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Donate and Shop at the Fabulous Find in June!

The Fabulous Find, a 501c3 non-profit organization, is a boutique style resale shop at 139 State Rd (Route One) in Kittery which partners with different worthy, local non-profit organizations each month. All profits are donated to whatever organizations are selected by our board for that particular month.

Donate and shop in June to support Seacoast Eat Local, PMAC, and Historic New England’s Hamilton House!

Farming is Determination

The physical change is incredible. The last time I visited Carla, I was working as a 4-H Agent and her two children, then in their early teens, were involved in my

programming. They lived in a thickly wooded property in Barrington down a dirt road and Carla tended a garden just large enough for her family. Four or five years later, their road is still unpaved, but they’ve cleared nearly an acre of their property. Just a short walk beyond the driveway, in what used to be a stand of tall pines, sits a neatly tended and fenced quarter acre plot of rows planted in spring greens. Welcome to Determination Farm.

“It’s a blank canvas, really” Carla explain to me as she surveys the rest of the yard, across to the back of the house where another, smaller and older plot sits. I can tell she is seeing the next five and ten years unfold. There are blackberry and raspberry bushes in that vision, more blueberries, better space for potatoes. Her soil is better in that vision, too. Currently, she works row by row to slowly replace the sandy soil with nutrient-dense materials. “Cover cropping about 30% of my rows this winter is my goal. I try to take on just a little and improve bit by bit.”

In a corner of her fenced plot is a small greenhouse, about 15 feet long. The frame was borrowed from an old carport and her husband, Marc, dedicated some of his time to transform it into a greenhouse. Inside are plugs of a variety of different greens, growing forests of tomato plants and some of the tastiest mustard greens I have had in some time. Carla gets very excited about the lettuce, sharing with me the different varieties and the joy she has in each step of the lettuce’s life from seed to transplanting, cutting and later bagging for market sales and for her CSA customers. “The lettuce is what I really like growing and I see myself really concentrating on the customers who love their salads.”

 

It’s a new act in life for Carla. She grew up in the South (Missouri) and moved north, studying psychology before becoming a caseworker. She later married her husband, had two children and homeschooled them through high school. With her children in early adulthood, Carla was ready for a new phase in life. Determination Farms is just two years old and in its fledgling stage. Wisely, she has started very small with only a handful of CSA customers. She knows exactly how many CSA shares she needs to break even and what her limit is, should she reach it. She has some tentative plans to sell extra greens to try to maximize her sales potential. She knows a lot of her investments may not repay themselves for years (if ever), but she has plans to keep growing, little by little.

Determination Farm is still accepting CSA members for the 2018 CSA season. For more information about the farm and its CSA program, visit their website.

 

Morgan’s Post: Jalepeno and Kumquat Tofu

This recipe is great for nights when you want to do something super easy! The marinade can be used for many different things and would be great on top of chicken, duck, or fish as well. This recipe does have a little heat because of the jalapeño so if you don’t like spicy foods you could substitute the jalapeño for an Italian pepper. If kumquats are hard to find oranges would also work just as well. I served this with lime wedges and sides of corn on the cob and mashed parsnips. As always feel free to experiment and modify the recipe to meet your desires or needs.

If you are unfamiliar with kumquats, they are a citrus fruit that resembles a very small orange. Just like oranges they are high in vitamin C and fiber. However, they are not oranges and are just a little more sour. They can be eaten whole skin and all and work well in jams and marinades.

Ingredients

  • 1 package of kumquats
  • 1 jalapeño
  • 1 small piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 package of firm tofu (we recommend you try Maine-local Heiwa tofu!)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions

  1. Chop kumquats and jalapeño into circular cuts as seen in the picture.
  2. Chop up the ginger into small pieces (you could also leave larger it will be easier to get out at the end because you don’t want to leave it in when you serve it).
  3. Place a pot on medium heat with water, sugar, kumquats, jalapeño, and ginger.
  4. Continue to stir and heat until the kumquats and jalapeño are soft and the water and sugar have formed a syrup like consistency (if this is taking forever you can add a pinch of corn starch to get the process going).
  5. Remove the ginger pieces.
  6. Place a pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  7. Slice the tofu into rectangles that are at least an inch or two thick.
  8. Salt and pepper the tofu.
  9. Sear the tofu on both sides until the edges are golden brown.
  10. Take the tofu off the heat and top with the kumquat and jalapeño mixture.
  11. Enjoy!

