Amber’s Post: A Twist on Tacos

tacos Tacos are a simple and easy meal to cook. They offer an awesome crunch and can be very satisfying after a long day of work! This week I stepped away from a traditional taco recipe by incorporating some seasonal vegetables packed with delicious nutrients.

From the last market I had some leftover brussel sprouts and carrots. High in beta-carotene, carrots offer a variety of health benefits. Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in plants and fruits. When we consume foods with this colorful pigment our bodies convert it to vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin, immune defenses, and good vision.  Other foods rich in beta-carotene include broccoli, asparagus, kale, onions, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes! Some studies even suggest that four servings of beta-carotene a day will lower the risk for developing cancer or heart disease.

For my tacos I first chopped up a white onion, and then sliced the brussel sprouts and carrots into strips. Combining the veggies in a fry pan I sautéed them with a splash of water, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and onion powder. Next I grabbed a cooking pot and emptied a can of pinto beans along with a handful of spinach. Letting the beans simmer, I stirred occasionally so that they would not stick to the bottom. Once the veggies were cooked and the beans were ready I layered them in a warm shell!

Happy Crunching!!

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Guest Post: Winter Farmers’ Markets are a Win for All

fullsizerender-8Editor’s Note: We love having guest posts from local businesses, farms or individuals- contact us if you have something blog-worthy! Today’s post celebrates the winter farmers’ markets – see our newly released dates on our website

I hope this finds all of you making the most of the gorgeous fall we’re having on the Seacoast!! While I hate to see the outdoor farmer’s markets come to a close, my excitement for the winter markets is building and I look forward to seeing you all there. It is a time for connecting with food, farmers, craftspeople, musicians, environmental educators, and others that share a passion for nourishing their body and soul with local food that’s been grown with lots of hard work and even more love!
Food that’s been loved just tastes better. I find winter is a season with far less spontaneous social interaction. The days are shorter, far colder and many people are holed up indoors. The market is a great place to get out and meet up with old friends and perhaps make some new ones, too. It’s a regular date for my daughter and I. It’s great to reconnect with some of our usual farms and fun to meet new ones and see what they offer. If we encounter something we are unfamiliar with or just have yet to buy we love to hear the farmers excitedly share how they use their produce, offer recipe suggestions and more often than not even offer a taste! Good luck with that at the grocery store.
We weave up and down the rows to sounds of stowaway birds chirping, live musicians performing, and people happily chatting with friends new and old. Farmer’s markets are beneficial to the farmer, consumer, environment and the local economy. It feels good knowing that the dollars we all spend go directly to the people growing our food. Those hands that played such a vital role in cultivating our food turn around and put that money back into their farms, families and local economies.
We both, farmer and consumer, just helped our environment by greatly reducing the staggering amount of fuel used to ship produce all over the world and by growing and consuming produce that has not been altered in the forms of pesticides, waxes, chemicals and preservatives. When shopping at farmer’s markets you don’t have to be as vigilant about certified organic products. Many small family farms simply can not afford the costly organic certification yet still follow very healthy and natural growing practices. Farmer’s markets offer a more intimate and organic way of closing the loop between the food we eat and where it comes from. If you frequent the winter
farmer’s markets try and bring a friend that hasn’t been before. The more people we have supporting local food the better off we all are!
Enjoy this hearty soup! Consider it your first winter farmer’s market scavenger hunt!
Applesquashage Soup
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Lb Loose Italian Sausage
  • 5 Cloves garlic

sautee above ingredients then add:

  • 2 ½ cups diced Sweet Dumpling or Delicata squash
  • 1 diced McIntosh apple
  • 1 14 oz can Cannellini beans (pureed)
  • 1 Qt Organic chicken stock
  • 6 Sprigs of Thyme
  • 2 Tbs fresh Rosemary

Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until squash is tender and then add

  • 1 14 oz can of rinsed and drained Cannellini beans
  • 1 bunch of chopped Lacinato Kale
Simmer until kale is just wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste and add your grain of choice (rice, quinoa, barley) per serving so as not to destroy any future leftovers.

