Spices and Herbs Featuring: Stock+Spice and Heron Pond Farm

With Summer upon us, produce is plentiful and fresh herbs can be found almost everywhere. If you don’t have a small pot of your own growing in your backyard or on a windowsill, don’t worry, the farmers markets on the Seacoast have you covered. From basil to lavender and everything in between, these wonderful additions to summer dishes can be found at the markets. What you may not have known is that spices can also be found at some markets and locally too! 

Sometimes for the at home novice chef it can be confusing when to add fresh herbs or spices to a dish. Herbs are the leaves of a plant and spices are roots, barks, and seeds. An example of this is cilantro is an herb and coriander (the seeds) are a spice. Dried herbs and spices are added during cooking so that the flavor can infuse into what you are preparing, and fresh herbs are added at the end of cooking (with a few exceptions like rosemary). When substituting either in a recipe remember to use less of a dry herb or spice then a fresh herb or spice and vice versa.

Heron Pond Farm has a wonderful selection of potted fresh herbs and recently has been bringing other goodies to markets including but not limited to tomatoes, greens, and strawberries. They are located in South Hampton, New Hampshire, have a farm stand, and can be found at the Exeter, Portsmouth, and Newburyport farmers markets this summer. They farm in all four seasons and grow over 250 varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. 

Stock+Spice is located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire next to the Black Trumpet Restaurant and Bar, and can be found at some farmers markets including Exeter, New Hampshire through out the summer. The company was created by Chef Evan Mallett and Denise Mallett, the owners of the Black Trumpet Restaurant & Bar in Portsmouth, and is owned by Paula Sullivan, a long-time employee of the restaurant. Both spices and bone broths are sold, and there is also a great variety of Black Trumpet spice blends that all sound delicious.  Stock+Spice offers demonstration cooking classes and recipes using their products, more information can be found on their website

What are your favorite herbs and spices? Let us know in the comments.

Theresa’s Post: Bitter Cold

Theresa Walker is Seacoast Eat Local’s Vice-Chair and raises Romney and Merino sheep for fiber and breed stock at her Durham, NH farm, Great Bay Wool Works

We’re all eating a lot in January – livestock included.  Forecasts of arctic blasts and winter storm watches send many of us out to stock up on food and fuel.  As a shepherd, the needs of my flock during bad winter weather are no different than the needs of me and my family – access to shelter, fresh water and food.  And, like me, my sheep eat a lot more when it’s bitterly cold.

Follow the flock on Instagram @greatbaywoolworks

Our Durham, NH flock ate twice as much hay and grain per day during the cold blast that hit the region the last week of December through the first half of January.  That means my supply of feed, harvested and stored throughout last summer, may not be enough to get me through to late spring, when I can put the flock back out on pasture.  I’ve already started calling my “hay guys” to find out what they have stored.  Alas, not much, given the long, cool spring and dry late summer and fall we had last year.  Prices for hay are going to climb throughout the months ahead.

Some members of the flock, older brood ewes that are not pregnant, can get by with less.  But breeding rams, lambs still growing from last year, and pregnant ewes cannot.  Pregnant ewes, due to give birth in early February, can consume twice as much feed and three times as much water per day during the last month of their five month pregnancy, the most critical period for lamb development in utero.  Ensuring adequate food and fresh, unfrozen water becomes the highest priority.

Even on the coldest day in January, the flock is eager to get out of the barn, stretch their legs, watch the birds, eat the snow, and nibble on Christmas trees dropped off by neighbors.  Concerned folks will call to let me know the sheep are out, and I appreciate their interest in the flock’s welfare.  I let them know that the sheep can choose to go inside if they like, and that keeping the sheep cool on a hot and humid August day is harder than keeping them warm on a bitter January day.  Sheep are built for our New Hampshire winter weather, their wool coats prove it!

– Theresa Walker, Liberty Hall Farm/Great Bay Works, Durham, NH.  www.greatbaywoolworks.com.  Follow the flock on Instagram @greatbaywoolworks

Oyster farms or jet skis?

Does Great Bay need more oyster farms or jet skis?

Our mission at Seacoast Eat Local is to help people to eat more locally grown food. A diverse landscape of farms in the Seacoast is a lofty goal and it needs steady encouragement. Here’s a case of a local oyster farm on Great Bay that needs your help.

