Emily’s Post: What Do YOU Want to Know?

This week, I have spent time thinking about what exactly I should focus on in my blog posts throughout the summer. After speaking with Jill about a few potential options, I decided to do a series, spending each week focusing on a farm (and farmers) from the Portsmouth Farmer’s Market. However, the question still stands to what my central theme should be on this topic. I would love to hear from consumers and farmers alike to find out what the blog readers really want to know about this community. Jill has helped me to come up with a few potential directions, which I will list below:

  • Identifying the ‘farmer philosophy’ of each grower

  • Identifying the ‘signature crop’ of each grower

  • The history behind each farm and farmer, how they came to where they are today

  • A singular message or outlook that each farmer wants to share with their community

  • Please let me know if you have any other ideas!

I plan to create small videos of each farm and farmer to add to the blog as well, providing a visual that shows their farm as well as their participation in the Portsmouth market each Saturday. We will see how it goes! Being an amateur videographer, there is a chance I am biting off a bit more than I can chew.

The message that I want to bring to every community is to be conscious and aware of everything that you are putting into your body. Food is vital to our survival, and what we eat can dramatically increase or decrease our health, happiness and quality of life. As I am growing older and making more decisions on my own of what I am eating, I have become exponentially more aware of the effects of healthy food on my lifestyle. Being able to combine all of these foods into amazing recipes is a great way to make this a larger (and more central) part of your life!

That’s all for now. Hopefully next week I’ll have a contribution from a person with much more wisdom on this topic (as opposed to my 20-year old amateur and ambitious self). Happy growing!


Posted in author: Emily B | 2 Responses

Volunteer Gleaners needed for summertime farmers’ markets!

lettuceHappy June! Gleaning has begun at the summertime farmers’ markets and Seacoast Eat Local is looking for volunteers to help collect fresh produce from our generous farmers at the end of the market day.

We are looking for volunteers to commit to a month (or longer, up to the entire season) of gleaning at a particular farmers’ market. This entails coming to market (and it can be a market you already attend so you can do your shopping and volunteer all in one trip), walking around the market near closing time and asking vendors for donations (they are expecting this). We then inventory what is collected for donation, and deliver it to a food pantry (we can suggest one or you can choose!).

Please email Shelly if you have any questions, or to signup for any of the following markets:

Durham: 5:30pm Mondays, June-September
Dover: 5:30pm Wednesdays, June-September
Rochester: 5:30pm Tuesdays, June-September
Somersworth: 5:30pm Mondays, June-September
Exeter: 5:30pm Thursdays, June-October
Portsmouth: 12:30pm Saturdays, June-October
Kittery: 1:30pm Sundays, June-September

The time listed is the approximate time you would need to be at market by to glean before closing. This is a great learning experience for children as well, so feel free to bring yours along!

Thanks for ALL your help and we look forward to seeing you at markets!


Jill Hall and Shelly Smith

Posted in farmers' markets, gleaning, volunteering | Leave a comment

Keep It Fresh at the Farmers’ Markets!

Seacoast Eat Local needs your support! Consider making a tax-deductible contribution that helps Seacoast residents connect to sources of fresh local foods, all year long!

At Seacoast Eat Local, our mission is to connect people with sources of locally grown food and to work for a sustainable local food system that supports the health of our environment, community, culture and economy.

Support Local Foods Now, and for the Future

We live in extraordinary times and the need to support local foods and farms has never been greater. Seacoast Eat Local works year-round to ensure access to local foods. But, we need your help.

As our programs grow and expand to meet rising needs, so do our operational costs. If every person who attends winter farmers’ markets donated $12, just $1 for each market, it would eliminate our anticipated shortfall for the coming fiscal year!

Closing this fiscal year and looking towards the next, we need support from those who enjoy and believe in Seacoast Eat Local.  Contributions of all sizes are tax-deductible and impactful.

Please Make Your Gift Today

How Does Your Contribution Help?

A $12 contribution shows your appreciation for local foods at the winter farmers’ markets

With every $25 contribution, you will provide a local foods demonstration or tasting at one public event

A $50 contribution makes it possible for farmers’ to list for free in Seacoast Harvest

A $100 contribution supports the cost of staff time to operate the SNAP program at summer farmers’ markets

Prefer to Mail it In?

No Problem!

