Archive for the ‘eating locally in the media’ Category

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…

Choice Bits: New Bison Farm, Fishing Regs, & Local Frozen Veggies

Friday, June 10th, 2011

This week’s selection of Choice Bits keeps closer to home — read about a new bison farm in Berwick seeking to use ranching as a way to foster community; how new federal rules affect the local fishing industry; and a new venture called Northern Girl that will process local produce:

 

Grass fed and growing: Berwick farm showcases bison and a theater

 

Within three months, the two friends had plans to turn Guptill’s family farm into a working bison ranch. But more than creating a bison farm, they envisioned a intentional community where people would come together to create sustainable agriculture, an educational center and a local marketplace for culture, food and the arts. “We were talking about it one night in Boston over a six-pack of Sierra Nevada, and it just seemed to make a lot of sense,” said Guptill…

 

 — Fosters

 

NH fishermen say they’re sinking under new federal rules

 

“For years it was suggested that fishermen redirect their efforts, and we did that, and a lot of us are paying for it because we didn’t have a history,” said Padi Anderson, founder of the nonprofit organization Granite State Fish and wife of Rye fisherman Mike Anderson.

 

— Union Leader

 

Natural Foodie: Dealing with the desire for locally-sourced veggies

 

Sisters Marada and Leah Cook, who run the Crown O’Maine Organic Cooperative distribution company, make their living selling locally grown and raised foods, and often serve as de facto spokespeople for Maine’s local food movement. But Marada has a confession to make: “I’m a mom, and I buy baby carrots from California every week.”

 

— The Portland Press Herald

News from Popper’s Sausage Kitchen

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

41789_205238082982_3194_n.jpgThe latest newsletter from Popper’s Sausage Kitchen, a producer of artisanal sausages from locally-sourced ingredients, was bursting with news and developments:

 

“June is going to be a great month for Popper’s Sausage Kitchen. Not only is the construction on the commercial kitchen at 1 Washington getting underway, Susan Laughlin of New Hampshire Magazine wrote a wonderful article on our mission at PSK. In the article the Foie Gras Hot Dog is featured and will be one of the specials this month.

 

The cherry on top of this month is that PSK has won The Best of New Hampshire Sausage Maker award. It is an honor and could not have been achieved with out all of you. Thank you very much.”

 

Read more about John “Popper” Medlin in the article “Haute Dogs” at www.nhmagazine.com.

 

For more information about Popper’s Sausage Kitchen: www.poppers-sausage-kitchen.com or on Facebook.

No Small Potatoes Investment Club Offering Slow Money

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

50272_151277251560559_176560_n.jpgThe first round of micro- or low-interest loans from the No Small Potatoes Investment Club, part of Slow Money Maine, was so successful, they’re ready to begin their second round much sooner than expected. Targeting Maine farmers and food producers, the first set of loans helped Heiwa TofuLalibela Farm, and Thirty Acre Farm. From an article on the club in The Portland Press Herald:

 

“They want to work with farmers rather than being hard and fast with the rules,” Simon Frost said. “They’re all customers of ours who want to invest in our future.”

 

If interested in obtaining a micro-loan, No Small Potatoes Investment Club is now accepting applications, deadline June 15th:

 

The No Small Potatoes Investment Club seeks to strengthen Maine’s sustainable food system by providing low interest micro-loans (up to $5,000) to Maine’s farms and food businesses for equipment or working capital. Applications for our next round of loans are due on June 15th, and we will make loan decisions by the end of July. Please contact Chris Hallweaver (207-329-5048 or chrishallweaver@gmail.com) to receive an application.

 

For more information: www.slowmoneymaine.org.

Choice Bits: The Omnivore’s Other Dilemma

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

We hear it often, the perception that eating locally is expensive and elitist. From the global to the local level, the price of food reflects a complex set of issues. If you look closely though, you’ll find our farmers care deeply about providing good food for all. It’s a source of anguish when the economics mean they can’t. Gathered here are some recent thoughts, facts, and one farmer’s personal encounter on the matter. And, yes, Prince Charles, who was right all along.

 

Prince Charles on the future of food

 

The system of farm subsidies is geared in such a way that it favors overwhelmingly those kinds of agriculture techniques that are responsible for the many problems that I have just outlined. And secondly, that the cost of that damage is factored into the price of food production.

