Sean Hurley

North Country Reporter

Sean Hurley lives in Thornton with his wife Lois and his son Sam.  An award-winning playwright and radio journalist, his fictional “Atoms, Motion & the Void” podcast has aired nationally on NPR and Sirius & XM Satellite radio.  When he isn't writing stories or performing on stage, he likes to run in the White Mountains. He can be reached at 

Sean Hurley

Last year, the US Postal Service released a list of thousands of rural offices across the country that could be closed in an effort to save money, five of them in New Hampshire.  But in May, the USPS changed its mind.  These rural offices would not be closed….but their hours of operation would be reduced.  Just how much they’d be reduced, however, came as a shock to the people in one tiny town. Producer Sean Hurley traveled there to bring us the story.

Note: At the request of a listener, this story was re-posted from NHPR's old website. The original air date was in September, 2010.

The New Hampshire Institute of Art is hosting the first public exhibit of original photographs from the private collection of Thomas Adams.


Adams has been collecting for decades and holds prints from many well known photographers. 

NHPR Correspondent Sean Hurley recently viewed the collection and spoke with Adams about his lifelong passion.

Maybe it’s all the knives, or the blood. But there’s something a little eerie about a slaughterhouse on wheels.

If you raise chickens, or lamb, or hunt deer for food, you might need the service of a good roving butcher. Like Ray Garcia of Cabin View Farms in Littleton. Solo, he can process about 200 chickens a day in a home built rolling abattoir:

It’s a Wells Fargo Trailer. We have stainless steel tables, stainless steel sinks. If it wasn’t for a lot of the custom facilities throughout New Hampshire, a lot of people wouldn’t be raising things.

When the farmer shuts down his combine, there’s nothing left but a stubbled plain. You might think the harvesting is done. But that’s when the gleaners appear - to begin the second harvest.

Like the Robin Hoods of produce, the gleaners take from the rich soil, and give to the poor. But the gleaners aren’t vegetable pirates. They work with and alongside the farmers:

You gotta carry buckets with you through the fields, picking up small things. You’re constantly bent over on your knees for the whole day.

Got Milk? Maybe you do. But how about this: Got raw milk?

While the USDA opposes the sale of raw milk – they’d prefer you drink pasteurized - raw milk - straight from the cow, filtered and chilled - is making a comeback. It’s now sold in 28 states. Don’t bother looking for it at the store though.

People need to come here and they need to bring their own containers. They come here so they can see my animals, they can see our operation. They can decide for themselves whether the animals look healthy, whether everything’s clean.

The localvores are curious: Could we raise most of our food here in New Hampshire?

A recent study out of the University of New Hampshire suggests we’re a long way from self-sufficiency:

One of the things we were originally asked about is can New Hampshire meet 100% of its food needs through local foods, and there’s a pretty big gap.

That’s Matt Magnusson, co-author of the study.

Currently, we can produce just 6% of what we need. Compared to Maine and Vermont at nearly 40%, we’re lagging far behind.

The humble chicken, that bowling ball with a bad case of feathers, has returned to America's backyard.

Pam Miller in Campton says the urge for chickens is connected to a deeper cultural movement:

We've tried to take care of our energy use with our solar panels and our hybrid car. And the next big thing is the food.