Margo Clark Joins the SEL Team in Outreach Role

Seacoast Eat Local is proud to introduce Margo Clark as our incoming Market Outreach and Support team member!
Margo first started with Seacoast Eat Local by interning at the SNAP booth at the Rochester and Somersworth summer markets in 2016. Inspired by the work and impact of her experience, she has continued her work as the SNAP Coordinator at the Exeter and Portsmouth summer markets, and now assisting with Marketing and Support.
Margo’s passions include access to local food and nutrition education. She studied Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of New Hampshire where these passions grew. She is also serving as an AmeriCorps member with Cooking Matters based at the NH Food Bank in Manchester, a program that offers cooking classes to individuals and families who are food insecure. The cooking classes are based on learning to create delicious, nutritious, affordable meals. In her free time, Margo loves exploring the beautiful landscapes in New Hampshire and Maine such as hiking in the Whites or enjoying the Seacoast’s multiple beaches. All the while munching on local produce of course!
In Margo’s new, part time role with Seacoast Eat Local she will be supporting existing markets and coordinating expanded outreach efforts including advertising campaigns, information distribution and representing the organization at various community groups and committees. Seacoast Eat Local values Margo for her enthusiasm, passion and dedication and is excited to welcome her back in this new role.
Reach out to Margo by e-mail at margo@seacoasteatlocal.org

Kaidy’s Post: It’s Pumpkin Season!

Pumpkins are in season in the seacoast area from the beginning of September through the end of October. They belong to the Cucurbita family, also known gourd family,

 which includes several squash varieties, cucumbers and melons. There are over 45 varieties of pumpkins, ranging in color from orange to white to green.

In one cup of pumpkin there 49 calories, 12 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. There is also 245% vitamin A, 19% vitamin C and 16% of potassium, 11% manganese, 11% copper, 11% vitamin B2, 10% vitamin E and 8% iron of the daily recommended values. Pumpkin is filled with vitamins, specifically vitamin A and C, which support immune health, helping you to fight sickness and heal wounds. Also due to its low calorie, nutrient dense nature, pumpkin can help with weight maintenance and loss. Pumpkin seeds are also a great source of nutrition, containing 3 grams of fiber, 7 grams of protein, and 13 grams of polyunsaturated fats per one ounce serving, making them a filling snack to eat throughout the day.

As fall begins to move into full swing, more and more people are picking up pumpkins for their fall decorations. The stores are filled with pumpkin spice flavored goodies and treats and families start to bake pumpkin stuffed treats. However, pumpkin does not have to be only reserved for sugar-filled pumpkin pies and cookies. The recipe below is just one way to incorporate pumpkin into your healthy diet during the fall season.

Pumpkin Sage Pasta

(Makes 8 servings)

Ingredients 

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  •  2 white onion, diced
  •  4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  •  3 cups milk, or milk alternative
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree (1 sugar pumpkin)
  •  salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  •  ½  teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 box whole wheat pasta, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Cut a sugar pumpkin in half, from the stem to base. Remove seeds and pulp. Cover each half with foil.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven, foil side up, for 1 hour, or until tender.
  4. Scrape pumpkin meat from shell halves and puree in a blender. Strain to remove any remaining stringy pieces.
  5. In a medium pot over medium heat, add the oil, onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, and dried sage and cook until onions are translucent, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add milk, pumpkin, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Combine until a smooth, creamy sauce forms. Allow to heat through.
  7. Add prepared pasta and combine.

Pro tip: Roast the leftover pumpkin seeds at 300 degrees Fahrenheit on a baking sheet with olive oil, salt and pepper for 45 minutes or until golden brown to use the whole pumpkin!

Sofias Post: Root Vegetable Salad

I went to the Portsmouth Farmer’s market last Saturday, and it was PACKED (check out some of the pictures I took)! I left with some eggplants, onions, tomatoes, flowers and beets. I normally don’t buy beets because I don’t like having pink fingers all day, but I decided to get them!  I just put on a glove to protect my hand from the juice. Beets have been around since the late 1500’s, as they were used for culinary and medicinal purposes. I have been seeing beets in smoothies, juices and salads everywhere! It is no surprise as they are full of vitamins and minerals such as manganese, folate, vitamin B2 and lots of potassium. Beets can help reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and dementia. When picking out a beet at the farmers market, know that the medium-sized variety are tender, and the larger ones are a little tougher.  Like most other root vegetables, beets can be used in a variety of ways! You can roast beets in the oven, steam them, or add them to your favorite smoothie! I grated my raw beets into a simple salad with spinach, carrots, tomato and red onion. Here is a delicious root vegetable fall salad that will be great for a lunch or as a side dish:

Fall Root Vegetable Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 beets with the greens
  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 apple
  • Salad greens such as spinach, spring mix or arugula
  • Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Trim the tops of the beets, scrub beets, pat dry and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces, chop sweet potato into small chunks, toss in a large bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sprinkle cinnamon over sweet potato
  3. Roast vegetables on a baking pan for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally, add the beet greens and bake for 2 more minutes.
  4. Mix together with chopped apple  and greens. Drizzle with salad dressing.

