Archive for September, 2009

Wildcard Movie: Food, Inc.

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

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Thursday night the Portsmouth Music Hall will be showing the “Food, Inc.” as part of their Wildcard Movie series — this a chance to see the movie everyone’s been talking about!

 

How much do we really know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner points his lens at our nation’s food industry.  Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farm’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising — and often shocking truths — about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.  

Followed by a post-film panel of local food aficionados:

Kathy Gunst, chef and author

Rachel Forrest, journalist and food critic

Sara Zoe Patterson, founder of Seacoast Eat Local

Garen Heller, owner of Back River Farm in Dover

 

The Music Hall

Portsmouth, NH

Thursday, September 24, 2009, 7:00 p.m.

Advance tickets available online

www.themusichall.org

Market Notes: Back to School

Monday, September 21st, 2009

Do you often wonder what to do with all of that beautiful produce from the farmers’ market? Recently, we’ve put together a list of places offering cooking classes — some are close by while others are in neighboring states, however, all are within a days drive from the Seacoast. We’ve included general cooking classes, and also more specialized ones such as baking and cheesemaking. It’s very much a work in progress and, since it’s a Wiki site, you are welcome to add any we may have missed. Below is a small sample of upcoming classes. For the complete list of schools, please check our WIki page.

Preserving the Harvest

Kittery Adult Education, Kittery, ME

Saturday, Sept. 26, 9 a.m. – 12 noon

Course fee: $15, plus material fee

“With the rising interest in eating locally, gardening and eating healthy, home grown food, preservation the way your ancestors did it is becoming popular again. When done properly, it can extend your harvest and save money. Most of all, it is rewarding and delicious. If you have tried it before or would like to can for the first time, join this hands-on class to see the water bath canning process from start to finish. We will sample several home-canned goods, and you will be able to take home the results. Seasonal produce will be used. An introduction to pressure canning is also included for those interested parties.” For more information: (207) 439-5896.

Menu for the Future

Kittery Adult Education, Kittery, ME

Tuesdays, Sept. 29 – Nov. 17, 6:30 – 8 p.m.

Course fee: $20 for book of readings

“This 6-week course sponsored by the Granite Earth Institute, will give you the opportunity to examine the issue of food for your health and for the planet through readings and group discussion. Some topics that will be explored are: how industrialized agriculture has changed what we eat, the global imbalance for healthy food, the local food movement, and options to consider in making personal decisions in the future. For those of you who have recently seen the movie, “Food, Inc.”, this is a great follow-up class.” For more information: (207) 439-5896. Another group is forming in Portsmouth, beginning Oct. 22; if interested, please contact Dianne Woods, 603-868-2962.

 

Mastering Knife Skills

Chez Boucher Cooking School, Hampton, NH

Saturday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m.

Course fee: $75

“Proper use, handling and knife safety techniques are critical points to know before you begin in the kitchen yet so many do not even know the proper way to hold a knife. In our hands-on knife skills class you will show you how to handle knives and learn basic cutting techniques including the claw hand and cat’s paw grip. How to walk with a knife in hand, how to pass cutlery to a co-worker, how to wash and care for cutlery and knife sharpening options. We will also cover how to shop for good knives and what knives you should stock in your kitchen.” For more information: www.chezboucher.com.


September 27 – New Entry Sustainable Farming Project’s 8th Annual Fall Harvest Festival

Monday, September 21st, 2009

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project will be holding its annual Fall Harvest Festival on Sunday September 27 from 1-4pm in Dracut, MA:

First, meet immigrant farmers whose experience with New Entry has inspired international initiatives to improve conditions in farmers’ homeland communities.  Second, help us inaugurate our new incubator training site, located near the intersection of Route 113 and Jones Ave in Dracut.

This event will also provide the chance to speak with project staff and farmers to learn about our beginning farmer training programs, our efforts to preserve endangered farmland, and to connect folks to farm employment and healthy food. Meet and network with other project supporters who believe in our mission.

The 2009 Fall Harvest Festival will feature three New Entry farmers working to share their knowledge, skills, and assistance to folks in their home countries.  Join New Entry and this year’s featured farmers:

Adisson Toussaint (NE’08), Haiti

Nikki Makarutsa (NE’07), Zimbabwe

Note:  Nikki was featured on NPR’s Here and Now with Robin Young and on Morning Edition.  Listen to the broadcast.
Mr. Visoth Kim (NE’04), Cambodia

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

  • Enjoy Live Music by Marie Duprey with Michael Ross and Gail & Allen Wiegner.
  • Shop at our Farmers Market!
  • Feast on delicious ethnic food sold by local vendors.
  • Enjoy Hayrides, games for kids & adults, and visit our Petting Zoo!

