Archive for January, 2011

Becoming Part of Community Supported Agriculture

Monday, January 31st, 2011

If you’re new to Community Supported Agriculture or CSAs, it may seem early to be thinking about them. However, winter is the time when joining one means the most. This is when farmers are planning for the upcoming growing season, and buying a share provides much-needed capital to purchase necessary seed and equipment. In exchange for your investment, you become a member of the farm and receive a regular share of the food, usually on a weekly basis. At its most basic, your financial support helps the farm to provide locally grown, sustainable food. In return, members receive fresh food direct from the grower, and gain a deeper connection with our local farms and how our food is produced.

 

If you are considering joining a CSA, this video offers some great advice from both farmers and members on what to expect:

 

 

More recently, CSAs have expanded the range of choices being offered. Some of the options may include multiple pick-up days and locations, winter or 3-season shares, flexible spending plans, cooperative or work shares, or add-ons of meat, dairy and bread. As part of our CSA at the Market on February 26, we’ll have more on what this new generation of CSAs have to offer. To get you started, here’s an updated list of CSAs now open and accepting members for the 2011 season:

 

Applecrest Farm

Brookford Farm

Eastman’s Local Catch

Farmer Dave’s

Finson Farm

Garen’s Greens at Riverside Farm

Groundwork Farm

Heron Pond Farm

Little River Flower Farm

Meadow’s Mirth

Old Fields Farm Food Cooperative

Red Manse Farm

Riverside Farmstand & Greenhouse

Snell Family Farm

Spiller Farm

Stout Oak Farm

Touching Earth Farm

Wake Robin Farm

Wild Miller Gardens

Willow Pond Community Farm

Cooking from the Winter Farmers’ Market

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

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You may have noticed Jennifer and Erin at our last Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford. Surrounded by a bevy of beautiful winter squash, they sliced and diced, answered questions, gave recipes, and handed out samples to at least one person who’d never tasted winter squash and who learned she loved it!

For those of you who brought home those irresistible winter squash from the farmers’ market, Jennifer and Erin have generously shared more of their recipes — just follow this link where you’ll find:

 

- Roasted Squash with Sweet & Savory Greens

- Chocolate- Acorn Squash Dip

- Versatile Stuffed, Roasted Winter Squash

- Tomato-Squash Sauce with Pasta

- Sweet & Spicy Braised Butternut Squash

- Butternut Squash-Tofu Stuffed Shells with Goat Cheese-Tomato Sauce

- Kuri & Apple Saute

- Roasted Squash Seeds

- Butternut Fries

- Winter Squash & Chestnut Casserole

 

An extra special thank-you to Jennifer and Erin for helping us launch this, our first time to include a cooking demonstration at the Winter Farmers’ Market! If you missed it, make sure to stop by when the demonstration table returns to Rollinsford, February 26th, when Jennifer and Erin will be back featuring another winter standby, a giant among winter roots, rutabaga! Before then, visit us at the next Winter Farmer’ Market in Exeter, February 12th, when we’ll be featuring those workhorses of the kitchen — onions, shallots and garlic — look for recipes!

 

For more information about our Winter Farmers’ Markets in Exeter and Rollinsford, please visit www.seacoasteatlocal.org.

Enough for Everyone, Always

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Russell Libby, MOFGA’s Executive Director, provides food for thought in his presentation, ”Beyond The Roadrunner Economy,” at the TEDxDirigo conference in Brunswick on October 10, 2010, leading with the question, “What is it that would be a different way of approaching food?”

 

Strafford County Annual Conservation Plant Sale

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

banner.jpgPlanning the new season’s garden is one way to combat cabin fever. Just in time, the ever-popular SCCD Annual Conservation Plant Sale now has downloadable order forms available at their new website:

 

The order form is full on native plants, plants for wildlife, replacement plants for invasive species, Christmas trees, herbs, fruit trees and small fruits. New this year is a Rain Garden Pack. The NH National Wild Turkey Federation is again partnering with the District to provide a winter food pack for wild turkeys and other wildlife.

