Eat Local for the Holidays

By Samantha Cave, NH Food Alliance

Shift Your Shopping began officially on November 1st and will last until December 31st, giving you a full two months to think about buying locally for the holidays! To match your commitment to the local economy and community values, the NH Food Alliance is spreading holiday cheer by highlighting ways you can show love to local food businesses and farmers during the fall and winter months. As an official partner to Shift Your Shopping, the Food Alliance hopes to encourage you to give back to the families that feed you and to the food system in general.

Stores, Markets, and Co-ops

You might think that after summer ended, farmer’s markets go into hibernation during the colder months. Luckily, many markets in New Hampshire have an entirely separate winter season offering many of the same products that you love at other times of the year, with some seasonal favorites as well like baked goods, maple syrup, and handmade crafts. The NH Department of Agriculture has a list of markets throughout the state. Many markets use Granite State Market Match during the winter, and stores continue their Double Up Food Bucks programs through December.

Don’t forget about the many local food and drink products at co-ops and farmstands, too. Try a new seasonal wine or beer you’ve never had before, or get a locally-made ready-to-eat pie if you want one less thing to worry about for Thanksgiving! It can also be helpful to think creatively – what is something new that your family might love, and could become a new tradition (for example, joining the Cider Monday festivities!)

Homemade Holiday Favorites

While creating delicious foods with local ingredients from scratch is not something everybody has time for, it can certainly be rewarding (and impressive) to make a few dishes for your relatives and friends! Dig out Grandma’s recipe cards and swap out some ingredients for things you can find locally – how about using farm-fresh eggs in your eggnog this year? Try those sweet potatoes that you bought at the farm just down the street for fresh candied yams? Use the kitchen as a learning opportunity too, to show the kids where their food comes from and the value in making things yourself.

If you don’t have time, that’s okay too. Try to find some prepared foods using local ingredients, like dinner rolls, or swap out a few sauces and condiments for ones made in NH. You can also save yourself a lot of effort and stress by encouraging family members to bring dishes they’ve made to the holiday table.

The Main Attraction: Turkey

Turkey is by far the most popular holiday food, and every family seems to have their own secrets for preparing the best and juiciest turkey. Instead of picking up a less-flavorful bird from the supermarket this year, think about ordering a farm-fresh heritage or pasture raised turkey from your neighborhood farmer, instead. New Hampshire is full of family-owned small farms that raise turkeys – just check out these lists by The Heart of New England or New England Today (note that these are by no means comprehensive). You can also do a quick search for “turkey” on Local Harvest. Our best tip is to order soon, because farm-fresh turkeys are limited and often sell out very quickly!

Giving Back

If you have the means, give back to your community members by donating food items, money, and time to local food pantries and the NH Food Bank, many of which run special holiday basket programs during the winter. Make sure to call first or look online to see which items each place needs the most.

You can also consider hosting your own holiday food drive, or encouraging your child’s school to. The NH Food Bank also has a new license plate decal you can purchase as a charitable contribution while also showing your support! Don’t forget about other organizations that support local food and farming such as conservation trusts, homeless shelters, charitable foundations, schools, and farmer’s unions!

Baked Beans and Fried Clams: How Food Defines a Region

Baked Beans and Fried Clams: How Food Defines a Region
June 6th: History Weekend at The Hancock Inn

On Saturday morning take a trip to nearby Harrisville, New Hampshire for a tour of one of the Monadnock region’s most exciting farms.  Mayfair Farm is a small scale diversified farm and kitchen. On the farm they raise a variety of fruit, lamb and pork, specializing in artisanal sausages. Passionate about bringing the bounty of the farm into the kitchen, Sarah Heffron and Craig Thompson create foods that showcase a moment in time for private events and farm dinners.

For dinner at the inn on Saturday, join Edie Clark, writer for Yankee Magazine and author of ten books, for a talk that offers a celebration of regional food specialties along with an examination of how contemporary life has distanced us from these classics. What makes them special and how do these foods define our region? Edie Clark will draw from such diverse resources as Fannie Farmer, Julia Child, and Haydn S. Pearson for enlightenment and amusement as well on her own experiences, writing and traveling for Yankee magazine over the past thirty years to places where baked beans are still featured prominently on the menu. Registration required.

Lots of AMAZING Cooks in This Kitchen

From the Cornucopia Project

Cornucopia will be offering adult and youth cooking and nutrition programs at the Community Kitchen in partnership with the Peterborough Recreation Department.  Click here to directly link to the Recreation Department’s online registration that includes full program details.

Highlights include:
– Fine cooking series with Aylmer Given, III, Executive Chef at Summerhill Assisted Living, and Cornucopia’s Founder, Kin Schilling.  Three Beautiful Countries, Three Wonderful Cuisines begins Wednesday, April 22.
– After school cooking classes for 5th and 6th grade students with Tiffany Calcutt, Certified Dietitian Nutritionist and former Cornucopia School Garden Teacher. Cool Chefs begins Tuesday, March 31.

View more Community Programs from the Cornucopia Project.