Bring a blanket and chairs for enjoying the afternoon of music, food, and fun.

New Entry provides hands on training and technical assistance to a multi-cultural beginning farmer audience, including immigrants and refugees, as they do their part to help sustain Massachusetts agriculture and provide fresh, healthy food to our local communities. To learn more about New Entry, visit their website:  www.nesfp.org

Suggested donation, at the door:  $ 10

Back to the Basics Health and Wellness evening October 7, Frisbee Memorial Hospital

Sunday, September 20th, 2009

imageBack to the Basics: in the pursuit of good health

October  7, 2009
6:00—8:00PM
Frisbie’s Community Education & Conference Center

The evening will feature:

  • area farmers promoting the benefits of eating locally grown, fresh foods
  • information on the Slow Food Cooking movement and the rewards of eating “good, clean, and fair food”
  • the importance of healthy eating for improved wellness

New England author and keynote speaker, Joy Feldman, will discuss how to achieve nutritional balance through healthful eating.

Event Agenda
6:00-7:00 PM  Joy Feldman

7:00-8:00 PM

Slow Foods Cooking Demonstration
Local Growers: Autumn Vegetables
Cooking Demonstrations: Recipes from Joy Feldman’s Joyful Cooking – in the Pursuit of Good Health Cookbook

For more information or to register, please call  603-330-8986
21 Whitehall Road
Rochester, NH 03867

Download and print a flyer

UNH Annual Local Harvest Dinner September 23

Saturday, September 19th, 2009

From UNH comes a press release announcing details for their annual Local Harvest Dinner — an amazing feat proving that it is very possible to feed lots of people on local food!

Fifth Annual Local Harvest Feast Offers Sustainable Fare, Education

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire hosts its fifth annual Local Harvest Feast Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2009. The popular and award-winning event, which is open to the public, serves breakfast at Stillings Marketplace (7:15 – 11:30 a.m.), lunch at Elements at Philbrook Hall (11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.), and dinner at Holloway Commons (4:30 – 9 p.m.), all on the UNH campus in Durham. The Local Harvest Feast is offered to all students on the UNH meal plan as well as to the general public (breakfast $8, lunch $12, dinner $16, plus tax). For information, visithttp://www.sustainableunh.unh.edu/fas/unhlocalharvest.html.

Last year, a record 7,000 diners enjoyed local gourmet food at the Local Harvest Feast. “I learned so much about how many different local products there are,” said one guest. “The food was great and felt healthier and better. There was an amazing selection,” said another.

“More than ever, students and community members are concerned and curious about the origins of their food. These Local Harvest meals help them connect them to local producers and learn more about our region’s vibrant agricultural landscape,” says Elisabeth Farrell, a program coordinator for the University Office of Sustainability, which partners with UNH Dining in Local Harvest.

The day’s menus feature tastes both exotic and familiar, from French toast, blueberry pie and corn on the cob to venison burgers, braised organic root vegetable stew, and pumpkin cheesecake. Vendors include Lasting Legacy Farm (Barrington), Bonnie Brae Farm (Plymouth), and Pete & Gerry’s Eggs (Monroe). In addition, UNH’s student-run Organic Garden Club and horticulture farms provide produce. Some of the vendors will be on hand to meet with guests as they enter dining halls at each of the meals.

“At UNH Dining, we’re pleased and gratified that so many patrons enjoy this day of local cuisines from around the state and region,” says Jon Plodzik, director of dining at UNH.

The popular Local Harvest Feast, which was honored by the National Association of College & University Food Services, is part of UNH’s Local Harvest Initiative, a partnership of the UNH Office of Sustainability and UNH Dining. The initiative brings local food and organic produce to UNH’s three student dining halls regularly. Last year, more than 20 percent of UNH’s total food purchases were grown, processed, or manufactured within 250 miles of campus. In addition, the renovated Dairy Bar reopened last fall with a focus on local and sustainable food. Under this initiative, dining runs a food waste composting program and integrates other sustainability efforts into their operations, such as recycling, green cleaning, and energy efficiency.

The Local Harvest Initiative is one of many sustainable food projects on campus, including a dual major in EcoGastronomy, the first such program at an American university. This unique academic program emphasizes the connections between sustainable agriculture, hospitality management, and nutrition and health. UNH is also home to the first organic research dairy at a land-grant university, an active student Organic Garden Club, and the New Hampshire Farm to School Program, which connects state K-12 schools with New Hampshire farms. For more information, go to http://www.unh.edu/dining/community/local-harvest.html or www.sustainableunh.unh.edu.

