Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Farmer Tom’s (and Farewell!)

Editor’s Note: Seacoast Eat Local has so enjoyed having Margo this summer and has benefited immensely from her work with us during what has been an extraordinarily busy time for us! We wish her well on her impending school year and hope to see her around the markets!

Also, as a former 4-H Coordinator for Strafford County and lifelong member and volunteer, I loved hearing about the roots of Farmer Tom’s in a 4-H Project! 4-H is vibrant in New Hampshire and October marks the beginning of our 4-H year, a perfect time to sign up your children between the ages of 5 and 18! Although the roots of 4-H are agrarian, we now boast a variety of animal, agriculture, science, service, outdoor and crafting clubs! If you can dream it, you can do it in 4-H! For more information on getting involved with 4-H, visit our state website http://extension.unh.edu/4-H-Youth-Family/4-H-Youth-Development

 

Community – what has made being a part of Seacoast Eat Local so extraordinary. I have looked forward to seeing the welcoming vendors, our new and frequent customers, and of course, members of the SEL staff. This week marks the last week of my internship at SEL for the summer, the week before my semester courses start up once again. Thank you to everyone who has been able to share this experience with me – you have made it special.

Community is also cherished by Lisamarie and Tom Horne of Farmer Tom’s vegetable stand – not only do regulars flock to their stand in Farmington, but also to their stall at the Rochester Farmers’ Market. Lisamarie’s gorgeous glads draw loyal customers to both locations, with vibrant colors ranging from plum purple to variegated yellow and red to salmon pink. Farmer Tom’s range of vegetables is also something to be admired – with large bell peppers, bright orange carrots, large deep purple beets, bright yellow summer squash, and more such as onions, two kinds of potatoes, and corn to come.

As I chatted with Lisamarie, one of her loyal customers examined the freshly dug potatoes and shared stories of her childhood memories of digging for potatoes with her father. Some customers also share their creations that made with Farmer Tom’s produce, such as decadent chocolate zucchini cake or ravioli made with thinly sliced zucchini instead of pasta. It is not uncommon for customers to linger when stopping by – with Lisamarie’s welcoming personality and enthusiasm for great tasting fresh produce, it is easy to get lost in conversation. Lisamarie’s care for others is also evident in how she donates extra produce to the Mustard Seed Café, which makes meals for the needy, as well as donates to the elderly.

Lisamarie also takes pride in the fact that she is able to take part in providing delicious local food for her neighbors for the past 20 years since the farm stand has been around. The farm stand all got started when her daughter Erika, who was in kindergarten at the time, had to complete a 4-H project that taught the skills of counting and record keeping. Lisamarie described how the farm stand, which started out selling tomatoes, “grew and grew and grew,” just like the garden, into what is now today.  Along with the farm stand and stall at the Rochester Farmers’ Market (at the Commons from 3:30-6:30 pm), Farmer Tom’s also sells to local restaurants such as Strafford Sub Shop and Strafford House of Pizza.

After surveying the assortment of their beautiful vegetables at the farmers’ market, I settled on the red potatoes. At home, I cut them up, boiled them, then pan fried them with spices to make Moroccan spiced potatoes. To serve with the potatoes, I also made a tahini yogurt sauce (recipe for both can be find below).

 

Moroccan Potato Recipe:

http://www.marthastewart.com/314980/moroccan-spiced-potatoes

Tahini Yogurt Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • 4 tsp. tahini (sesame seed paste)
  • 1 ½ tsp. water
  • 1 cloves of garlic, minced
  • Pinch of salt

Directions:

In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, tahini, and water. After mixture is well combined add the garlic and salt to taste.

 

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Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Line Hill Farm

I examine the mason jar I have selected from the wooden free-standing shelf at Line Hill Farm’s stand at the Rochester Farmers’ Market. The jar reads “Spaghetti Sauce” and the first ingredient listed is “farm fresh tomatoes.” The sauce itself is thick with a deep red color aeggplantpizzand a complex taste of Italian seasonings, the natural sweetness of the tomatoes, and spiciness from the hot peppers. But this is not just another great tasting tomato sauce – this sauce is rooted in family memories and Sicilian tradition.

Ken Lance, one of the owners of Line Hill Farm, a no-spray farm that is located in New Durham, NH, learned to make this specialty from his Sicilian father. Ken described that while his dad was not the best overall cook, his sauce was legendary. In true Sicilian fashion, his father, Mr. Lance, would cook the sauce for 36-48 hours, simmering it and then turning off the heat, bringing the temperature up and down – the secret to reducing the excess moisture of the sauce. In other tomato sauces, sugar is added to minimize the water content, but Line Hill’s sauce proudly states, “What’s not in it: No added sugar, salt, fructose corn syrup.”