Checks in any denomination may be made payable to Seacoast Eat Local and mailed to the address:

Seacoast Eat Local
ATTN: Fundraising
2 Washington St, Ste 331
Dover, NH 03820


Posted in author: Sara Zoe, SAMM, Seacoast Harvest, SNAP/EBT, Winter Farmers Markets | Leave a comment

Emily’s Post: Focused on Food Security

Editors Note: We are thrilled to welcome Emily to our summer intern program! We can tell already that she has a go-getters style and lots of knowledge of our field of work. Make sure you stop in to say hi to her on Saturday mornings in Portsmouth, and that you add your thoughts to some of her excellent blog questions!

Hi Seacoast Community! My name is Emily Bonenfant, and I will be an intern at Seacoast Eat Local this summer. I am a rising junior at Tulane University in New Orleans, but am originally from Hampton, NH. The topic of food justice was brought to my attention at the start of my freshman year at Tulane, with a club called Food for Thought and Action. Through my involvement with this club, I quickly learned that New Orleans is the largest food desert in the United States. For those who don’t know, a food desert is an urban area in which it is difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food. This was a really eye-opening time for me, because I have been blessed with access to nutritious food my entire life. Since learning about this, I have spent the following two years volunteering at urban farms in the city and raising awareness about this issue on campus.

After having developed this passion at school, I knew that I wanted to continue similar work when I returned home for the summer. Learning more about the food climate in my home region will be a great addition to my knowledge of this topic. There are a few specific questions that I have about the seacoast food climate, which I will report back on throughout my time working with SEL. I have listed them below:

  1. Is there data on the level food accessibility for citizens of the seacoast region? If so, how is this measured and categorized?

  2. What organizations in the seacoast region (aside from SEL) are most active in the work of increasing food accessibility?

  3. What are the most popular local foods grown in this area? Of these, which have the most successful crop this season, and which are the most vitamin and nutrient-rich?

  4. How is the Portsmouth farmers market (and other seacoast markets) advertised to local populations?

  5. Which populations are most prone to food insecurity in this area?

Have a great day,


Posted in author: Emily B | Leave a comment

The Chicken Wars

Another confession of a backyard chicken owner: chickens are not for the faint of heart. As a friend said, “humans are cruel, chickens are just chickens.”

Lynette, Bette and Amelia

Part of backyard chicken ownership is succession planning. My quartet of Henny, Penny, Jenny and Louise was now down to just Henny, Penny and Louise. Ask me sometime about the magical and mysterious “dead chicken fairy.” I swear to you, this is a thing. With Jenny gone and Louise aging, it was time to think about a new round of hens.

It’s best practice to introduce new chickens in groups of at least two, that way they have a buddy to be with as they acclimate to the existing flock. So, I found a friend to raise some extra chicks and ended up with Bette the Barred Rock, Lynette the Lace Wing Wyandotte and Amelia the Auracana. They are still about 1/2- 2/3 their adult size, but fully fledged and ready to join the gang.

Let the chicken wars begin.

The girls settle in

I started by separating my hens outside the coop and run in the yard with an extra feeder and waterer. I shut the new hens into the coop and left them there for two hours to acclimate to their new surroundings while my older girls ate grass and hunted bugs (and ran down the sidewalk until my neighbor herded them home).

All was well. I am so good at this. 

That was about 2pm.


By 4pm I had opened up the coop so that the two groups could mingle with each other in the whole space of the yard and slowly get accustomed with their new flock-mates. Cue the sirens and bombs. Bette, Lynette and Amelia were reluctant to leave the coop where they were relatively comfortable. Henny, Penny and Louise, on the other hand, bowled right into the coop, cornered the young hens and had them literally peeping like little chicks. Every so often Louise sunk a well placed peck until the young hens were finally able to scoot out of the coop. Louise commenced with crowing and guarding the coop for the next two hours, just in case the whole neighborhood failed to get her point.

Well, this was getting stressful for sure, but so far there were no injuries or serious squabbles, just a lot of posturing and noise. Breathe, it’s all going according to plan.

By 7:30pm I was chasing Lynette around the neighbors yard and mentally begging my older gals to just GO TO SLEEP already, so that the new hens could get into the coop without fear and go to bed too. The older hens hung out, casually sauntering around outside the entrance to the coop like bar hoppers reluctant to leave at last call. All the time in the world. The young hens peeped nervously and gathered themselves in all the wrong places, requiring a lot of herding and anxious observation on my part.


Phone call: My boyfriend is asking about my day and setting some weekend plans. “I don’t know hun, it’s been a long day and I am waiting for the chickens to go to sleep”


no, really, pasta in my couch

“Oh no babe, the dog got anxious while I was out at a dinner meeting and buried a pound of pasta in the couch… and my empty chapstick tubes..” (another story entirely)

8:15 FINALLY, Henny, Penny and Louise head up to bed and I can help Lynette, Bette and Amelia into the coop to go to sleep too.

