Local Food Report: Summer Recap

It’s been a stellar summer for local food on the Seacoast, and access to fresh, locally grown has grown by leaps and bounds. Just in case you were away on vacation, here’s a quick summary of some of the happenings you may have missed this past season:

First up, we were very excited to expand Seacoast Eat Local’s SNAP/EBT Farmers’ Market Program through a partnership with Seacoast Growers Association this summer, with the addition of Portsmouth and Dover to the growing list of farmers’ markets that now accepts food stamps. That company includes farmers’ markets in North Berwick, Manchester, Newfields, Salem, and Sanford that also accept SNAP.

On the seafood front, the Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative opened a retail outlet in Seabrook, NH. The market is open 7 days a week, and is a long-awaited source for fresh lobster and local groundfish right off cooperative members’ boats. Just over the border in Maine, the newly formed Kittery Point CSF began a pilot run, and got off to a great start with 48+ shares for fish and lobster. Current members are voting on a new name, with plans to continue the CSF this fall and a possible pick-up location in Portsmouth.

The first annual Heirloom Harvest Farm-a-Que took place at Tuckaway Farm in July, bringing together an all-star team of local chefs and led by long-time supporter Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro. A collaboration of the Heirloom Harvest Project and Slow Food Seacoast, this sold-out event showcased locally-grown heirloom produce and heritage meats. ReRootEd also held a series of Field & Spoon dinners that paired Seacoast chefs with local farms. These on-site events featured Chef Mark Segal of The 100 Club and Tuckaway Farm; Chef Ken Young of Young’s Restaurant and Osprey Cove Farm; Chef Jake Smith of The Black Birch and New Roots Farm; and Chef Ben Hasty of When Pigs Fly and Hurd Farm.

Seacoast chefs continued cooking up a storm with local ingredients. With 50% of the average food dollar spent on eating out, their commitment to sourcing locally helps to put money directly back into the Seacoast economy. We were pleased to be able to add to our list of restaurants that source locally — Moxy in Portsmouth, Popper’s at the Mill in Newmarket, and Stages at One Washington in Dover are just a few of the many now making it possible to eat local while eating out. At the state level, NH Farm to Restaurant just added Cotton, bringing their list up to six restaurants now certified under their Certified Local program.

And, on the brew front: Throwback Brewery successfully bid on new digs at Hobbs Farm in North Hampton, NH, while Smuttynose Brewing broke ground  for a new brewery in nearby Hampton.

Lastly, a couple of House Bills of  interest to local food supporters were signed in New Hampshire — HB 1172 makes it possible for nano breweries to sell at farmers’ markets, while HB 1402 allows for the direct sales of raw milk products without a license for certain small scale dairy producers.

This fall is promising to be just as full — visit the Seacoast Eat Local’s Calendar for listings of future events.

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