 

Consider, for example, what happens when pesticides get into the water supply. At the moment, the water has to be cleaned up at enormous cost to consumer water bills. The primary polluter is not charged. Or, take the emissions from the manufacturing application of nitrogen fertilizer, which are potent greenhouse gases. They, too, are not costed at source. This has led to a situation where farmers are better off using intensive methods and where consumers who would prefer to buy sustainably produced food, are unable to do so because of the price.

 

There are many producers and consumers who want to do the right thing but, as things stand, doing the right thing is penalized…

 

The new food movement could be at the heart of this consensus acting as an agent for truly transformational change, not just, ladies and gentlemen, by addressing the challenges of making our food systems more sustainable and secure but also because, as far as I’m concerned, agriculture — not agri-industry — holds the key to the improvement of public health, the expansion of rural employment, the enrichment of education and the enhancement of quality of life. Read more…

 

— The Washington Post

 

Why being a foodie isn’t “elitist”

 

This name-calling is a form of misdirection, an attempt to evade a serious debate about U.S. agricultural policies. And it gets the elitism charge precisely backward. America’s current system of food production — overly centralized and industrialized, overly controlled by a handful of companies, overly reliant on monocultures, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chemical additives, genetically modified organisms, factory farms, government subsidies and fossil fuels — is profoundly undemocratic. It is one more sign of how the few now rule the many. And it’s inflicting tremendous harm on American farmers, workers and consumers. Read more…

 

— Eric Schlosser, The Washington Post 

 

New Study Compares Prices at Farmers’ Markets and Supermarkets. The Results Might Surprise You.

 

We’re all familiar with the accepted gospel: Only well-heeled food snobs can afford the exorbitant prices charged for those attractively displayed baby greens and heirloom tomatoes at farmers’ markets, while those who can’t afford such greener-than-thou food-purchasing decisions must paw through limp broccoli, wilted lettuce, and tennis-ball tomatoes at supermarket produce departments.

 

It may come as a surprise that there has been virtually no formal studies to support this widely accepted contention, and the few studies that have been conducted call its veracity into question.

 

A report released earlier this year by Jake Robert Claro, a graduate student at Bard College’s Center for Environmental Policy who did the study for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont, found that prices at farmers’ markets were lower for many conventionally produced grocery items than they were at supermarkets. For organic items, farmers’ markets beat grocery stores every time hands down. Read more…

 

— Barry Estabrook, Politics of the Plate

 

Experts: Farmers not to blame for high food prices

 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture report released last month that broke down where each dollar spent on groceries goes. Farmers received an average of 11.6 cents per dollar in 2008, the latest year data was available. That was down from 13 ½ cents 10 years ago and from 14 ½ cents in 1993, the USDA report showed.

 

The rest of the money goes to processing, packaging, transportation, retail trade and food service, which includes any place that prepares meals, snacks and beverages for immediate consumption including deli counters and in-store salad bars. The share going to each category has declined some, except for food service which now gets 33.7 cents of every dollar spent, the USDA reported.

 

“While the commodity and food prices have been going up, the share going back to the farmer has been going down,” Hart said. Read more…

 

— CBS News

 

The omnivore’s other dilemma: Expanding access to non-industrial food

 

I didn’t know what to say. I had often been confronted by people over the price of my meat. “That’s ridiculous!” “So expensive!” “Phhftt!” One old lady even said, “you should be ashamed!” Little did she know that I already was, always had been.

 

I had set out in farming with a mission, to offer ethically and ecologically raised meat at the lowest price possible, low enough even for people like the woman standing in front of me at that moment. But, I quickly discovered that this was a pipe dream. I couldn’t sell pork chops for less than $7.00/lb. and keep the farm going, and even at that price, my wife would still need to continue subsidizing the farm. Read more…

 

— Bob Comis, Grist

Winter grown greens at the UNH Dairy Bar

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Seacoast Eat Local is happy and proud to be a partner in the winter growing grant that sparked this terrific partnership! It’s great to note this research and know that it is helping to inform winter growing of greens – much of which is also being done in unheated or minimally heated greenhouses in the ground.

