Archive for September, 2010

Get Your Hands Sticky for Dover Public School Children

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

This Saturday, October 2, join the Dover school food service team as we cook up a giant batch of homemade applesauce for our students’ lunches in celebration of Dover’s Apple Harvest Day. We’ll be using apples donated by area farms and retailers to cook up a favorite fall treat that will be served to students across the district, incorporating fresh, local produce into our school lunches. Students, alumni, and community members are invited to help as we peel, core, and cook our way through cases of fresh apples. Join us starting at 9:00am in the Dover High School cafeteria and check out all the Alumni Homecoming events taking place at the school. For more information, or if you would like to donate apples to this event, please contact Matt Benham at (603) 455-3303 or jmbenham@yahoo.com. We look forward to seeing you there!

Action Alert: Update on Organic Valley’s Raw Milk Policy

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

As previously noted, the CROPP Cooperative — with products sold under the names Organic Valley and Organic Prairie — has voted to prohibit any of their members from selling raw milk as a side business. This policy is set to take effect January 1, 2011.

 

The Weston A. Price Foundation (WAP) has been working behind the scenes to change this policy, and has issued an information update. As it stands, the new policy will force producers to choose between remaining a CROPP member or selling raw milk exclusively. In addition to limiting consumer access to raw milk, many feel this choice puts already beleaguered dairy farmers in even greater financial peril.

 

WAP reports that at the latest CROPP board meeting, board members voted 7–0:

 

…that raw milk sales by their producers must not exceed 1 percent of their volume, and must be limited to family, friends and neighbors. While some board members have insisted that this anti-raw milk policy will not be enforced, we hear from others in the organization that OV [Organic Valley] is planning to strenuously enforce the policy.

 

In any event, for the average OV farmer, 1 percent is probably about three to six gallons per day, so the updated policy merely puts a gloss on the original anti-raw milk stance.  The new policy will mean that thousands of consumers who need raw milk for their own and their children’s health will no longer be able to obtain it.

 

Ironically, the $12 billion dairy industry giant, Dean Foods, which owns the Horizon Organic label, the largest conventional and organic dairy producer in the United States, has specifically stated that its farmers are free to sell or provide raw milk on the side.  Dean Foods/Horizon the good guys and Organic Valley hurting family farmers—this picture seems upside down.

 

The information update continues:  

Just as in the case of buying from factory farms, we hope CROPP farmer leadership will come to their senses and rescind their destructive anti-raw milk policy.

 

The unfortunate decision by the CROPP board should galvanize all of us to renew our efforts to purchase as much of our food as possible directly from local farmers…

 

If the farm family you get your raw milk from faces the dilemma of choosing between CROPP and direct raw milk sales, please express your support for them and do everything you can to help them choose the latter. You can help them build their customer base, reduce their expenses by offering help on the farm, and even provide the funding and financial advice they may desperately need to make the transition. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund can help assist with advice and model cow-share and herd-share agreements.

 

If you feel betrayed by a cooperative that you had always considered to be an ally, you can also visit their website, www.organicvalley.coop, and let them know how you feel. Maybe if they hear from enough of us, they will realize the damage they are doing to their brands reputation. Please consider forwarding this message to your friends and family members who might also want to convey their feelings to Organic Valley management.

 

Above all, let’s all make the pledge to vote with our pocketbooks in support of small farmers and artisan producers instead of large commercial dairy interests that put their profits before the interests of the hard-working farmers who produce their milk and other commodities.

 

To read entire WAP update >

Update: MOOMilk Back in Full Production

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

moomilk-carton.jpgGood news for fans of Maine’s Own Organic Milk — MOOMilk is again in full production, with the entire line back on store shelves. After announcing several weeks ago that a lack of funding would force the company to suspend operations, subsequent support from both individuals and foundations enabled them to sell their products to two Maine food banks. This provided the necessary cash flow to recover while also making organic milk accessible to more families.

