Getting to know Sara Zoë

By Isis Ulery Chapman, Seacoast Eat Local intern

I am starting a new kind of post here on the blog.  I think that we should all get to know the people behind Seacoast Eat Local a little more, so I will be interviewing all of the board members and people that have created this amazing community.  

For my first post I started with Sara Zoë Patterson, she is a Co-Chair on the board, and a super sweet woman that I am honored to have met.


Could you tell me the story of how you became involved with SEL?

photo courtesy Allagash Brewery

I’ve always been an environmentalist, trying to take as much direct action in my own life while affecting bigger change, too. The connection between agriculture and environmental impact is significant, but what is so hopeful is that impact could actually be a positive impact, instead of adverse. And we get so many opportunities to choose to have a positive impact through food choices. So I have been pretty conscientious about food choices, and have volunteered and interned at a variety of different farms, while also being passionate about food. I love to cook and eat and enjoy food. Around 2005, through my connections with the farms and farmers I volunteered with, I began to try to share with a broader community the importance of eating locally and information about all the food that was being produced in our area. I joined forces with other interested consumers and farmers, and we founded Seacoast Eat Local to be able to have even more impact for our community and support farmers.


What is your definition of SEL?
Seacoast Eat Local makes connections – between farmers and consumers, between consumers and their food, between people who have excess food and people who need better food. We’re growing communities through greater access to local foods and giving everyone the opportunity to eat local all year long while working hard to make farming an economically and environmentally sustainable cornerstone of our community for a resilient future.

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What is your job title at SEL?  What kind of work are you given with that title?
I am the Co-Chair of the Board of Seacoast Eat Local. The responsibilities of Chair, which I share with Celeste Gingras, are to ensure we are always working toward meeting the mission of SEL as best we can. It includes overseeing and directing the board, overseeing staff, and keeping both the big picture and small details in balance. In addition to my Co-Chair responsibilities, I also volunteer on the Seacoast Harvest and SNAP committees, and share lots of different kinds of photos and events and information through our website, blog, and social media outlets.



How has SEL grown since you’ve been working with them?
Seacoast Eat Local started as a website, and now we have the annual publication Seacoast Harvest, are in our 9th season of Winter Farmers’ Markets, and our SNAP program is growing each year – it has been continual growth for the organization since its founding.


What has been your favorite aspect of working with SEL?
Seeing the visible difference the programs have made to so many people. Whether it’s the happiness of buying fresh green food all winter long, the ability of farmers to expand their operations and create new jobs, or the gratitude and happiness when a low income shopper discovers the fresh, healthy food they can now buy for their families through the SNAP incentive programs, it’s great seeing hard work pay off and grow to be able to impact even more of our community.

I know SEL has been working hard to continue to assist the SNAP community, how did you get involved with that?

Like much of our work, we saw a need that was not being met. New Hampshire is catching up fast, but there was a time when we, as a state, were very behind in offering SNAP access at farmers’ markets. The program feels like such a win win for everyone – farmers are connected to an expanded consumer base and these new customers have access to fresh, healthy, whole foods.


What is one piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to become involved in their local foods community?

bestways2One of the best things any of us can do is to bring a friend or coworker or family member to a market. There are so many ways to get involved, from just changing how you eat yourself to volunteering in a lot of different ways. There are plenty of events to go to, from food swaps to gardening classes to farm to table dinners. And lots of volunteer opportunities. But the best way we can support the local food community is to help farmers sell everything they grow. And to do that, we need more customers.


What is your favorite vegetable that you can find at markets in the winter?
spinachSpinach. Hands down. I never stop raving about winter spinach, and I barely eat it in the summer because the winter version is so much better in my opinion. I bought three bags at the last market and they’ll be gone in as many days! I saute it with a little butter, and eat it for breakfast with eggs and Flying Goat Farm chevre.


What’s your shopping list for the last outdoor market?


By Isis Ulery Chapman, Seacoast Eat Local intern

This Saturday, November 7th is the last Portsmouth Farmers’ Market of 2015, and the end of the outdoor markets is sneaking up on us.  There will be two whole weeks between the last outdoor market and the first indoor market and I know my family and a few others are planning on stocking up for the gap period.  

Some great items that store well are potatoes, onions, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, pumpkins, garlic, Brussels sprouts, apples and various squashes, which I love to use when making homemade squash ravioli.  We will also be stocking up on meat for the freezer.

I found this great chart of the preferred temperature to store vegetables:


Some of my favorite ways to use these fall vegetables are cubing a mix of vegetables, tossing with oil, salt, pepper, roasting in the oven at 350°F until tender and placing an over-easy fried egg on top.  You can add different spices as well, I enjoy adding curry and a pinch of brown sugar sometimes.  This is a great recipe because you can use any vegetables you have, although my favorite combination is squash, brussel sprouts, onions, apples and potatoes, sweet or white.  

I also love making homemade butternut squash ravioli, which you can also substitute with a different squash or a mix of vegetables.  If you don’t have mascarpone cheese, you can substitute it with plain yogurt or sour cream.  I base my ravioli off this recipe.  

There are just a few more outdoor markets left but the winter markets start November 21st.

Welcome Isis!


isisHello, My name is Isis Ulery Chapman and I am a new Intern at Seacoast Eat Local! I am a homeschool student in my freshman year of high school. I am in a homeschool co-op in Exeter called The Penn Program. Right now I am learning Mandarin Chinese, how to do metal work in jewelry, about Buddhism and I am starting my own food podcast.

I grew up all over NH and love exploring the world around me. I am in the process of hiking the 48 4,000 footers and bike almost everyday. I also enjoy Contra dancing, reading, taking Polaroid photos, playing ukulele and piano, volunteering at various organizations and writing letters in my spare time.

I am very interested in culinary arts and get so much joy from working with fresh and local foods. I am very excited to learn more about the seasonal foods in the seacoast, meet all the people involved and join the community it has created.

If you see me at a farmers’ market, please come up and say hi!