Foodstuffs

A food blog from NHPR news, digital, & programming staff, exploring food & food culture around the state & the New England region. On-air features air Thursdays on All Things Considered and Saturdays during Weekend Edition.

NH Community Seafood

Last May, we reported on New Hampshire Community Seafood's effort to sign on at least 1,000 people for their community supported fishery, or CSF. A CSF is like a farm share, where subscribers can pick up seafood at various locations throughout the season. 

The push for new members was driven by a desire to support New Hampshire's ground fishermen. Their deadline was the end of summer, and with that now upon us, Andrea Tomlinson, manager of New Hampshire Community Seafood, joins NHPR's Peter Biello with an update.

Listen to their conversation right here:

Peter Biello for NHPR

For a half-century, UNH professor emeritus of plant biology and genetics J. Brent Loy has been in pursuit of genetically ideal gourd.

Loy, who is a researcher with the researcher with the NH Agricultural Experiment Station, has been using selective breeding techniques to create varieties of melons, pumpkins, and squash that satisfy the needs of commercial growers and gardeners alike.

Recently I stopped by UNH's Kingman Research Farm in Madbury to learn more about his work.

Jimmy Gutierrez for NHPR

For most of the year, residents of New Hampshire can struggle to find good, authentic Latin cuisine. But one summer day every year, St. Aloysius of Gonzaga parish in Nashua’s ‘Tree Street’ neighborhood makes things a little easier.

That’s when they hold their annual fundraiser – the Latino-American festival. The fest features foodie favorites from Mexico, Colombia, and El Salvador. The event celebrated its thirteenth year this past Sunday, and NHPR’s Jimmy Gutierrez went to grab a bite for Foodstuffs. 

Ben Henry for NHPR

For people struggling to buy enough food for their family, it can be hard to eat healthy. Fresh produce is expensive, and the offerings from food pantries or soup kitchens are often canned meals or low in nutrients.

An incentive program in New Hampshire is working to help low income people get their hands on fresh food at farmers markets.

The White House kicked off its Made in America Week on Monday with a showcase of locally-made products from each state.

There were well-known brands like Campbell’s Soup from New Jersey and Gibson Guitars from Tennessee.

And right there along with those bigger names was Cider Bellies Doughnuts. The Meredith-based company was chosen to represent the Granite State at the event.

Peter Biello / NHPR

At the long polished granite bar at Sushi Time in Plaistow, Beth and David Cacchiotti take their seats. The bartender puts two yellow drinks in front of them.

"Did you just order?" I ask Beth, pointing to her drink.

"I didn't need to order," she replies. "He just knows." 

On this Saturday afternoon, it's a Mai Tai. Other days, it's a martini. "I could go either way," she says.

Behind a cracked parking lot and below a yellowed sign sits the Hill Village Store. It’s right off the single road that cuts through Hill, New Hampshire, and it's the only store in town that sells food.

This week, after 17 years under one owner, it's closing and going up for sale. For Foodstuffs, our regular look at food and food culture in New Hampshire, NHPR’s Ben Henry went to Hill to find out what the loss of the store means for the town.

Ben Henry

In a plant-filled apartment in Lebanon during the heat wave this week, Helen Brody drank iced tea and recalled the rise and fall of the New Hampshire Farms Network (NHFN). She launched the website in 2008, to nurture local food culture at a time when “local food” was barely a thing.

For the past decade, the NHFN website had been a source of in-depth profiles on New Hampshire farmers and their families. This April, it closed down, although the New Hampshire Historical Society recently made plans to acquire the profiles.

Peter Biello / NHPR

It started one June night a few years back. Rita and Mark McCabe were sitting at home after a long day of work. Mark turned to Rita and said: "Hey, is anybody at work talking about some show called 'Shark Tank'?"

"Shark Tank" is the TV show where entrepreneurs try to sell shares of their business to investors.