Morgan’s Post: Eating Local Between Markets

Waiting for the summer farmer’s markets can feel like forever especially if you can’t travel to markets that are a little further away. However, in between markets you can still eat local and support local farmers. Eating locally supports the local economy, there is shorter time between farm and table, there is less travel time for the food and less waste due to travel, and it promotes community. The following are three ways you can support farmers and local producers and eat local in between markets:

  1. Support local restaurants that also support local farmers. A couple that I enjoy and have come to include Laney and Lu, Blue Moon Evolution, and the Portsmouth Brewery. For even more restaurants, Seacoast Eat Local has a large list here: https://seacoasteatlocal.org/find-local-food/restaurants-that-use-local-foods/

2. Sign up for a CSA! CSA stands for community supported agriculture and is a “share” of product from a local farmer. These can be purchased from a farm of your choosing and CSAs can offer a variety of seasonal produce, eggs, meat, pork, poulty, fish, or even flowers! For more information about CSAs or if you are interested in purchasing one, more can be found in the Seacoast Harvest and here: https://seacoasteatlocal.org/find-local-food/csas/.  While Most CSAs have not started yet, a fish share from NH Community Seafood has already begun and many CSA programs extend through the fall and into the winter, providing access to local foods between the summer and winter market season.

3. Many farms also have farm stores and you can shop your favorite farm’s product in between markets. A couple around the area include Brandmoore Farm in Rollinsford, Applecrest Farm Orchards in Hampton Falls, and Emery Farm in Durham. A couple more local shops are listed here as well: https://seacoasteatlocal.org/find-local-food/restaurants-that-use-local-foods/ 

4. Enjoy shelf-stable products from local farms. Have you forgotten about the jar of pickles or jam or sauerkraut that you purchased at a long ago market? What about frozen meats or dried beans? Now is a good time to shop your freezer and pantry to make room for the abundance to come!

James’ Post: How Do I Add Fruits and Vegetables to my Diet?

As a student in nutrition & dietetics, one of the most common things I get asked is, “what is the #1 piece of advice I have to anyone for their diet?” And my answer is always the same: Eat more fruits and vegetables! An average American eats only 1 and a half cups of vegetables per day.(1) Because of this, the United States is spending billions of dollars in yearly healthcare costs related to disease that can be reduced by consuming a more nutrient-dense diet.

I think in some ways, it is common sense that everyone should consume more fruits and vegetables. But there is a disconnect between knowledge and food intake, which I have always wondered about. So, I wanted to address that gap with some of my previous blog posts and really fix the underlying issue, which is the practicality of that advice, by providing fun and easy recipes highlighting fruits and vegetables!

Knowing to eat fruits and vegetables is one thing. But actually doing it? I’m not going to sugarcoat this advice: it takes time. It takes time to meal plan, to cook vegetables yourself, create a grocery list, and figure things out. One idea that I really like is the concept of eating a vegetarian meal once per week. Collectively, a popular term for this is “Meatless Mondays” where families will have a vegetarian meal every Monday for dinner. Something like this has been shown to be great because it is maintainable, and a step in the right direction toward increased fruit and vegetable consumption.

Here’s my advice on how I incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables in my diet. I do want to make it known, you are probably going to want to set aside 30 minutes to an hour weekly to really figure this out.

  1. Look at what you already have in your fridge, what is going to go bad soon? Can you cook it and make something new before you have to get rid of it? Can you freeze it in the meantime? Alternatively, you can also try to check out your grocery store’s website or weekly fliers to see what produce is on sale this week as a starting guide for your recipes! At Farmers’ Markets, look for the items that are in abundance. A lot of times they are less expensive and higher quality than what’s in the grocery store when they are in the height of season.

