Archive for November, 2009

Winter Market write ups –

Friday, November 27th, 2009

Greg of Heron Pond FarmAs we’re looking forward to the next Winter Farmers’ Market on December 5th, 10-2 at Wentworth Greenhouses, I thought I’d share some write-ups around the web about the November 21st market -

Penny-wise people

What Did She Do Today?

 Living the Local Life

And here are our pictures from the market

On December 5, you can expect not only these wonderful foods, but also, Wentworth Greenhouses will have New Hampshire grown Christmas trees along with their own poinsettias, and kissing balls and a gorgeous assortment of greenery – a wonderful way to tackle the tasks of food buying and bringing in Christmas cheer, all in one fun day!

Directions and more information at www.seacoasteatlocal.org/winterfarmersmarkets

Public Forum on ‘Keep Local Farms’ Dairy Initiative December 8

Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

Senator Deb Reynolds, chair of the Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund (MPERF) Board, invites legislators, farmers, conservationists and consumers to a public informational forum on the Keep Local Farms initiative. The forum will be held in Representatives Hall of the State House in Concord on Tuesday, December 8 at 10:00 am. Keep Local Farms is a new voluntary program that is a joint effort of New England dairy farmers and the six New England state departments of agriculture, with the goals of stabilizing New England’s dairy farms and ensuring residents of a continuing supply of fresh, locally produced milk and dairy products. The December 8th forum will explain how the program works.

The forum is for anyone interested in New Hampshire’s milk supply and where it comes from, and where it will come from in the future. It is also for all those interested in maintaining the dairy farms that provide additional benefits of the scenic working landscape and rural character to New Hampshire communities, protect ground and surface water supplies, wildlife habitat and open lands enjoyed by outdoors enthusiasts of all kinds.

While the MPERF Board has determined that the state’s dairy industry is in need of assistance due to the depression of farm milk prices throughout 2009, (where farmers have been paid half of their costs to produce milk), the state’s revenue and budget shortfalls have left the fund established by the legislature in 2006 unfunded. The MPERF board is hosting this public forum on the Keep Local Farms initiative to raise awareness of the situation caused by the unprecedented, low milk market prices, and of this new opportunity to compensate farmers more fairly for what they produce and contribute to their communities and region.

The Keep Local Farms program connects consumers with dairy farmers through education and direct support. This is an opportunity for consumers who are interested in purchasing local foods to support local dairy farmers, their community and the local economy. For more information or to contribute, go to the website:  www.keeplocalfarms.org

Jenness Farm Annual Holiday Open House

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

Jenness Farm Annual Holiday Open House

 

 isaiah

 

DATE: Friday, Nov. 27 through Saturday, Dec. 5, 2009

TIME: 10 am – 6 pm each day

LOCATION: Jenness Farm, 77 Garland Road, Nottingham, NH

(603) 942-805

 www.jennessfarm.com

 

MORE: Come join us for our annual holiday Open House with lots of in-store

specials, hot mulled cider, homemade cookies, cheese tasting and

many new products.

 

*Dueling Roosters Farm will be here with many new holiday items and

her awesome goat milk fudge.

*Chicken Foot Pottery will be here with beautiful pottery for sale.

*Marie Rabinowitz  will be here with her gorgeous photos and cards.

………..& much more!

 

**New for 2009 – Jenness Farm Stimulus Package**

 We will offer 10% off  your entire purchase from Nov. 27 through Dec. 24, 2009.

This offer valid in  our retail shop only and excludes food/beverage sales.

Our Open House specials will run from Nov. 27 – Dec. 5, 2009 only.

Market Notes: Turkey talk

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

To brine or not to brine? To cook at high heat or low heat? To help you decide, ”A Thanksgiving turkey worth its salt” tests different brining as well as cooking techniques, and comes down in favor of dry brining:

 

The best-browned bird was the one we had brined. It was very moist — both in the breast meat and in the thigh. And the flavor was good, not salty but well-seasoned throughout. However, it didn’t have the best texture — it was slightly spongy.

The high-temperature experiment was not as successful. Far from solving the problem of doneness between dark and white meat, this magnified it. The flavor was fine, and the skin was brown and crisp. But the breast meat had started to dry out, while the dark meat was underdone — rubbery rare-poultry texture and pink juice in the hip joint.