Jodi Stone is a lifelong Seacoast resident who loves sharing her passion for health and wellness. She holds a B.S. in nutrition and fitness and is a Certified Holistic Health Coach whose Living SWELL philosophy is based on the power of Seeking Balance, Whole Foods, Embracing Exercise, Living In the Moment and Loving Who We Are.She believes in making lasting change one choice at a time. Visit her website at

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Brooke’s Post: Recreating the Muffin

carrot-muffinsIf you are as much of a veggie lover as I, but also have a major sweet tooth than you’re in luck. If you are someone who has a hard time fitting in all those veggies in your diet than you’re also in luck. Coming home from my local market with bags of fresh veggies I immediately start planning out what I am going to make for the week. Some weeks my sweet tooth overpowers me, leading me to use all my veggies in baking.
I struggle balancing the weight of my sweet tooth along side the weight of a healthy diet. I have come to a conclusion that muffins are a easy, quick snack that serves both needs. Muffins are a great way to pack in all those veggies that you normally wouldn’t eat. There are so many different variations that can be made using veggies. Adding grains and seeds, like flaxseed, chia seed, quinoa, etc. are great nutrient additions that also add stability to the muffin.
Below is the basic recipe I use for all of my muffins. Get creative with your muffins and don’t be afraid to pack in as many veggies as you can.
Zucchini, Apple Sauce, Carrot Muffins
1.    Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2.    In a medium bowl, combine 1 ¼ whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. baking soda, 1 tsp. baking powder, ½ cup sugar and a pinch of cinnamon and salt
3.    In a large bowl, whip 2 eggs, ½ applesauce, and 1.5 tsp. vanilla extract.
4.    Beat together wet and dry ingredients by hand until no traces of flour remain. Stir in 1 cup grated zucchini, 1 cup grated carrots, and ¼ cup chopped nuts.
5.    Bake for 15 minutes and then enjoy!
Adding mashed sweet potato, pumpkin, pureed broccoli or spinach are also great veggies to pack in. To sneak in some protein I will replace the applesauce with Greek yogurt or peanut butter. If you’re a fruit lover as well, throw in some of those raspberries and blueberries from the market to give it that extra sweetness.
If you are having a real sweet tooth craving, turn those muffins into cupcakes by adding some vanilla or cream cheese frosting on top, topped with raisins, other dried fruit or chocolate chips.
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Kathleen’s Post: Coffee on the Seacoast

fullsizerender-2One of my favorite questions that I am asked when I mention to someone that I study nutrition is, “I drink a lot of coffee, is that bad for me?” I feel like there has always been at least some controversy about coffee consumption, and while there are always two sides to every story and everyone has their own opinion, I decided to do some research and see what the scientists have to say about our morning friend, coffee.

According to the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, up to 3-5 8oz cups of coffee per day can be incorporated into a healthy diet. For espresso and other forms of caffeine drinkers (this does not include canned/bottles/jarred energy drinks containing additives), up to 400mg per day of caffeine is the healthy limit. These guidelines also confirm that staying within this amount of coffee consumption does not have any link with increasing risk of major chronic diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or premature death.

Like most things, it is suggested that coffee is consumed in moderation to avoid any potential harm and obtain its benefits. In fact, black coffee contains a number of micronutrients, according to There is about 92mg of potassium per 100ml of coffee, 8mg of magnesium and low in sodium. From the same source, studies have shown that coffee is about 95% water and when consumed moderately, does not lead to dehydration.