 

Also, MOOMilk has updated their list of retail outlets to include those served by distributor Crown O’Maine. MOOMilk can now be found in 195 locations in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. For more information and to find the store nearest you, please visit their website >

“Chefs Move to Schools” in South Berwick

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

As reported previously, chefs from the Seacoast  were among those visiting the White House this summer to help launch the campaign, “Chefs Move to Schools”. Local chef Kathy Gunst took the challege and is bringing the campaign to Central School in South Berwick. Be on the lookout for more innovative programs to come as “Chefs Move to Schools” continues to grow on the Seacoast!

 

Fresh future for Central School lunch

 

As part of a larger plan to bring education outdoors, local author and chef Kathy Gunst has adopted Central School as part of Michelle Obama’s “Chefs Move to Schools” campaign.

 

After visiting the White House in July with 1,000 other chefs from around the country, Gunst has responded to the first lady’s challenge to “go home and adopt a school” with a plan to grow vegetables in a school-owned hoop house.

 

“I immediately thought of (Principal) Vicki (Stewart), and Central School,” said Gunst, who lives in South Berwick and has two grown daughters who attended the school.

 

While the initial start-up may be slow, Gunst hopes to someday grow enough food so that the cafeteria will serve the students their own fresh vegetables on a salad bar.

 

“Then it wouldn’t be about ordering food for the year in May, and having things sit in a freezer,” Gunst said. “The cafeteria does a really good job, and they work really hard. But I think everyone would agree it could be better.”

 

A few months ago, when Gunst first made her vision known to Stewart and other members of the community, she learned of a local farm willing to part with one of their hoop houses. She expects Central School to own it within a month.

 

In the meantime, Gunst is leading writing exercises and cooking classes for first-, second- and third-graders in early October.

 

“I want the kids to try things they really think they hate,” Gunst said. “I want to introduce them to things they’ve never tasted before, like kale, turnips and rutabagas. These are things we’ll have success growing in the winter season.”

 

Many people have come forward to help with the project. Gregg Harrington and Garen Heller of Riverside Farm are consulting on the project, helping Gunst and others understand the process of growing food.

 

In addition, Gunst has gathered other farmers, landscape architects, high school students, parents and school board members who share her vision.

 

She admits cost is an issue, but with so many people helping, and several funding opportunities in the works, Gunst refuses to be discouraged.

 

“Money is a huge issue,” she said, not knowing the actual cost of the project. “But I’m trying not to let it be a stumbling block.”

 

In addition to making a tax-deductible contribution to the Central School PTO, community members wishing to help may donate their time or materials to the project. A wish list of hoop house materials has been posted on the project’s Web site at www.cesgarden.blogspot.com.

 

In addition to the hoop house and cooking classes, Gunst plans to integrate lessons in writing into her classroom teachings, and encourages Central School teachers to incorporate art, science, math and more by using the hoop house as a venue.

 

For article at Seacoastonline.com >

In the news: Portsmouth Fishtival

Monday, September 27th, 2010

A report on last weekend’s Fishtival at Prescott Park appeared at Seacoastonline.com — congratulations to Susan Tuveson for winning this year’s Seafood Chef Throw-Down with her “Provencal Monkfish Soup”!

 

2nd annual ‘Fishtival’ draws estimated 4,000

 

Whether enjoying the taste of the sea, or watching how it happens, the second annual N.H. Fish and Lobster Festival, or Fishtival, offered a glimpse into local fisheries and their role on the Seacoast.

 

Held in Prescott Park, the event offered tastings from 14 restaurants — each featuring a different kind of sea creature — more than 30 activities and displays, and opportunities to meet fishermen and learn how the fish and lobster they catch make it to the table. “It’s a chance for the community to connect with local restaurants and fishermen that might be invisible on a day-to-day basis,” said Karen Marzloff, co-chair of Seacoast Local. “You realize that fishing really is a deep part of our culture, heritage and community here.”