2. Once you have a good idea of what’s already available, start looking up recipes that you want to make! Several websites, including allrecipes.com, have an ingredient search feature, in that you can type the ingredients on hand and it will give you recipe ideas that use up those ingredients. You also have the ability to filter results to only vegetarian meals, which I love.

3. Physically write down the recipes you want to make (on paper or on an electronic device) and what ingredients are required, then figure out what you have and what you need.

4. Make sure every ingredient you need makes its way to a shopping list. I use the app AnyList on my phone, because when you type in an ingredient, it will automatically recognize what category of the grocery store it is in and sort the list for you.

5. Don’t forget snacks! If you’re like me and you snack throughout the day, make those snacks fresh fruits and vegetables! Some of my favorites include fresh veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery, bell peppers, grape tomatoes) by themselves or dipped in hummus, yogurt, or tzatziki. Spending some time on prep over the weekend may make this choice easier in the middle of a busy week.

But overall, don’t forget to ENJOY your fruits and vegetables! Fresh produce can be absolutely delicious when prepared in a way that you like. Plus, when you take the time out of your week to plan your meals out and cook things from scratch, you really get to appreciate your hard work!

So if you’re having a hard time incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet, try these tips out and leave a comment to let everyone know what worked for you!

References

  1. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/05/21/311895781/the-vegetables-most-americans-eat-are-drowning-in-salt-and-fat

Lilah’s Post: Berry Pie Bars

With spring finally on the rise, I made these healthy, delicious raspberry pie bars. It’s a good way to use up any remaining frozen berries that may be in your freezer from last season, or you can file this one away until berries are in season again. They are so refreshing on a beautiful day and perfectly chewy. I enjoy them best after they are cooked and refrigerated so that they are cool. These bars are also dairy free, gluten free, and paleo, enjoy!

Ingredients:

Crust-

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup honey (available from many local vendors)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil melted
  • 1 tsp vanila extract
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

Filling-

  • 1 1/2 cup raspberries (or berry of your choice) If using frozen berries, try to drain any excess water before using and consider increasing flour slightly
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut flour
  • Crumb Topping-
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts, or pecans
  • 1/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1/4 cup remaining crust layer

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 & line a 9 inch square pan with parchment paper
  2. In a bowl mix the almond flour, coconut flour, honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract, and cinnamon for the crust layer. Mix until well combined
  3. Press the crust into the pan (set aside 1/4 a cup for the crumb topping) and bake the crust for 10 minutes
  4. Now for the filling, in a saucepan combine raspberries, honey, coconut oil, and coconut flour; cook on medium heat & press the raspberries in to break them down, cook 2-3 minutes or until thick; it should look like a jam. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until needed
  5. Once the crust is cooked, let cool for 10 minutes. Add the walnuts and dates to the 1/4 cup remaining crumb topping
  6. Spread the raspberry sauce over the crust, then sprinkle the crumb layer on top, bake for 15 minutes.
  7. Let cool and cut, refrigerate for up to one week

James’ Post: Charred Corn Salad for Summer

Summer is right around the corner (hopefully) and that means simple, fresh dishes are going to be making their appearance soon. I have several dishes that I tend to always jump back to during the summer, and I think this salad is going to be one of them. I have never made a salad like this before, but I am thrilled with the results. This salad is a perfect balance of sweet and tangy, with subtle umami from the roasted corn.

I hear a lot of myths and misconceptions around corn, and the general consensus seems to be that people think it is unhealthy. If you’re reading this, I want you to know that, in my opinion, this is not true. Corn is a great source of fiber, which most Americans are not consuming enough of. (1,2) In addition, corn can be a great source of both vitamin A and C. (2,3) Corn might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a “superfood” but what do you classify as a superfood? Many people consider high antioxidant content being a superfood. Well, did you know corn is a great source of lutein and zeaxanthin? These are both beneficial antioxidants that help fight against free radicals, possibly slowing cancer growth rates. In my opinion, corn is just another vegetable, and can be a great addition to many peoples’ diets, and is also generally low-cost! Corn is a crop that is frequently sprayed for pests and that can lead to some of its bad rap in the food world. This is a concern for all foods we eat and is why asking questions of local farms is so important. If growing practices are of concern to you, we highly recommend that you ask the farm about its methods. Any farm should be open to sharing this information with you and it’s a great opportunity for some self-education!