Many land-owners say Not In My BackYard to farms, but if we all said that there would be nothing but suburban sprawl on the beautiful NH Seacoast. Oyster farming, like organic farming, has the added benefit of improving the environment. Please help us out by signing this petition now.

https://www.change.org/p/nh-fish-and-game-department-support-the-health-of-great-bay-by-sharing-its-use-with-oyster-farmers

Still not convinced? Let’s hear more evidence from the local small farmer:

Written by Troy Payne of NESO,

Fun Fact: The Great Bay Estuary is one of only 29 major estuaries in the United States. Collectively, these 29 sites provide nursery habitat for about 75% of all seafood harvested in the US. So, like damn, lets keep those around.

http://nhpr.org/post/nhs-ailing-estuaries-report-shows-oysters-clams-decline

Maybe you caught this [link above] NPR piece last month with Rachel Rouillard of the Piscataqua Region Estuary Partnership (PREP,) a joint program between local, state and federal agencies established under the Clean Water Act with the goal of protecting and enhancing nationally significant estuarine resources, like Great Bay.  Rachel is PREPs Executive Director and was delivering a summary of their latest report on the health of our bay and the news isn’t good.  In a nutshell, the ecosystem is in crisis, it is in decline, and it lacks the resilience to recover on its own.

It turns out that oyster populations, whose occurrence in natural beds in Great Bay numbered 25 million individuals as recently as 1993, have been decimated to the point where current populations are estimated to number fewer than 2 million.  Want to guess what one of the leading indicators of estuary ecosystem resilience is.  Sure, it’s oysters.  That’s because oysters suck – literally.  A single healthy adult oyster can filter as much as 50 gallons of water a day.  The daily filtration of those 23 million missing oysters would approach 6 billion gallons, or roughly a tenth of the volume of the entire 60 billion gallon estuary at high tide.  That kind of daily cleanup power would help to stabilize the delicate biochemical and symbiotic species dance that underpins the health of the whole estuary by absorbing spiking influxes of runoff contaminants from the more than 1000 square miles of estuary watershed.  But they’re gone, so they don’t.  And pretty much every other species that relies on that missing stabilization is suffering.

Heroic oyster bed restoration efforts are underway in the bay and have been for years, but natural beds are susceptible to oyster parasites which can thrive more readily in a resilience challenged environment.  On the other hand, oyster farming practices are much less impacted by these parasites since the adult oyster are regularly removed to market and replaced with new cultured spat.  So it’s win-win.  Oyster farms keep growing out and removing adult oysters, which keeps the filters operating in the bay, in a way that natural beds can’t.

So with all this information well understood by every scientist, academic, and environmental stakeholder in the Great Bay ecosystem, you have to wonder why oyster farmers are having difficulty getting permitting applications approved by the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department for open oyster sites in the estuary.

Meet New England Superior Oyster (NESO,) the little oyster farm with the big name.  They’ve invested in an old pontoon boat platform on which to do their oystering work, and purchased enough materials to build out fifty or so oyster cages and bags, and they have more than enough passion for the environment, to work at a local and sustainable scale.  The one thing the don’t have is a permit to put oysters in the bay near the south end of their fields on Royalls Cove at the mouth of the Bellamy River.

Though they have applied multiple times over nearly two years past, a small but vocal group group of condominium and homeowners across the water are opposed to the project. So much opposed in fact that they have started a petition to keep oyster farming entirely out of Royalls Cove (which contains about 10% of all available space open to oystering in the estuary.)  Their concerns, as stated in their petition are, their property values, their recreational access to the entire cove, their views, and murkily, their quality of life.

In self-defense, NESO has started it’s own petition asking Fish and Game to share the use of the cove, and to prioritize projects with significant environmental benefit over those with little or none.  We support this initiative based on it’s value to the entire estuary community rather than a small group trying to reserve a part of this rare and precious resource for their own use.  Visit the petition website here  (http://chn.ge/2myBBmj) to read more about the issue and sign the petition if you agree.  If you choose to sign, you can then scroll to the bottom of the page and open the Reasons for Signing section and leave a comment about why you signed.  The “why” is optional and need not be elaborate, but as we understand it, they are strongly weighted over “bare” signatures.

Local Everything – Sunday, October 11th

Learn how climate change and our agricultural system are inherently connected at the Local Everything event sponsored by NextGen Climate NH.  Following an hour of networking/tabling, there will be a panel discussion with local experts from the education, business, agriculture and policy sectors.  The discussion will focus on the connection between climate change and agriculture and address what we can do to lessen our impact through policy, education, and every day consumer decisions.

You won’t want to miss this event if you care about our local environment and economy!  Here are the details:

Date: Sunday, October 11, 1:00-2:00 tabling/networking, 2:00-3:00 panel discussion, 3:00-3:30 Q&A period, 3:30 onward tabling/networking.

