Archive for February, 2011

Cooking Basics with Nutrition Connections

Monday, February 28th, 2011

nclogo_000_000.jpgFrom the UNH Cooperative Extension:

 

For those who qualify for financial assistance: call to schedule four to six FREE in-home sessions tailored to your family’s needs.

 

Here’s what you can learn:

• Hands-on cooking… create a recipe file of family favorite meals

• Healthy choices for a healthy weight

• Stretch your food dollars

• Staying active and more!

 

Contact: Terri Schoppmeyer at 603-679-5616 or terri.schoppmeyer@unh.edu

 

If you qualify for Food Stamps, WIC, Medicaid, Housing Assistance, or other types of financial assistance, then you qualify for free participation in Nutrition Connections programs.

 

For flier: http://extension.unh.edu/Counties/Rockingham/Docs/CookBscs.pdf

Getting Local at the Winter Farmers’ Market

Monday, February 28th, 2011

img_2063.jpgIt was another fine day at the Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford last weekend — thank-you to one and all who came and helped to make it happen! For those of you who missed it, want to relive it, or just want some veggie inspiration, we’ve gathered some photographs of the day:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seacoasteatlocal/sets/72157626155423176/with/5482367416/

 

Also, an article on the Winter Farmers’ Market from Foster’s: Farmers’ market in Rollinsford brings local products to buyers in winter

 

Join us when we return to Exeter with our next Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, March 12th!

Thistle Ridge Farm offering fertile eggs, incubator rentals, and pre-orders for spring chicks!

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

Thistleridge Farm in Dover is getting ready for spring!

“Thistle Ridge Farm will have fertilized eggs available soon and we are taking pre-orders for the spring rush. Fertile eggs run from $10 to $55 dollars a dozen depending on the type of bird you want.

We are also taking orders and setting up dates for our incubating program. This includes an incubator and 1 dozen of mixed fertile eggs. We provide written directions, with step by step instructions for first time hatchers. We will also give you a phone number to call if you feel you need to speak to a person.

Thistle Ridge farm is also taking orders for spring chicks for those who want start their own flock for eggs, pets  or even chickens to keep the bugs out of the garden. We have many breeds available. Placing your order now ensures you will get what you want when you want them.

For more information on breeds, availability, the incubator program, or to place an order call 603-833-9713″

Locally Grown Food May Make Us Healthier

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

Emily Bowers, a student at UNH, recently attended the FARMpreneurs event at the Idea Greenhouse in Durham. It was a great event that captures the point at which passion and business come together around  food and agriculture. Emily has graciously allowed us to repost her article here; one statistic that has now become ingrained in my brain thanks to reading it below, “According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 90 percent of American food is processed” :

     Something happened to Charlie Reid in 1968. That year he and some friends ventured from Hampton Beach, New Hampshire across the country to California to see Hollywood. Instead of rubbing elbows with the stars, however, Charlie Reid learned about organic gardening from a neighbor on his block.

                  “There was no such thing as the word ‘organic’ to describe what she was doing,” Reid said. “It was just growing food with no chemicals.”

                  In 1968, Reid learned that craft and he helped that woman with her garden everyday. One of those days he headed to her house to find black limousines parked out front and the woman arguing with some men in suits. When they left she told him that those men were the American Cancer Society.

                  “She showed me her x-rays,” Reid said. “She had cured herself of cancer—she had cancer all through her—and they wanted to know how she did it.” Reid said she attributed her healing to her garden and a fresh supply of chemical-free fruits and vegetables.

                  Reid was talking as a recent panelist at FARMpreneurs, a panel discussion organized by UNH professor John Carroll in Durham last week. The purpose of the event was to demonstrate, in Carroll’s words, that “local food and farming is economic development, at both the production and the consumption level.” While based upon the potential of local farming for economic development, one of the themes that surfaced at the event was the positive impact of “real” local food for personal and community health and wellbeing.