UNH Dairy Bar Serving Local Greens With a Side of Science

DURHAM, N.H. – The University of New Hampshire’s Dairy Bar, a restaurant with the tag line “Local, Fresh, Sustainable,” is serving salad greens this spring that couldn’t be more local: they’re grown several hundred yards away in the UNH Macfarlane Greenhouses. And before they’re doused in vinaigrette, the gourmet greens have served science and helped inform New Hampshire growers about a potential new winter crop.

The project represents a collaboration among UNH Dining, which operates the Dairy Bar, and UNH Cooperative Extension and the N.H. Agricultural Experiment Station at UNH, which spearheaded the research.

“The goal of the research project was to investigate the feasibility of profitably producing greens and herbs in underutilized greenhouses during the winter months,” says Becky Sideman, associate professor and Extension specialist in sustainable horticulture, who is conducting the research with Brian Krug, Extension specialist in greenhouse production.

Greenhouses around the state are often empty between November and February, Sideman says. Yet this time period coincides with the coldest, darkest time of the year. Given energy costs, she and Krug wondered, what are the optimum amounts of supplemental heat and light needed for growers to produce a profitable winter crop of gourmet greens?

The researchers launched their pilot study in September 2010 by planting 12 varieties of greens – including lettuce, endive, arugula, mache, mizuna, tatsoi, and spinach – in two identical UNH greenhouses with minimum temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit in one and 40 degrees in another. All were grown in potting mix in “benchtop production” rather than in beds, since that’s the setup of many greenhouses that are empty during this time period.

Calculating growth rate and production costs, the duo refined their pilot for a second planting in March 2011; it’s these greens that are being used by the Dairy Bar. While results are very preliminary, Sideman notes that production during a New Hampshire winter is not cheap.

“The key to any kind of winter production is to have a pretty good market,” she says. “Producers would need to sell these greens direct to consumers who are willing to pay for a local product.” Farmers markets, community supported agriculture (CSAs), or perhaps restaurants committed to local procurement are potential outlets, she says.

Primarily supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture through the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, the project received additional support from UNH Dining, which is using about 50 pounds week of the greens per in Dairy Bar salads. “We’re hoping it can go from a research project to how we do business,” says Rick MacDonald, assistant director of UNH Dining. “The greens are delicious, and people really like them.”

No stranger to sourcing local food, UNH Dining, through its Local Harvest Initiative, spends more than 20 percent of its budget on items produced within a 250 mile radius of UNH and hosts a popular Local Harvest Feast each fall. It regularly serves apples from UNH’s Woodman Farm and since 2008 have cooperated with professor of plant biology Brent Loy to serve a butternut squash hybrid he was developing for farmers in the Northeast (see news release here: http://www.unh.edu/news/cj_nr/2008/oct/bp21squash.cfm).

The Dairy Bar, revamped in summer 2008 with a focus on local foods and sustainable operations, provides the ideal outlet for Sideman and Krug’s winter greens. “They’re as fresh as you can get,” says MacDonald.

“They’re just fantastic,” Sideman adds.

Options Abound as CSAs Expand and Grow

Friday, April 29th, 2011

As we head into spring, CSAs are continuing to take sign-ups. If you’re considering joining one, The Wire explores some of the new options available from local farms this year:

 

Way to grow: still more options at CSAs

 

There’s still time to sign up for a community supported agriculture share at many local farms, and this year, there are even more options to choose from.

 

Farms are offering more variety in the food and products available, as well as in the size and seasons of shares.

 

In addition to vegetables, some shares include fruits, herbs, flowers, plants, seafood, meat, dairy, eggs, grain, bread and other homemade goods. Some farms are also starting to allow shareholders to customize their choices.

 

At Brookford Farm in Rollinsford, the four-season CSA includes local grain, raw milk and other dairy products, eggs, pasture-raised beef and pork, and organic vegetables. New this season are broiler chickens.

 

Also new at Brookford is the option of a build-your-own share featuring a quarterly signup system, a la carte registration, and more affordable prices. Shareholders pick two of three base groups—dairy, vegetables, or grains, then can supplement their shares with additions depending on their diet and needs during the season.