 

But the bird that was exciting was the one we had “Judy-ed.” This one had been cured in salt and was firm, meaty and smoothly dense. Though it was a bit too salty, the underlying flavor of the turkey was amazingly deep and full.

 

Suddenly, my Thanksgiving menu plans took a turn. The “Judy-ed” bird, though it needed refinement to tone down the salt and crisp and brown the skin, was the clear Smackdown winner.

 

To further refine the salt-cured turkey, we cooked it again, this time reducing the salt, allowing only 1 tablespoon for every 5 pounds of bird. To improve the browning, we started roasting the bird at 425 degrees for 30 minutes instead of 375 degrees. And we brushed half of the bird with melted butter before it went into the oven to see what effect that had on browning and flavor…

Last year I avoided the question altogether by braising my Narragansett turkey. The results were as described by Mark Bittman — delicious and succulent, however it wasn’t roast turkey. I haven’t yet decided what I’ll be doing this year. What method do you use to cook your locally raised turkey?

Note: This description of the “butcher’s method” of carving should help those who are either new to the art of carving or just want to avoid public embarrassment. The task usually falls on my husband and he swears by it.

Market Notes: The Winter Pantrytarian

Friday, November 20th, 2009

This is the time of year I find myself taking more food from storage than putting away. A well-stocked pantry and root cellar provides a sense of security knowing that we’ll have local food to eat throughout the winter. This is especially important for those times we’re snowed in or can’t get to the farmers’ market. However, if you’re accustomed to shopping on a weekly or daily basis, planning and storing food for the winter can be a daunting task. The amounts of food some suggest can seem enough to feed a proverbial army.

 

Both MOFGA’s fact sheet, Storing Garden Vegetables, and article, Root Cellars: Safe and Secure from the Corporate Food Train, are good places to start. “Root Cellars” suggests the following quantities for a family of four:

Quantities and Varieties

 

Perhaps the biggest question regarding root-cellaring is how much food you’ll need… I recommend starting small – perhaps with a second refrigerator in the garage or basement. If your family is more adventurous and eager to commit to eating the way our great, great grandparents did, you might start with these quantities for a family of four:

 

Apples: 5 bushels

Carrots: 40 to 60 pounds

Cabbage: green, 20 heads; red, 10 heads

Beets: 20 pounds

Celeriac: (celery root, use instead of celery) 10 to 20 heads

Leeks: 40 plants

Potatoes: 100 pounds or more

Jerusalem artichoke: 10 pounds

Onions: 40 pounds

Garlic: 10 to 20 pounds

Winter radish: 10

Parsnip: 20 pounds

Squash: 40 ‘Delicata’ and 30 pounds butternut

Pumpkin: 5 to 10

Turnip and rutabaga: 10 or more

For my family of two, I started by dividing these quantities in half. I usually skip the few vegetables we either seldom eat or have difficulty finding, and increase the ones we favor. The first time I used this list, I discovered that the amounts of carrots, garlic and onions were not enough to take me through to the next season. These are what I think of as the seasoning vegetables, the ones I reach for on almost a daily basis. To adjust for this, I simply doubled the amounts for these vegetables. In practical terms, we tend to have more potatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, and less Jerusalem artichokes and winter radishes. And I always overbuy on winter squashes, one of my weaknesses.

 

With a full schedule of Winter Farmers’ Markets ahead of us, there’s still plenty of opportunity to stock up — see you at the Winter Farmer’s Markets!

 

Other links:

• UNH Cooperative Extension, Harvesting and Preserving — provides instruction, also many links to other cooperative extensions located in cold places.

 

Suggested reading:

• “Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables” by Mike and Nancy Bubel (Chelsea Publishing, 1979) — the bible of planning and building a root cellar.

 

• “Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation” by Sharon Astyk (New Society Publishers, 2009) — the new kid on the block and a welcome update; I particularly like the chapter on “The Food Preserver’s Year” and it’s description of what to do when.

Cheese Chicks: Where does your milk come from?