On average, one cup of brewed, black coffee contains about 2 calories. When cream, whole milk, sugar and sweeteners are added to coffee, calories and risk increases, turning coffee into a potentially harmful substance. A study between NIH’s National Cancer Institute and showed that regular moderate coffee drinkers were less likely to die from heart disease, stroke, diabetes and infections. According to, consumption of 150 mg – 300 mg of caffeine per day does not negatively affect pregnancy.  With all of this being said, research is still being done, everyone is different and not everyone metabolizes the same, therefore it is important to only consume what your body is comfortable with and no one is encouraged to start drinking coffee if they currently do not.

So for those of us who do choose to drink coffee, where are some sustainable places to purchase a cup of java on the Seacoast? Here are a few of my favorite spots:

-White Heron Café (Portsmouth, NH): Serves organic, fair trade coffee and teas, uses compostable containers, provides a bright and cheery environment and yes, you can find these lovely people at our Winter Farmer’s Market! More info at:

-Adelle’s Coffee House (Dover, NH): Serves coffee from Seacoast Coffee Company, an artisan roaster out of Maine providing an array of fair trade and organic blends. Adelle’s strives to source and produce locally, composts and recycles; “contributing less than 20% of their waist to landfill.” More info at: and

-Beach Pea Baking co. (Kittery, Maine):  A Maine Made café aspiring to source as locally as possible. Check out their site for the list of vendors! More info at:

-Freedom Café (Durham, NH): This non-profit café is directed to end human trafficking and commercial exploitation of all humans through seeking fair trade products and opening up their space to any person, group or organization who are also seeking a slave-free world. More info at:

-45 Market Street Bakery and Café (Somersworth, NH): A quaint café using local and fresh ingredients and serving locally roasted coffee that you can also find at the Winter Farmer’s Market! More info at:

– New Hampshire Coffee Roasting Company (Dover, NH): This operation has an outlet in Dover where they do direct sales as well as roast coffee for wholesale accounts. Their coffee can be found across the Seacoast at various retailers. This roaster has a line of sustainably harvested, fair trade coffees.

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Amber’s Post: Got Vegetables? Make a Soup!

veg-soupThis past week I’ve been recovering from a cold, so at Saturday’s market I bought an array of vegetables with the intention of making a soothing soup.  I purchased a head of cauliflower, a couple of peppers, onions, as well as a green and yellow zucchini. I also picked up a butternut squash, which contains B6—a vitamin essential for the immune system to function properly.

To start the soup I cut up 3 medium size carrots, as well as the onions I had purchased from the market. I sautéed them in a pot with some chopped garlic, olive oil, and an array of spices including onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and thyme. I added water as necessary to keep the onions from browning.

Waiting for my carrots and onions to cook, I began to cut up the rest of my vegetables. I grabbed an additional pot for the butternut squash so that it would cook thoroughly. With some water, salt, and pepper I let the squash simmer over medium heat. After the onions and carrots were cooked to my liking I drained the juice to use as an additional broth with the squash.

Once the squash was soft, I incorporated a 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes, and a 6-ounce can of tomato puree. I also added the chopped vegetables, a handful of kale, and a 15-ounce can of pinto beans. I waited for the soup to boil before turning down the heat and letting it simmer for about 30 minutes. I added water as necessary, and waited for the soup to thicken and cool slightly before enjoying!


  • 1 butternut squash
  • 2 peppers (any color of your liking)
  • 2 cups cauliflower
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 medium sized summer squash
  • 3 medium carrots
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1, 28-ounce can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1, 6-ounce can tomato puree
  • 1, 15-ounce can pinto beans
  • Spices: onion, garlic, thyme, red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and pepper
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Brooke’s Post: What Colors Did You Eat Today?