                  Reid continued his story by telling the audience that the woman who had cured herself of cancer blamed the food supply for her illness. “She pointed down the valley at Glendale California and said, ‘There’s your problem right there. There’s where all your cancer is coming from. All the processed foods, they’re all full of chemicals. “

                  Cancer isn’t the only one of America’s health concerns. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (www.cdc.gov/nchs) states that in 2007-2008, 34 percent of adults over the age of 20 were overweight and an additional 34 percent were obese. The American Heart Association’s website states that cardiovascular disease was responsible for 34 percent of all deaths in the United States in 2006, or about one out of every three. Coronary heart disease was the single leading cause of death in that year. 

                  Carroll, professor in the natural resources department and author of many books including Pastures of Plenty: The Future of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Conservation in New England and The Real Dirt: Toward Food Sufficiency and Farm Sustainability in New England said that what America eats is largely to blame. Consumption of processed foods has only increased since the middle of last century with the emergence of our industrial food system.

                  Regarding processed food Carroll said, “It’s not food. It’s highly processed, manufactured product that we eat, but it’s not food.” He cites the lack of nutrition in these foods as one force beyond America’s poor health.

                  Kate Kennington, a certified holistic health coach in Berwick, Maine, who works with her clients on finding diets that are best for their individual bodies, said that nutrition is often lacking in processed food. She gives the example of processed white bread in which the brown hull of the wheat grain, where the majority of the nutrients occur, is stripped away.  Manufactured nutrients must be added in during processing in order to compensate for the refining of the grain.   

                  According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 90 percent of American food is processed, which means the food has been mixed with other ingredients—often preservatives—before being sold to the public.

                  “If your food comes in a box or a package,” said Kennington, “It has been processed.”

                  Even the World Health Organizations (WHO) has cited processed foods as largely to blame for the sharp rise rates of obesity and chronic disease. In a report they released in 2003 they encouraged people to eat less of these foods and more fruits and vegetables.

Because these recommended foods are found in abundance at local farmers markets, eating locally might become a solution to America’s health problems.

In 2008, a group of MIT researchers released results of a study in which they concluded that America’s obesity problem was largely due to the national-scale of our food supply production and distribution system. In other words, our industrial food system causes obesity.

A year later, in October of 2009, the same researchers proposed a solution to this problem by suggesting a substantial increase in regional food consumption. They recommended that Americans living in metropolitan areas should get most of their nutrition from the regional ‘foodshed’ that surrounds their cities. This solution may take into account that most locally grown food is unprocessed, or in ‘whole’ form, as both Kennington and Carroll point out.

In a 2009 article in MIT news the man who organized the study, Dr. Tenley Albright, said, “To end obesity, we need to produce healthier, more accessible, more affordable food.”

                  Along with Charlie Reid, Joseph Marquette of Yellowhouse Farm was also a panalist at FARMpreneurs. Marquette raises heritage poultry in Barrington, New Hampshire, for sale at local markets. Heritage poultry refers to, in Marquette’s words, “real chickens” versus their factory-farmed, hybridized equivalents sold at grocery stores and served in most restaurants.

Marquette raised the point that the requirements of a large and diverse breeding pool coupled with the land required to raise heritage poultry begets much higher costs than are associated with factory-farmed poultry.  This is one of the challenges of small-scale, local agriculture operations: prices are often higher. But that hasn’t yet been a problem for Marquette.

“Many people have woken up to the idea that quality food comes with expense,” said Marquette. “It’s not so much that we are discovering this, it’s that we are remembering it. Food was always costly, but it was also always food.”

While the general affluence of the seacoast area may protect Marquette from a lack of customers, the U.S. Census Bureau still estimates that between three and 10 percent of seacoast-area residents live in poverty. The higher price of local food, due in part to a lack of federal subsidies that the industrial sector is afforded, can prevent people of lower income brackets from making healthy food decisions that include locally grown food.

 The difference in price between whole foods and process foods is astounding. In 2004, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released a study that showed that although one-dollar could buy 1,200 calories of potato chips and 875 calories of soda, it would only stretch to cover 170 calories of fresh-fruits and 250 calories of fresh-vegetables. 

Sara Zoe Patterson, the coordinator of Seacoast Eat Local—an organization that connects consumers with sources of locally grown and locally made food—is already on top of that issue. Also a panelist at the FARMpreneur event she mentioned that Seacoast Eat Local was working on bringing SNAP food stamp access to farmers markets in the seacoast area.

