Foodstuffs

Sean Hurley

In 2012, the New Hampshire Mushroom Company was producing two hundred pounds of mushrooms a week in their 5000 square foot farm-warehouse in Tamworth - and struggling to sell them.  Three years later, with seven full-time employees, the farm can't keep up with the demand, selling out their weekly stock of 1,200 pounds of edible fungus usually within 24 hours. 

Dennis Chesley, part owner of the New Hampshire Mushroom Company, says there's very little gray area when it comes to mushrooms.  It's either love or hate -

Courtesy: NH Agricultural Research Station

Walking in among the rows of more than a 100-varieties of cold-hardy kiwis planted at his UNH observational vineyard, Professor Iago Hale says forget those fuzzy brown kiwis, if you really want flavor, try his plants. 

“Right off the bat you’re dealing with a much, much sweeter fruit, but it’s not cloyingly sweet,” he says squinting against the morning sun, “It also has a lot of acid to it, so it has this really complex flavor to it, a lot of tropical kind of flavors: pineapple, mango, papaya – I mean they’re amazing!”

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The headquarters of the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter on Quincy Street has three stories and 14,000 square feet aimed at feeding people in need. But executive director Lisa Christie thought there was one part of the property that could do even more for the organization’s mission.

Hannah McCarthy/NHPR

The late June morning grows warmer as seven refugee farmers till their new plots at Lewis Farm in Concord. This is the second "incubator" farm established by the Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, or ORIS. After the success of their first location, the organization established another to meet the interest of their clients.

Hannah McCarthy for NHPR

When Gabe Rogers talks about beer, it’s with the casual confidence of an expert chemist. Rogers is the co-founder of Garrison City Beerworks in Dover, New Hampshire. It’s that depth of knowledge – which translates into the quality of his beers - that first caught the attention of his business partner Mike Nadeau.

NHPR / Brady Carlson

Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Jacob Carozza /NHPR

In New Hampshire, it’s not easy to find a package of JG Coconut Mushrooms, or a jar of clotted cream, or a can of mushy peas.

“Any dinner you would have with a pie you have mushy peas on the side,” says Stephanie Pressinger, president of The British Aisles in Greenland.

“Someone who hasn’t been to England or doesn’t know the culture would say, ‘Why would you want mushed peas?’”

Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Here is the most dramatic, exciting news I could find about Market Basket in June 2015: the grocery chain is going to open a new store in Rochester next spring.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

If a bakery does its work right, there will be something for every customer. Katie Johnson, the owner of From Scratch Baking Company in Wolfeboro, shows off her offerings: cases of peanut butter brownies, red velvet cupcakes, and salted chocolate cookies. 

  Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Runs With Scissors via Flcikr/Creative Commons

USDA Undersecretary, Kevin Concannon visited New Hampshire this week to talk poverty and food policy with social service providers, meet with high school students, and visit a farmers market. I caught up with him and asked about local food and SNAP benefits; local food in schools -- and how behavioral economists are influencing the USDA's "Smarter Lunchrooms" program. 

  Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Brady Carlson / NHPR

The weekday morning rush is in full effect at the McDonald’s in Concord’s South End. Customers are ordering Egg McMuffins at the counter; commuters are lined up in the drive-thru lane.

Oh, and nine members of the Concord Police Department are here, including Lieutenant John Thomas.

  Foodstuffs Small Plates: Dean Kamen, Restaurateur?

Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

With all of this warm weather, it definitely feels like summer. But it isn’t yet.  And for local farmers, it’s still too early to produce local crops. And that means restaurant owners using locally sourced food are still looking for new solutions to get through the trickiest time of year: the long, cold winters. But now Farm to Table Restaurants are getting farmers to consider new methods for supplying produce in the lean months.

Small Plates is a roundup of New Hampshire food news.

Colin Grey/flickr

Memorial Day weekend is upon us, marking the unofficial start of summer.

With the warm weather, farmers markets are opening for the season across the Granite State, but there aren't as many here as there used to be.

(Click here for the Department of Agriculture's directory of farmers markets for 2015, with times and dates)

Jane Lang is president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association. She joined Morning Edition to explain why.

rows of crops
Brady Carlson / NHPR

Years ago, the members of the community at Canterbury Shaker Village grew their own food, and sold some of the surplus to residents in the area. There hasn’t been farming on the site for a number of years. That’s why farm manager Stacey Cooper was pleasantly surprised to find the soil in such good shape.

