Foodstuffs

Sheryl Rich-Kern

Unlike maple sugaring or beekeeping, wine making is not a typical agricultural pastime in New Hampshire.

But new techniques in viticulture, along with classic Yankee persistence, are making local wine production a larger part of New Hampshire’s agricultural mix.

According to the New Hampshire Winery Association, the state now has 30 wineries, double the number here in 2005.  New Hampshire wine is no longer a rarity in local grocery and liquor stores, farmers markets and restaurants.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

Has any human being ever taken part in a buffet and not eaten more than he/she intended? The very concept of "all you can eat" stacks the deck against the diner: if you're not interested in stuffing yourself like a twentysomething's hatchback before a cross-country move, you're probably going to order off of the regular menu. Otherwise, saying yes to a buffet means, as Homer Simpson once put it, "bye bye belt!"

The state is deploying its Rapid Response Team to assist over 1,100 workers set to lose their jobs as two supermarket chains close some of their stores.

Shaw’s is planning to shutter six of its 34 New Hampshire supermarkets, while Stop and Shop is closing all of its stores and gas stations in the state.

WiscDeptNatlResources / Flickr/Creative Commons

Governor Maggie Hassan will be at the Salem Farmers Market on Sunday, where she will proclaim next week Farmers Market week in New Hampshire.

There are approximately 80 farmers markets in the Granite State.

According to Hassan, the Salem Farmers Market runs a program funded through provide fundraising that allows for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to be accepted for double their value.

The Farmers Market week will run from August 4th through August 10th.

Hassan had also proclaimed August as Eat Local Month in New Hampshire.

NHPR / Michael Brindley

Farm-to-table has become increasingly popular among people looking to eat local.

But a dinner series in Nashua takes that concept a step further, by connecting people directly to local farmers and the food they produce.

Chef Sergio Metes carefully pulls a large pan out of the oven.

He takes off a sheet of aluminum foil, releasing a wave of steam.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

By all accounts, New Hampshire is in the midst of a bee-boom: bee classes and clubs are overflowing with new members. And a conference center in Concord that has caught the bug, but had to overcome a unique challenge to keep bees.

www.fedcoseeds.com

In the mid-1800s the United States was home to more than fifteen thousand varieties of apple - two thousand in New England alone.  That diversity was pretty much wiped out by the growth of industrial agriculture and today, only a few varieties remain…at least in the supermarket.  John Bunker , a man known as the apple whisperer, is on a quest to find, save and preserve long lost types of apples.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

  According to the USDA, Americans are producing and eating more locally-raised food every year.  But the market for local meat has trailed behind the market for local produce.  Until recently, reasoning has been that there’s a shortage of local slaughterhouses. But as three slaughterhouses open their doors in NH this year, industry-wide studies show that more slaughterhouses may not be the answer, after all. 

Monadnock Food Co-op Named Best Start-up

Jul 22, 2013
Rose Kundanis

The recently opened Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene has just won a national startup of the year award from the Food Co-op Initiative. The Co-op opened for business April 3 with a Grand opening weekend in June.

For the last three months shoppers like Allison Aldrich have been picking up farmer produced foods at the Monadnock Food Co-op.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

Lacto-fermentation has a branding problem. Every person I talked to about this story heard the term, and with visions of rotting milk in their heads, said “hmm… sounds disgusting.”

But if it takes you a little time to get past that initial discomfort, that’s ok with Stephanie Zydenbos-Heino, owner of what’s possibly the only lacto-fermentation business in the state, Micro Mama’s. Her recipes sometimes take six months to finish their work – so she’s used to waiting.

Globalism Pictures via flickr Creative Commons

“Also known as Japanese horseradish or mooli, daikon looks like a bigger, uglier, knobbier parsnip and, if its flavor can be likened to anything, it is reminiscent of a finer, less fiery radish.”

- From the cookbook Cooking Vegetables.

If you have a CSA subscription, chances are you have found a daikon radish in your share recently. Daikon radishes are a staple in Asian cuisine, the name daikon is actually Japanese for "great root." They're a prolific vegetable and can often grow up to 20" in length with a diameter of 4"! Recently, reporter Josh Rogers was the recipient of a rather large daikon radish, and asked: what do you do with this?

Fans Flock To Laconia Jewish Food Festival

Jul 16, 2013
Michael Samuels

NASCAR may have drawn the biggest crowds in central NH last weekend, but it was far from the only event to attract hardcore fans. The social hall at Laconia's Temple B'nai Israel was packed on Sunday, with people and with food.

“I have matzo ball soup in chicken broth,” says Lynn Goodnough. “We have sweet and sour cabbage soup, and we have borscht, a cold beet soup served with sour cream.”

“We've got pastrami over here, tongue over there, and corned beef over there,” her son, Jordan, adds. “The brisket actually sold out in online pre-orders already.”

“Parties don’t throw themselves….” That’s the opening sentiment of Lust for Leaf, a new cookbook and party guide that turns vegetarian fare on its pony-tailed head.

Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Oyster farming in the Great Bay Estuary is in the midst of a little bit of a boom. In recent years, the number of oyster farms has leapt from 1 to 8, with more on the way. These gains are boosting the hopes that using these filter feeders as an “outside-the-pipes” way to clean up the waters of the Great Bay could become a reality.

