Local Food Report: Summer Recap

It’s been a stellar summer for local food on the Seacoast, and access to fresh, locally grown has grown by leaps and bounds. Just in case you were away on vacation, here’s a quick summary of some of the happenings you may have missed this past season:

First up, we were very excited to expand Seacoast Eat Local’s SNAP/EBT Farmers’ Market Program through a partnership with Seacoast Growers Association this summer, with the addition of Portsmouth and Dover to the growing list of farmers’ markets that now accepts food stamps. That company includes farmers’ markets in North Berwick, Manchester, Newfields, Salem, and Sanford that also accept SNAP.

On the seafood front, the Yankee Fisherman’s Cooperative opened a retail outlet in Seabrook, NH. The market is open 7 days a week, and is a long-awaited source for fresh lobster and local groundfish right off cooperative members’ boats. Just over the border in Maine, the newly formed Kittery Point CSF began a pilot run, and got off to a great start with 48+ shares for fish and lobster. Current members are voting on a new name, with plans to continue the CSF this fall and a possible pick-up location in Portsmouth.

The first annual Heirloom Harvest Farm-a-Que took place at Tuckaway Farm in July, bringing together an all-star team of local chefs and led by long-time supporter Evan Mallett of Black Trumpet Bistro. A collaboration of the Heirloom Harvest Project and Slow Food Seacoast, this sold-out event showcased locally-grown heirloom produce and heritage meats. ReRootEd also held a series of Field & Spoon dinners that paired Seacoast chefs with local farms. These on-site events featured Chef Mark Segal of The 100 Club and Tuckaway Farm; Chef Ken Young of Young’s Restaurant and Osprey Cove Farm; Chef Jake Smith of The Black Birch and New Roots Farm; and Chef Ben Hasty of When Pigs Fly and Hurd Farm.

Seacoast chefs continued cooking up a storm with local ingredients. With 50% of the average food dollar spent on eating out, their commitment to sourcing locally helps to put money directly back into the Seacoast economy. We were pleased to be able to add to our list of restaurants that source locally — Moxy in Portsmouth, Popper’s at the Mill in Newmarket, and Stages at One Washington in Dover are just a few of the many now making it possible to eat local while eating out. At the state level, NH Farm to Restaurant just added Cotton, bringing their list up to six restaurants now certified under their Certified Local program.

And, on the brew front: Throwback Brewery successfully bid on new digs at Hobbs Farm in North Hampton, NH, while Smuttynose Brewing broke ground  for a new brewery in nearby Hampton.

Lastly, a couple of House Bills of  interest to local food supporters were signed in New Hampshire — HB 1172 makes it possible for nano breweries to sell at farmers’ markets, while HB 1402 allows for the direct sales of raw milk products without a license for certain small scale dairy producers.

This fall is promising to be just as full — visit the Seacoast Eat Local’s Calendar for listings of future events.

Welcome to Seacoast Harvest 2012!

We are very excited to announce that this year’s edition of Seacoast Harvest lists more farms and farmers’ markets, as well as food pantries accepting fresh food donations, than ever before. We feel this reflects a strong and vibrant collaboration among the growing number of farmers in the area, an increasingly engaged community of consumers, our generous group of sponsors, and the dedicated volunteers who collected the information.

We are all members of various communities—via our friends, neighbors, children, coworkers, etc.—but everyone is a member of the food community. We all need food to survive. How we choose to grow, purchase, donate, or distribute that food is what makes the experience unique and meaningful.

Purchasing food from the people who have planted it, nurtured it, and harvested it is an altogether different experience than going to the grocery store. We engage in a relationship with the farmers and producers, discussing growing practices, the impact of the weather, experiments with new seeds, and even family life. Buying food becomes not just another item on our to-do list, but a means of connecting with others.

The community of local food consumers in the Seacoast is a growing and committed group. Thousands attend the Winter Farmers’ Market CSA Day, throngs pour down the aisles at area farmers’ markets, and food donation tables pile high with fresh produce. These scenes make it clear: people want to know where and how their food is grown, who is growing it, where to find it, and how to share it with others.