Dressing:

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper

Source:

https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/diet/beets-nutrition-benefits-types-how-cook-more/#nutritionfacts

Recipe Modified from: spoonfulofflavor.com

Jessica’s Post: Summer Dill Pickles!

My mom, aunt and I take care of our own garden at my memere’s house and the past couple years we have planted less cucumber plants but we still seem to run into the same problem, we still get too many cucumbers! We always seem to have more cucumbers than we need during the summer growing season so in order to not waste any, we have started to pickle them instead! Pickling is actually a really easy process and the perfect way to enjoy the excess amounts of cukes that many people seem to find themselves having during the summer months. I have written below my mom’s recipe for dill pickles, because, although I may be biased, they are super delicious! Please note that this is a recipe for “fridge pickles” and does not use a water bath canning method. As a result of this, these pickles must stay refrigerated and last approximately 1 month.

Summer Dill Pickles:

  • 14 pickling cucumbers
  • 40 fresh dill sprigs
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 1 cup of cider vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup salt
  • 1 teaspoon mixed pickling spices

My family sorta just uses this recipe as a guide and judges the amounts of each ingredient needed based on how many cukes we have available at that time. But I do recommend that if it’s your first time pickling that you follow the recipe to ensure you are getting the flavor desired! Below I wrote out the directions to help you prepare this delicious treat.

Instructions:

  • Remove the blossom end of each cucumber and wash. Cut each cucumber lengthwise into about 6 spears. In a large bowl, combine the cucumbers, dill and garlic; set aside.

  • In a covered pot, combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and cook and until the sugar is dissolved. Pour this liquid over the ingredients prepared in the first step (containing the cucumbers) and allow to cool.

  • Transfer to jars and cover tightly (My family buys mason jars at the store). Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. You should get from this recipe about 4 quarts of pickles!

I have been enjoying the pickle recipe for many summers and it never fails to impress me! It really is quite simple although I know the process of making pickles can seem a difficult at first. If you love a good dill pickle like I do, I can guarantee you’ll enjoy this recipe!

Morgan’s Post: Welcome Eggplant Season!

This Thursday the SAMM Van had a new piece of inventory from Three Sisters Farm in South Berwick, ME – eggplant! And let me tell you, these were HUGE! It seems that everyone was just as shocked and excited to see them because they cleared out very fast. There are so many things you can dowith them such as roasting, stir frying, stuffing, and grilling! Eggplants aid digestion, are full of antioxidants, and are a great source of fiber. They hang from vines that have the ability to grow several feet and have a deep-purple colored skin. To store it you should put the full eggplant – not cut up – in the fridge to be eaten within 2-5 days.

My first introduction to eggplant and favorite experience I’ve had with it was at a restaurant in Texas where I had eggplant fries as an appetizer. Ever since then I’ve been trying to find places that serve them, but I’ve been out of luck. What I loved about them is that I didn’t feel guilty or gross after eating them and still had enough room for my meal. Because of this I decided to find an eggplant fries recipe that I can make myself!

What you will need:

  • 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/4 inch thick ‘fries’

  • 1/2 cup flour

  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan

  • salt and pepper to taste

What to do:

  1. Dredge the eggplant slices in the flour

  2. Mix the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and parmesan

  3. Dip the slices in the egg, then the breadcrumb mixture

  4. Place the eggplant slices on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 7-10 minutes.

 

https://www.closetcooking.com/crispy-baked-eggplant-fries-with/

A Visit to Butternut Farm

Seacoast Eat Local staff recently visited Giff Burnap, owner and operator of Butternut Farm in Farmington. The staff was eager to check out the ever-expanding PYO operation as well as the newly developed line of hard ciders, straight from apples grown on the farm!

In the past year, Giff and his team built a new farm building with a commercial kitchen and basement cider brewing operation. The building is licensed to sell alcohol and has three taps that connect directly to basement hold tanks for the various cider varieties. The commercial kitchen is where many other value added products like fruit pies and a cider donuts are produced for sale to the public during the PYO season from June-November.