"I said no, I'd never heard of it," Rita McCabe says. "He said, 'Well, let's put it on.' And Jerry and Naomi Hancock came on."

Paul Lally

New Hampshire is home to the long-running cooking show Ciao Italia. The program is produced in Dover and has aired on public television stations nationwide since 1989. 

At a recent taping of the show in Windham, a television crew transforms a kitchen into a television set. They erect umbrella-shaped lights, while a woman standing nearby introduces herself as Mary Ann Esposito, the show's host.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Commercial ground fishermen on the east coast are struggling--so much so that there's concern about whether they, and not the fish they catch, are an endangered species. An organization called New Hampshire Community Seafood is launching an effort to get more Granite Staters interested in eating local seafood, with the hope that it'll provide a boost to fishermen. For our series Foodstuffs, NHPR's Peter Biello reports. 

Virginia Prescott

I’m in a food rut. I really do love to cook, and love the idea of eating locally-sourced food, but by mud season my culinary motivation—and taste for squash and potatoes—grows stale.

"NH Restaurant Week" website

Many New Hampshire restaurants will be offering new dishes as part of this year’s “Restaurant Week.”

Courtesy

The best weather in all of New England right now is inside LEF Farms new $10 million greenhouse. It’s 75-degrees, August-level humid, with fans pushing out a soft breeze.

Operations manager Bob LaDue points out the beneficiaries of this artificial climate.

“That’s mezuna and cress,” he says, naming two of LEF Farms seven varieties of baby greens. “This is part of our spice mix.”

New Hampshire is a rural state, which is great for recreation, but not so great if you are a foodie, at least when it comes to shopping for gourmet ingredients.  

But some savvy shoppers have discovered that fancy food can also be found at  couple of accessible and unexpected emporiums: Ocean State Job Lots (“Home of Adventure Shopping”) and Marshalls  (“Your Surprise is Waiting”).  

Shelby El Otmani / NHPR

If you’re in Concord and in the mood for some homemade Korean food, you might be able to find exactly what you’re looking for in the same place you get your late night snacks and drinks.  Go Food Basket is more than a corner store.  It’s also where you can get a jar of kimchi or a warm Korean meal on the go.

The woman behind this kimchi goes by the American name, "Helen." 

"My Korean name is Hye-Sook," she says, "but when I tell my costumers my name is Hye-Sook, they say 'Hye- what?'  So my husband made me an easy, American name: Helen."

Peter Biello / NHPR

Enna Grazier's kitchen is a lot like a normal home kitchen, except she's got a few things most people don't have at home: a commercial food production license, and countertop-sized tools that turn cocoa beans into carefully crafted chocolate bars. 

There you'll find, among other gadgets, machines that look like they belong in a chemist's lab. 

"This is my winnower," she says. "It’s a kind of MacGyvered contraption of a shop vac, a piece off of a Champion juicer, some PVC parts... and a bucket."

Todd Bookman, NHPR

The machinery inside Conner Bottling Works doesn’t sparkle like it used to. In fact, everything and everybody in here look like they could use a break.

“We are the last family-owned independent bottler in the state of New Hampshire,” says Dan Conner, the fifth generation to work here. “153 years, from start to today. Never shut down, never stopped.”

Launched in 1863, the first Conners only bottled beer, but in the 1890s, the company branched out into sodas. During prohibition, harder drinks were made out back, a friendly sheriff reportedly looking the other way.

Peter Biello / NHPR

Do you tend to make the same dinners over and over again? It’s often easier just to rely on a recipe you know by heart, especially if you’ve worked a long day.

Portsmouth chef Evan Mallett wants you to consider disrupting that routine. The three-time James Beard Foundation semi-finalist for "Best Chef" in the northeast offers some suggestions in his new cookbook, named after restaurant, Black Trumpet, which he runs with his wife Denise.