fullsizerender-7What is the first thought that comes to mind when you think of a farmers’ market? For me, one of the first words is color. Every single time I stroll down the market way I can’t help but be drawn in by the magnificent colors. It is true that eating a variety of colors will benefit your health and provide you with an array of nutrients. We can thank phytochemicals for this, a chemical compound found naturally in plants, responsible for the colors of food.
Some of my favorite colors to eat are blues, purples, and deep reds. These colors are full of antioxidants that keep the heart healthy and brain function optimal. Orange foods, such as carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato contain vitamin A, which helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system functioning.  Phytochemicals in orange foods also act as antioxidants, preventing oxidative damage. Red foods contain a phytochemical called lycopene, this helps protect against certain cancers such as breast and prostate. The king phytochemical is contained in green foods. Green leafy vegetables contain all of the phytochemicals found in other colors. Therefore they contain all of the benefits too. If you were to eat a bowl of spinach you would be benefiting not only from the phytochemicals in the green foods but all the other colors too. So next time you are at the farmers market make sure to stop by the stand with the crisp green spinach and kale leaves, broccoli, and green beans.
The farmers market is the best place to shop for your bright and beautiful fruits and vegetables. Buying produce at the market is much more beneficial than buying at a store, because you know it is fresh. Have you ever thought about where bananas come from? Or where avocados come from? Because they certainly do not grow in cold climates. So if you’re not from South America where most of our tropical fruits come from, or California where our avocados grow, then you will be receiving your produce weeks maybe even months after it has been picked. Producers will use additives to preserve color, shape, texture and form. By injecting in these additives, this allows for the vegetable to still look great but not necessarily have the nutrients that it once did. We as consumers do not have much choice when it comes to bananas and avocados since local farms cannot grow them. We do however have a choice when it comes to the lettuce we buy, or the tomatoes, broccoli, squash, green beans and so much more. We have the choice to buy the produce fresh, the produce that fuels are body. Buying produce at farmers markets will ensure that you are buying nutrient packed fruits and veggies that are bright and colorful right from the start.
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Kathleen’s Post: “Food” vs. Food

farmers-market-19From chemical fertilizers and pesticides to the fuel being used to transport “food” cross-country, our country is using an outrageous amount of fossil fuels and is emitting a shameful amount of greenhouse gases. Not only does this type of “food” increase pollution, it has also played a large part in why our healthcare costs have increased. A significant amount of this country’s healthcare costs go towards treating chronic illnesses directly linked to diet. The majority of food consumed and bought by Americans is contributing to the growing $1.5 trillion industry that slaughters, processes, and packages for the sake of making a dollar instead of providing something truly nutritious. By contributing to the food movement, even by a small amount, you are helping build your community and reconnecting yourself back to nature through nourishing your body and your land. Now more than ever we see a shift in consumers thought processes as more people are concerned about where their food is coming from.

Big Food companies, like Tyson and supermarkets, sure make it seem like there is a never-ending supply of chicken nuggets, but in reality, Mother Nature has her limits, too. As someone who has been a vegetarian/vegan on and off all of my life, I have really gained quite a bit of insight of how much meat our country consumes. I encourage you to not be afraid to skip out on having meat with every meal. By this I also do not mean skip out on protein- but instead let vegetables and whole grains shine more. And when you do incorporate meat into your meals, educate yourself on celebrating the animal and utilizing all of its components. Don’t be afraid to try things outside of the usual flank steak, pork chop or chicken wings either. I would never describe rabbit or goat as gamey and neither should you! Rabbit is a flavorful, tender dark meat that is rich in nutrients and so is goat. The best part? They are not nearly as expensive and incredibly more sustainable to raise compared to beef and equally delicious! Where can you find these delectable meat varieties on the Seacoast? Rabbit can be bought at Song Away Farm in Loudon, NH and goat can be purchased over in Epping, NH at Riverslea Farm. For more sourced of alternative meats on the Seacoast, search our online directory, Seacoast Harvest. If you are interested in knowing more about the fishing industry or what fish are available year-round compared to seasonally, check out the New England Fish Mongers at or our friends over at New Hampshire Community Seafood.

Get to know your homeland through what naturally grows here. Talk to farmers at your local market about CSAs and what to do with produce you may have never even heard of before. Ask questions. Get involved. Learn how and what and where and why. Appreciate your home area in a way you may never have before. Source intelligently and feel good.

