Brought to you in part by: Dartmouth-Hitchcock

All week we’ve been investigating where our food comes from. If we’re eating right, that leads back to a farmer.

Today the average age of the American farmer is 57 years-old. In the last 5 years, 35 percent of farmers turned 75 years or older. Last year, the country lost 10 percent of its dairy farmers. On top of the troubling demographics, kids growing up in rural America are less likely to join the agriculture business.

DavidPitkin via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Food is something we share over a table, but in the virtual world, food bloggers are sharing recipes, reviews and culinary tips across the web.

NHPR’s Webmaster and Word of Mouth Internet Sherpa Brady Carlson has been checking out New Hampshire’s crop of food blogs and is here to share some of his favorites.

An Awesome Choice of Food Blogs:

Tucker Cummings: A Brave New Breakfast

All this week New Hampshire Public Radio is following some of the most commonly eaten foods back to their source.

So far, we’ve heard about potatoes, pasta and the source of ground beef.

In our next installment NHPR’s Dan Gorenstein looks at the cheese that melts so good- mozzarella.

Ok, so you have a few friends over, like NHPR reporter Josh Rogers did a few weeks back.

Have a few drinks.

Do a little cooking.

And Barbara Gannon of Sargento says odds are somebody is bound to sprinkle some mozzarella on something.

Many in the Granite State are interested in localism and many farms, restaurants and organizations are pushing to move even more local, but it comes with its challenges. New Hampshire’s climate, land and development limits the amount of food that can be made in the state and with no organized distributions centers, localism requires much more work and higher prices for farmers and businesses that take their food. We’ll look at what’s being done in New Hampshire.


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.

Cooking: A Recession Survival Tool

May 20, 2010

All this week in our series “Eating In”, NHPR has been looking at food – where we get it today and where it might come from tomorrow. For a lot of people, the economy forced them to take a second look at how they spend their food dollar -- whether that meant going to restaurants less or changing what they buy at the store.

Through the Working It Out web site, NHPR’s Jon Greenberg came across a woman who found herself headed towards a total food makeover.

SFX – dogs barking

Local Farmers, Grocers Clash Over Food Safety

May 20, 2010

Major grocery chains in the region have jumped in on the buy local movement.
They’ve been finding local suppliers for many of their fruits and vegetables.
And while that can mean increased sales for small farmers, it’s coming at a cost.
The retailers are requiring small farms to get certified as safe growers by the USDA.
To consumers alarmed by e.coli scares, it sounds like a great idea.
But as, part of our food series, NHPR’s Elaine Grant reports that many New England farmers say the new policy may keep them out of the market.

Incomes Down - Snacking Up

May 20, 2010

In the course of the great recession, household incomes went down and food prices went up. The combination did no favors for the American diet. Sales for the least expensive snack foods climbed. As part of our week-long look at food, NHPR's Jon Greenberg digs into some cheap calories.

SFX - Crunch

Along with Wall Street giant Goldman Sachs, count the potato chip as one of the big winners of the recession. John Dumais, president of the NH Grocers Association, says, many of his members would have had a much worse year if it hadn't been for sales of snack foods.

Abby Grills

May 20, 2010

To wrap up “Eating In”, this week’s series on food, we invited our program director Abby Goldstein, quite the foodie, to talk about her grilling lesson this week with cookbook writer Kathy Gunst.

Kathy Gunst is a cooking teacher and author and co-author of thirteen cookbooks. Her latest is “Stonewall Kitchen Grilling”.

On the Potato Trail

May 19, 2010

NHPR's week-long look at food, "Eating In", continues now with the next course in our dinner at Josh Roger's house. Josh cooked for the NHPR news team and each day this week, we trace the supply chain of one of the more common ingredients used in that meal. Today, NHPR's Jon Greenberg presents the humble potato.

Rian Bedard/EcoMovement Consulting & Hauling

A new green business start-up called EcoMovement is working with Seacoast cafes and restaurants to separate their compostable waste from normal trash. Their goal is to push the Portsmouth area to become a "zero waste" community, while helping business owners be more eco-friendly and save money on trash removal.

Word of Mouth's Avishay Artsy has this profile of the company.

pupski via Flickr/CreativeCommons

This week we've talked about food policy, supply, safety, and to people who advocate that we all connect the food we eat to where it comes from. We've also talked about the self-righteousness that foodists tend to project. Talking the talk about food is big business; walking the walk is another story.

Michael Perry is a musician and author of several books. He grew up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin worked by his devout, fundamentalist parents. He left to make his way as a nurse, a writer and musician.

jimforest via Flickr/CreativeCommons

We begin today with school lunches. In between algebra and U.S. history, public school students often have 20 minutes or so to scarf down less-than-satisying meals. The sugary junk food on sale in cafeterias is one reason that one in three children born in 2000 is on track to develop Type ll Diabetes.

NCReedplayer via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Conversations about eating well often fail to account for limited family food budgets – especially in a recession. That’s why Jason Hirsch, food editor for the Associated Press, presented this challenge to two chefs and a magazine editor: prepare a week’s worth of meals for a family of four, using the sum of $68.88.

That’s the national average a family of four receives every week under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, the updated name for the food stamp program. More than 38 million Americans, or one in eight, now depend to some extent on food stamps.