 

At Meadow’s Mirth, a certified organic farm in Stratham, one share costing $400 entitles you to $440 worth of vegetables, herbs and flowers throughout the season. Shareholders choose the products at farmers’ markets or at the farm stand. They are also offering a pick-your-own blueberry share.

 

There is a similar, flexible option at Wild Miller Gardens in Lee. Shareholders can get credit for $330 worth of produce, eggs, pork and garlic for $300 up front.

 

Eastman’s Local Catch, a community supported fishery based in Seabrook, lets shareholders decide how many pounds of fish they would like each week for the six-week summer share starting in mid-June. This year, they have added a lobster option that can be substituted for one week.

Carolyn Eastman said a representative from the fishery will be available to talk to shareholders about their food at every pickup location this year.She said people are interested in maintaining a relationship with their food providers and she has seen a 95 percent renewal rate as a result. This is their third season offering a CSF.

 

She said as demand for their fish grows, they’ll add more fishing boats, which is good for local fishermen, like her husband, in a challenging climate…

 

Continue reading about CSAs, including Heron Pond Farm, Riverside Farm, and Two Toad Farm, among others at www.wirenh.com.

 

For more information about CSAs currently offering shares > mm

Exeter Farmers’ Market to Open as Planned May 5th

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

With the Exeter Farmers’ Market set to open in a week, the proposal to move it to another location came to a favorable resolution — thanks to the many who came out and spoke on the Farmers’ Market’s behalf, and showed that there are indeed people who care! From Seacoast Online:

 

Exeter selectmen vote to keep parkway open to farmers market

 

A major victory for the Exeter Farmers Market will provide another twist for travelers this summer.

 

The Board of Selectmen voted Monday night in favor of keeping the farmers market in Swasey Parkway.

 

Under the board’s plan, the current traffic pattern where Swasey Parkway is a northbound one-way road and Water Street a southbound one-way road will remain in effect.

 

However, every Thursday from May 5 until October, Swasey Parkway will be closed down from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m., to accommodate the market.

 

On those days, northbound traffic will be advised to take Portsmouth Avenue and Epping Road. The Department of Public Works will be taking care of signage for this latest detour.

 

Going into Monday night’s meeting, it appeared to be a foregone conclusion the farmers market would have to relocate because of the new traffic pattern that went into effect to protect the deteriorating Norris Brook culverts under Water Street and Swasey Parkway.

 

However, after almost two hours of spirited back-and-forth among selectmen and about 30 business owners and farmers market supporters, no one could agree on the three possible relocation sites. Read more…

South Berwick’s Community Garden Partners with Food Pantry

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

bilde.jpegApril is National Garden Month and a great time to get ready for the coming season. In anticipation, we’ve begun updating our Community Gardens resource page and hope it will be ready in time for the relaunch of the Seacoast Eat Local website. In the meantime, read about the South Berwick Community Garden and the fresh food they help provide to local organizations, at Seacoast Online:

 

South Berwick’s Community Garden a Growing Success

 

Nestled in the heart of town, off Willow Drive near the soccer fields, is a small parcel with 32 raised-bed garden plots. It is the site of South Berwick’s community garden, started by master gardener Cindy Kimball in 1999 and managed today by Mimi Demers, master gardener and Planning Board member.

 

In addition to the beds utilized by residents to grow food for themselves, two beds are set aside to be grown cooperatively, providing produce donated to local organizations like the South Berwick Food Pantry and the Senior Center. Demers estimates that during growing season, at least 12 to 15 pounds of produce per week are harvested by volunteers and donated to local organizations.

 

“But for a small-scale operation, poundage is not the most salient piece of information,” she said. “You can pick lettuce all day long, but pound for pound it will not compare with a bushel of corn, for example. But there has to be a method of capturing donations, and overall it is a good one.”

 

Demers said the vegetables change from year to year. “You have to stay tuned in to what people really want to eat,” she said. The gardens are operated “mostly organically.”

 

To read more about South Berwick Community Garden, including the possibility of forming a new one in town, visit: www.seacoastonline.com. Learn more about where to find a community garden or how to donate fresh food at our resource pages: www.seacoasteatlocal.org.

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: www.goodfoodjob.com.

 

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