Archive for June, 2011

We’re moving this blog!

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

After 4 wonderful years at this blog address, we’re up and moving (to our amazing new website, more about that soon). But we wanted to make sure that everyone who is reading this blog from this website or an rss reader got early notice that we’re not publishing here anymore.

Our new blog address is www.seacoasteatlocal.org/blog and for the rss reader users, here’s the feed.

If you’ve been subscribed via email, we’ve migrated that service to the new blog location. Email you say? Here’s how to sign up for that:

Enter your email address:

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We’re moved most of the archives from this blog over there, and will be finishing up that project in the coming weeks. It’s been quite a trip down memory lane to read about what we were doing and thinking in June of 2007 to June of 2011, and I want to thank you all for your readership, comments, and involvement – see you on the new blog!

– Sara Zoe Patterson, on behalf of Seacoast Eat Local

Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner — Save the Date!

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

5047473772_b37129254e.jpg“It’s inspiring to see the food you’ve grown prepared in amazing ways!” —One of last year’s participating farmers

 

Plans are underway for this year’s Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner on Sunday, September 18th — save the date! Meadow’s Mirth will again host the evening at Berry Hill Farm in Stratham, NH, featuring a multi-course dinner of locally grown heirloom produce and heritage meats.

 

In its third year, this collaborative effort involves scads of participants—farmers, chefs, and volunteers of all stripes—as well as diners. This year’s proceeds will go to supporting local organizations, Seacoast Eat Local and Slow Food Seacoast. Consider how you’d like to be involved!

 

Stay tuned for more information:  www.facebook.com/pages/Heirloom-Harvest-Project

Local Flavor Community Potluck Picnic & Earth Oven Bake, June 25

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

local-flavor.jpgSummer’s begun and the last Saturday of the month is here — time for Newbury’s monthly potluck and wood-fired pizza party, a celebration of locally grown, seasonal food!

 

Local Flavor Community Potluck Picnic & Earth Oven Bake

First Parish Church of Newbury, 20 High Road – Route 1A, Newbury, MA 01951

Saturday, June 25, 2011, 5–7:30 p.m.

 

You are invited to bring a potluck dish using as many locally grown ingredients as possible from your garden, CSA, Farmers’ Market, farmstand or  local food artisan. Label your dish so we know what’s in it and who to thank. We’re also baking pizza in the earth oven so bring along your favorite toppings. Bring your beverage of choice: if it’s local brew and in a pitcher to share, even better. We will provide pitchers of refreshing local water.

 

We are aiming for a zero-waste event, so please bring your own “mess kits” – non-disposable plate, cup, utensils and cloth napkin. Leftover vegetable waste will be composted.

 

Come along, bring the family, your potluck dish, beverage of choice, “mess kit”, a blanket or chair for seating and musical instruments. We’re looking forward to a fun time for all.

 

This event is a sponsored by the First Parish Church of Newbury, Greater Newburyport CSA, New Eden Collaborative, Northshore Permaculture Meetup and Transition Newburyport.

 

For more information: www.transitionnewburyport.org

Hayride on the Farm at Brookford, June 25

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

brookford-hayride.jpg

This year, Brookford Farm in Rollinsford, NH, is offering monthly hayrides that give participants a chance to tour  the farm — they’re free, with space available on a first come, first served basis. Check their Calendar of Events for future dates:

 

Hayride on the Farm

Brookford Farm, 70 Sligo Rd, Rollinsford, NH

Saturday, June 25th at 3:30 p.m.

Free; first come, first served

 

During spring, summer, and fall, Brookford Farm offers monthly hayrides and farm tours which are great for people of all ages. On a Brookford Farm tour, you can expect to see up-close views of the cows, pigs, and chickens in the pastures, as well as our vegetable gardens, grain fields, and pastures. At certain times of year, it’s likely that you’ll even get to see newborn calves, piglets, or chicks. More than just sightseeing trips, Brookford Farm tours are led by knowledgeable guides who are farmers themselves, and who are able to explain the interconnected mysteries which are the sum total of a farm as diverse as ours.

 

We start at the Farm Store with a brief orientation to the farm, and then tour the pastures, grain fields, greenhouse, and gardens, stopping along the way to explain the inter-connected life cycles of the animals, field crops, and vegetables of Brookford Farm. We return to the farm store around 4:30 or 5. Space is limited to the first 30 participants — first come, first served. Rain or shine.