The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state’s flagship public institution, enrolling 11,800 undergraduate and 2,400 graduate students.

Homebrewing and Microbrew Tastings

Friday, September 18th, 2009

For those of you who enjoy beer, there are a few nice events coming up in the next month.  First, on October 3 Redhook Brewery, WHEB and Prescott Park are hosting NH Brew Fest 2009.  There will 30 brewers, 90 brews, and 2 tasting sessions.  I’ve already bought my tickets online and hope to see you there.

On October 4 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Shapleigh Hops Craft Brewing Supply is hosting an open house and brewing demonstration. There will be demos for beer, wine, cider, and mead.  Shapleigh Hops can be found at 37 Grant Road in Shapleigh, Maine.  They can be reached at 207-432-3677.

And finally, there’s a new brewery in Hooksett, NH, White Birch Brewing.  I haven’t tried the beer yet, but hopefully I’ll make it to one of the tastings being held in Hooksett on October 14 and New Durham on October 21.  White Birch also posts regular updates on his progress over at Twitter.

Enjoy your beer!

Market Notes: Oven-Drying Corn

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

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Swags of dried corn are one sign of Fall’s arrival here in New England. However, it was only after a visit to the Good Life Center that I realized that dried corn represented something more than the ornamental. Located in Harborside, Maine, the center is the final hand-built home of Helen and Scott Nearing, and is actively maintained by stewards as an example of sustainable living. We entered the stone building through the kitchen, where that season’s harvest of corn was drying in the rafters, hung in bundles. Nearby, a hand-operated grinder resided on the counter — the corn was to be the caretaker’s source of flour for the coming year.

 

Since then, I’ve learned of other ways of using dried corn. Before I can try recipes such as Old-Fashioned Creamy Corn or Baked Dried Corn Casserole with Dried Peppers, though, I need to build up my stock first. An alternate way of preserving corn is through oven-drying. The procedure may seem time-consuming, but went faster than anticipated. The bulk of the drying happened when left in the oven overnight. As noted in the following recipe from Market Chefs:

 

 “This preserve proves its worth during the long gray winter months. The bright corn flavor that emerges from the re-hydrated corn brings warm reminders of summer like no frozen or canned corn ever could. Stir soaked dried corn into polenta for a buttery corn flavor. Add a couple of spoonfuls to stew or winter squash soup. It can also be used to make the most amazing vegetarian stock to use in soups, vegetable ragouts, and even risotto.”

 Oven-Dried Corn

 

• 8 cups fresh corn cut from the cob (about 12 ears)

• 2 teaspoons kosher salt

• 1½ teaspoon sugar (optional)

• ¼ cup heavy cream

 

1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large saucepan or shallow pot. Cook over medium-low heat, stir often, until the cream is absorbed.

2. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Divide the corn between 2 or 3 large sheetpans or jellyroll pans (baking dishes will work as well, but it may take a bit longer for the corn to dehydrate). I used one large shallow baking pan.

3. Bake in the oven, stirring every 15 minutes, for 1 hour. Stirring will keep the kernels from sticking together, and opening the oven door will allow steam to escape.

4. Leaving the pans in the oven, turn off the heat and allow the oven to cool. When the oven is cold, turn the oven back on to 200 degrees and repeat the cooking and stirring for 1 more hour. Repeat this procedure until the corn is completely dehydrated. It’s fine to leave the corn in the oven to cool overnight and resume drying in the morning. The corn kernels should end up half their original size and they will be a deep golden color.

5. Store the dried corn in sealed jars.

 

To reconstitute: Use 2 cups of water for each cup of corn. In a saucepan, bring the water and corn to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate and simmer, partially covered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the corn is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

 

Notes: Variations of this recipe are available at Mother Earth News and Straight from the Farm. A dozen ears yields about 3 to 4 cups of dried corn but, as we discovered, will depend on how much gets snacked on before making its way into storage.

Market Notes: Prescott Park “Fishtival”

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

fishtival_sml.jpgOne way of deciding what’s local is to use the 100-Mile Diet. Not surprisingly, a good deal of the Seacoast’s radius includes the ocean as part of our foodshed. To celebrate our long tradition of local seafood, the NH Fish & Lobster Festival will be featuring a wide range of fun activities and events this Saturday:

Walk the decks of a local fishing boat, taste freshly-landed local seafood prepared by Seacoast chefs, learn to identify and prepare local fish, watch an on-location cook-off competition between chefs, investigate the Gulf of Maine ecosystem, sing a song and hear a tale or two.