Also following Sicilian practice, throughout the cooking process Mr. Lance would continue to add more ingredients to the sauce, deepening its flavor. While Ken has had to tweak the classic recipe to bring the sauce to market, he continues his father’s culinary traditions. You may be wondering what’s the best way to use this customer favorite, but don’t worry, because when Ken was asked this precise question he replied, “It’s good on everything.”

Other delicious goods you may find at Ken Lance and Ann Richard’s stall include squash, tomatoes, zucchinis, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, jams, honey and more. Line Hill Farm has evolved over the years to include these items and to fulfill Ken’s dream to farm the land, first starting out as a fully wooded piece of property. Ken first acquired the land at the age of 24 and has since then cleared 20 acres for hay and now vegetables and three beehives. The name of the farm is a nod to the property’s past – the old name of the road the farm is on, Line Hill Road, now Middleton Road. The old name reflects the fact that the farm is located along the town line.

After learning of the history of Line Hill Farm, I couldn’t resist buying some of their well-known sauce and a few of their bright red juicy tomatoes. I used these ingredients to make eggplant pizzas – baked eggplant slices, topped with tomato sauce, provolone cheese, diced tomato, and basil. Later, I added the sauce to fresh pasta and a quick vegetable chili dish. Ken was right – this sauce is good on everything!

 

You can find Line Hill Farm at the following markets:

  • Rochester Farmers’ Market, Tuesdays 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm
  • New Durham Farmers’ Market, Saturdays 8:30 am – 1:30 pm
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Ashley’s Post: A Tomato a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

tomatoTomatoes are sweet, juicy, contain an abundant source of antioxidants and may help fight and prevent many serious diseases and ailments including heart disease and certain cancers. Those are only a few of the many reasons why Americans eat more tomatoes than any other form of fruit and vegetable.

There are more than 700 different varieties of tomatoes being cultivated throughout the world today, ranging in size and color. Regardless of the different varieties, the nutritional content and health benefits that come along with tomatoes do not change significantly.

1 medium tomato (about 123 grams) contains only 22 calories and 1.5 grams of dietary fiber, which makes tomatoes a great option for weight-loss or weight-management. Tomatoes are rich in essential vitamins and minerals including vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B6, folate, potassium, manganese, phosphorus and copper. These nutrients provides many health benefits including supporting heart, bone, skin, and digestive health. Also important to note is the awesome amount of lycopene that tomatoes contain (along with other antioxidants as well!)

Tomatoes are incredibly versatile and can be used for anything from sauces to main dishes, either raw or cooked. Below are two delicious recipes to help incorporate (more) tomatoes into your life!

 

Baked Parmesan Tomatoes

Prep Time: 5 minutes     Cook Time: 15 minutes     Total Time: 20 minutes     Yields 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 tomatoes, cut in half
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Place tomatoes on a baking sheet (cut side up). Top with parmesan cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Bake for 15 minutes, until tomatoes are tender.
  4. Enjoy!

 

Gazpacho

Prep Time: 45 minutes     Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes     Yields 4 Servings

Ingredients

  • 8 medium tomatoes
  • ¼ cup diced red onions
  • 1 cup cucumber, peeled, seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeded and minced

Directions

  1. Core the tomatoes and cut into chunks. Place in a blender or food processor.
  2. Add the onions, cilantro, olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, cucumber, bell pepper, jalapeno, and salt, and blend until ingredients make a chunky puree consistency.
  3. Transfer to bowl. Stir in pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to all the flavors to blend.
  4. Enjoy!
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Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Two Toad Farm

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 4.47.46 PMI’m overcome with veggie joy as I stand surrounded by dark purple beans, bright yellow orbs of pattypan squash, rainbow chard with colorful stems and deep green leaves, and a large array of others including kale, cabbage, zucchini, bok choy, onions, garlic, and basil at the Somersworth Farmers’ Market. There is nothing like a summer bounty – which one can come to expect from Marybeth and Jordan Pike of Two Toad Farm, located in Lebanon Maine, who grow over 200 varieties of vegetables and herbs per year.

