lynn.gardner via Flickr/CC -

New Hampshire food has been moving in plenty of new directions lately, but some old traditions are carrying on in this part of the country too, including the church bean supper.

Susan Laughlin is food editor for New Hampshire Magazine; she took part in a supper in Boscawen and wrote about the experience in the October issue. She talks with All Things Considered host Brady Carlson about what she expected to see at the dinner and what she found instead.

She Shimmers via Flickr Creative Commons

Fall in New Hampshire means fairs, foliage – and getting out to one of the state's 300-odd apple orchards to pick your own. Elaine Starkey is out at Butternut Farm in Farmington, with her sons and grandkids, to do just that.

"They usually have donuts, but we got here a little late."

'Pick Your Own Apples' now means not just picking the fruit, but also hay rides, corn mazes, petting animals, And enjoying other seasonal products, like cider, pies, and yes, donuts. 

Brady Carlson, NHPR

Organizers expected a nice, somewhat modest turnout for the first try at a New Hampshire Coffee Festival. But then, putting a sign out on Main Street that essentially says “free coffee” has a tendency to over-deliver.

“I literally cried in awe of the turnout and the people coming downtown to celebrate the Coffee Festival with us," promotions committee member Lori Chandler said.

Ryan Lessard / NHPR

If you’re looking for an uncommon food experience, very few are as rare as Steam Cream, a small batch of ice cream produced in New Hampshire only once a year.  

Farming...In Space!

Sep 16, 2013

If you think there are too many food deserts in cities across the United States, try finding some fresh produce in outer space.  Naturally, NASA makes sure astronauts living on the International Space Station don’t go hungry, but since it costs about $10,000 to send a single pound of food to the I.S.S., you can bet they don’t see a lot of leafy greens.

That cost is just one reason growing fresh food in outer space is a crucial step in the future of manned space exploration.  Jesse Hirsch is a staff writer for Modern Farmer, where you can find his article, “Space Farming: The Final Frontier”. 

Brady Carlson, NHPR

This time of year is full of food fests, including a preponderance of Greek fests.

Food is, of course, a central part of Greek culture, and as we found at a festival in Laconia, that means a look at the food can reveal something deeper.

Taylor Quimby / NHPR

When it comes to food I can be a bit of a cheapskate. If I can’t tell the difference between two similar products, the first thing I look at to determine which to buy is the price tag. But sometimes, being a frugal shopper means more than picking the right brand – sometimes it’s about getting your hands dirty. 

Take pistachios for example. I always buy them with the shells on.  Why?  Because they’re cheaper. Presumably, consumers are paying extra for the privilege of not having to split a thumbnail cracking them open. But when we asked around the office at our Concord studios, it turned out there were lots of reasons people choose to buy whole pistachios.

Brady Carlson, NHPR

My toddler, Owen, and I agree on most things when we go out for breakfast. We prefer booth seats over chairs, sharing is always encouraged at the table, and we always go for crayons and coloring books when they're offered.

The one difference? He, being two years old, prizes consistency in his breakfasts - the more similar they are to the last breakfast outing, the better. In fact, he doesn't use the word "breakfast" for these trips - "I wanna go out for pancakes," he says. 

Part of the effort to curb child obesity in the US has been to rethink vending machines – in particular, those offering sugary drinks at schools. The theory is that students make healthier choices when they have healthier options in front of them.

And new research from Dartmouth College shows the contents of those machines are changing – less sugar, more bottled water. But not every school is changing in the same way.

Michael Samuels

Now is the time for fresh, local corn, and farm stands are doing a brisk business as summer comes to an end.

The Vault DFW via Flickr Creative Commons

As the summer winds down, so will demand for lobster and its market price. Maine lobstermen are bemoaning low wholesale prices, but far from shore, say New York City’s Lobster Joint, market price today for a roll is $19…a boiled lobster will cost your $34. Today, the crustaceans are coveted, and symbolic of wealth, class, and extravagant living. Not so long ago, lobster was considered lower than the ocean floor on which it dwells. Here to trace its climb up the social ladder from grub for the poor to high-class delicacy is Daniel Luzer, Web Editor at the Washington Monthly. We found his article, “Low Lobster Got Fancy,” in Pacific Standard.

Dartmouth College Takes The Classroom To The Farm

Aug 22, 2013
Liz Faiella

Dartmouth senior Monica  Erives is getting a lesson in Gardening Frustrations 101.

One of our main activities today has been trying to find a woodchuck that ate all of our broccoli.

She’s standing next to the row of nibbled vegetables at the Dartmouth Organic Farm. Dressed in jeans, a sturdy brown corduroy jacket, and a forest green baseball cap, Erives looks like a farming veteran. But she’s a newbie.

I grew up in a suburb in the Los Angeles county area, and so this was entirely new to me.

The Nottingham Farmers Market will be the site of a so-called ‘vegetable mandala' today.  Traditionally, mandalas are intricate geometric designs used in Buddhist practice.  But in Nottingham, visitors will buy or bring their own local produce to a table and artistically arrange their donations to create a large-scale design. 

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.

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.