8:45 The thunderstorms are starting and while I was able to clean up the dry pasta and empty chapstick tubes, the dog is now shaking next to me.

But, the chickens are safe and asleep in their coop, until we start all over again tomorrow. They say the introductory period can last up to a week!

Posted in author: Jill | Leave a comment

Eat Like a Fish!

Seacoast Eat Local is taking you all on an adventure for the next 26 weeks! Along with our new friends, Eating with the Ecosystem out of Rhode Island, we will be encouraging you all to “Eat Like A Fish!” as we participate in an ongoing citizen science project!

The goal of the research project is to understand the availability of locally caught species in markets and other points of sale across New England. Each week, participants in all the New England states will be randomly assigned 4 species of fish to look for in local markets. If they are able to find at least one of the four species which was caught and sold in New England, their task is to bring it home and eat it– all while recording their experiences and preferences. Researchers hope to understand not only the availability of local species, but the opportunities and barriers to increasing their purchase and consumption.

In a training webinar for the program, project leader Kate Masury provided fascinating information about our local fishing industry. It turns out that we export nearly 80% of the fish caught in New England waters! With education and adjustments to commercial markets, we could be eating more locally caught fish and, for that matter, fishing more sustainably. As shown in the image above, Eating with the Ecosystem supports an ecosystems-based approach to seafood consumption. This means that our efforts should not revolve around one particular species and how to harvest it more sustainably and effectively, but should focus on the health of the entire ecosystem and spread consumption (and conservation efforts) across the system as it exists (and changes). Much like Seacoast Eat Local, Eating with the Ecosystem encourages consumers to shop locally and to get to know and support local fishermen!

The citizen science project starts next week and we will be detailing our journey each and every week until October. Follow along with us as we search for and prepare a variety of local species including whelk, flounder, cod, tuna, lobsters and more!

The project is now closed to additional participants, but it’s never too late to focus on eating locally! New Hampshire Community Seafood is a great source of locally caught fish that supports day-boat fishermen in our region. They offer a great (if we do say so ourselves!) CSF program with a number of different options and pick up locations. Check them out and sign up today!

Posted in Eat Like a Fish! | Leave a comment

Veronique’s Post: When One Door Closes…

This winter season, as an intern for Seacoast Eat Local, has been one of the most wonderful and educational experience thus far. I’ve learned so much from both Shelly and Jill, my amazing co-interns, the array of farmers, and the many customers that I’ve met. I can still remember my first farmer’s market, and the buzz of energy that vibrated right before the opening of the day. My excitement was obvious then, and continued to remain for the rest of the market days.

As a Sustainable Agriculture major at the University of New Hampshire, I felt so much emphasis on food production, and ways to grow the best crops, that I forgot one of the most important aspect of agriculture: people. As an intern, I was able to see how much these markets and farmers have made an impact on the community. There were families that were regulars, who were dedicated to feeding their families local and healthy foods, and also supporting their farmers. I’ve enjoyed witnessing how excited people were for products like kohlrabi, for both those who’ve never had the product and those who were avid kohlrabi enthusiasts. The community and atmosphere of the markets were so open and welcoming, and it made me beam to think about how people from different places, lives and experiences were all able to enjoy the simplicity of food. This experience has helped push my desire to become part of our local food system, and learn even more. And though the Winter’s Farmer Market season is now over, a whole new season is coming up, which means more food, excitement, and community. 

Posted in Veronique | Leave a comment

Chloe’s Post: The Results are In! A Summary of My Older Adult Project

The Results are In! A Summary of My Older Adult Project

Throughout my internship with Seacoast Eat Local, I have been working on a research project involving the local older adult population. The aim of this study was to find out a variety of things including (1) how much they knew about Seacoast Eat Local (2) the best methods to reach them with information and (3) their farmers’ market food preferences. The part I was most excited about was their food preferences. Currently, many older adults do not consume enough fresh fruits and vegetables (FFVs). Therefore, by discovering their preferences, Seacoast Eat Local as well as other organizations could gain insight into how to better serve this portion of our population. Additionally, SEL has a mobile market (SAMM) that provides FFVs to areas that do not necessarily have immediate access to them. The findings from this study could also influence the types of foods provided in the SAMM van.

25 individuals participated in this study, a majority of them ages 81 – 95 and female. This research was done via paper survey. The only qualification was that they needed to be 60+ years old. The data was collected from both an assisted living facility as well as a senior housing authority site.