Giff’s excitement for the cider is truly evident in speaking to him. SEL staff were thrilled to hear how Giff originally

got into cider-making— he was inspired by our friends at North Country Cider in Rollinsford! According to Giff, he had tried many ciders, but frankly did find them to taste good. Then, he tried North Country’s ciders and was ‘inspired by their methods and products.’ That was the start of a home cider hobby that eventually led to a significant value added operation as part of the Butternut Farm business. This year, the Butternut Farm team produced 1400 gallons of cider and are on track to double that amount next year. Cider is sold on site only, and is only available in growler sizes. Part of the reasoning behind this is for ease– less overhead, transportation, bottling and shipping. However, Giff also seeks to maintain a top quality product, which he feels is currently best achieved with this sales strategy. All the apples in the ciders come right from the farm. Giff is beginning to focus in on specific varieties of apples with higher sugar content so that he can work towards the goal of cider- making with only yeast and apples (a small amount of sugar is currently used). For the record, this cider has the SEL seal of delicious approval!

Of course, fruit farming is Giff’s first passion and the picking opportunities at Butternut Farm are no joke! They have a berry hotline which is updated daily with the latest picking conditions and prices. Butternut Farm has enormous variety of fruits on hand– all manner of strawberries, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, blueberries, apples, pumpkins and even tomatoes. In remaining a PYO operation, Giff and the team can focus solely on ‘growing the fruit’ and ‘creating a quality, emotional experience for visiting families.’ The number of parents and grandparents with young children confirms Giff’s thoughts– his farm is truly a family affair for everyone involved.

For more information, visit http://www.butternutfarm.net/

Will You Stand Up for Local Foods?

As rain finally comes down across the Seacoast today, crop fields (and farmers!) throughout our region are rejoicing. Rain provides a vital resource to our favorite local foods– bok choy, spinach, tomatoes and fall squashes– as they prepare their defenses for a long growing season of potential dangers: drought, bugs and other possible pests.

Farmers, too, are looking out on their fields with optimism as they gird themselves for the struggles of another growing season: poor crop yields and low turnout at farmers’ markets and farm stands. Support for local food through sales of CSA shares and product at local markets have been on the decline. With our action, we can reverse this disturbing trend.

We may not have control over winds and rain, or burning sun, but we do have control over where we spend our local dollars and what actions we take to support the success of our local farms. We know the positive impact they have on our health, community, economy, culture and environment and we have a key role in ensuring their success. In challenging times, our support has never been more important than it is today. We, the consumer, are the root of the local foods movement!

The local foods movement is made up of people just like us. They have families, day jobs and a variety of passions and interests. Leslie and “Has,” for example, are Exeter residents dedicated to conservationism and the environment. They understand that one of the best ways to effect positive change on their local landscapes and waterways is to support local farms and food.

“Why do we give to Seacoast Eat Local? Seacoast Eat Local is all about local: our local economy, natural beauty, health and the resurgence and renewal of local farmers growing our food. We believe that Seacoast Eat Local cultivates community by supporting the people who grow and raise our food and bring our community together at farmers’ markets”

Leslie and Has stand with local foods and farms, and with the work of Seacoast Eat Local. Together, we all stand up for our local foods future. Supporting the work of Seacoast Eat Local, in addition to shopping locally for yourself and family, provides needed help to our farm community. Through fundraising, Seacoast Eat Local is able to provide valuable services and education – helping local farms and markets to increase their outreach and revenue.

Please consider a gift to Seacoast Eat Local in support of our work to strengthen local farms and farmers’ markets. Your continued support is a powerful step in ensuring a strong future for local farms on the Seacoast.

Make your gift today.

Sincerely,

Jillian Hall, Director of Programs

Morgan’s Post: Visiting Tendercrop

When I first connected with Seacoast Eat Local this past spring I immediately began to take interest in buying my fruits and vegetables locally. Knowing that I’m supporting local farms and businesses feels really good, but it’s even more refreshing to be able to see where your fruits, vegetables, and meats come from. I pass many local farms everyday that advertise great prices and fresh product and figured I should try to do all of my grocery shopping this week at one of them!

    For my first big local farm grocery haul I decided to go to Tendercrop Farm in Dover, NH. I’ve seen this beautiful red barn many times and thought it would be a great starting point. As it turns out, it was a great place to continue my journey of staying away from processed foods. I was shocked at the variety they have! A lot of my favorites from my weekly grocery list are currently in season such as green onion, carrots, and spinach, and Tendercrop has them all. Foods are at their peak freshness right after they are harvested, and you can tell just by looking at how colorful they are. They also have the most nutrients at this time as well.

I should make special note that not all of the products at Tendercrop were grown there. They purchase in a number of products and are certainly a large farm and grocery business for our area that operates on more of a corporate model. They also operate in two locations, in Dover and in Amesbury, MA. However, Tendercrop has a clear list of which products are their own so I made sure to pick up some of their eggs, lettuce, and asparagus as well. Even though I was there for about 45 minutes and had a full basket I feel like I didn’t even make a dent in the store! They also have a variety of their own meats, dried herbs and flowers and more. My mind is racing just thinking about all of the meals I can make with my purchases and what I didn’t even get!