All of this beautifully fresh produce before me is a result of their treasured soil, the focus of Marybeth and Jordan’s farming practice. Marybeth refers to soil health as “the building block of organic farming” since healthy soil creates healthy plants which can then resist pests and diseases more efficiently. Because soil is seen as the foundation of farming, wholesome management of the soil makes it viable for generations to come. The hard work that goes into managing the soil and running a farm has its rewards – Marybeth sums up the satisfaction as being able to “literally eat the fruits of my labor.”

I am not the only one who has taken notice of Marybeth and Jordan’s commitment and effort that has resulted in the crisp and just picked produce, as others continue to join me in admiring the selection. One costumer’s inquiries what kind of squash the pattypan is, and is answered with “only the most delicious squash ever!” from Marybeth, who is working the stall at the farmers’ market today. This enthusiasm and welcoming spirit are the reasons why customers stick around to chitchat with the owners of Two Toad long after they pick up their salad greens and eggs.

After talking with Marybeth myself, I walk away from her stall with some of gorgeous purple beans I had been eyeing, the beloved pattypan squash, green bell peppers, and cabbage. Inspired by the pepper, once I got home, I whipped up a version of stuffed peppers with brown rice, black beans, corn, salsa, and spices (the recipe I followed can be found below). The pepper’s subtle sweetness pairs well with the spiciness of the classic filling. I also suggest serving them with diced tomatoes and cilantro or sprinkling cheese on top once you take off the foil after cooking them for 20 minutes and then sticking them back into the oven until it becomes all gooey and yummy. While looking forward to creating other dishes with the rest of the irresistible produce, I am already looking forward and excited to see what beauties they have in store next market. (See below for the list of markets Two Toad attends.)

 

Recipe:

http://minimalistbaker.com/spanish-quinoa-stuffed-peppers/

Farmers’ Markets:

Sanford, Wednesdays 12:00-4:00 pm, Saturdays 8:00 am – 12:00 pm

Somersworth, Thursdays 3:00-6:00 pm

Portsmouth, Saturdays 8:00 am – 1:00 pm

 

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4th Annual Durham Farm Day

4th Annual Durham Farm Day
Saturday, August 20th, rain or shine

The Durham Agricultural Commission is hosting the 4th Annual Durham Farm Day on Saturday, August 20th from 10am to 4pm, with activities taking place at farms and gardens across town and campus. 

Durham Farm Day Flyer

Download, print, and share a flyer (.pdf)

 

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Ashley’s Post: You Can Count on Kale

kale chipsAs the ancient Turkish saying goes; “Every leaf of kale you chew adds another stem to your tree of life.” It is no wonder kale is considered one of the healthiest foods! With such a low calorie content and high nutritional value, kale is like no other. One cup of raw kale contains 33 calories, 0.6 grams of fat (from omega-3 fatty acids!), 2.5 grams of fiber, and 3 grams of protein! Kale is rich in vitamin A and vitamin K. It is also impressive considering that per calorie, it also has more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, and more iron than beef!

Kale is easy to grow (and can be found throughout the season), has endless health benefits, and is super easy to prepare. It is commonly prepared by sauteéing, baking, steaming, boiling, or consumed raw in salads and smoothies.

It has been found that steaming kale leads to both maximum nutrition and flavor, so below I have included a recipe for a simple steamed Mediterranean style kale, as well as baked kale chips for a simple, healthy snack.

Mediterranean Kale

Prep time: 15 mins         Cook time: 10 mins          Total time: 25 mins          Yields 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 12 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

Place steamer insert into saucepan and fill water to just below bottom of steamer. Cover, bring to a boil over high heat. Add kale and steam until tender (7-10 minutes). In large bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Add in kale and toss until well coated.

Enjoy!

Baked Kale Chips

Prep time: 10 min         Cook time: 10 min         Total time: 20 min         Yields 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt (may use different seasoned salts for different flavors!)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove kale leaves from stems and tear into bite size pieces. Wash and dry kale. Place kale on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt. Bake until the edges of kale are browned (but not burnt). About 10-15 minutes.
Enjoy!

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Building SAMM: An International Journey!

They say that Rome wasn’t built in a day. That’s probably true- and neither was SAMM! The finished vehicle is the end result of a long process of design work and collaboration, within our organization and region, but also spanning national boundaries to Toronto, Canada!

An early version of the design work, photo-shopped onto what would become known as SAMM

An early version of the design work, photo-shopped onto what would become known as SAMM

In the early stages of development of the SAMM project, Seacoast Eat Local sought out the best advice and the best existing models to base our work on. There were dead-end paths and wrong turns along the way, to be sure, but we believe we have built SAMM based on the best, experienced-based knowledge out there.