 

The inaugural Fishtival drew 4,000 people, leaving participating restaurants out of food early. This year, organizers added more restaurants and increased the amount of food for each by 25 percent, said Ben Anderson, executive director of the Prescott Park Arts Festival. Last year, 800 lobsters were sampled and 1,200 were available this year, he said.

 

To read more about the Fishtival >

Bringing Bread-baking to Maine Schools

Saturday, September 25th, 2010

picture-5.jpgExciting news from the Kneading Conference, based in Skowhegan — a new project to bring bread-baking workshops to Maine schools through a portable oven and baking trailer:

 

QUIMBY FOUNDATION AWARDS $48,000 GRANT: Great excitement in Skowhegan! Thanks to the abundant generosity of the Quimby Family Foundation, the Kneading Conference will soon accomplish a long-awaited goal of making educational bread-baking workshops available to school children in Maine. The plan is to engage children’s minds by way of their taste buds. With each mouthful of warm bread made from grains they milled and baked in the heat of a fire they built, students will absorb a lesson in the science of yeast and the relevance of local agriculture.

 

The Barden family, owners of Maine Wood Heat, will be commissioned to design and build the portable oven and baking trailer that will bring the workshop to schools. When not on the road, the oven will be parked at the Somerset Grist Mill in Skowhegan and used for community events and fundraisers.

 

The Quimby Family Foundation was formed in 2004 by Roxanne Quimby, a businesswoman, environmentalist, and philanthropist. The mission of her family foundation is to advance wilderness values and to increase access to the arts throughout Maine.

 

For more information about the project >

 

*Photograph from the 2010 Kneading Conference.

Freshly-Ground Flint Corn at Newmarket Farmers’ Market

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Wild Miller Gardens will be offering freshly ground cornmeal at the Newmarket Farmers’ market this Saturday, September 25. They will be grinding it onsite from Flint corn — time for jonnycakes!

 

Flint corn from the Wild Miller Gardens will be ground into corn meal at the Newmarket Farmers’ Market this Saturday, September 25th using an antique corn sheller from the Newmarket Historical Society. This history laden corn meal will be offered to market goers freshly ground and ready for cooking.

 

Flint corn is zea mays indurata known as Indian corn or calico corn and the same species of maize. This corn is as hard as flint because each kernel has a hard outer layer to protect the soft endosperm. Flint corn has a low water content so it is more resistant to freezing than other vegetables.

 

Native Americans in New England and in the Great Plains cultivated this hardy corn. Flint corn was the only Vermont crop to survive the infamous Year Without a Summer in 1816 when snow fell in June and killing frosts descended throughout the summer months. New Englanders and specifically Newmarket Farmers’ Market patrons can now appreciate this hardy corn in such savory concoctions as Corn Pancakes a la Floriani and Creamy Polenta.

 

Joel Miller will use the antique sheller to shell the corn he grew on his farm and produce corn meal on demand at the market from 9 to 1.  He and his wife Annalisa are staples of the market and the first vendor to populate the roster of the market. They are sought after for their knowledge, amiability and fresh produce, garlic and pork.

 

The Newmarket Farmers’ Market is now in its second season with markets open every Saturday through October 9th nestled in the space between The Stone Church and the historical Stone School on Zion Hill.

Market Notes: Oven-Roasted Fish Chowder

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

chowder1.jpgchowder2.jpg

 

When in comes to soups, I like them thick and chunky, and rustic — the kind you almost need a fork to eat with. This simple chowder, a deconstructed version of the New England classic, fits all three criteria but is also elegant enough to serve to guests. Like most simple dishes, the success of this one begins with using fresh, local ingredients from both sea and earth, with the flavors deepening and becoming concentrated through oven-roasting.