All this week, as part of our food series, NHPR, has been looking into the possibilities of a regional food system. What would it look like? What would have to change? One of the largest obstacles facing farmers in northern New England is something they can’t change. The weather. It’s a short growing season when the rule of thumb is don’t plant before Memorial day. But as NHPR’s Mark Bevis reports, farmers across the region are finding solutions ….under glass.

More New Hampshire consumers are desiring local food, saying it helps the community, the environment and the local economy. But there are some who suggest that localism takes too much energy and isn't feasible on a large scale. We’ll discuss the pros and cons of localism.


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.

On the Trail of the Lowly Hamburger

May 18, 2010

All this week NHPR is taking you dinner.

With our own Josh Rogers serving as chef, the NHPR news department recently enjoyed a meal around his table.

The main course was hamburger, which according to the USDA, is the most common form of meat in the typical cartful of groceries.

As part of our week-long series on Food, called "Eating-In", NHPR’s Mark Bevis tried to determine where the ground beef in that hamburger came from.

(general sound from dinner)

Like so many dinners with friends this time of year, ours involved charcoal, a grill….. and hamburger.

Farmers Struggle to Satisfy Appetite for Local Meat

May 18, 2010
Elaine Grant, NHPR

As more and more people begin thinking about where their food is coming from, many turn to local sources.
The growth of local fruit and vegetable markets bears that out.
And it seems to be the case for meat too.
Farmers would love to fill the demand for local meat.
But as part of NHPR’s food series this week, Elaine Grant reports that meat producers face a significant obstacle.


It’s lunchtime at Miles Smith Farm in Loudon.
Buffy, one of farmer Bruce Dawson’s Scottish Highlander cows, is enjoying her hay.

The Organic Debate

May 18, 2010

Supermarkets are carrying more organic products than ever before, and many more are farming organically as well. But critics say organic has no more nutritional value, and that we need to think beyond organic to really address the global food crisis. We’ll hear from both sides of the debate.


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.

Keith Shields, NHPR

In the conversations around localism, one Northern New England town has received a lot of attention.
A few years back, Hardwick, Vermont made national headlines as the poster child for the local food movement.
The town had been struggling with a median income 25 percent below the state average.
Its unemployment rate was 40 percent higher.
As part of our food series, Eating-in, NHPR’s Keith Shields brings you the story of a town saved by an agricultural uprising.

madelinetosh via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Yesterday we set the timer on NHPR's food series Eating In and spoke to Berlin Reed, the vegan-turned-ethical butcher about knowing where our meat comes from. I asked him what happens in places like New England, where we have lots of sustainably-raised livestock, but no places to process them. Well, we’re learning a lot from eating in as well, and today we heard Reporter Elaine Grant’s piece on a new, federally inspected slaughterhouse in Westminster, Vermont that opened three weeks ago So, there is now a place for prospective livestock farmers to close the circle locally.

Dirty Bunny via Flickr/CreativeCommons

Here's something you would not want to have for dinner: Methacillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, or MRSA.

Yesterday a report released online by the Journal Pediatrics found a 10-fold increase in MRSA diagnoses among children over 10 years and a three-fold increase in the use of one drug, which indicates that the epidemic that particulary threatens children is becoming much more serious.

Pirate Johnny Flickr/CreativeCommons

Lessley Anderson, senior editor at came to the studio today and assured us that while publishers of newspapers, novels, and magazines haven’t fared so well in the marketplace of free content, not all print genres are doomed.

lrargerich via Flickr/Creative Commons

There’s a lot of interest in how much we can produce in this region. But when it comes to growing fruits and vegetables, everything, of course, depends on the weather. Cameron Wake is a Research Associate professor at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University of New Hampshire. He's also Director of Carbon Solutions New England. Wake says that if we continue business as usual, scientists predict an increase in average temperature of about 12 degrees by the end of the century. And the results could be catastrophic.

It's been a lot of fun around NHPR as we prepped for "Eating In," our weeklong food series. People talk about food with a kind of excitement you don't always hear when discussing things like public policy. Yes, we all know the narrative: food brings us together. It puts us all at the table. It serves up a metaphor of nurturance. Its smells and flavors and rituals trigger memories and provide continuity in our lives.

Berlin Reed spent most of his life avoiding meat. He became a vegetarian at age 12, and a vegan at 20.

At first he was just trying to irk his mom. Over time, Reed’s reasons deepened to indictments of animal cruelty and environmental destruction by the meat industry. Then, out of desperation, Reed took a job at a meat counter in Brooklyn. Within weeks of starting the job, Reed was not only up to his elbows cutting carcasses, but dining on them too.

Shelley & Dave via Flickr/CreativeCommons

As the days grow longer, gardeners are thinking about what to plant and how much of it, with an eye to frost advisories and heavy rains. According to a National Gardening Association Survey, 41 million Americans grew fruits and vegetables last year - about 13 percent more than the year before. Increasingly, those gardens are not just at home, but at the office. From the uber techies at Google to more traditional outfits like Pepsico and Toyota, corporate-sponsored organic vegetable gardens are sprouting up like garlic shoots.

rogersmj via Flickr/CreativeCommons

The Granite State is known for its crisp apples, plump blueberries and abundant maple syrup. Here’s another local ambrosia to add to your table, a bottle of New Hampshire-harvested, fermented and bottled wine.

Wine was first officially produced here in the late 1960s. Today there are 24 wineries in the Granite State. Many vineyards export their bottles out of state, but all promote the movement to drink locally.