Our work began with joining the Mobile Market Community of Practice (MMCoP), which is a learning group of professionals across New England that are funded and lead, as we are, by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund. Several programs provided a wealth of information and advice and we benefited from them all- specifically the Good Food Bus of Lewiston, Maine, The REC Mobile Market program in Worcester, MA, and finally, the Trustees of Reservations in Massachusetts.

As our questions and goals became more defined, they led us (sometimes) farther afield. Seacoast Eat Local consulted programs in California, Georgia, Washington, D.C. and Tennessee. Our quest to identify the best possible vehicle design led us to Toronto Food Share in Toronto, Canada. A series of events prompted us to even use the same retrofitting company as Toronto Food Share, a Toronto-based company called Crew Chiefs Conversions.

 

Jill and Celeste with Afua, the coordinator for Food Share's mobile market program

Jill and Celeste with Afua, the coordinator for Food Share’s mobile market program

A May 17 trip to Toronto to oversee the progress of the retrofits allowed us to make a special stop at Food Share Toronto to learn more about their work and to thank them for their guidance and kindness. Although they are a much different program than we are, we learned a lot from them and really enjoyed getting to see some of their food distribution work in  action!

 

IMG_5857

Celeste “driving” the SAMM Van for the very first time!

In addition to getting to connect with some of our long-distance friends, we got to see first hand the work that was being done to retrofit our vehicle. From sketches to real life, SAMM was beginning to take shape! During our visit we had the opportunity to walk through the vehicle with the retrofitting team to make sure that everything was to our specifications. Once we left, they were kind enough to send, sometimes daily, ongoing photo updates of their progress.


At long last, we received word at the end of June that the retrofits and decal work had been completed and that SAMM was on its way! After a lot of coordinating, customs work and anxious waiting, SAMM arrived in New Hampshire on July 8, 2016.

SAMMsmall

SAMM settling in at home after a long journey!

To follow SAMM and get updates on our stops and other information, follow us on instagram @SAMMVAN or visit our webpage www.seacoasteatlocal.org/samm. If you are interested in supporting our program through volunteering, please contact Celeste Gingras, SAMM Coordinator, at celeste@seacoasteatlocal.org. Financial contributions are also greatly appreciated and help to further our important mission. Donations made be made securely online at this link. If you are interested in having a stop in your area or in contracting with SAMM on behalf of your business, please contact Jillian Hall, Seacoast Eat Local Director of Programs, at jill@seacoasteatlocal.org

SAMM is made possible by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Thomas W. Haas Fund and the on-going support of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund.

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Meet Celeste, SAMM Coordinator

celestevannsmallMany of you may already know Celeste as a former member of the Board of Directors for Seacoast Eat Local or as a popular market vendor and co-owner of 45 Market St Bakery and Cafe in Somersworth, NH. Starting in August 2016, everyone will have an opportunity to get to know her as the SAMM Coordinator, a full-time staff member for Seacoast Eat Local.

As a business owner with over 25 years of experience, she has been a part of creating 45 Market Street Bakery and Cafe, Currants Cafe and Grille and Shore Bites. In this regard, her experience and local relationships have been nothing short of instrumental in creating the operational plans and product sourcing abilities of the mobile farmer’s market. Her hard work and get-down-to-business attitude have given SAMM the strong start it needs to be a successful program. Plus, she looks great behind the wheel!

As plans for the Mobile Market project began to solidify, Celeste came forward with a strong sense of passion and dedication to lead the day-to-day operations of the program. With a background in social work, years of experience in farmers’ markets and food businesses, and a strong desire to help all people eat fresh, local food, Celeste felt like SAMM provided the perfect combination of her skills and interests. 

IMG_5857

Celeste gets behind the wheel for the first time!

Make sure you stop in to see Celeste at one of our SAMM stop sites. To follow our work and receive updates on our stops and other information, check us out on instagram @SAMMVAN.

SAMM is made possible through the generous support of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund, as well as by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Thomas W. Haas Fund

If you are interested in supporting our program through volunteering, please contact Celeste Gingras, SAMM Coordinator, at celeste@seacoasteatlocal.org. Financial contributions are also greatly appreciated and help to further our important mission. Donations made be made securely online at this link.

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Margo’s Post: Farm Focus on Hackleboro Orchards

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 7.40.44 AMIn 1979 a group from Westminster, Vermont stopped by in the hometown of Harry Weiser. This bunch was traveling through New England performing a somewhat newfangled practice – pruning orchards. Pruning has not always been a common practice, but has evolved over the years to become one. Harry, looking for work during the winter months, joined in the pruning business, invigorating trees by encouraging them to replace old wood with new growth. Some of the benefits of pruning include better airflow and sunlight penetration.