"I was a bit surprised that the nutrient analysis was as balanced as it was," Cooper said, as she looked over the roughly 3/4ths of an acre that make up her farmland. "It didn't need much at all - a testament to how well they took care of their land."

Sean Hurley

Polly and "Sugar Bill" Dexter opened Polly's Pancake Parlor in 1938.  That first year they served a few hundred customers in a carriage shed that sat 65.  Last year, in the same old shed, Polly's granddaughter Kathie Aldrich Cote and her husband Dennis, served nearly 60,000.  The Cote's realized it was time to tear the old shed down and build a new Polly's from the ground up.

Though he's looked everywhere, Dennis Cote can't seem to find his hammer.

"I've spent hours just looking for my hammer in this building."

Produce on a store shelf
Sodanie Chea via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/MLjxV

Update 5/16 11:19 am: In a statement this week, the cooperative society's director of communications, Allan Reetz, told NHPR that the organization has "and will continue to follow the mandates of the National Labor Relations Act.  While we will continue to treat employees of the Co-op with courtesy and respect, we are hopeful that union organizers will, as well." 

The original story follows: 

A national labor union is taking a dispute with a group of New Hampshire food cooperatives to a federal agency.

Benson Kua via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/ML4YP

  Even in the coldest parts of the year there are Granite Staters out on hiking trails and in the woods, but now that we have warmer weather, even the most casual outdoorsmen and women among us may choose to head out of doors.

Concord Farmers Market

May is when many farmers markets get underway or move from indoor markets to outdoor locations.

Jane Lang is president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association. She says it’s still early in the growing season, but over time consumers will see more options.

“A lot of them bring a lot of their seeds and things like that to the market," Lang says. "But you’re going to start seeing the vegetables coming probably in the next few weeks.”

Brady Carlson / NHPR

There's a cliché around college life, that students are up at all hours of the night, and not merely for studying. Of course, when junior Tyler Kelting is up at 4 in the morning, it’s not because of partying. He’s got work to do.

"We milk at 4 am and 3 pm," he says during an open house at the Fairchild Dairy Teaching and Research Center, on the northwestern side of the Durham campus. And about 70 of the roughly 170 cows here need milking, so there's plenty to do. 

mantasmagorical / Morguefile

Among the tables featuring fresh fruits and vegetables at New Hampshire farmers markets this summer, you’re also likely to see small craft breweries and wineries selling their creations.

Tasting one of these alcoholic beverages, however, will have to wait until after you purchase it and take it home.

Jane Lang is president of the New Hampshire Farmers Markets’ Association. She says it’s important to taste samples of food and beverages before you buy—it helps the consumer choose—and this is especially important for wine and beer.

Luca Nebuloni via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/LZ7gR

A lot of what you see at presidential primary events is pretty standard: a national political figure, local officials, members of the press, and, of course, voters.

On this night at the Snowshoe Club in Concord, there was something else: a long table with sixteen pies.

The guest of honor, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, says he mostly adheres to a paleo diet, which doesn’t include baked goods. But in the spirit of the evening, he dug into a slice of blueberry pie – and the potential 2016 candidate had no regrets over indulging.

K Hardy via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/L97SE

There's a spring tradition that's been building over the last few years: Peeps diorama contests. Participants use those marshmallow birds and bunnies to put together all kinds of wacky and creative displays.

Steve Richardson via Flickr CC

Looking for something  Grade A to do this weekend? After an especially long winter, New Hampshire residents can finally taste the sweet stuff that's become an annual rite of spring: local maple syrup produced in a roadside shack.

Sean Hurley

Local Foods Plymouth has been connecting area residents with local farmers and bakers via their online farmer's market since 2006. Members can order meat, vegetables, bread, hot sauce, even hand-made soaps online and collect their goods at a local pick-up spot.  Last year, they made it even easier with a delivery service they call "Farm to Desk" as NHPR's Sean Hurley reports.

  It’s the first week of March, about the time we usually see the kickoff to the maple sugaring season. But maple syrup producers are still waiting anxiously for the sap to start flowing.

Howard Pearl joined All Things Considered. He’s a maple producer in Loudon and a director of the New Hampshire Maple Producers Association which represents 400 maple farms in the state.

Karima Nabulsi owns Karima's Kitchen, a specialty food and catering company that operates out of Eastman's Corner Farmstand in Kensington, N.H.

Nabulsi moved to the United States from Lebanon when she was 14. Today, she uses produce from Seacoast-area farms to make traditional Lebanese food.

Listen to the audio postcard below to hear her recipe for spinach fatayer: a Lebanese finger-food.

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