 

We look forward to seeing you at the plant sale pick-up. We will have paper copies available in the office and we will be making our mailing out, as soon as it is printed.

 

For more information and downloadable order forms: www.straffordccd.org.

 

In addition, the NOFA-NH Herbal Network is still taking orders for live plants; the deadline is February 5. Visit www.nofanh.org for plant lists and ordering information.

Market Notes: Crunchy Oven-Roasted Potatoes

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

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A recent trip to Southern Italy yielded many dishes that adapt readily from their local ingredients to ours, and have become weekly favorites, including this one for patate sabbiose or sandy potatoes. Essentially potatoes roasted with breadcrumbs, this combination of humble ingredients results in potatoes that are crunchy and caramelized on the outside, and soft and steamy on the inside. These add welcome texture to a winter meal, and are addictive enough to be enjoyed on their own or, if you find yourself inventing excuses to make them, go with most anything.

 

Like most simple recipes, this one is easily tweaked to suit your own way of cooking. The potatoes can be waxy or starchy, peeled or unpeeled, and the breadcrumbs left plain or seasoned with herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, savory or sage. A more local version might substitute rendered goose fat or lard for the olive oil. I also imagine trying this recipe with other root vegetables, ones that readily take to roasting, such as parsnips, carrots, rutabaga, and maybe even onions.

 

Sandy Potatoes

Potatoes, washed, and peeled (optional)

Olive oil

Dried breadcrumbs, finely ground

Salt and pepper

 

- Preheat oven at 400°F.

- Cut potatoes into wedges. Toss wedges with enough olive oil to coat well. Season with salt and pepper.

- Coat bottom of large roasting or baking pan with additional oil. Add potatoes to pan, and toss with enough breadcrumbs to coat lightly. Arrange wedges in one layer, pressing cut ends into breadcrumbs on bottom of pan.

- Roast 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn each wedge over, this allows second side to brown. If needed, sprinkle with more breadcrumbs or oil. Finish roasting another 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy.

- Check for seasoning and serve hot.

 

Homemade breadcrumbs: With so few ingredients, this dish benefits from using homemade breadcrumbs. Leave pieces or slices of bread out to dry; once completely dry, grind in food processor or blender until it resembles, well, breadcrumbs. Alternatively, wrap bread in kitchen or tea towel, and use a rolling pin to crush bread into crumbs. Make sure the breadcrumbs are dried thoroughly before storing in an airtight glass jar.

 

Hints: Depending on size of potato, allow 2 or 3 per person. Potato wedges should not be cut too thin; thick and thin ends will contribute to having different textures. It may seem fussy but arranging potatoes in one direction in the roasting pan will make it easier to turn them later.

 

Many thanks to Silvestro for his generosity in sharing his kitchen with us in Puglia — non vediamo l’ora di tornare!

Celebrating Stratham’s Agricultural Heritage, February 11

Friday, January 28th, 2011

014f7a52-000f8513.jpegThe Stratham Heritage Commission is sponsoring an evening featuring long-time farmers in the area — come hear about the part agriculture has played in Stratham’s history, with Lorraine Stuart Merrill, the NH Commissioner of Agriculture and Stratham dairy farmer, leading the panel:

 

Salute to Stratham’s Agricultural Heritage

Community Meeting Room, Stratham Fire Station

Portsmouth Ave, Stratham, NH

Friday, February 11, 7 p.m.

 

Veteran farmers and long-time residents will be featured at a salute to Stratham’s agricultural heritage on Friday, February 11, at 7 PM in the Community Meeting Room of the Stratham Fire Station, Winnicutt Rd. at Portsmouth Ave. Lorraine Stuart Merrill, NH Commissioner of Agriculture and Stratham dairy farmer, will lead this rare opportunity to hear about the resourceful farmers, colorful characters and prominent landowners who made Stratham a leading agricultural town.

