Archive for the ‘author: Debra’ Category

Seacoast Harvest Nearing Fundraising Goal!

Friday, April 15th, 2011


This year’s edition of Seacoast Harvest, our fifth, is almost ready, and we’re tantalizingly close to reaching our fundraising goal. If you’ve stopped by the Seacoast Eat Local table at our Winter Farmers’ Markets or attended a Slow Food Seacoast event, you’ve probably picked up a copy. Together we co-produce this local food guide annually to ensure that you’re getting the most up-to-date information on local farms and farmers’ markets.


To continue making Seacoast Harvest available free to consumers, we’re asking for your help. The Seacoast Eat Local team needs to raise $2,000 more to print 8,000 copies of this year’s guide. We’ve already raised $9,000 from small businesses and farmers, and through personal donations from people like you who care about local food.


If you would like to help, you can make a personal donation by clicking on this link: Donate to Seacoast Eat Local — be sure to specify “Seacoast Eat Local” as your donation destination. Contributions of all amounts are welcome, $25 or more and a hot-off-the presses copy will be sent to you directly! For information on how your organization or business can become a sponsor, contact Help us continue to get the good word out about local food!

Interview with Dan Winans, EcoGastronomy Program at UNH

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

picture_62.pngTaylor Cocalis and Dorothy Neagle, co-founders of the gastro-job search tool Good Food Jobs, recently spoke to University of New Hampshire students about how to make the most of summer work experience. In turn, this gave them the opportunity to interview Dan Winans, the director of the EcoGastronomy program at UNH, about his own experience in finding a good food job. From the Good Food Job blog, The Gastrognomes:


What attracted you to a good food job?


My earliest childhood memories all revolve around food. My family had a huge garden, which often felt like a work camp, but produced the most delicious vegetables. At age eleven I started my first business, baking and selling bread to my neighbors. By the time I went to college I knew I wanted to be in the restaurant business, so I went to the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and studied Hotel Administration (the program is now called Hospitality Management). After College I cooked, I went to Culinary School, I ran the food service in a nursing home, I managed a small catering company, I ran a large catering department for ARAMARK, I opened two café bakeries, and I sold two café bakeries. Along the line I had lost sight of what was truly important to me: family, friends, and good food.


After selling the restaurants, my wife Amy and I moved from New England to Portland, Oregon and I found a job teaching at a culinary school. Prior to our move I had only briefly visited Portland, but when we began to settle in I felt like I had moved home. The local food community was so vibrant and omnipresent it was inspiring. After three years of teaching, Amy convinced me to apply to the University Of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy. In 2006 we sold our condo in Portland and took a giant leap of faith. We moved, with our eight month old daughter Annabelle, to Parma, Italy so I could pursue a degree in Food Culture.


How did you get your current good food job?


While I was in Italy I sent an email to Joseph Durocher, my mentor and professor from UNH. My intention was just to catch up and let him know how I was doing.  His response was short and to the point: he thought I should come back to UNH to teach culinary labs to the Hospitality Management students. I had my doubts about doing that, and was hoping for a more exciting option. But I figured it would not hurt to get my resume out there. Within days of sending my resume, the Hospitality Management Chair contacted me to talk about a new program he was helping to start at UNH: EcoGastronomy.


Before I knew it I had accepted a job at UNH teaching food culture and culinary labs. I was also on my way to join the committee working to develop and implement a (first of its kind) Dual Major in EcoGastronomy. I spent my first year at UNH scrambling to keep up with my teaching duties and working on EcoGastronomy. In June of 2008 we had final approval to go ahead with the program and I was asked to take the position as director of the program.


How did your previous work or life experience prepare you for a good food job?

Virtually all the jobs I have had were related to food, but not always good food. Some of those good food jobs helped me to learn about how the “conventional” system works and what we are up against in trying to reshape our food system. Over the past decade I have spent a lot of time meeting people who care about good food. Through Slow Food, Chefs Collaborative, school, teaching and more I have become part of a network of people who really care about food. Read more


And while you’re there, check out the education page, as well as their internship/apprenticeship and job listings, and be on your way to your own Good Food Job! For more information:


*Excerpt and photograph courtesy of Good Food Jobs — thanks!