Among those suggestions: meals including ostrich or goat meat, spice-roasted strawberries, Asian seaweed, and other unusual ingredients.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Food trucks have been a growing culinary trend in big cities for several years now. In rural New Hampshire, the fad has been slower to catch on. But a recent food truck festival in Portsmouth may be a sign that that’s changing.

Saint-George's, Manchester, NH

This weekend is Saint-George Greek Orthodox Church’s 37th annual Glendi festival in Manchester-- the church's largest fundraiser of the year. 

Glendi is the Greek word for “celebration," and the festival, which runs from Friday through Sunday, includes live music, traditional costumed dancing, and plenty of Greek food.

Frank Comerford is the president of the church’s Board of Directors, and calls himself "the Irish president of the Greek Cathedral." If he could only get one thing at the festival all weekend, Comeford says, he would get the lamb shank.

Sean Hurley

First time visitors to the Griddle in the Middle Pancake House in Meredith often come up short at the door.  Some can’t handle it – some turn around and leave. Not NHPR’s Sean Hurley.  He marched inside, sat right down and - after a little work - ate breakfast.

The sign out front doesn’t offer any clues.  It just says Griddle in the Middle.  It looks like a completely normal breakfast place. Until you step inside…”You can see it in the person's face,” owner Kyle Goren says, “They're like "oh what am I getting myself into?"

Natasha Haverty

This week on Foodstuffs, our weekly look at food and food culture around the region, NHPR's Natasha Haverty visits Payao's Thai Cookin', a food stand at the edge of the woods in Northwood, N.H.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

Thirteen years ago, Roni Vetter bought an ice-cream shop called Jake’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream. Today, Jake’s is a locally-sourced, wholesale ice cream supplier out of Vetter’s hometown of Nashua.  For this week’s installment of our weekly series “Foodstuffs,” NHPR visited Vetter’s tiny ice cream factory, and saw her process step-by-step.

Hannah McCarthy

If you know what to look for, a hike in the New Hampshire woods can be a harvest. At least it is for one Henniker man who has started a business selling foraged herbal tinctures.  

Rob Wolfe leads the way through an overgrown field toward a tangle of bushes and tall grass. Just down the street from his home, he knows where to look for wild foods in season. Wolfe pauses on his way to inspect a small tree.

Paige Sutherland/NHPR

A local brewery in Portsmouth launched a new beer this week called Unity. The beer aims to inspire national unity after this summer’s array of deadly mass shootings.

Jason Moon for NHPR

Alcohol is big business in New Hampshire. Last year, profits from state-owned liquor stores added about 150 million dollars to the general fund. But it’s rare that this important industry meets together as a whole.

You might think with an industry so important to public and private interests; the different players would get together every once in a while to chat.

Elodie Reed / Concord Monitor

Concord Monitor reporter Elodie Reed has been following the life of a pig at a New Hampshire farm from its birth to death for the newspaper’s Ag and Eats blog. It’s an attempt to understand what goes into the creation of the meat many of us consume. NHPR’s Peter Biello spoke with Elodie when she began this project, and now it’s drawing to a close. She joined Peter another time to talk about what she’s learned.

Peter Biello

 

 Spinach, kale, and tomatoes are foods you'll have no trouble finding this time of year in New Hampshire gardens. But take a turn down a little road in Bedford and you’ll find a farm growing plants you may have never seen before, unless you’ve been to Bhutan, or parts of Africa. At Common Earth Farms, refugee families grow vegetables from around the world.

On a day that's expected to be hot, Bhutanese Refugee Dhele Niroula provides a little liquid relief to a row of plants baking in the morning sun. His father and fellow gardener, Khada Niroula, names these plants.

Faith Meixell / NHPR

Peach lovers are in for a bit of disappointment this summer, with New Hampshire’s crop of the fuzzy fruit almost entirely wiped out. In this week's installment of Foodstuffs, we'll find out what's behind the shortage.

At Carter Hill Orchard in Concord, visitors this time of year typically find acres and acres of apples, peaches, and other tree fruits growing among the rolling hills.

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