 

A panel of speakers, including Doug Scamman, Georgiana Law and Cameron Sewall, represent both rich experience of farming themselves and extensive family connections to Stratham’s agrarian past. The Heritage Commission, organizer of the event, encourages all those with stories to tell about Stratham farms to attend and participate. “There are plenty of us newer to Stratham,” adds commission member Rebecca Mitchell, “who are curious about how the landscape and culture of the town was shaped by agriculture. We welcome anyone interested in local history or the history of farming in the seacoast area to attend.”

 

The large market gardens, nurseries, orchards, poultry farms, and cattle farms may have disappeared, but agricultural opportunities remain in Stratham. Hundreds of acres of highly productive farmland have been permanently conserved for future Stratham farmers, and the town is home to many successful fruit, vegetable, and small-scale specialty farms, as well as the large-scale Stuart Farm dairy operation. Heritage Commission member Nathan Merrill, a young farmer himself, adds “The number of farms in New Hampshire is actually growing, so we invite the public to come hear about Stratham’s agricultural past, present and future.”

 

For more information: Rebecca Mitchell, strathamheritage@live.com, (603) 778-7979.

Expanded CSA Options from Heron Pond Farm

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

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With CSA Day coming up, it’s exciting to see the wide range of choices being offered this season, making it even easier to eat locally! Heron Pond Farm sends news about their expanded CSA — through partnering with New Roots Farm and Life is Sweet Baking Company, CSA members now have the opportunity to add heritage meats and artisan breads to their weekly pick-up:

 

Heron Pond Farm, New Roots Farm, and Life is Sweet Baking Company have come together to create a C.S.A. experience long sought after in the Seacoast Region. Heron Pond Farm has been producing a high value, easily accessible, fruit and vegetable share for years. The overall food quality, and pick ups in Dover, Portsmouth, and South Hampton (Amesbury, Ma), have kept our members returning from year to year. Now in addition to enjoying one of a kind fruit and vegetables, members will have the opportunity to add Heritage Meats, or Artisan Breads to their share.

 

New Roots Farm provides some of the highest-quality, most humanely raised Heritage Breed meats in the Seacoast Region. The beef and lamb are rotationally grazed and grass-fed. Pork and poultry are fed a natural forage and grain supplements. All animals are grass fed to the full ability of that species, and are free of hormones, antibiotics and preservatives, with Animal Welfare Approved processing.

 

Martha Bogart, who owns and runs Life is Sweet bakery, is committed to using only the finest ingredients, many of which are both local and organic. She uses organic flour that isn’t treated with potassium bromate, a chemical that’s outlawed in Europe because it’s recognized as a potential carcinogen, and is dedicated to making healthy breads that taste really good. This season Heron Pond Farm will be growing wheat and oats which will be available to Life is Sweet!

 

Through the C.S.A., you have the option of choosing from several premium breads — Multigrain, which is chock-full of quinoa, amaranth, millet, and oats; Gluten-Free Multigrain for those with a gluten intolerance; Cinnamon Swirl, a light, soft loaf with a beautiful swirl of cholesterol-aiding cinnamon; White Bread; and Corn Bread, a perfect accompaniment to any winter soup. While you’re at it, add on a Baguette. With its soft, chewy interior and crunchy exterior, it works well with any meal, though most admit they eat it o the way home. For more information about Life is Sweet’s breads become a fan on Facebook.

 

How Pick Ups Work: All pick ups are farmers market style. For the Heron Pond Farm stand, you choose your pick-up day—but if you miss it you can still come later that week. Dover (Monday) and Portsmouth (Wednesday) pick-ups are from 3 to 7 pm. If you miss it, your share will be boxed and left for you to get later. If you must miss a week, either have a friend pick it up, or “double-up” the following week by contacting your pick-up coordinator. Unclaimed shares will be donated to families in need.

 

We offer three miniseasons for the Heritage Meat Share: June–July, August–October and Winter. At the first pickup for the month during each of these seasons, you will receive $100 of flash-frozen, vacuum-sealed, USDA inspected meats with a freezer life of over a year. Each share will be different, drawing from a range of products, including gourmet sausages, thick pork chops, stew meats, and hot dogs—plus recipes and cooking tips. The once-a-month pick-up will be on your normal CSA day and location.