CSA Sign-ups Happening Now!

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

CSA sign-up season is here — share in the harvest through Community Supported Agriculture! This year, there are many different choices being offered — in addition to vegetable and fruit shares, some include fish, meat, dairy, egg, grain or bread options — find the CSA that’s right for your family!


Many CSA’s fill up fast, but don’t hesitate to ask once the season begins — many will prorate shares for the remainder of the season. Consider purchasing an extra share to give as a gift (Easter and Mother’s Day coming up soon!), or donate to a food pantry or community kitchen. Restaurants can also make use of CSA shares, turning what they receive into weekly specials featuring local food.


The following farms have let us know they have CSA shares available:


• Applecrest Farm

• Brookford Farm

• Eastman’s Local Catch (fish CSF)

• Farmer Dave’s

• Fresh Start Farms

• Harrison’s Poultry Farm (meat CSA)

• Heron Pond Farm

• Meadow’s Mirth

• NH Farm Museum

• New Roots Farm (meat CSA)

• Red Manse Farm

• Riverside Farm

• Stonewall Farm

• Stout Oak Farm

• Touching Earth Farm

• Two Toad Farm

• Wake Robin Farm

• Wild Miller Gardens

• Willow Pond Community Farm

• World PEAS


For more information about these and additional area farms offering CSA’s, visit Seacoast Harvest or the Seacoast Eat Local website:


Considering a CSA for the first time? Read Choosing a CSA (.pdf) for questions to think about and to ask farmers.


Addendum: Stout Oak Farm’s CSA is now full (4/11/11).

From a Local Kitchen: Savoring the Seasons with Lynn

Friday, April 8th, 2011

There are many ways to get to know people, but few as instantly intimate as enjoying a great meal together. This next guest post on cooking and eating locally comes from Lynn Schweikart, whom I met at last year’s Heirloom Harvest Barn Dinner. Since then, I’ve had the pleasure of learning more about her love of cooking, going to farmers’ markets, searching out local ingredients, and collecting interesting recipes. She shares a home in Portsmouth with her sister and brother-in-law, and often finds inspiration in the their library of cookbooks gathered over the years. Her own book, Peaceful Places Boston, will be published in the fall. Here, Lynn brings her skill as a storyteller to each evening’s meal:

seacoasteatlocalorg.jpegYou might think that three people cooking in one kitchen would get in each other’s way. But my sister Robin, brother-in-law Dave, and I work really well together. Dave didn’t start out as a cook, but access to great local food has really inspired him: now he makes his own sausages, cures his own bacon, and pickles just about every vegetable you can imagine. I was so excited by all the delicious, fun ways we were using local meats and seasonal produce that I started writing a blog, Savoring the Seasons, where I share some of the recipes the three of us enjoy making and eating.


We have two winter CSAs, one with Heron Pond Farm, where we get a set amount of food every two weeks; the other with Meadow’s Mirth, where we pay a set amount and then spent it down by buying what we like. The combination works really well for us. We enjoy being able to get what we want, but also enjoy the opportunity (and sometimes the challenge) of having to use things we might not buy on our own—like kohlrabi and Jerusalem artichokes, for instance.