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Amber’s Post: An Apple (or 5!) a Day

apple-pickingWhen the leaves start to change colors and the air turns brisk, a sunny afternoon at a local apple orchard is a relaxing way to end your week. A short drive from UNH, last Thursday I picked an overwhelming amount of macintosh apples from DeMeritt Hill Farm. Combined with my roommate’s apples, together we undertook a daunting task of eating them before going soft. As much as I love the crisp bite of an apple, there are many ways to cook them. Here are a couple of my favorites:


Applesauce can be eaten alone, used as a condiment, or as a substitution in place of oils when baking. Below is a quick and easy recipe from One Green Planet for a tasty sauce:

  • 6 apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon (or to taste)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup water

-Drop the apples into a pot and turn on medium heat. Add in cinnamon, maple syrup and water. As the apples cook, add more water if needed. Cook apples until soft, then mash with a potato masher or even with a fork!

If you use applesauce sparingly I suggest canning it! This way you can savor the taste of fresh apples all year round.


Incorporate your apples into a soup!

I love butternut squash soup! At the next farmer’s market you attend pick up some butternut squash to make a yummy and immune system supporting purée. At the bottom of this post I’ve shared a link to one of my favorite recipes.

If you think ahead, make extra and freeze it for the upcoming cold months!

Apple picking is an awesome way to get outside for a dose of vitamin D, while supporting your local farmers. Here are a few seacoast orchards to choose from:

  • DeMeritt Hill Farm, 66 Lee Rd, Lee NH
  • Applecrest Farm Orchards, 133 Exeter Rd, Hampton Falls, NH
  • Mack’s Apples, 230 Mammoth Rd, Londonderry, NH 03053

For a list of other orchards near you, visit 

Happy Friday!


Helpful Links:

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Guest Post: Eleanor of Brasen Hill Farm Reflects on Farm Life and Sustainability

Editors Note: I have been enjoying a fall CSA with Brasen Hill Farm of Barrington. Each week, Eleanor writes a CSA newsletter that includes a bit of a reflection from her and her partner, Theo, as well as a list of that weeks vegetable availability and other relevant farm news. I was so struck by this particular missive that I asked Eleanor if she would be willing to share it with us through a guest blog post. We are thrilled that she agreed!

During a long day of spreading soil amendments, compost, and cover crop seed, Theo and I looked img_2293at each other and agreed: this is a lot of work.  It is so much easier to simply walk away from the fields once the harvest is done- the onions are hanging in the barn, the corn has been well enjoyed, the squash is neatly lined up in the hoop house, and the fields are empty, and yet there we are, ready to get on them once again.  September makes us want to toe off our boots, hang up our jackets, and sit down with a mug of warm cider, when instead we’re turning on the tractor on a chilly, dewy morning, our socks already wet and a pile of composted manure between us and the end of our day.

The payoff comes with spring soil tests that tell us that our pH has increased, that our organic matter is higher than it was, and that we have optimal levels of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium, all of which translate to full heads of broccoli, happy kale plants, and tall, bright green stands of snap peas when the growing season comes around again.  Farming is a game of delayed gratification and there is no shortcut to reaping what you sow: the work we put in is the result that comes out.

The problem comes at dawn each day when our list is too long for the hours ahead of us, and while sometimes that’s simply a call to step up to the challenge of how much we can fit into the time before the sun sets, other days we’re getting out the pen and crossing items off the list in a game of concessions as we decide what we can let slide.  Animals must be fed, the crops must be harvested, and plantings must go in on time, but other than that the lawn can be overgrown for another day, that row of beans doesn’t have to get weeded this week, and the repair to the dripping chicken waterer can wait a bit longer as in true animal fashion they always prefer puddles anyway.