 

Hayrides, like farming, happen in all types of weather, so be sure to bring clothing for your group which will make everyone comfortable. These tours are totally free and no reservations are required. Look for upcoming farm tours on our events calendar.

 

For more information: www.brookfordfarm.com

Making Bread, Naturally

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

yeasty2.jpg

 

As part of their bi-monthly series of Potluck Sunday Dinners, Slow Food Seacoast hosted a Bread-Making Class that accompanied a meal focused on “Bread, Yeast & Beer.” I had the pleasure of attending, and learned  from baker Paula Marcoux how to work with a dough sponge, develop and feed the leaven, and how to shape a roll expertly. For some scenes from this very hands on class on making Vienna Bread, Cheese and Scallion Rolls and Pain au Levain: http://www.flickr.com//photos/duesorelle/sets/72157627000645126/show/

 

In addition to teaching and writing, Paula is also an historian. Her latest project is surveying existing historic ovens — if you or know of someone who has an existing bake oven, you can help by filling out this quick survey: Historic Oven Survey — Documenting our baking past, one oven at a time… 

 

Later this summer, Paula returns to New Hampshire, giving those who missed her class another chance. The class at Canterbury Shaker Village will focus on making some examples of historical breads:

 

Historical Baking: An Archaeological Perspective

Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, NH

Instructor: Paula Marcoux, editor of Edible South Shore

Thursday, August 25, 6–8:30 p.m.

 

Drawing on archaeological information and her own oven-building experimentation, Paula Marcoux will discuss the types of ovens and bread used by the very earliest French and English colonists in North America (1540–1640). Learn about making and sample historical breads such as “cheate bread” from England, “pain brié” from France, and the international treat, “ship’s biscuit.”

 

Take home recipes and leaven (sourdough starter) to bake these breads at home. Fee for Class: $50/non-member; $45/member

 

For more information about Paula’s upcoming class at Canterbury Shaker Village, visit: www.shakers.org. Slow Food Seacoast’s next event is their annual Down-on-the-Farm Picnic on Sunday, July 24th at Touching Earth Farm in Kittery — save the date!

Filling Local Food Pantries with Fresh Food

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Last year’s bumper crop of garden vegetables enabled me to contribute fresh food to a nearby food pantry. There, I saw shelves full of locally grown vegetables, lovingly washed, trimmed and packaged by Dennis Chasteen especially for the pantry’s clients. Find out more about Dennis and how to get involved in helping to provide healthy nourishment for those in need in this recent article from The Wire:

 

Growing to Fill the Need

 

Lee resident Dennis Chasteen was up at 5 a.m. on a recent morning to harvest baby spinach from his garden before the heat became oppressive. A retired chemistry professor at the University of New Hampshire, he meticulously tends his 100-square-foot garden, growing more than 30 varieties of organic vegetables in raised beds.

 

Once he’d reaped a good haul of spinach, Chasteen and his wife began packaging the leafy greens into recycled containers that he stores in his garage, collected from former UNH colleagues and other friends. By 9:30 a.m., he was at the Seacoast Family Food Pantry in Portsmouth to give away the fresh produce.

 

Chasteen has been donating produce to local food pantries for the last four years. He makes the 30-minute trip from Lee to Portsmouth once or twice a week. Last year, he donated about 800 pounds of vegetables to the pantry, and he’s already delivered some 250 boxes of lettuce, spinach, and arugula this year.

 

“I enjoy gardening and I recognize that there’s a need. With the economy the way it is, this was an opportunity to give back,” Chasteen said. “It’s quite a lot of work, but I feel that it’s worthwhile and I enjoy doing it.”

 

Chasteen isn’t the only Seacoast resident making healthy donations to local charities. A growing number of organizations and individuals across the region are dedicating portions of their farms or gardens to area food banks and pantries, providing fresh and nutritious produce to needy families.

 

For local pantries, the giving comes at a critical time. The number of families requesting assistance has swelled dramatically in recent years.

 

“We have actually quadrupled in the last four years the number of people that we serve,” said Diane Giese, executive director of the Seacoast Family Food Pantry. In 2007, she said, the pantry served around 50 families each month. Now, they serve between 200 and 230 families per month. “It’s really huge.”