According to the USDA, the number of New Hampshire residents that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP increased by over 14.5% between 2009 and 2010. Bringing food stamp access to seacoast farmers markets could allow lower-income residents greater access to fresh and healthy local food. The processing of making farmers markets SNAP accessible could also have positive benefits for sales.

“The brilliance is that with the machinery required to run the snap program…comes the ability to accept debit cards as well,” Patterson said. This initiative is just one aspect of what Seacoast Eat Local is doing to provide seacoast-area residents with fresh, local food while supporting local farms.

To explain the reasoning behind Seacoast Eat Local’s general goals Patterson said, “We think that farms are businesses that deserve a special place in our culture; they are growing our food, and I feel like there’s nothing more personable, more intimate, than being able to know the person that’s growing the very thing that is keeping you alive, and contributing to your health, and making you happy.”

This Week’s Choice Bits

Saturday, February 26th, 2011

What we’ve been reading this week—Mark Bittman takes a look at “wholesome” oatmeal at McDonald’s; how the food movement may save environmentalism at Time; and an examination of why GM seeds are undemocratic:

 

How to Make Oatmeal… Wrong

By Mark Bittman, New York Times

 

There’s a feeling of inevitability in writing about McDonald’s latest offering, their “bowl full of wholesome” — also known as oatmeal. The leading fast-food multinational, with sales over $16.5 billion a year (just under the GDP of Afghanistan), represents a great deal of what is wrong with American food today. From a marketing perspective, they can do almost nothing wrong; from a nutritional perspective, they can do almost nothing right, as the oatmeal fiasco demonstrates…

 

Read more: http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/how-to-make-oatmeal-wrong/

 

Foodies Can Eclipse (and Save) the Green Movement

By Bryan Walsh, Time

 

These are dark days for the environmental movement. A year after being on the cusp of passing landmark legislation to cap greenhouse gases, greens are coming to accept the fact that the chance of national and international action on climate change has become more remote than ever. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is under attack by newly empowered Republicans in Congress who argue that the very idea of environmental protection is unaffordable for our debt-ridden country. Accustomed to remaining optimistic in the face of long odds, the environmental movement all at once faces a challenge just to stay relevant in a hostile political climate. In 2004, authors Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus faced a harsh backlash from the greens when they released a polemic essay called “The Death of Environmentalism,” but now it appears they might have been ahead of their time.

 

Even as traditional environmentalism struggles, another movement is rising in its place, aligning consumers, producers, the media and even politicians. It’s the food movement, and if it continues to grow it may be able to create just the sort of political and social transformation that environmentalists have failed to achieve in recent years. That would mean not only changing the way Americans eat and the way they farm — away from industrialized, cheap calories and toward more organic, small-scale production, with plenty of fruits and vegetables — but also altering the way we work and relate to one another. To its most ardent adherents, the food movement isn’t just about reform — it’s about revolution…

 

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2049255,00.html

 

Control over your food: Why Monsanto’s GM Seeds are undemocratic

By Christopher D. Cook, The Christian Science Monitor

 

Question: Would you want a small handful of government officials controlling America’s entire food supply, all its seeds and harvests?

 

I suspect most would scream, “No way!”

 

Yet, while America seems allergic to public servants – with no profit motive in mind – controlling anything these days, a knee-jerk faith in the “free market” has led to overwhelming centralized control of nearly all our food stuffs, from farm to fork.

 

The Obama administration’s recent decision to radically expand genetically modified (GM) food – approving unrestricted production of agribusiness biotech company Monsanto’s “Roundup Ready” alfalfa and sugar beets – marks a profound deepening of this centralization of food production in the hands of just a few corporations, with little but the profit motive to guide them.

Even as United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials enable a tighter corporate grip on the food chain, there is compelling evidence of GM foods’ ecological and human health risks, suggesting we should at very least learn more before allowing their spread…

 

Read more: http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2011/0223/Control-over-your-food-Why-Monsanto-s-GM-seeds-are-undemocratic

Help Wanted: Full Time Gardener for Arrows Restaurant

Friday, February 25th, 2011

FULL TIME GARDENER wanted for famed Southern Maine Restaurant

James Beard Award winning Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier of Arrows Restaurant and MC Perkins Cove in Ogunquit, Maine are searching for a full time gardener for their high production restaurant garden in Southern Maine. 