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

Ever wonder where the dairy products you’re buying were processed? It’s easy to find out by checking out the Moo Milk (Maine’s Own Organic Milk) website. They have posted an explanation of how to decode the numbers stamped on commercial cartons of milk, and figure out the state and specific plant that it’s been processed at — it’s 23 for Maine and 33 for New Hampshire:

Some dairies print the name and location of the processing plant on their label. But many dairies, and almost all “store” brands of dairy products, use the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) system.



To find the FIPS number, look at the area where the sell-by date is stamped on your carton. Depending on the brand, there may be different sequences of numbers, but part of the sequence will have a two-digit number followed by a hyphen and then another number, which could be two to four digits. The two-digit number before the hyphen tells you the state where the processing plant is located. The number after the hyphen identifies the particular processing plant.



Dairy processing plants located in Maine have number 23. So if you want to purchase products that are processed in Maine, remember “It’s 23 for ME.”

The state number is then followed by the plant information for Maine processing plants. These numbers are assigned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to all interstate milk shippers. This site enables you to locate any plant in Maine and New Hampshire. For example, these are the assigned plant numbers from the January 2009 report (up-to-date information available online):


Company Plant Location Plant #
Oakhurst Dairy Portland 1
H.P. Hood Portland 3
Houlton Farms Dairy Houlton 20
Garelick Farms of Maine Bangor 26
Kate’s Butter Old Orchard Beach 30
Smiling Hill Farm Dairy Westbrook 31 

John Carroll: The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food

Monday, November 16th, 2009

GreenUp South Berwick will host “The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food: Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and Sustainable Agriculture” at South Berwick Town Hall on Tuesday, November 17, at 7 pm. John Carroll of the University of New Hampshire Department of Natural Resources is the featured speaker at this free lecture.

“It is not meant for all of us to farm. But it is meant for all of us to eat. And we all have a right to nutritious food to keep us ‘healthy, wealthy and wise.’ To the greatest extent possible, this means local food.” – John E. Carroll

Using his book “The Wisdom of Small Farms and Local Food: Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and Sustainable Agriculture”, Professor Carroll will explore with the audience the theoretical and practical underpinnings of the growing movement toward sustainable agriculture. His book provides a vision for the land grant universities who are increasing attention to small-scale farming and local food, and gives hope to those who want to increase their own food security.

John E. Carroll is professor of environmental conservation in the department of natural resources at the University of New Hampshire. In three decades at UNH, he has taught and done research on national and international environmental policy, diplomacy, ethics, and values as they pertain to sustainable agriculture and food systems.

GreenUp South Berwick seeks to make a more sustainable community and is a program of SoBo Central, a South Berwick nonprofit with a mission to nurture the town’s unique sense of place by connecting and engaging citizens in community life and by fostering the long-term balance of the town’s cultural, economic and social well-being as well as its built and natural environment. 

For more information on this event, contact Molly Colman at macolman@rcn.com.

from the archives: How to Shop Like a Pro at the Holiday Farmers’ Market

Monday, November 16th, 2009

This is an update to a post we originally published for our first Holiday Farmers’ Market, in 2007! We hope to see you all this Saturday, November 21, 2009, for our 3rd pre-Thanksgiving Market, 10am-2pm at Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford. More details at www.seacoasteatlocal.org/winterfarmersmarkets!

This Saturday’s Holiday Farmers’ Market is going to be very very awesome. There will be 40+ vendors there, selling everything from cheese to pies to honey to milk, a lot of meats and a lot more vegetables. With all that in mind, here are 10 tips for Saturday’s market:

  1. Come with an open mind.  I often arrive at a farmers’ market hoping to find a particular ingredient, and when I do, I feel blessed. And, with a terrific list of what will be available on the website, I can strategically plan for some items I don’t want to miss. But sometimes things do sell out. And when that happens, I let serendipity be my guide – what is at the market is more than pleasantly surprising. Amazingly buttery potatoes alongside heirloom varieties of poultry, winter greens, and more.
  2. Don’t like crowds? Don’t feel like you have to come at 10am! The farmers’ markets are open until 2pm, and after 11:30am or so, you’ll find it easier to park and maneuver around. We’ve moved into much larger spaces this year so we can all have more elbow room, but if you’ve got strollers or just want a more relaxed experience, coming a little later in the day might be a smart choice. While we can’t promise an item or two won’t sell out, our vendors are well prepared for a large number of customers and would love to have your business at whatever time you make it!
  3. Bring plenty of cash. There is so much good quality delicious food to be had, you might surprise yourself! In addition to food for yourself, you may wish to buy a pie for a neighbor, or a jar of maple syrup or honey as a gift for your kid’s teacher. Some foods naturally add up, like big, delicious turkeys.
  4. Bring your checkbook. While farmers and food producers usually cannot accept credit or debit cards, almost every one does accept checks. This is not to say the food at the farmers’ market is very expensive, but the credit card back up isn’t there, so give yourself the checkbook as a back up.
  5. Bring bags. Sturdy bags, and plenty of them. Those very inexpensive woven bags you see everywhere these days are awesome because they have flat bottoms, meaning you can get a lot of stuff in there without it crushing everything else. All the vendors will have plastic shopping bags, but a. it is hard to carry a lot of those and b. less plastic = better. I do a 1, 2 combo and bring a bunch of grocery store plastic bags into which I pile anything loose that needs to be weighed. That way, onto the scale goes my already pre-used plastic bag instead of a new one, and then it can quickly and simply go into my bigger totes.
  6. Bring a cooler. Or two. There will be an amazing variety of locally caught fish and locally raised meat for sale, which means providing your family with a healthier, more humane product that you can feel safe serving. Since meat is so easy to stock up on (it is all pre-frozen because of the nature of small farms and small processing facilities in New England), I will be making certain I get my share. But there will also be plenty of delicious cheese from Silvery Moon Creamery – cheddar, cheddar curd, maybe some mozzarella, Brie and Camembert, and much more as well as fresh Jersey milk from Brookford Farm. Frozen meat turns into the ice cubes for the milk and cheese, et voila!
  7. Take trips to the car. The foods of fall can be heavy. Potatoes, onions, and squashes, frozen cuts of meat, jars of honey. You can make as many trips to the car to drop off heavy things as you want.
  8. Give yourself time to scope everything out. This is a big market! There is a lot to see and a lot to buy. Very special and particularly coveted things you might want to snap up on sight, but allow yourself time to make sure you didn’t miss anything on the first pass.
  9. Give yourself time to relax. We have live music and a kids table where your youngsters can do a free craft, so grab a hot drink and a snack, and stick around for awhile.
  10. Give yourself a pat on the back. Yes, -you- know the food at farmers’ markets is more delicious, more flavorful, and much much fresher, so if those are the only reasons you shop at farmers’ markets that’s more than ok. But buying local food is also a political act, an environmental statement, and a social contract – it’s saying that you care about your neighbors, your community, the health of your family and the environment alike. You are doing great things when you shop at farmers’ markets, take credit for it!

For directions, a list of vendors, and a list of products, visit Seacoast Eat Local’s Holiday Farmers’ Market webpage.

in the news: Winter Farmers’ Markets

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

In the Portsmouth Herald, Eating local in winter

Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford will host a winter farmers market for the first time the Saturday before Thanksgiving, Nov. 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The farmer’s market will be held in the greenhouse, albeit one kept relatively cool for the sale of Christmas trees and wreaths. It’s organized in collaboration with seacoasteatlocal.org, said co-owner Bryan Wentworth.

“This being the first one, I don’t know what to expect,” he said. “I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty popular.”

An estimated 50 vendors will sell fresh salad greens, seafood, meat, pork, poultry, eggs, beets and winter squashes, he said.

There will also be prepared foods such as honey, cheeses and maple syrup.

“A big part of it, too, is supporting local businesses,” said Wentworth, whose family grows the local plants. “It offers the public more options. I think the more farmer’s markets the better, to get people in the habit of buying on a weekly or daily basis.

“Winter markets are really catching on this year.”

Read the full article at seacoastonline.com

and visit our website at www.seacoasteatlocal.org to view a full list of participating vendors, the products they’ll be selling, and directions to Wentworth Greenhouses for this coming Saturday!

New website for Lasting Legacy Farm!

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Lasting Legacy Farm has updated their website, and it includes great information about all the farm and related products you can buy through them. You can also sign up for their email newsletter to receive information about special sales and events!

Lasting Legacy website