 

But, with help from local farmers and gardeners, the pantry has also expanded its offerings over the last few years. Located adjacent to Portsmouth City Hall on Junkins Avenue, the pantry’s shelves once were filled almost exclusively with nonperishable canned goods. On a recent weekday, patrons could find fresh corn, apples, potatoes, arugula, tomatoes and more—even kumquats. They also offer eggs, cheese and milk, as well as meat donated by Hannaford Supermarket.

 

“We’ve gone from basically not offering anything that is fresh like that three years ago to having this wonderful selection of great, healthy things for our families,” Giese said. Read more at The Wire…

 

For more information on food pantries that accept donations of fresh food, please check our resource page: www.seacoasteatlocal.org. Visit www.5210stepsup.org to learn about the Plant a Row for the Hungry program in the Seacoast.

Action Alert: National Leafy Green Agreement

Monday, June 20th, 2011

119.jpgFrom NOFA/MASS, helping us to be ever vigilant about how one-size-fits-all policy and regulation affects local smaller-scale production:

 

Remember the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that passed last year? We won a hard fought battle, securing appropriate food safety rules for small-to-midsized farms and processors producing fresh and healthy food for local and regional markets. This law will be implemented by one of the agencies with food safety authority—the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 

Now, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, an agency with no food safety expertise or authority, is proposing to establish a set of food safety regulations for leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, and cabbage) growers and handlers who sell into the wholesale market, called the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA).

 

The most powerful “Big Ag” players in the leafy green industry are pushing the National Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement (NLGMA). The sellers, processors, or distributors that sign on to the rule will require that the farmers they purchase from comply with its standards. The rule adds a second and conflicting layer of food safety standards and audits on top of FDA food safety rules.

 

How to comment:

USDA is seeking written comments from the public on the NLGMA proposal by July 28th. Write USDA today to urge them to reject this proposal.  CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT A COMMENT TO USDA

 

Here are some suggested points to make:

• I oppose the creation of a National Leafy Green Marketing Agreement, which I believe to be the wrong approach to address food safety concerns.

 

• The Agricultural Marketing Service is not a food safety agency. It is bad public policy to create food safety regulations in order to address the “marketing” goal of increasing consumer confidence in the safety of leafy greens. Food safety policies should be driven by science, not by marketing problems.

 

• The NLGMA, as proposed, would give the large conventional produce industry the ability to use its own world view to dictate farming practices. Small scale and organic farmers would have a very small voice in the standard-setting process.

 

• The NLGMA is modeled on state food safety agreements in California and Arizona. In those examples, the conventional produce industry has pushed through food safety regulations that are biased against organic and small-scale farmers, have led to the destruction of wildlife habitat and discouraged good conservation practices on farms.

 

• Diversified farming operations with complex rotations have been shown to be beneficial to the environment. Yet crop-by-crop food safety regulations, such as the NLGMA, are an economic disaster for diversified farming operations, and are biased toward large mono-cultural operations. For a farmer with 40 crops on 100 acres to comply with 40 different food safety regulations is prohibitively burdensome.  Crop specific food safety regulations, such as NLGMA, will drive farmers out of environmentally sensitive diversified crop production, and toward chemical-intensive mono-cultural operations. This is counter to the goals of food safety and more environmentally sound agriculture.

 

• The Food and Drug Administration is currently writing regulations to establish food safety standards for produce. Why is AMS proposing to establish standards that conflict with or duplicate the FDA standards, with the conventional leafy greens handlers in the drivers’ seat?

 

The NLGMA is a disaster waiting to happen, for farmers, consumers, the environment, and ultimately for food safety. Also see the Action Alert and Comment Form from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition—(NSAC)

 

For more information on this action alert, or about NOFA/Mass Policy and Social Action, please contact Jack Kittredge, Policy Director, 978-355-2853, or jack@nofamass.org.

New Community Garden at Exeter High School

Monday, June 20th, 2011

bilde-1.jpegThe new community garden at Exeter High School is the result of a number of collaborators working together to create a wonderfully integrated program — from the garden to the cafeteria!

 

Service project sets healthy goals for EHS dining

 

Twelve Exeter High School seniors left their mark at the school this past Monday by helping build a community garden full of organic herbs and vegetables to be utilized within the school cafeteria.