Here are the dinners that came out of our kitchen one recent week, using as many ingredients as possible from the Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers’ Markets and our winter CSAs.


img_0932-4.JPGSunday: Winter Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Crust ala Hammersley’s Bistro

This is a fabulous vegetarian company meal from Gordon Hammersley, who owns one of our favorite restaurants in Boston. It may seem a little complicated, but the flavors are amazing, and the leftovers are great for lunches or another dinner. It’s a sensational way to use up root vegetables and the mushroom stock adds a deep, rich flavor. While the recipe calls for acorn and butternut squash, it was too late in the year for those from our CSA. So we added more carrots and parsnips, and threw in some turnips for good measure. The moral: use what you’ve got. Local ingredients: Onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabaga, and garlic from Heron Pond Farm CSA; tomato paste (made from Meadow’s Mirth tomatoes last summer and frozen); crust made with Sandwich Creamery’s cheddar. Recipe link: Winter Vegetable Stew with Cheddar Cheese Crust ala Gordon Hammersley


Monday: Flounder sautéed and pan roasted on a bed of sautéed shallots, topped with lemon, capers, and parsley, with roasted potatoes and sautéed tat soi

This is a really easy, yet healthy meal: Saute a couple of small onions in butter until translucent. Dredge flounder in breadcrumbs then give it a shot of salt and pepper. Do this just before you add it to the pan. Put this fish on top of the onions over medium heat. After a couple minutes, add a little vermouth and finish cooking the fish. Remove to a platter and cover with foil. Swirl another pat of butter in pan and add some capers. When the butter stops foaming, add the juice of a lemon and stir to combine. Plate the fish and top with the sauce and some chopped parsley. Local ingredients: Shallots, potatoes, and tat soi from Heron Pond Farm CSA; Philbricks usually carries locally caught flounder, though it wasn’t available this week.


Tuesday: Chicken roasted over root vegetables

For Christmas, I gave Dave a copy of Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home. There’s a recipe for roast chicken with root vegetables that’s absolutely to die for – it’s another great dish to cook in the winter when root vegetables are just about the only local vegetables you can find. We modified the recipe for an easier week night dinner, using chicken legs and thighs that were well browned before finishing on top of the vegetables. We used less butter and didn’t put herbs under the skin, the way we would have with a whole chicken. We also cooked more chicken than we needed so we could have cold chicken for dinner later in the week. Local ingredients: Onions, potatoes, turnips, rutabaga, parsnips, and garlic from Heron Pond Farm; chicken thighs and legs from Tendercrop Farm in Newbury, MA. Recipe link: Chicken Roasted over Root Vegetables ala Ad Hoc at Home


Wednesday: Lazy Lady Bulgur Pilaf, with beet and carrot tzaziki and sautéed spinach.

I love the fact that the farmers’ markets here sell locally raised meat. As this is an Eastern Mediterranean-inspired recipe, you could probably make this with goat, too. I bet it would be delicious. The beet tzaziki recipe comes from Ana Sortun who owns Oleana Restaurant in Cambridge, MA. I added carrots because I 1) like the taste; 2) thought they’d give the dish an even wilder color; and 3) had lots of them. Local ingredients: Ground lamb from Riverslea Farm; onions, beets, carrots, garlic, and spinach from Heron Pond Farm; yogurt from Brookford Farm. Recipe link: Beet and Carrot Tzaziki


img_0855-2.JPGThursday: Cold leftover chicken, with oven-baked rutabaga fries and kohlrabi slaw

We make sweet potato oven-baked fries a lot; one time I decided to see if rutabagas would work as well. They do! We had lots of kohlrabi in our CSA this winter, and slaws are a great way to use it. This recipe comes from Ivy Manning’s Farm to Table Cookbook, via Wednesday’s Chef, one of my favorite food blogs. I really like the Asian-inspired flavor. Local ingredients: Rutabaga, kohlrabi, and carrots from Heron Pond Farm. Recipe links: Oven-baked Rutabaga Fries, Kohlrabi Slaw


Friday: Fish chowder, with garlic bread and green salad

Dave loves to make fun Friday night dinners. This is one of his favorites. If he’s got some leftover house-smoked halibut or scallops in the freezer, he’ll add that, too. Local ingredients: Potatoes, garlic, onions, and greens from Heron Pond Farm CSA; Dave’s home-cured bacon made from Kellie Brook Farm pork belly; local cod from Philbricks; Me and Ollie’s cheese bread.