After analyzing the data, it was found that SEL was more well known at the location where the SAMM van stopped, which makes sense. That is also why this research is so important because it identified locations the SAMM van could add to its route. It also found that mail was the most popular method of communication for the local older adult population. Furthermore, the survey asked some questions about how older adults preferred to buy food at the farmers’ market. The results indicated two things: that older adults like to have autonomy when choosing their fruits and vegetables as well as the fact that they like to purchase smaller amounts of larger foods (i.e. ½ a melon as opposed to a whole one). This makes sense because older adults do not usually consume as much food and do not need as many daily calories. Buying in smaller portions also prevents food waste and spoilage.

Now comes the exciting part! The food preferences of the local older adult population. Foods on the survey were limited to those available at the farmers’ markets and were categorized into four categories: vegetables, fruits, dairy, and protein. Here were the top three from each category: The percentages indicate the percent of individuals that selected for the food.

Top Vegetables: Corn (84%), Potatoes (80%), and Green Beans (72%)

Top Fruits: Peaches (72%), Strawberries (72%), and Watermelon (68%)

Top Protein: Eggs (72%), Chicken (68%), and Beef (60%)

Top Dairy: Cheese (68%), Milk (52%), and Yogurt (48%)

It was interesting to find that eggs were the most liked protein product. Fish was also an extremely popular protein and came in 4th place. The least popular food of all was eggplant surprisingly. When talking with some survey takers, they indicated significant interest in having the SAMM van stop at their location! This is great because it shows that the older adult population wants these FFVs, it is just a matter of access. I’m so glad I got to have this experience. I had a blast learning how to conduct research, meeting all the participants, and presenting my results at the UNH Undergraduate Research Conference! Hope you found these results as interesting as I did!

Till Next Time,


Posted in Chloe | Leave a comment

Emily’s Post: Strawberry Banana Nice-Cream

Last week I finally made the latest dessert fad: nice-cream.  It was so easy to make and so delicious I thought I would share with the Seacoast Eat Local audience.  For those of you who don’t know what nice-cream is, it is ice cream that is good for you, believe it or not!  It uses mainly frozen fruit as its ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to make.  Nice-cream does not contain dairy and doesn’t have all of those added sugars like typical ice cream does.  There still is sugar in nice-cream though, but not the “bad” kind.  Fruit is made up of carbohydrates which break down to glucose, which is sugar.  However, this is the good kind of natural sugar.  Your body needs carbohydrates because that is its main source of energy.  So when you have nice-cream you are putting healthy food in your body that actually tastes good!

Fruit season is coming to New Hampshire before we know it, and with strawberry season especially being just around the corner, I decided to make a strawberry banana nice-cream! In just a few short weeks (OK, a few more than a few), everyone will be able to visit their favorite PYO strawberry patch and rush home for delicious home made nice-cream!

Here is how I made my strawberry banana nice-cream:


  • 3 bananas, cut in coins, frozen
  • ½ cup strawberries, frozen
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  1. Cut bananas into coins, freeze
  2. Place all ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth
  3. Pour contents into a small container
  4. Either freeze for an hour, or enjoy right away!

This is such a delicious, refreshing, guilt-free dessert that you can blend up in no time!  You can have this really any time of the day because it is frozen fruit that tastes like dessert.  For breakfast, you can turn this into a breakfast bowl by adding nuts, chia seeds, and other fresh fruit on top.  You can also modify the ingredients for this recipe to make other flavors.  The base of nice-cream is the frozen banana coins and you can add other kinds of frozen fruits such as frozen mixed berries, or peanut butter and dark chocolate.  There are so many ways to make different flavor nice-creams.  Next time you want a refreshing tasty dessert, I suggest you try this nice-cream!

Posted in Emily | Leave a comment

Forgotten Farms at the Music Hall

Thursday April 27th, The Music Hall in Portsmouth will show the film Forgotten Farms at 7pm. This film portrays New England dairy farmers (including our own community’s Lorraine Merrill, dairy farmer and NH Ag Commissioner), who are struggling to stay in business while they work hard to feed us.

“Forgotten Farms gives us a glimpse into the past and a vision for a future regional food system. The documentary shows the cultural divide between the new food movement and traditional farming, highlighting the need to examine differences, develop mutual understanding, and find common ground. A truly sustainable local food system that benefits everyone will rely on all of our farmers.”

Tickets available online or at the door.

Posted in events, film | Leave a comment

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