 

As part of the Class of 2011’s community service project, four beds were built behind the school, filled with various herbs, greens and other healthy vegetables. The project was headed by EHS’s Environmental Club, Master Gardener and UNH Cooperative Extension member Margaret Theobald, and health and wellness counselor Tracey Miller.

 

“We’re trying to work more on letting students know where their food is coming from,” said EHS teacher and Environmental Club leader John Brough.

 

Brough and Miller said the idea for an organic garden at the school came from the national nutritional movement called the Action for Healthy Kids Initiative, which aims to end childhood obesity. Brough said the school wanted to get involved with the cause, which is supported by First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign. “There’s a local garden at the White House these days,” he said.

 

Theobald of Exeter said the beds will be maintained by students, teachers and community volunteers. “This is a real school and community effort,” she said. “I was absolutely delighted to help out my community.”

 

The school’s Food Services Director Jeanne Pierce said the long-term goal of the garden is for the cafeteria to provide its own herbs and vegetables. She said the cafeteria has already started using some of the garden’s products, such as chives and scallions, and staff and students are learning how to incorporate these items into their cooking.

 

“The food service staff is getting more training on cooking with greens,” said Pierce. She said the dining staff is excited to learn “creative recipes” they can serve to the students, adding that they recently introduced kale chips into their menu. “It’s a learning process,” she said.

 

Pierce said the cafeteria already is supporting the local community by allotting $100 to be spent each week on local products, such as vegetables or fish, from local farmers. The school also plans to implement an “eat local day” once a week in the cafeteria. Read more at Seacoastonline.com…

South Berwick Strawberry Festival, June 25

Monday, June 20th, 2011

logo.jpgCelebrate the season at the Strawberry Festival in South Berwick on Saturday, June 25th from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

 

South Berwick Strawberry Festival

Central School Grounds, 197 Main Street, South Berwick, ME

June 25, 2011

9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

 

The Strawberry Festival is a yearly event filled with entertainment, food, artisans and strawberry shortcakes! Our festival grows every year and manages to keep its small town country flavor boasting 20,000+ visitors each year.

 

Come join the fun! Food is available throughout the day at the Festival Food Court. All food is provided by our local non-profit organizations. We encourage your support of these wonderful groups!

 

The South Berwick Strawberry Festival is held at 197 Main Street, at the Central School grounds. Any vendors set up at other locations on Main Street are not part of the Strawberry Festival and the Festival Commitee does not receive any proceeds from these vendors.

 

For more information: www.southberwickstrawberryfestival.com

Beginning Beekeeping, June 26

Monday, June 20th, 2011

There are a few spots left for this weekend’s workshop, Beginning Beekeeping, taking place on Sunday, June 26th, at 2 p.m. in Barrington, NH. Sponsored by the Seacoast Permaculture Group, join Amy Antonucci of the Seacoast Beekeepers Association as she takes you through the basics of keeping your own bees:

 

Beginning Beekeeping

Seacoast Permaculture Group

Barrington, NH

Instructor: Amy Antonucci

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2 p.m.

 

Integrating (principle 8) honey bees into our permaculture system offers us renewable resources and services (principle 5) and a delicious yield (principle 3)! If you are interested in bringing these amazing creatures into your landscape, come learn more. With an emphasis on natural methods, we will go over basic beekeeping terms, basic honeybee biology, equipment needed to get started, types of honeybees and how to get them. Products and services of the hive will be discussed. What to expect in terms of time and money input, and where to get more information will also be included. The plan is for 2 hours of indoor presentation, show-and-tell, and question and answer. Then, if the weather allows, we will spend about an hour looking in the hives together. If the weather is poor, I wil have an indoor alternative learning experience planned!

 

Amy Antonucci has been keeping bees for honey and pollination since 2005 and has been involved with organic agriculture for over ten years. She gives talks at libraries, schools, has been interviewed on the radio about apiculture and is VP of the Seacoast Beekeepers Association of NH. Please wear or bring light colored clothing, and consider if you’d like long sleeves and pants if we get into the hives. If you happen to have or can borrow a bee suit or veil please do—I will have some for folks to borrow also.

 

We are charging on a sliding scale for this: $10–30 per person. This workshop isn’t geared towards kids, and we will have limited space inside. Older kids who want to work with bees, though, are very welcome.

 

For more information: http://www.meetup.com/GreaterSeacoastPermaculture/events/16415677/?a=me1p_lnm&rv=me1p