Hello again everyone!
I was so excited to get started on my blog posts and dive into some recipes for the incredibly beautiful foods I was seeing at my first market that I almost forgot to introduce myself! My name is Melissa, and I am interning with Seacoast Eat Local this summer at the Portsmouth market! I am a UNH student studying Nutrition and Dietetics with a dual-major in Ecogastronomy. I feel like finding this internship opportunity was perfect for me to work in a position that offered such a balance between of my career interest of becoming a Registered Dietitian and my love for sustainable, wholesome foods.
I grew up in Hooksett, NH, the daughter of a Manchester police officer and a stay-at-home-mother. My dad is Irish and my mother is Italian-Sicilian, so food was a pretty large focus in our family dynamic, but more so the food that tasted good and wasn’t always exactly good for you. I wasn’t brought up around farmers’ markets or loved to cook or eat lots of fresh, healthy foods all my life. I was actually an overweight child pretty much all my life until I reached high school and started to make food choices for myself. I wasn’t ever a picky eater, and loved most fruits and vegetables, but I wasn’t brought up to make healthy choices—I really was a sucker for sweets! My sophomore year of high school I started to eat more fresh foods like salads, and lightly cooked vegetables and meats, and I snacked on fruits instead of the concentrated sweets I was so used to. I even joined the Manchester Central High School rowing team after not having played a sport in years! I managed to lose 30lbs all by myself, and felt like I was onto something for my future. I wanted to make it my work to help kids through the same journey I had, or prevent them for having to make huge lifestyle changes by just educating them from an early age and educating parents to make these habits into a fun lifestyle together, and so I did some research, and it seemed like becoming a Registered Dietitian was the road I was looking to go down! Since then, I haven’t looked back and am loving the career path I’m heading towards.
Having been to two markets already, I’ve already met a handful of people who tell us their stories, and who have all shared the common thread I came from. They tell us that they were obese, or had a looming health condition due to their weight or food and lifestyle choices, and finding the markets was the wake-up call they needed to turn their lives around. Some have lost nearly 100lbs, some are no longer pre-diabetic, and some have even expressed being able to relive their childhoods because they grew up on a farm. It’s wonderful to me, and it makes me so happy to meet these people and see that not only will my career choice be so fulfilling to me, but that Seacoast Eat Local gave me a wonderful opportunity to help people become aware of the markets and what they have to offer, and more easily access healthy foods, get to know their grower, and know where their food is coming from.
I’m so happy to be sharing a summer with Seacoast Eat Local and all of the seacoast locals that I will be able to meet at the markets! Please come find me at the Seacoast Eat Local booth at the Portsmouth markets on Saturdays, I would love to meet you!