Fall and winter bring a time of reflection to the farm and our discussions turn from what we’d like to get done in the next week to what we’d like to get done in the next season, with the underlying current of: what can we do and do it well?  There’s no point in attempting projects we don’t have the capital for, the ability to complete, or the follow through to ensure the job is up to snuff, so instead of dreaming too big we try to ensure that the items that make the list are attainable, practical, and like spreading our cover crops, are going to benefit us in the long run.  This means repairs to infrastructure, improvements to our breeding sock, and decisions about the course of the business that fall under the category of small farms’ favorite word: sustainability.

I’ve yet to hear a single concise definition of what ‘sustainable farming’ really is, and I like to think it’s because it means something slightly different for everyone, whether they’re talking about their animal husbandry practices, crop rotations, or grazing plans.  For us, running a sustainable farm means that we’ll be here in five years, ten years, twenty years, and beyond.  To do that, we need to put nutrients back into the soil so that it continues to be able to produce the crops that feed us and our community, we need to treat our animals well so that they live long and healthy lives, and we need to manage our land with an eye towards improving it every year.

A few months from now we’ll be standing in a frosty window, looking out at snow covered fields as we wait for the beginning of another season and another chance to do it all over again.  Come warmer weather and longer days, we’ll shepherd in spring by breaking ground through overwintered vetch and rye, turning over the soil that will be home to the newest round of vegetables.  But for that to happen, we have to get out there today and finish up the cover crop seeding, and that pile of manure isn’t going to move itself.

Brasen Hill Farm is located in Barrington, NH, on 244 acres of forest, cropland, and pasture.  It is situated only a third of a mile from Route 4.  This property was known for years as Warren Farm. It is currently farmed by the couple Eleanor Kane and Theodore Wiegand, who offer a diverse array of products from Christmas Trees to meat products, a vegetable CSA and farm store program. They operate on their philosophy of sustainability- focusing on soil health, employing no-spray practices and rotational grazing and providing their animals as comfortable and natural a life as possible. They have already opened their 2o17 CSA sign ups and you can learn more about the farm and about CSA opportunities at  

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Brooke’s Post: Thank a Farmer

fullsizerender-6How could you resist the beautiful colors, aromatic smells and companionable people excited to make conversation over their pride and joy? A farmers’ market is a place  where you not only shop for food, but also have in-depth and genuine conversations about the story behind the food. Entering a farmers’ market is like entering a new world. A world where the food producers (farmers) care more about than just profit. The farmers thrive on the conversation they engage in with their customers; they want to tell you where the food is coming from. The farmers want the customers to know that this food that they are so proud of comes from a place of dedication and hard work. They dedicate their lives to harvesting local fresh produce for people who care about what they feed their bodies. Farmers are proud of their products, and want to express to their customers the excitement they have for the beautiful red plump tomatoes they grew or the huge spaghetti squash they harvested. One of my favorite things to see is the farmers face light up when I compliment them on their produce or ask to take a picture of their stand because the fruits and vegetables are so beautiful.

Every Thursday that I am at the Exeter Market, I make my rounds up and down the market and try to stop by at least one or two stands. While I am admiring the gorgeous fruits and veggies they have so diligently arranged on their stand, I always like to make conversation. It truly is interesting to engross yourself in the life of a farmer and the careful process they practice to handle the food you eat. Every farmer has a story to tell, and wants to tell. In the short time that I have been an intern at SEL, I have heard some really interesting stories. Some including how the farmers became interested in farming, where they were raised, how they stumbled upon the farm they’re at now and even their family history of farming. It may take you by surprise just how much more you appreciate your food when you know where it is coming from and to who grew it.

Next time you stop by a farmers market, make sure to engage in conversation with the farmers and show them your gratitude by expressing interest in their produce. It’s exciting to buy food that you know was grown right down the street, or in the next town over, instead of buying it from a super market and having no idea where it came from. Maybe along with your conversations with the farmers, throw in a little thank you. Thank them for caring and dedicating their life to an occupation that revolves around providing the healthiest fuel for the human body.

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