Feta & Mint Charred Corn Salad!

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups corn kernels (I use frozen for simplicity and cost, you do not need to thaw for this recipe)
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 green onions/scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint, chopped
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled (I like to buy the fresh blocks and crumble it myself)
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (you could also use all red wine vinegar)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

First, preheat the broiler in your oven. If you have a low/high option, I would recommend low.

Next, in a large bowl, mix your corn kernels with the canola oil. Spread the kernels on a baking sheet, and try to minimize the amount of overlapping.

Now, put your corn kernels under the broiler. If they were frozen (like mine), they will take longer to char. In my oven, it took about 5 minutes under the broiler from frozen to achieve the perfect level of char. I would recommend checking in on them at the 2 minute mark and every minute after that, because they can go from perfect to burnt quicker than you would think!

Take your corn kernels out of the oven and let them come to room temperature. Place them in a large bowl with the scallions, mint, and feta. Drizzle with the olive oil. Mix everything up.

Add in the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and vinegar(s) of your choice. Mix everything up one last time, and enjoy!

This salad tastes delicious as is and is also delicious the next day after letting flavors sit overnight.

References:

  1. https://www.ars.usda.gov/ARSUserFiles/80400530/pdf/DBrief/12_fiber_intake_0910.pdf
  2. https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2982/2
  3. https://www.bestfoodfacts.org/corn/

Welcome Eleanor Kane to the Seacoast Eat Local board!

Please join us in welcoming Eleanor Kane, co-owner of Brasen Hill Farm and all around fantastic strategic thinker, to the Seacoast Eat Local board. We are thrilled to have her experiences and perspectives as we continue connecting more people to more sources of local food!

 

Eleanor Kane is the co-owner of Brasen Hill Farm in Barrington, NH.  She became interested in the movement towards local, sustainable food and humanely raised animals during college and is excited to provide her community with healthy, local meat, eggs, and vegetables.  Since joining the New England farming scene in 2010, she’s never looked back!  In addition to farming, she has worked in various capacities at a range of nonprofits, where she has focused on environmental education, social justice, local food access, and community building.  She holds a Masters in Public Affairs from Brown University and is currently a PhD candidate in Education at the University of New Hampshire.

Morgan’s Post: Lemon Arugula Pasta with Cauliflower

Arugula is finally back in season and summer is just around the corner. This recipe is great cold and hot, and the chickpeas make it filling enough to be a meal and not just a side dish. If having this cold, I would suggest not wilting the arugula and allowing the pasta to cool so that it is more like a salad. As always feel free to tweak the recipe to your own preferences, it would be just as good with broccoli rather than cauliflower.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 large cauliflower chopped into smaller florets
  • 1 can or package of chickpeas (10 oz.)
  • 2 lemons
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup capers
  • 1 Box of gemelli pasta
  • 1/2 cup butter (I used dairy-free Earth Balance)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • salt and pepper for flavoring

Directions

  1. Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.
  2. Add the cauliflower and chopped garlic to the skillet and sauté until the cauliflower is browned.
  3. Drain the chickpeas.
  4. Add the chickpeas and heat for 5 minutes.
  5. Boil a pot of water with a pinch of salt.
  6. Add the gemelli pasta and cook until al dente or desired texture.
  7. Drain the pasta.
  8. Add the butter, capers, lemon juice, paprika, and salt and pepper to the cauliflower mix let simmer for 5 minutes.
  9. Add arugula until slightly wilted.
  10. Add the sauce, arugula, and cauliflower mix to the noodles and mix well.
  11. Enjoy!