Location: Throwback Brewery, 7 Hobbs Rd., North Hampton

Beer specials: A selection of 4 beers will be on special for 3$ for the duration of the event

Speakers: Commissioner Lorraine Merrill of the NH Department of Agriculture, John Carroll of UNH on agricultural education, Clay Mitchell on climate change science, Chuck Cox of Tuckaway Farm on sustainable agriculture, Representative David Borden of Newcastle to discuss policy, Nicole Carrier and Annette Lee, co-founders of Throwback Brewery on sustainable/local business, and Griffin Sinclair-Wingate of UNH representing the millennial voice.

Free admission, but please RSVP here.

NextGen Climate NH            Throwback Brewery

Slow Food Seacoast: Fat Peach Farm Potluck Supper & Tour, August 8

FatPeachFarm2-300x185Join Slow Food Seacoast for a Potluck Supper hosted by Fat Peach Farm in Madbury on Saturday August 8th — starting at 4pm, farm owners Jennifer Wilhelm and Micum Davis will lead a farm tour followed by a potluck supper at 5:30pm:

Slow Food Seacoast: Fat Peach Farm Potluck Supper & Tour
Location: Fat Peach Farm, Madbury NH
Date: Saturday August 8,
Time: 4 – 7pm

Join Slow Food Seacoast for a Potluck Supper hosted by Fat Peach Farm in Madbury on Saturday August 8, 4 – 7pm. At 4:00, farm owners Jennifer Wilhelm and Micum Davis will lead us on a farm tour. In addition to their gardens, the property features some unique attributes such as a geodesic dome greenhouse and custom lumber products. For the best inhouse gardening tools call Matador today.

The potluck will begin at 5:30. Please a bring your own dining kit, camp chairs or picnic blanket and a dish to share. Your dish should feed 8 – 10 people and have at least 1 locally grown ingredient, although this time of year you could probably do much better than 1!

Fat Peach Farm is a small-scale, mixed production farm growing over 100 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers. The farm practices organic production methods, without the use of synthetic chemicals. Their aim is to promote ecological balance through healthy soils and resource conservation. They sell directly from their farm stand or by special order. Fat Peach Farm is located at 181 Drew Road, Madbury, NH. Please park along Drew Road

For more information: http://slowfoodseacoast.com/fat-peach-farm-potluck/

4th Annual Farm-a-Q at Coppal House Farm, June 28

Farm-A-Q-2014-5045-696x280It’s that time of year again — the days are longer, the crops are growing and the smell of outdoor cooking lingers in the air. Join Slow Food Seacoast and the Heirloom Harvest Project on Sunday, June 28th for the annual celebration of all things summer, Farm-a-Q 2015 at Coppal House Farm in Lee, New Hampshire.

4th Annual Farm-a-Q
Slow Food Seacoast
Location: Coppal House Farm, 118 North River Road/Rte 155, Lee, NH
Date: Sunday, June 28, 2015
Time: 12 – 4pm

This year we look forward to the culinary creations of our old favorites and some new comers as well. Here’s a short list of who will be grillin’ and baking for you on the 28th: Anju, Anneke Jans, Applecrest, Black Trumpet, Block 6, Casco Bay Butter, Fig Tree Bakery, Franklin Oyster House, Grill 28, Hayseed, Joinery, Louie’s, Moxy, Portsmouth Brewery, Roberts Maine Grill, Row 34, Vida Cantina and Wolf Meadow Farm.

The day will feature tastings, demonstrations of oil-seed pressing, a Slow Fish under-loved fish throw-down, children’s nature-based activities by Community Roots, tabling by numerous local community organizations, a wild walk led by White Pine Programs, and best of all, the amazing locally grown, picnic-style meal prepared by our even more amazing local chefs!

Farm-a-Q 2015 is hosted by John and Carol Hutton at Coppal House Farm, a 78 acre mixed power farm best known for their Corn Maze and fall harvest crops. Carol and John also raise grass-fed, hormone free animals and an assortment of vegetables on their beautiful property.

Farm-a-Q runs from 12:00 – 4:00 pm with food served between 1:00 – 3:00. Enjoy workshops, live music and activities all afternoon. Tickets are $25 or $20 for Slow Food members. Youth pay $15 (ages 13 – 20) and children under 12 are $5 (children under 3 are free).

Volunteers get in free! If interested, please contact us at [email protected] or sign up at our volunteer page.

For more information: www.slowfoodseacoast.org

High Tunnel Greenhouse Raising, June 27

High Tunnel Greenhouse Raising
Greater Seacoast Permaculture Group
Location: Goss Farm, 251 Harbor Rd, Rye, NH
Date: Saturday, June 27, 2015
Time: 8am – 4pm

Learn how to install a high tunnel greenhouse! High tunnels are used to extend the growing season by providing protection for early or late season production, or they may be used for year-round growing. In this workshop we will install a 20 ft by 48 ft Rimol High Tunnel in one day.

