

– 2 cups zucchini, trimmed, unpeeled and grated (about 280 grams, two medium)

– 1 cup (170 grams) chocolate chips

Topping :

– 1/4 cup (40 grams) light brown sugar

– 1/2 cup (70 grams) hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 360°F. Grease a 10-inch (3 quart or liter) springform cake pan, and flour it or sprinkle with cocoa powder (this helps the cake unmold easily, especially if you’re not using a non-stick pan).

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

3. In a food processor, combine the sugar and butter, and mix until fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and coffee powder, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition.

4. Spoon in the flour mixture, reserving the last half-cup of it. Mix thoroughly, the batter will be thick.

5. Add the grated zucchini and the chocolate chips to the reserved flour mixture, and toss to coat. Fold in the batter, and blend thoroughly. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and smooth out the surface with a spatula until level.

6. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients, and sprinkle all over the batter. Lightly press nuts into batter for better adhesion when unmolding. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Turn out on a rack to cool for half an hour, then unmold.

Serves 12 generously. Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini.

Notes: There are many differing recipes for chocolate and zucchini cake. I chose this one for it’s simple proportion of eggs and butter. I used espresso powder for the coffee granules but the coffee doesn’t seem necessary if using good quality chocolate. When baking, particularly cakes, I often substitute one of the eggs with a duck egg from Yellow House Farm. The extra fat and protein the duck egg provides added richness and loft. The butter, eggs, zucchini and home-made vanilla extract were all locally-sourced. I hope that someday we will have a local source for hazelnuts, one of the few nuts that may be grown successfully here in New England.

More info on Slow Food Seacoast’s Time For Lunch Day of Action — September 7

Thursday, August 27th, 2009
Time For Lunch! A Day of Action and Learning
It’s back-to-school time – a great time to make a real difference in the quality of school nutrition. Slow Food Seacoast invites volunteers of all ages to Time for Lunch!, a day of action to improve school nutrition.
This interactive workshop and service project will bring together community members and skilled local farmers at Dover High School where we’ll work together in the greenhouses helping to produce fresh, healthy greens for Dover Schools’ Dining Services program. The event runs from 8:30 – 11:30 AM on Monday, September 7, 2009 (Labor Day). A $10 donation is suggested, and funds raised will be used to support the ongoing operation of the greenhouse program.

We know it’s early and it’s a holiday. Therefore we are providing breakfast! Coffee and tea from Adelle’s Coffeehouse in Dover, will be accompanied by healthy and delicious End-of-Summer Muffins prepared by the UNH EcoGastronomy Program and seasonal fruits from local farms.

The program will be lead by Shawn and Sarah Stimson of Sustainable Farm Products, along with Heather Fabbri, Agriculture Instructor for Dover High School and Career Technical Center, and Amy Winans, UNH Lecturer in the Department of Hospitality Management and Slow Food Seacoast member. Together we will work in the greenhouses to build new raised beds and plant seeds using a manually operated four-row seeder.

Shawn and Sarah will provide an educational talk and demonstration about growing greens seasonally including tips on heat, light, moisture, and composting. Heather Fabbri will provide greenhouse walk-and-talk tours to small groups during the event.

The event is part of a nationwide campaign by Slow Food USA to improve school nutrition for children around the country. Not only will this Time for Lunch! Project create a wholesome source for locally grown food in Dover Schools all year long, it will also raise awareness of ways we can act together to bring real food back to school cafeterias.

Details and directions to Dover High School can be found on our website at

Check the Time for Lunch page to learn more and sign the online petition.

local food in local books – multi-author signing event at RiverRun Bookstore on September 3

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

On September 3, RiverRun Bookstore will be hosting authors from local publisher Blue Tree Press, including Carla Snow from Wine & Dine New Hampshire and  Thomas and Mariah Roberts, of Beach Pea fame and authors of Artisan Breads, Pastries, Cookies, and Desserts among others.

20 Congress Street, Portsmouth, NH  603.431.2100

Thursday, September 3, 2009 at 7 PM
A special event at RiverRun with authors published by
Blue Tree: A Boutique Publishing Firm·


Join RiverRun Bookstore for an event with the following Blue Tree authors:

Thomas and Mariah Roberts, authors of Artisan Breads, Pastries, Cookies, and Desserts
James Haller, famous chef and author
Carla Snow, author of Wine & Dine with New Hampshire
Jeffrey Paige, author of Cotton: The Cookbook
Jamie LaFleur, artist in Visions in Granite, vol. II
Carl Austin Hyatt, Carl Austin Hyatt Photography
Brendan Cornwell, illustrator of Aesop in Goudy
Brian Smestad, photographer for numerous books


P.O. Box 148 Portsmouth, NH 03802 :: 603.436.0831 ::

(shameless promotion – my husband is the illustrator of Aesop in Goudy, also featured that evening!)

In memory of —

Monday, August 24th, 2009

Sad and shocking news. We are mourning the death of Gordon Barker of Barker’s Farm in Stratham. Gordon Barker was a great farmer, a great friend and father, and a community leader whose work made a significant impact. I can think of no better tribute to his memory than the ability of our community to help conserve working farmland through donations to Southeast Land Trust, as requested by the family:

Gordon Lindane Barker

9-16-1958 to 8-21-2009

Loving husband and father, with a passion for life, family and his community.  He is survived by his wife Edith Barker and daughter Forrest Grace Barker, his brother Bruce and wife Janice and brother Eugene and partner Donna. He was the son of C. Warren and Grace Hayden Barker.

Gordon, his wife and daughter owned and operated Barker’s farm on Portsmouth Ave. in Stratham, NH. He was a graduate of Exeter High School and the University of New Hampshire.

An avid cyclist, reader and traveler, Gordon’s love of life touched all he met…

Gordon was an active member of the Stratham community where he served as Town Selectman, member of the Stratham Planning board, member and past chair Stratham Conservation Commission, Trustee of the town of Stratham Trust Fund and President of Stratham Park association. He was a delegate for the Farm Bureau and a driving force for the preservation of open space in Stratham.

All are invited to celebrate Gordon’s life at the Barkers farm from 4 pm to 7 pm Wednesday, August 26th.

In lieu of flower donations to Southeast Land Trust of New Hampshire are appreciated. Please visit and reference in memory of Gordon Barker.

Arrangements: Stockbridge FH

Harvest Help Wanted at Apple Annie

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009

Apple Annie is looking for one, two, or three people for at least 8 hrs. a week (20 or more hrs. a week total), from just after Labor Day for 6 to 8 weeks, to pick apples, make cider and perform other garden tasks. Hours flexible to fit your schedule; pay $10 an hour. Apple Annie is a small, low-spray orchard in Brentwood (see our listing at


Call 778-8881 or e-mail to learn more or to set up an interview.