13 chefs and restaurants will serve up fresh and delicious seafood tastings. Each were assigned a different locally-caught fish species at random (via lottery) to prepare at the event. The restaurants and their catch of the day are:

Little Bay Oyster: fresh shucked oysters

Fresh Local: mackerel

Jumpin’ Jays Fish Cafe: monk fish

Philbrick’s Fresh Market: squid

Robert’s Maine Grill: skate

Seaport Fish: hake

Portsmouth Lobster Co.: whole steamed lobster

Blue Mermaid: lobster

Portsmouth Brewery: flounder

Green Monkey & Brazo: cod

River House Restaurant: pollock

Portsmouth High School Culinary Arts: haddock

Old Salt Restaurant: bluefish

 

“Iron Chef” fans will also love the chef cook-off competition between chefs Ben Hasty of the Exeter Inn and Alec Maxon, a professional chef and fisherman from Newburyport. For this Seafood Throwdown, the chefs will be asked to prepare on-site an undisclosed locally-caught fish species with a limited amount of time to travel to the Portsmouth Farmers’ Market to collect supplies, return to the park and prepare, cook, and plate samples for the judges!

NH Fish & Lobster Festival

Prescott Park, Portsmouth

Admission – FREE, with Seafood tastings for $3

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Noon – 4:00 PM

Coinciding with the Fairy House Tour

Enjoy free parking at nearby City Hall or 75¢/hour at the downtown parking garage! 

Fall Fish CSF in Barrington (From Eastman’s Local Catch!)

Sunday, September 13th, 2009

Starting the second week in October, Eastman’s Fresh Catch, the same folks that have been offering an amazing fish CSF (Community Supported Fishery, like a CSA) at the Exeter and Rye Farmers’ Markets this summer, will offer a pick up at Lasting Legacy Farm in Barrington for a 12-week share:

Fresh Fish Co-op starting in October at Lasting Legacy Farm

Are you looking for a source of fresh local wild-caught fish for you and your family?

Each week for 12 weeks “catch of the day” will be delivered to Lasting Legacy Farm for your local convenience.

Thanks to Eastman Local Catch – a husband and wife team – we will receive 2 lbs of fresh fish per week for 12 weeks at the prepaid price of $190.00  starting the second week in October.

Types of Seafood Available: Your weekly share from the fisherman’s catch will consist of the freshest fish and could consist of a variety of haddock, pollock, cod, flounder, monkfish or ocean catfish. Fish are cleaned, filleted and packed on ice at Eastman market in Seabrook Beach and then go to Lasting Legacy Farm.

Recipes will be included for “fresh” ideas.

Details of Pick-up Day and Dates will be given once size of co-op is known.
Payment is due before October 1 made out to EASTMAN’S FISH

E-mail Wendy Berry wberry@llfarm.net for additional information or to sign up for this fresh fish CSF.

For more information on the Community Supported Fishery model (and why its a very very good thing when thinking about sustainability and seafood!) visit NAMA’s website and nhseafood.com

Market Notes: Berries that Last

Friday, September 11th, 2009

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Fall fruit is beginning to appear at the farmers’ markets, however, local late-season berries are still available. While picking up raspberries at the Exeter Farmers’ Market this week, a recent article in the New York Times came up in conversation. Harold McGee, better known as “The Curious Cook”, describes his experiments with “thermotherapy” in ” Prolonging the Life of Berries“:

 

One of summer’s great pleasures is eating berries of all kinds by the basketful. One of summer’s great frustrations is having baskets of berries go moldy overnight, or even by nightfall. Over the years I’ve come up with various strategies for limiting my losses, but this summer I came across a surprising one, the most effective I’ve ever tried. Thermotherapy, it’s been called. A very hot fruit bath. Fruits go moldy because mold spores are everywhere, readily germinate on the humid surfaces of actively respiring, moisture-exhaling fruits, and easily penetrate the smallest breach of their thin skins…

The basics:

 

1. Fill pot with water and heat to 125°.

 

2. Dip fresh berries in water for 30 seconds.

 

3. Drain berries immediately. Spread out on dish towel and leave to dry.

 

Given the fragile nature of raspberries, the first time I tried this I was afraid they would burst or fall apart. Once dried, though, the berries looked… perfect. Any sign of mold was gone and, once they were stored in the fridge, lasted far longer than when left alone. This same method can be used for many other berries, such as strawberries and blackberries. Thicker-skinned blueberries require a slightly warmer bath of 140°.

 

This method, of course, applies only to the berries that actually make it home. Because then you can make Raspberry Buttermilk Cake.