The pruning season, while weather dependent, usually starts after January 1st, and can continue until the trees are blooming. Harry now works to prunes his orchard, Hackleboro Orchards located in Canterbury NH, consisting of roughly forty acres and includes nine varieties of apples, pears, peaches, and plums (unfortunately this year there are no peaches and plums due to the fluctuating weather conditions this past winter). At Hackleboro Orchards, Harry also grows blueberries, strawberries, both of which you can do as pick-your-own along with apples in the fall, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, tomatoes, pumpkins, and more. Along with produce, Hackleboro has addictive cider doughnuts and coffee to offer at his stand at the farmers’ markets. During the apple harvest season, Harry also makes unpasteurized cider that still contains the good bacteria and has its own “body and efflorescence” as Harry describes it.

This year marks the 25th year that Hackleboro Orchards has been working to bring us beautiful fruit and vegetables, and delicious products. It is Bill Lord, a retired tree fruit specialist from the University of New Hampshire, we have to thank for helping Harry find the old apple orchard in Canterbury to lease.

The credit of Hackleboro Orchards’ charm, however, is fully due to Harry and his 85-year-old mother Elsie. When picking up some summer squash and cucumbers from Hackleboro’s stand at the Rochester Farmers’ Market, I was greeted with Harry’s infectious smile and a chipper greeting, and chit-chatted with Elsie who told me stories of what it was like to grow up on her family’s farm in Massachusetts, such as how her skilled mother would make beautiful dresses for her out of grain bags. Rochester is not the only farmers’ market where you can find Harry and Elsie – check out Hackleboro Orchards at the Penacook Farmers’ Market on Mondays from 4:00-6:30 pm, the Canterbury Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 4:00-6:30 pm, and at the Manchester Farmers’ Market on Thursdays from 3-6:30 pm.

Harry and Elsie’s cheerfulness inspired me to make an old favorite recipe using the summer squash – Nigella’s Happiness Soup. This soup’s bright joyful color yellow inspired its name, and is a simple yet scrumptious dish to prepare. The recipe to make this mood-lifting soup is attached below.

Recipe:

https://www.nigella.com/recipes/happiness-soup

Recipe notes/conversions: I used two medium sized summer squashes, 4 cups of broth, and 1/3 cup of rice

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Introducing SAMM, the newest member of our team!

It is with the most unbounded excitement that we break our silence and finally introduce everyone, officially, to SAMM: The Seacoast Area Mobile Market!

Many months of work (and years in our dreams) will lead to our official launch of New Hampshire’s first mobile market program on August 2, 2016. This new program is generously supported by the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Healthy Food Fund and by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Thomas W. Haas Fund.

The goal of SAMM will be to provide access to local foods in communities within our service region that may lack farmers’ markets of their own, have high concentrations of low-income or at-risk residents, are designated as being at higher risk for food insecurity, or have a reportedly high number of residents with lack of access to consistent means of transportation. In addition to these community stops, SAMM will also service a small number of employers in our region as an employee benefit service.

Aligning with our goal to provide greater access to local foods in all of our Seacoast communities, SAMM is also aimed at spreading and increasing the number of sustainable agricultural businesses in these areas. By sourcing product as locally to market stops as possible, we hope to incentivize and support small scale agricultural businesses in their growth.

In similar fashion to Seacoast Eat Local’s SNAP program at farmers’ markets, SAMM will accept EBT/SNAP benefits for purchases and will also run incentive programs that are aimed at helping low-income individuals stretch their dollars at markets and purchase more fresh, local and healthy food. SAMM will accept SNAP tokens as well as Granite State Market Match fruit and vegetable coupons that SNAP customers may receive at traditional markets. Rather than receiving matching coupons for purchases, SAMM customers will receive an automatic $1 for $1 discount off of their fruit and vegetable purchases. 

To follow SAMM and get updates on our stops and other information, follow us on instagram @SAMMVAN. If you are interested in supporting our program through volunteering, please contact Celeste Gingras, SAMM Coordinator, at celeste@seacoasteatlocal.org. Financial contributions are also greatly appreciated and help to further our important mission. Donations made be made securely online at this link. If you are interested in having a stop in your area or in contracting with SAMM on behalf of your business, please contact Jillian Hall, Seacoast Eat Local Director of Programs, at jill@seacoasteatlocal.org

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