Saturday: Veal shanks with farro and braised chard

This is another great company meal. Tim Rocha of Kelly Brook Farm helped me get over my reluctance to eat veal. His animals are raised humanely and the veal is a lovely pink color, with a nice meaty flavor. Local ingredients: Veal shanks from Kellie Brook Farm; San Marzano tomatoes from Meadow’s Mirth Farm, roasted, then frozen; carrots, onions, garlic, and chard from Heron Pond Farm. Recipe linkBraised Veal Shanks ala Dave

Choice Bits: While Waiting for Jamie Oliver

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

It’s no secret that school food, more often than not, is simply awful. The first season of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution made an indelible impression, and exposed some of the seemingly insurmountable constraints facing school cafeterias. Next, Jamie takes on the Los Angeles school district, with the second season scheduled to premiere on April 12th:


“It is easier to get a gun, crack, or a prostitute in a lot of areas in Los Angeles before you can get a tomato.”


— L.A. school administrator, from preview of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, via


However, there are those who are taking on the task of nourishing healthy children and, with passion and commitment, are making real changes. Doris Demers, the Director of School Nutrition for York and Kittery, is just one of the many here on the Seacoast:


“It doesn’t matter to me if a tomato or a pepper isn’t perfect to look at. We’ll just dice it up and use it in the lunches,” says Doris. “The more local a fruit or vegetable, the fresher it is because it doesn’t have to travel across the country.”


— from “The Challenge of School Lunch,” The York Independent


 “Beef is one of those things that really concerned me,” she said. “You see so many recalls and food borne illnesses; it’s a director’s nightmare.” Grass fed beef comes at a cost for consumers, and for the school. Demers is paying 70 cents a patty for grass fed beef, compared to paying only the cost of shipping for the USDA commodity beef, a price of about a nickel a patty. The 70-cent cost does not include the whole wheat bun, or any toppings from the salad bar. Added together, each burger she serves, costs the school $1, double the price of the typical cafeteria meal. “It’s just something I felt was really worthwhile,” she said.


 — from “Kittery, York Schools move to grass fed beef,”


A little further north, children had their own say with Slow Food Portland’s inaugural Young Food Writers Competition. Zoe Popovic, a fourth grader in Westbrook, ME, wrote about what school lunch means to her in her winning essay, “The Season in my stomach”:


I usually bring my own lunch to school. Sometimes the kids that buy lunch tease me. It used to bother me, but it doesn’t anymore. I know where my food comes from. I have seen it in the fields; I’ve dug my own potatoes. My food is always changing. I can tell the season by what is in my lunch box. Starting the year with the summer harvest and the green taste of basil on my juicy tomato and mozzarella sandwich. Before I know it I have a thermos filled with butternut squash ravioli with sweet apples just picked over the weekend. In winter the staples from our farm share – rice and beans. I know summer vacation is on its way when my lunch turns green again with veggie wraps filled with baby greens. I also see yogurt mixed with the preserves from last summer’s days spent picking blueberries and I know that soon I will be back in those fields…


— from “Soup to nuts: eat, write, say,” The Portland Press Herald


And now it’s your turn — the Child Nutrition Act was passed in 2010 and, as the USDA figures out how to move from legislation to implementation, they are seeking input. The comment period is open until April 13th, coincidentally the day after Jamie returns. Help urge the USDA to:


• encourage schools to offer local, seasonal fruits and vegetables wherever possible.

• provide training and technical assistance on how to purchase locally grown products.

• partner with the Department of Education to help build food and nutrition education in the schools.

• work with other agencies and Congress to restore equipment funding as an essential line item within school meals programming.


— from “Tell USDA how you feel about school lunch,” Slow Food USA

Seacoast Food Stories: Harrison’s Poultry Farm

Saturday, April 2nd, 2011

One of the best things about eating locally in the Seacoast is getting to know the producers. Whether it’s at the farmers’ market, farmstand or on the farm itself, we find ourselves more often than not talking directly to the person who grows or raises our food. These relationships and community bonds have only deepened as the seasons go by. In celebration of our expanding local food community, we’re introducing a series of short video profiles. We hope to show the diversity of local food, the people that produce it, and some of the stories that go with them.