 

Oven-Roasted Fish Chowder

 

1/4 pound salt pork or bacon, cut in 1/4-inch dice

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 celery ribs, thinly sliced (mince leaves for garnish)

1 1/2  pounds all-purpose potatoes, peeled, and thinly sliced (4 cups)

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

2 tablespoons fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried

1 large bay leaf

3 cups fish or chicken stock, or bottled clam juice

3 cups whole milk or half-and-half

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 pounds haddock or other lean white fish, in large serving pieces

2 tablespoons butter (optional)

 

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Cook salt pork in Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp and fat is rendered, about 10 minutes. Remove salt pork bits and set aside.

3. Add onion and celery to pan drippings and cook until beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.

4. Layer potatoes over onion mixture, sprinkle with thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Add bay leaf, and pour in stock, milk, and wine. Cover Dutch oven and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until potatoes are nearly tender.

5. Arrange fish over the potatoes, gently pushing them down into the cooking liquid. Top the fish with bits of butter (optional) and finish baking, uncovered, until fish is just cooked and potatoes are tender, 10 to 20 minutes.

6. Remove bay leaf and adjust seasonings. Use large spoon to transfer the fish, vegetables and broth to shallow soup bowls, try to keep fish in large pieces. Garnish with reserved salt pork bits and minced celery leaves. Serve with crusty bread.

 

Serves 6.

 

— Adapted from “The New England Cookbook” by Brooke Dojny

 

Notes: This recipe is easily halved for 1 pound of fish (in photo above). Except for a few of the seasonings, most of the ingredients are available from local sources. Since locally grown celery can be more difficult to find, I keep a patch of cutting celery in the herb garden.

 

Seacoast Eat Local will be at the Fishtival this Saturday, September 25, at Prescott Park in Portsmouth. Come visit us — we will have this as well as other recipes, plus a handout on where to find local seafood!

The Great New Roots Farm Acorn Drive!

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

obj264geo307pg27p12.jpgThis just in from the farmers at New Roots Farm in Newmarket:

 

The Great New Roots Farm Acorn Drive is underway! Troubled by a driveway and lawn filled with acorns? It’s a banner year for oak trees and the acorn crop is out of control. I have always been fascinated by Spanish acorn-finished pork.

 

Today I …was at the playground with my little boy and noticed that the ground was covered with acorns. It took ten minutes to gather a recycling bin’s worth. Thus, an idea was born. If the kids are driving you nuts (ha, ha), send them outside to gather a bag or bucket of acorns. We’ll collect them until the end of market season at the Portsmouth and Exeter Farmers’ Markets. The child or family who gathers the most acorns will get a tour of New Roots Farm and be able to meet all of our pasture-raised animals.

 

Spread the word!

 

— New Roots Farm, Certified Organic Veggies and Pasture-Raised Heritage Meats, Newmarket, NH

 

Contact New Roots Farm for more information >

Harvest Festival Weekend at Jenness Farm

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Jenness Farm in Nottingham will be holding their annual Harvest Festival and Open Farm Weekend on October 16–17. For more information, please visit their website >

ANNUAL HARVEST FESTIVAL & OPEN FARM WEEKEND

 

Join us on October 16 & 17, 2010 from 10 am – 6 pm both days for our Annual Harvest Festival and Open Farm Weekend. You are welcome to tour the entire farm and see all the goats, sheep, pigs, ducks, geese, guinea hens and chickens. There will be other vendors to shop with as well as tastings of goat milk cheese, goat milk fudge, cajeta (goat milk caramel), and local jams and jellies…all which will be available for sale.

 

We’ll have the famous cider donuts, hot mulled cider and apples also available for purchase.

 

And last…but not least…Rhun the frisbee dog will be here waiting to play with you. Don’t miss the fun as we only open up the entire farm twice each year. Hope to see you then.

 

You can contact us at (603) 942-8051 or email at lori@jennessfarm.com

 

Jenness Farm, LLC

77 Garland Road, Nottingham, NH 03290