Salary is commensurate with experience.  Please send resumes to dinner@arrowsrestaurant.com,  Attn: garden position.

According to the Daily Green.com, “Chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier are stalwart forerunners of the sustainable movement”.  In 1992, long before “green” was a hot topic, the Arrows garden was founded.  Today it provides up to 90% of Arrows produce needs.  Its three full time gardeners, under the direction of Master Gardener Rae Avery, tend this highly cultivated organic farm.

Maine CSA Fair, February 27

Friday, February 25th, 2011

The York County Farmers’ Network is hosting a Maine CSA Fair, a statewide event happening Sunday, February 27th. This is another chance to meet local farmers, many of whom are also participating in CSA Day at the Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford on Saturday, February 26th:

 

Don’t forget to visit the CSA Fair at the Anderson Learning Center in Springvale (21 Bradeen St., basement level) on Sunday afternoon anytime from 1:00 to 4:00 pm. You’ll be able to sign up for your fellow farmers’ shares of the 2011 harvest. What a variety of fresh produce:

 

Organic and other veggies of all kinds (greens, sweet corn, potatoes, you-name-it), apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, flowers, herbs, eggs, pork, and more!

 

Here are the farms participating (and we may add one or two):

 

• Black Kettle Farm, Lyman

• Moondance Gardens, So. Berwick

• Riverside Farmstand and Greenhouse, No. Berwick

• Spiller Farm, Wells

• Tibbetts Family Farm, Lyman

• Two Toad Farm, Lebanon

• Wolf Pine Farm, Alfred

 

Please check out our York County Farmers’ Network website, ycfn.org, for more detailed information on products, directions, and links to websites or contact info for the farms. The CSA Fair will be held, snow or shine – giving you great opportunities for savings on the upcoming local harvest….and refreshments, too!

Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford, February 26

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

img_1821.jpgOne-stop shopping, all winter long

On Saturday, February 26th, 40+ farmers, fishermen, and food producers will be inside the beautiful Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford, NH, from 10am-2pm, selling vegetables, meats, cheeses, milk, eggs, fish and shrimp, prepared foods, baked goods, honey and maple syrup! You can find a full list of participating vendors and their products at www.seacoasteatlocal.org. The Wentworth Greenhouses are located at 141 Rollins Road, Rollinsford, NH, 1 mile past Red’s Shoe Barn of Dover. Here’s a map!

 

Additional parking and a shuttle will be available from 10am-2pm at Salmon Falls Stoneware, just around the corner from the greenhouse! The shuttle will run continuously during the entire market—arrive and leave on your own schedule. The parking and greenhouse are less than a mile apart, making it a quick 4-minute ride each way, with door to door pick-up and drop off. There is plenty of parking at Salmon Falls Stoneware; the shuttle is a great option for parking, especially if you like to come early to the market. Salmon Falls Stoneware is located at 75 Oak St, Dover, NH. Here’s a map!

 

CSA Day at the Winter Farmers’ Market

The market will also feature the opportunity to learn more about CSAs in the Seacoast area and speak directly with CSA farmers. Community Supported Agriculture offers a terrific way for people to get a steady supply of local food directly from the producers.

 

• Meet 15+ farmers and fishermen, and learn about CSA share options for the 2011 season

• Talk with farmers about quantity and pre-ordering options for meat and poultry

• Buy a share in a farm’s harvest for the coming season

• Buy a share in a fishing boat’s catch

 

14 farms + 1 fishery have signed up to participate in CSA Day on February 26th. Collectively, these farms represent over 825 acres in production, ranging from 2 to 340 acres in size.  In 2011, they are offering a total of 2,135 CSA shares + 790 winter shares, and half of the farms offer year-round shares or winter share options. There are a lot of diverse options for pick-up locations, share structures, available foods, and farm involvement. Come to CSA Day to find the right option for you!  Learn more about the participating farms at our website >

 

Last chance for shrimp this year!