Our first profile takes us to Harrison’s Poultry Farm in Candia, NH, where we met up with farmer Frank Harrison. This  small-scale, wooded farm is surrounded on three sides by conservation lands, with gentle slopes and old stone walls leading in all directions. Here Frank raises a diversified collection of animals — pigs, rabbits, goats and, of course, poultry — including heritage chicken, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guinea fowl. In addition to offering eggs and meat, the farm also produces honey and maple syrup. We caught up with Frank in early spring, when the farm is open to visitors during NH Maple Sugar Weekend.




Seacoast Food Stories: Harrison’s Poultry Farm from Seacoast Eat Local on Vimeo.


For more information on Harrison’s Poultry Farm, please visit 

Market Notes: Carrot & Parsnip Gratin

Thursday, March 31st, 2011


Here’s another way of enjoying those carrots brought home from the fun-filled carrot fest at last weekend’s Winter Farmers’ Market. Paired with some spring-dug parsnips, this Carrot & Parsnip Gratin is easy to assemble and can be served alongside another vegetable or meat dish, or on its own with a tossed green salad. A gratin is simply a shallow casserole that’s been topped with cheese or breadcrumbs, then cooked in an oven or under a broiler until browned and crusty. Once you learn the basic steps, you’ll be able to adapt this recipe to what’s available seasonally.


Carrot & Parsnip Gratin

4 carrots

4 parsnips


Breadcrumbs (homemade)

Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Salt & pepper


– Peel and cut carrots and parsnips into desired shape (matchsticks, rounds or spears)

– Parboil by simmering in salted water until almost tender; drain. Toss with a pat or two of butter, and season w/salt and pepper to taste.

– Spread in a baking dish large enough to hold in a thin layer; sprinkle with a handful of breadcrumbs and Parmesan to cover lightly. Dot with some more butter.

– Broil or bake in 400° oven until golden brown. Makes about 4 servings.


Notes: Depending on size, allow around 1 carrot and parsnip per serving. Use all carrots if parsnips are unavailable; try a mix of different colored carrots when they appear at the farmers’ markets. Any number of herbs and spices — such as thyme, tarragon, marjoram, cumin, coriander, or ginger — can be added to enhance flavor.


Many thanks to Jennifer Purrenhage and Erin Allgood for making it possible for us to include cooking demonstrations at the Winter Farmers’ Market this season — we hope you found it as much fun as they did! Here’s a link to more recipes featuring carrots from Jennifer and Erin, including ones for “Maple-Glazed Carrots with Sea Salt” or “Carroty Candy”, and “Raw Sweet Carrot Salad.” We also want to thank the vendors who generously donated food for demonstrating: Meadow’s MirthNH Cider WorksNew Roots Farm, and Riverside Farm. The results were delicious and disappeared fast!

Feels Like Spring at the Winter Farmers’ Market

Monday, March 28th, 2011

carroty.jpgA great big giant carrot-sized thank-you to all who came out and joined us at last weekend’s Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford! The final count was 2,239, our largest in attendance yet, making for a wonderfully bustling day filled with great food and good cheer. Extra special thanks go to Brian and his amazing crew at the Wentworth Greenhouses for hosting the markets, and also to Salmon Falls Stoneware for providing much needed additional parking. These farmers’ markets would not be possible without all of their hard work, generosity, and collaborative spirit.


While this was our last market for the year at the Wentworth Greenhouses, Seacoast Eat Local still has two more markets to go for the 2010-2011 winter season. They will both take place at the Exeter High School on Saturday, April 9th and April 23rd. Wentworth Greenhouses will start up their summer season markets outdoors in early June and will run weekly through October.


A glimpse of last weekend’s festivities in Rollinsford can be found here (click upper right-hand corner for slideshow):


We look forward to seeing you all when the Winter Farmers’ Market returns next month in Exeter!