 My experience at Tendercrop reinforced my decision to buy local foods. I was able to ask the people who work there specific questions about their crops and how they are grown and receive answers immediately. I’m not much of a meat eater but an employee did tell me that they have their own grass fed beef which is higher in nutrients and “leaner”. It was great to have all of this knowledge at my fingertips as opposed to going to a big-chain grocery store! Besides the personal interactions, buying from places like Tendercrop cuts down on pollution as they don’t have to ship their product. As someone who is very environmentally conscious, this provides an ease of mind. As you can see there are many benefits that come from supporting your community’s farms. I can’t wait to continue buying from Tendercrop and to try other, smaller and family owned farms in the seacoast region!

Morgan’s Post: 5 Ingredient Fruit Smoothies

The past month I made the decision to eliminate dairy from my diet for the summer. As someone who is very pro-mozzarella stick, this was extremely difficult to start. The first few days consisted of looking up pictures of nachos when I was sick of eating rice and ordering water when my friends and I went out for ice cream.

However, my diet changed encouraged me to make food at my house with the food I already had and to buy healthier products. I really wanted to look forward to my meals and become accustomed to a life without covering everything in cheese. I don’t have a huge budget so I also wanted to use as few ingredients as possible. I’m also not the most impressive chef in the world, so I found a website that has many 3-5 ingredient fruit smoothie recipes and started experimenting!

It’s important to note that you can find many fruits in our farmers markets and at local farms in New Hampshire throughout the summer. Strawberries will be available in a few short weeks and blueberries will be following soon after. By taking advantage of the harvest when berries are in season, you can freeze extra for use year-round. There are also many local milk producers in our region– from cow’s milk at Brandmoore or Brookford Farms to a variety of goats milk dairies. If you’re like me and are trying to cut down on dairy, I’ve found that almond milk is a delicious substitute for recipes calling for milk. The great thing about these recipes is that you can alter them to fit what you like! Here is my favorite:

Berry Oat Hazelnut Smoothie

  • 1 cup milk of your choice
  • 1 cup berry of your choice
  • 1 banana                                                             
  • 1 tablespoon hazelnuts
  • ¼ cup oats

Throw all of this in a blender, and stop when you find a consistency you enjoy! I have this for breakfast about twice a week, it’s very filling and nutritional. I’ve experimented with different nuts and berries – like I said the great thing about smoothies is that you can make it your own!

 

This recipe is adapted from: https://greatist.com/eat/simple-smoothie-recipes

Melissa’s Post: Rhubarb Oatmeal

This recipe gives a unique twist on using rhubarb this summer! For most, rhubarb is associated closely with strawberry-rhubarb pie or crisp, or another close dessert adaptation. This tangy oatmeal recipe will help you shake it up a little and enjoy some of the plants you will be seeing coming up at the local farmers’ markets at breakfast time instead of as an after-dinner treat, and there are no strawberries needed!

Rhubarb is a tart perennial vegetable that is comparable by some with Granny Smith apples and is in high-demand in the early summer. It is packed with minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and manganese, vitamins like Vitamins C and K, and Vitamin B complexes. Rhubarb also contains important organic compounds such as dietary fiber and small amounts of plant protein to help keep you fuller longer and help improve digestion.

Rhubarb has been popping up around the local markets and in local grocery stores, like these gorgeous stalks I saw at the Hollister Family Farm at the Portsmouth market this week, so be sure to get your hands on some to try this summery oatmeal! To extend the rhubarb season, consider purchasing extra and freezing it for later use! 

Serves: 2

Nutrition Facts Per 1 cup serving: 336 calories, 8g fat (1g saturated fat; based upon use of skim milk), 6g fiber, 56g carbohydrates, 13g protein, 4mg cholesterol, 25g sugars (naturally-occurring), 9g added sugars (also dependent on choice and amount of sweetener added), 153mg sodium, 36mg Vitamin C (60% daily value), 302mg calcium (based upon use of skim milk, 30% daily value), 2mg iron, 772mg potassium, 3 ½ carbohydrate servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups nonfat milk, or nondairy milk   
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup ½ inch rhubarb pieces
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pecans/nut of choice if desired, toasted

Instructions:

Combine milk, juice, oats, rhubarb, cinnamon, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce to a simmer (very gentle bubbling) and stir frequently until the oats and rhubarb are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let it stand for about another 5 minutes. Stir in your choice of sweetener to taste. (Note: agave and honey are natural, light-tasting sweeteners that can add depth of flavor to a dish such as this! Honey contains Vitamin C, calcium, and iron, has antioxidant properties, and can vary in taste depending on the region and flowers in the area in which the bees were raised. It also can be found at various stands at your local farmers’ market!)

To toast nuts: place your nut of choice in a dry skillet and cook over medium-low heat for 2-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the nuts are fragrant and lightly browned. Chop nuts to desired size/texture and sprinkle over or stir into oatmeal.