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission has set the shrimp season closure on February 28th (midnight). The shrimp freeze well, plan to stock up! Weather premitting, Yankee Fishermen’s Coop will be at the market on Saturday 2/26 with shrimp sold in 5 and 10 lb. bags. The F/V Rimrack also sells shrimp directly off the boat at Rye Harbor. For more information regarding availability and buying directly off the boat, call 603-343-1500 or visit www.rimrackfish.com.

 

Artisan Crafts at the Market

Wentworth Greenhouses will be hosting select craft artisans in the glass greenhouse on market dates. This is the greenhouse on the left as you enter. Be sure to visit the glass greenhouse for locally produced goods including leatherwork, woodwork, pottery and more on the dates we are in Rollinsford. Visit www.wentworthgreenhouses.com for more information.

 

Featured Winter Vegetable: Rutabaga

This week at the market we’ll be featuring rutabagas. This root vegetable has an earthy, buttery flavor, which is often sweetened by cool weather. They are a cross between cabbage and a turnip. To store rutabagas keep them in a cool, dark place or refrigerate them. Rutabagas should be peeled to ensure all the fibrous skin has been removed. Erin of Allgood Eats and Jen of Get Well Grounded will be at the market demonstrating basic peeling, chopping and preparation of rutabagas. Look for simple, delicious recipes for rutabagas at the farmers’ market!

 

Purchasing locally grown food directly from area growers helps ensure our farms stay in business—keeping open space and good food growing in the Seacoast. You can find a full list of participating vendors and the products they will be selling at www.seacoasteatlocal.org or visit us on Facebook for the latest updates and specials.

Last Chance for Shrimp this Year!

Thursday, February 24th, 2011

220c08548cac211cc7db219bb52f46cf_s.jpg

The northern shrimp season ends Monday, February 28th — not much time left to stock up for the year! Here’s the latest on availability from the F/V Rimrack, with a brilliant idea for freezing them unpeeled!

 

Unexpected last tow today

Looks like the unexpected happened today as the last tow brought up some great shrimp! We’re headed out to the same spot tomorrow morning. Give a call (603.343.1500) after 12pm to get updated info on shrimp quality for tomorrow’s landing (probably around 4:30pm — but call for confirmation!).

 

After a terrific season, these shrimp are moving more offshore now mixing with the younger, smaller ones making the peeling more of a challenge. Let’s hope for another chance to grab some big ones before Monday. We’ll post with news tomorrow as soon as we hear from Mike!!

 

BTW, due to the overwhelming success of the 5 gal/$40 bucket option, we’ll definitely be offering this option next year.

 

Check out my individually frozen headed-shrimp. I pile them in zip-lock bags and can easily take out what I want as needed. You just have to deal with taking the shell off later.

 

Thursday morning update9am — Good news! Our first tow today brought up a great run of shrimp. We plan to be at the dock tonight at Rye Harbor at 4:45pm.

 

For more information, visit www.rimrackfish.com. Also, weather permitting, the Yankee Fishermen’s Coop will have shrimp in 5 and 10 lb. bags for sale at the Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford this Saturday, February 26.

UVM Introduces Farmer Apprentice Program

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

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More good things happening regionally — over in Vermont, the University of Vermont (UVM), in partnership with the Intervale Center, has just announced a new Farmer Apprentice Program:

 

The University of Vermont announces the inaugural year of its Farmer Apprentice Program. The Program is a 5-month long educational training program for aspiring farmers, from May 31 until November 4, 2011. It is designed to teach the necessary skills in production, management, marketing and entrepreneurship. This will be accomplished by working alongside current Vermont farmers, management of a sustainable small-scale vegetable operation, and relevant classroom instruction and field trips. Students have the opportunity to run their own farm and meet with their local Vermont farmers to learn models for success.

 

Aspiring farmers should attend:

 

• Who are looking for a career in sustainable farming or interest in organic practices

• Who want to create sustainable food systems

• Who value a comprehensive education in all aspects of the business of farming, including selling and distribution

• Who want a hands-on “on the farm” experience

• Who are changing careers to a more environmentally connected profession

• Who want to live and learn in Vermont about small-scale, diversified farming

 

UVM’s partner is the Vermont Intervale Center. Applications received by May 2 will be given priority. Rolling admissions after that, depending on space.

 

For more information and to apply online: http://learn.uvm.edu/sustainability/farmer-apprentice-program/.