Choice Bits: Women Farmers, Brewers & Butchers

Friday, March 11th, 2011

In honor of International Women’s Day, this week’s round-up of choice bits features an article on women farmers, including two from New Hampshire; why women farmers can solve world hunger; and how the ranks of women brewers and butchers are growing.


Three Cheers for Women


Amanda cites not only the community at large but a community among women farmers in Southwestern New Hampshire as an important resource. “Women farmers in this area have a strong bond with each other, we are connected in a powerful way. We go for months without speaking to each other, but whenever we need anything we can turn to one another. It’s a great supportive network.” In fact, Amanda told me that farmer Tracie was a huge inspiration to her when she was first considering changing her career to farming. “I thought, if she could do it, so could I,” says Amanda.


— Real Time Farms


Closing the gender gap in agriculture


Yields on plots managed by women are lower than those managed by men, the report said. But this is not because women are worse farmers than men. They simply do not have the same access to inputs. If they did, their yields would go up, they would produce more and overall agricultural production would increase, the report said.


“The report makes a powerful business case for promoting gender equality in agriculture,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. “Gender equality is not just a lofty ideal, it is also crucial for agricultural development and food security. We must promote gender equality and empower women in agriculture to win, sustainably, the fight against hunger and extreme poverty,” he added.


— Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations


Shattering Beer’s Glass Ceiling: the Rise of Women Brewers


What’s changing? Partly it’s a matter of the numbers reaching a critical mass. “More women are starting to realize there’s a place in the industry for them,” Parisi said. But it’s also part of the changing place of beer in American culture. “More women are drinking beer on their own, and that’s led to greater awareness. I see it at the bar. I was here at our bar doing a tasting, and there were three women with a tower of beer. It was a great sight.”


— The Atlantic


In Heels and Backwards — Women Butchers Break Bones and Barriers


Butchery is understanding the anatomy and using muscle, gravity, and knife skills. It’s tearing something at the seams, finding that space between the muscles and joints. These are not gender-specific skills. In fact, she finds women are often better at these skills than men. Using the rock-climbing example she says “a man might simply muscle his way up a rock wall, while a woman might use more finesse to work their way up. Both will get there.”


— Good Eater Collaborative


Lindy & Grundy: Female butchers with a sustainable philosophy


“I don’t think it’s shocking that people would be intimidated by someone who’s wielding a knife and splattered in blood,” Dawson says. “But they have an approachable female face … it’s more accessible. Many of the butchers around are not people the younger generation would look at as peers. I think they’re filling a much-needed niche.”


— LA Times

Greenhorns Young Farmers Mixer, March 19

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

nh_mixer_319.jpgThe Greenhorns are coming to the Seacoast with a pizza makin’, feet shakin’, sauna bakin’ Young Farmers Mixer!


Greenhorns Young Farmers Mixer

Place: Wild Miller Gardens at Tuckaway Farm

11 Randall Road, Lee, NH

Date: Saturday, March 19, 2011

Time: 7 – 10 p.m.

RSVP Requested:


Young farmers and the young-at-heart are all invited to the Greenhorns Young Farmers Mixer at Wild Miller Gardens at Tuckaway Farm in Lee, NH on Saturday, March 19th, from 7 to 10 p.m. Flatbread Pizza is bringing their mobile pizza oven, Throwback Brewery is providing locally-produced beer, and Old Time Dave Talmage will be filling the air with his musical talents — bring your own instruments along and join in the fun!


The Greenhorns is a grassroots non-profit organization made up of young farmers and their many collaborators, with a mission to recruit, promote and support the new generation of farmers. After founding the Greenhorns, Severine von Tschamer Fleming began filming young farmers with friends from “King Corn” and other fellow documentarians. Severine will be introducing a screening of “The Greenhorns” film during the NOFA-NH Winter Conference, with the Young Farmers Mixer following later in the day. For more details about programming for beginner farmers at the Winter Conference, and other information:


For poster >