Courtesy of Alex Dowst

At farmer's markets, co-ops, and small local farms, heirloom tomatoes are becoming more common. They're older tomato breeds – some very old – that haven't been hybridized or genetically modified, and with seeds that can actually be planted to grow new tomatoes. A pair of young New Hampshire farmers wants to raise awareness that heirloom doesn't just mean tomatoes, and they've started what they say is the state's only all-heritage farm, River Round Heirloom, to prove it.

There's Moonshine In These Here New Hampshire Woods

Jul 10, 2013
Todd Bookman / NHPR

The past few years, moonshine has been making its way back on the shelf, thanks in no small part to the discovery channel’s popular reality show, "Moonshiners."

While "White Lightning" may have its roots in Appalachia, there's at least one illegal operation brewing in the deep shade of New Hampshire's forest. As part of Foodstuffs, NHPR's new series celebrating food, Todd Bookman reports.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

With almost 60 farmers markets across the state, demand for local food is growing.  But local farmers still struggle to make a profit growing local food. In fact, about three quarters of all farms in New Hampshire gross less than $10,000 from sales each year.

This is the first installment in our summer business series investigating how a changing market place is affecting New Hampshire farmers.

2013 A Big Year For Small N.H. Brewers

Jul 6, 2013
Beer Goggles
Adam Fagen / Flickr Creative Commons

Although New Hampshire has slipped to the number-two spot nationally in beer sales, it's been a good year for the state's small brewers.  New Hampshire Brewers Guild Kevin Bloom discussed these developments with Weekend Edition host Amanda Loder.

David Clow via Flickr Creative Commons

A study released Tuesday by the Beer Institute showed the Granite State dropped to second in the nation in beer consumption per capita, after taking the top spot in 2011.

North Dakota took the top spot in 2012.

Montana, South Dakota and Wisconsin rounded out the top five, in that order.

New Hampshire's Backyard Hen Boom

Jun 27, 2013
Michael Samuels

The roadside signs are everywhere: “Fresh Eggs,” “Local Eggs,” “Farm Fresh Fggs,” “Fresh Local Eggs”...

A Taste of Bike Week

Jun 14, 2013
Abby Kessler / NHPR

The 90th annual Laconia Motorcycle Week has a distinct sound that revs and rattles throughout the Granite State during the nine day rally, but over the years “bike week” has also become known for its unique taste.

“We do a lot of eating at bike week,” Jennifer Anderson, director of the Laconia Motorcycle Week Association, said laughing.

During the event, vendors set up temporary stands along the Loudon racetrack, selling chicken tenders, soft pretzels, fried dough, sizzling pizza and seafood to patrons who watch sports bikes orbit the track.  

harald walker via Flickr/Creative Commons

Last week we looked at what to do with rhubarb beyond the traditional (yet incredibly delicious) pie, and we asked for your favorite rhubarb recipes. And did you ever send us some good ones!

Amanda Loder, NHPR

This week some NHPR staffers got their first weekly share of veggies from a nearby CSA – which stands for community supported agriculture.

The idea is that consumers buy a share of the year’s crops in advance – that gives them a weekly supply of produce, while farmers get a more stable income stream than what they might have selling just through farmers markets or farmstands.

Maple syrup production returned to normal levels in the Granite State this year.

That’s according to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture on Thursday.

The report shows that 124 thousand gallons of maple syrup were produced in New Hampshire this year.

Last year, the state produced only 76 thousand gallons, due to the unusually warm weather.

The yield per tap also more than doubled in New Hampshire this year.

harald walker via Flickr/Creative Commons

There are two things we all seem to know about rhubarb – it grows and grows, and you can make pies with it. But there's a world of rhubarb that goes beyond the (admittedly delicious) pie - in fact, it's a hot commodity among bartenders, who are mixing up cocktails and other tangy rhubarb-based beverages. And bakers might like to try a rhubarb upside-down cake.

New Hampshire's growing season traditionally begins Memorial Day weekend, but if you haven't gotten many plants into your garden this year, it's not too late to start.

That's according to Henry Homeyer, and he should know - he's a longtime gardener who's written newspaper columns and numerous books on the subject. His latest book is Organic Gardening (Not Just) In The Northeast: A Hands-On Month-to-Month Guide.

Sarah VanHorn, Manager of NH Community Seafood / N.H. Sea Grant

  When we talk about local food in New Hampshire, most of us think of fruits and vegetables. But with our 18 miles of coastline, seafood has the potential to be a local food as well. This year’s big cuts to catch limits for fish like cod and haddock herald a rough year for New Hampshire ground fishermen. So they’re finding new ways to connect with local consumers to help them stay afloat. And their approach may be the first of its kind.


Chowder Festival Boasts Zero Waste, New Trophies

Jun 5, 2013
Ella Nilsen

On Saturday, June 1, the 29th Annual WOKQ Chowder Festival took place at Portsmouth’s Prescott Park.  The festival was zero-waste, courtesy of the partnership between the Prescott Park Arts Festival and seacoast business Eco-Movement.

“It’s a well-loved tradition,” said festival coordinator Ben Anderson.  “People come from all over.  The restaurants take it very seriously.”

Seacoast restaurants including Bob’s Clam Hut, Warren’s Restaurant, Newick’s Lobster House, and The Portsmouth Brewery competed with chowders of every type, including seafood, clam, scallop, and veggie.

It’s the table farthest from the door at the Contoocook winter farmer’s market, but it's the one that catches my eye: asparagus stalks so big, you could play the drums with them.

The man who brought them, Jim Ramenack of Warner River Organics, says he's seen nothing but growth lately in local food.

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