 

Bread share add on: You can add one or two loaves of premium bread to your weekly share. The Life is Sweet bakery in South Hampton will use Heron Pond grains when available. The price is $120 ($6/week) for one loaf of premium bread and $240 ($12/week) for two loaves. You can also opt for a premium bread loaf plus baguette for $190 ($9.50/week) or baguette only for $70 ($3.50/week).

 

We hope many of you will join us in building our community through local agriculture!

 

For more about their CSA, please visit www.heronpondfarm.com. In addition, information on selecting and finding more CSAs on the Seacoast can be found here >

Growers Survey: Winter Harvest & Sales

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

Help us reach reach New England vegetable farmers who are interested in winter crop production and winter crop storage — please share info about this Winter Growers Survey with farmers in your area!

 

ONLINE GROWER SURVEY ON WINTER HARVEST AND SALES:

New England Vegetable Growers Needs Assessment

 

Do you store vegetables for winter sales, or are you producing vegetables to harvest between December and April? Are you interested in expanding your farm’s winter harvest? We are seeking input and involvement from vegetable farmers on a project to help build the capacity for winter vegetable production in our region. Northeast SARE has provided funding for a 3-year Research & Education project to expand winter harvest and sales for New England vegetable crops. Partners on the project include University of Massachusetts, University of New Hampshire, Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, and Seacoast Eat Local.

 

We are in the first year of the project, and are seeking feedback from farmers on what winter growing and sales you are doing now, what you would like to do in the future, and what issues are most important to expand your production, storage or sales. It is a 5–10 minute survey. This short survey can be found at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2WYDLPS

 

For more information, please email kate@seacoasteatlocal.org. Thank you for your interest and your time!

FARMERpreneurs and our Local Food Marketplace, February 9

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

reidfarmer250.jpgIdea Greenhouse in Durham is sponsoring a panel discussion on local Farmerpreneurs — Seacoast Eat Local’s Sara Zoe Patterson will be there also! The event is free, register online:

 

FARMERpreneurs and our Local Food Marketplace

Place: Idea Greenhouse, 13 Jenkins Court, Suite 248, Durham, NH

Time: Wednesday, February 9, 2011 from 6:30 – 9:30 PM

Fee: Free and open to the public. Register online

 

Innovation isn’t limited to a lab or office. Sometimes you have to get outside and dirty to feed your business.

 

The Seacoast is home to a rich ecosystem of farms, restaurants, grocery stores, and nonprofits that together aim to build a bigger and better local food marketplace to meet our food needs and support a living rural landscape around us.

 

Come learn about the creative and entrepreneurial ways this emerging “local food system” is growing in our region, and get to know the people who are making a healthy living providing us delicious and sustainable food grown just miles from home.

 

Join us on Wednesday, February 9th at 6:30pm in Durham for a panel discussion moderated by UNH Professor John Carroll. Invited Panelists include:

 

Farmerpreneurs

• Joseph Marquette from Yellowhouse Farm, Barrington NH

• Charlie Reid from Stone Wall Farm and Osprey Cove Farm, Nottingham and Madbury

 

Local Food Innovators

• Sara Zoe Patterson from Seacoast Eat Local

• Kenny Young from Young’s Restaurant, Durham

• Chuck Cressy from Durham Market Place, Durham

 

For more information and free registration, please visit www.ideagreenhouse.biz.

Join a Crop Mob!

Monday, January 24th, 2011

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From our friends at Slow Food Seacoast:

 

We’ll be organizing Crop Mobs for local farms again this year! If you’re interested in participating, please send an email to Amy at healthybalance9@comcast.net with “I want to be in a Crop Mob” in the subject line. She will let us know when dates are scheduled.

 

To learn more about gleaning, go to “Gleaning A Harvest for the Needy by Fighting Waste“.