Seacoast farmers share this passion. They choose a career that combines hard work and creativity, not to mention the love of growing and providing fresh foods. In an increasingly hectic and mobile world, supporting their efforts is integral to a dynamic local food community.

We have a lot in store for you in Seacoast Harvest 2012. In addition to comprehensive farm data, we also have farmers’ market listings for every day of the week, options for donating fresh food, information on SNAP at the markets, tips on how to eat locally, and more. We hope you enjoy Seacoast Harvest and all it has to offer!

All the best,
Heather Hughes

Project Coordinator

Seacoast Harvest, a publication of Seacoast Eat Local, is made available free with the generous support of our community of sponsors, and can be found at farmers’ markets, farmstands and other Seacoast outlets. Seacoast Eat Local is also distributing Seacoast Harvest through the Portsmouth and Dover Farmers’ Markets — drop by our SNAP/Debit booth and pick up a copy! For an online searchable version of Seacoast Harvest, visit www.seacoastharvest.org.

Seacoast Harvest: help us update this community resource!

Seacoast Harvest, a project of Seacoast Eat Local, is an invaluable tool that is widely available and easy to use. It provides our community with information on area farms, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, farm stands, food pantries stocked with fresh food, and new this year, farmers’ markets that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

We distribute the guide for free, so that families can easily gain access to healthful, whole foods. And we do not charge for the listings, because we believe in supporting local farms for the health of our environment, community, culture, and economy. Everyone benefits from the positive impact of environmentally and financially sustainable local farms.

We need your help to publish this year’s Seacoast Harvest!

Please sponsor this important community resource. By supporting this project, you will assist us in printing 8,000 copies of Seacoast Harvest as well as updating and maintaining seacoastharvest.org, our online database.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Heather Hughes at [email protected].  Or, donate online via PayPal or a credit card.  Thank you!

P.S.  Plus, donors of $25 and above will be mailed their complimentary copy of Seacoast Harvest!

– Posted on behalf of Heather Hughes, Seacoast Harvest project coordinator

Getting closer to our fundraising goal for Seacoast Harvest 2012

Seacoast HarvestIt’s obvious from the throngs at farmers’ markets to increased activity at farm stands, people want to know where and how their food is grown, who is growing it, and where to find it.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was a publication that provided this information?

Seacoast Harvest connects people with sources of locally grown food. It provides our community with information on area farms, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, farm stands, food pantries stocked with fresh food, and new this year, farmers’ markets that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

None of this is possible without your sponsorship! Your tax-deductible donation will both help to create the 2012 edition of Seacoast Harvest and provide you with year-round visibility and access to a base of engaged consumers, farmers, small business owners, and active community members.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Heather Hughes at [email protected]. Or, donate online via PayPal or a credit card. Thank you!

P.S. Plus, donors of $25 and above will be mailed their complimentary copy of Seacoast Harvest!

— Posted on behalf of Heather Hughes, Seacoast Harvest project coordinator

Seacoast Harvest 2012 underway!

Seacoast HarvestThe local food movement is growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, a recent study by the USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) reported that marketing of local foods by both direct-to-consumer and wholesale buyers grossed $4.8 billion in 2008. And in 2011 alone, they’ve counted over 7,100 operating farmers markets in the country, and over 170 food hubs.

Seacoast Harvest, a local food guide, connects people with sources of locally grown food.  It provides our community with information on area farms, farmers’ markets, Community Supported Agriculture programs, farm stands, food pantries stocked with fresh food, and new this year, farmers’ markets that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

We need your help to publish this year’s Seacoast Harvest!

Please sponsor this important community resource. By supporting this project, you will assist us in printing 8,000 copies of Seacoast Harvest as well as updating and maintaining seacoastharvest.org, our online database.

For more information on how you can help, please contact Heather Hughes at [email protected].  Or,  donate online via PayPal or a credit card. Thank you!

P.S. Plus, donors of $25 and above will be mailed their complimentary copy of Seacoast Harvest!

— Posted on behalf of Heather Hughes, Seacoast Harvest project coordinator

Seacoast Harvest: Call for Volunteers!