Chris Robarge, former greenhouse manager from UNH, and AJ Dupere from the Urban Forestry Center will guide participants through the steps required to put together a high tunnel from beginning to end.

Please note that this is a hands on workshop and we are looking for participants who feel comfortable using tools, who can help carry and lift, and who are interested in learning this process. Jobs during installation will include hammering posts into the ground, putting together the bows, building the end doors, installing purlins, and finally helping to install the greenhouse plastic over the entire structure once it is all put together.

No prior knowledge of high tunnel installation is necessary. We expect this project will take the majority of the day so hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided for lunch. There is no charge for this workshop but donations toward lunch (both financial and food to share) are gladly accepted.

This event is a joint event between Sidewalk Farms, the Urban Forestry Center in Portsmouth, Rye Conservation Commission, and the Seacoast Permaculture Meetup.

For more information: www.meetup.com/GreaterSeacoastPermaculture/events/223001913/

Film: “Growing Local”, June 18

GLposter

Film: “Growing Local”
Great Works Regional Land Trust and Maine Farmland Trust
Location: Hilton Winn Farm, 189 Ogunquit Road, Cape Neddick, ME
Date: Thursday, June 18, 2015
Time: 6:30-8:00 pm
Fee: Free, reservations requested

As a kick-off for their new partnership, Great Works Regional Land Trust (GWRLT) and Maine Farmland Trust (MFT) will co-host a screening of “Growing Local” on the evening of June 18, starting at 6:30 pm at the Hilton-Winn Farm in Cape Neddick. The film was co-produced by Maine filmmaker Bridget Besaw and MFT, and highlights the growing pains of the local food movement. A panel, moderated by John Piotti, President of MFT, and including Amanda Beal, Debra Kam and other farm and food experts, will lead a community discussion to explore both opportunities and challenges.

A future for farming in York County, Maine is important for securing local food sources. And yet, many local farms are facing transition; irreplaceable farm soils and open fields are at risk for development. GWRLT has a history of protecting farmland that dates back to 1989 when it preserved Backfields Farm, and is accelerating its efforts as agricultural land comes under increasing pressure. GWRLT is working with farm owners, many of whom are aging beyond the desire or ability to continue farming, to protect 1,500 acres of farmland on 13 farms, located in Berwick, South Berwick, North Berwick, Eliot, and Wells.

This year, GWRLT established a partnership with Maine Farmland Trust, a force for farmland protection statewide, to strengthen its farmland protection efforts. Maine Farmland Trust provides technical assistance in project work, and collectively, the two nonprofits are raising $100,000 to fund farmland conservation in the region.

Free admission, reservations requested. Contact: 207-646-3604, [email protected]

For more information: www.gwrlt.org

Meet Your Milk at UNH Open Barn, June 20

gsdp3Meet Your Milk at UNH Open Barn
Granite State Dairy Promotion and NH Agricultural Experiment Station
Location: Fairchild Dairy Center, UNH, 36 O’Kane Road, Durham, NH
Date: Saturday, June 20, 2015
Time: 10am – 2pm

The NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture and the Granite State Dairy Promotion invite the public to come “meet your milk” at the UNH Open Barn Saturday, June 20, 2015. The annual statewide event, which is free and open to the public, takes place at the UNH Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The event gives the public the chance to see a working New Hampshire dairy farm that is representative of a typical New England dairy operation. Free New Hampshire-made milk and ice cream, wagon rides, tours, and visits with the UNH milking cows and calves are the highlights of the day’s activities. Visitors can try their hands at making butter and ice cream, enjoy games and prizes, and learn surprising facts about dairy nutrition and the dairy industry in New Hampshire.

For more information: http://colsa.unh.edu/aes/article/2015gsdp

Heifer Parade with Food & Fiddle, May 2

Heifer Day 2014, Canterbury Shaker VillageHeifer Parade with Food & Fiddle
Brookford Farm
Location: Canterbury Shaker Village, Canterbury, NH
Date: Saturday, May 2, 2015
Time: 10 am–3 pm, parade will begin approximately at 11 am
Fee: Free admission

Celebrate the return of the spring to the Village pastures with a parade of heifers to their first spring grass. Maypole dancing, food, outdoor barn dancing, and make-your-own head wreaths, tutus and May baskets will be available throughout the day. Parade will begin approximately at 11:00 am. Come early and decorate yourself for the parade or wear your best spring bonnet! Prizes will be awarded for the best hat. Self-guided exhibits are open at no charge. Guided tours are available for $10 per person at 11:00, 1:00 & 3:00.

Register and let us know you’re coming: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/heifer-parade-with-food-fiddle-tickets-15230028425

For more information: http://www.shakers.org/may-2-heifer-parade-with-food-fiddle/