We’re gearing up for Seacoast Harvest 2012, our annual guide to farms, farm stands, and farmers’ markets in Rockingham, Strafford and York Counties. This publication is in it’s sixth year, and has become an invaluable resource for finding local food in the Seacoast.

This year’s coordinator, Heather Hughes, is looking for a volunteer staff to assist in the farm data update and collection. The bulk of our work happens in February and March, and requires approximately four hours a week. We’ll be reaching out to farms via email and phone to update their listings for the guide. We use google docs to share our work online, and plan to meet a couple of times during the eight week process.

This is one of Seacoast Eat Local’s biggest projects annually, and is an inspiring way to learn about Seacoast agriculture. Please contact Heather for more information and to let her know if you’d like to help: [email protected]

2011 Seacoast Harvest is Here!

The new edition of Seacoast Harvest, Seacoast Eat Local’s annual guide to local food, has arrived! Many thanks to our sponsors for their continuing support, and to our volunteers who gave so generously of their time to help make this happen.

From its beginnings as a simple folded black and white hand-out, Seacoast Harvest has grown to 32 pages (up from last year’s 28), and includes listings for 176 farms (up from 157), and 31 summer farmers markets (up from 25). This year we had to make room to list the 8 indoor winter markets that now make it possible for us to eat local all year round. The photograph of those luscious local greens looking so sprightly on the cover? Taken during a snow-covered day in February at one of our own Winter Farmers’ Markets.

In this excerpt from Seacoast Harvest, Erin Ehlers, Project Coordinator, gives an overview of the state of local food here on the Seacoast:

The next step: local food for everyone

As we publish Seacoast Harvest 2011 we are celebrating our fifth year of this print and online listing of farms, farmers’ markets, and inspiration for eating locally. Seacoast Harvest is a document of true community collaboration: farmers grow beautiful food, our volunteer-researchers collect their information, our sponsors enable us to print the guide, and consumers support the growers of these local and delicious foods.

Local food is an experience in learning how our meals are grown and raised, offering personal engagement with the producers of our food, and connecting our hearts, souls, and palates to the Seacoast. But not everyone can afford this experience.

We know that local food costs more. And we know why it does. When you choose to buy from a local grower you are supporting fair wages for farm employees. You are paying for the maintenance of open space in an area where land is at a premium. You are purchasing food that has been grown or raised safely, healthfully, ecologically, and respectfully. Food raised in this conscious manner costs more than conventional methods, but when higher costs exclude people in our community, we need to create ways to make the benefits of local food available to everyone.

SNAP and Debit at the markets: SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) is the federal government’s electronic food assistance program. When the federal government changed from paper food stamps to an electronic system, recipients could no longer use their benefits at farmers’ markets. For a market to be able to serve these consumers an electronic processing machine is needed. This system is the same as an EBT (Electronic Balance Transfer). When farmers’ markets have one of these systems, they are able to process SNAP transactions, as well as service customers who need cash for purchases. With an electronic system, farmers can increase sales to a wider audience and consumers are able to access their accounts for purchasing. For more information, turn to page 6 and learn how Seacoast Eat Local is working to bring SNAP to the markets this year!

Additional efforts to expose a broader population to the benefits of local, healthy foods comes from local food pantries that accept fresh food. More than ever people in our communities are depending on area food pantries to feed their families. Many food pantries have invested in refrigeration so that they are now able to accept fresh food donations. At each of our winter farmers’ markets, food donation tables were piled high with fresh produce. The option to donate healthy, local food offers an inspiring way to contribute to the important service of food pantries: farmers can donate some of their bumper crop; buying clubs can collectively chip-in to make purchases for a pantry; and individual gardeners can bring in produce when their gardens are overfl owing. Turn to page 13 for a list of pantries that accept fresh food!

We hope that you use Seacoast Harvest 2011 as your guide to all the flavors and bounty that the Seacoast’s agriculture has to offer.

Thank you,
Erin Ehlers
Project Coordinator

Make sure to pick up your own copy of Seacoast Harvest, now available at Seacoast area farms, farmers’ markets and farm stands, or use our online searchable database to find what’s available nearest you.