Status report

sooooo . . . . .

things are slow here. They are always slow during the full-time work/grad school season, but summer usually tends to pick up. It hasn't yet, and it may not. Readers of the folkfood blog are from all over the place, but what I really want to write about is hyperlocal - local eating with a whole lotta links to sources of local food. Not super useful or even entertaining for people not from the Seacoast of NH/ME.

A few other folks requested a Seacoast Eat Local blog. This has come to be, and will be a group blog, authored by many folks with different vantage points in the Seacoast (we're actively recruiting contributors if you want to nominate yourself or someone you know). So - that's where I've been blogging of late.

Things that don't fit over there - and these days, that isn't a whole lot since most of my eating is local eating - will still appear here. Not a wholesale abadonment, just an explanation.


Fundraiser for Farmland

The Great Works Regional Land Trust is having a fund raiser to help preserve a large dairy farm in Berwick. It is very easy to participate - just eat flatbread from Flatbread on Tuesday, May 29th between 4 and 9pm. They will also be having an awesome raffle!

That night we will be raffling off a lobster bake for 10 to be served at beautiful Beach Plum Farm in Ogunquit and accompanied by the Great Works Ramblers. (Redeemable Sept. 29th or 30th).Tickets are $5 each.


The Amateur Gourmet gets serious for a minute . . .

The AG posted an American Food Manifesto, an excellent, thoughtful piece bringing together ideas of how what is wrong with American culture (focus on winning, focus on competition) has influenced American food culture in negative ways. And my favorite part, in which AG makes an interesting point about our extreme desire for anonymity and privacy (all the while becoming less anonymous and less private in online forums, a very very different sort of community that has a lot less responsibility built in) while paying proper homage to Julia:

I'm a recent convert to Julia Child and I am convinced--after only a few DVDs--that she is the best thing that ever happened to food in America. Why? Because she brought her spirit, her energy, her intelligence into American homes and tried to elevate us. She tried to show us that for a dinner to be successful, it needn't be expensive, it needn't be pretentious. It need only capture the chef's enthusiasm, the chef's love.

Americans don't know how to engage with their food anymore. We see boxes in cases and take them home and put them in another box and ZAP dinner is ready. We pick up the phone and punch in numbers and a brown bag arrives. We deal with food in the 21st century the way we deal with people--faceless messages on a computer screen--and with further advances in technology, we retreat further and further into ourselves. For most Americans in the 21st century, a successful dinner is a dinner that requires the least amount of engagement with the outside world. We don't want to know our grocers, our butchers, our bakers. We don't even want to know our delivery boys. We want our privacy, thank you, and that means a lonely dinner in front of the TV is preferred to a party with friends who we'd have to shop for, cook for, and clean up after. We have our Tivos, computers, iPods, and DVD players to keep us company.

America: learn from Julia. Wake up. Engage. Care.

That's the formula for success. We've lowered our standards because we're afraid of failure. Julia's not afraid because she knows it doesn't matter if her Pommes Anna collapses--what matters is that she took the time to make a Pommes Anna. So should you.


Mercury in Seafood

I *heart* seafood. But it is sooooo complicated - from mercury to sustainability and fishermens' livelihoods in between. On the mercury front, Shaw's supermarkets, as subsidiaries of Albertson's, will start labeling fish in terms of their health risks. Now if only they could be as cool as ecofish and provide only sustainable choices to begin with. And let's not even try to throw local into that mix.


Seacoast Eat Local open meeting - all are welcome!

Seacoast Eat Local is holding an open meeting for all those interesting in supporting local foods and agriculture at 7pm on Tuesday, April 10th, at the Portsmouth Public Library. Seacoast Eat Local will be hosting the Eat Local Challenge in September and is looking for individuals who would like to help make this year's challenge an overwhelming success. For more information, visit www.seacoasteatlocal.org or email seacoasteatlocal@gmail.com


"Mama's gonna make a chef out of you!"

for the Nintendo Wii, Cooking Mama: Cook Off

from the press release:
Cooking Mama: Cook Off is a compelling blend of mashing, slicing, chopping and stirring as players create 55 international recipes from 300 different ingredients using the Wii Remote as a master kitchen utensil. A multiplayer mode lets budding chefs cook off in competitive mini-games to determine who can cook the fastest with the fewest mistakes. In addition, real-time effects lend authenticity to creations and help players determine when food is cooked to perfection.
There is just so much to say about this, other than I want, that it is hard to know where to start. So start at the game's website, and make sure to watch some of the gameplay demos.

Competition mode! Did you see how realistic the shrimp were? Heads and legs and all! Will I learn how to prepare squid from a Wii? Is Nintendo going to help bring actual cooking and knowing what to do with raw ingredients to households? Crazier things have happened - rumour has it tons of kids are losing weight from the Nintendo Wii sport games - will this help them pack those pounds back on or help them eat actual food instead of junk?


Time does local foods

Time Magazine's cover story this week is about eating locally. It is a decidedly mainstream article - for people already waist deep in local eating, it will likely be annoying and a bit bizarre in its viewpoint. But for those without toes wet yet, it is just a good and general introduction to the point.

I suppose I'm just happy to see the mainstream media addressing it - as they have been now in spurts and bits for the past year. A cover story in Time is as mainstreamas it gets - which, I hope, translates into sold out Saturdays for growers all summer long at the farmers' markets.
Here's their press release - with a link to the complete article, available online for free, no login required:

For Immediate Release
On Sale Friday, March 2

The Best Food You Can Eat May Be in Your Own Backyard

(New York, March 2, 2007)—In this week's issue, TIME's John Cloud reports, "For food purists, `local' is the new `organic,' the new ideal that promises healthier bodies and a healthier planet Organic adherents take it on faith that the way food is grown affects its nutritional quality. But advocates of local eating are now making another leap, saying what happens after harvest—how food is shipped and handled— is perhaps even more important than how it was grown."

Cloud's quest to determine which kind of food is healthier, safer, tastes better and is best for the environment leads him to Whole Foods ceo John Mackey, whose chain grew to prominence, in part, by making organic food accessible to millions of Americans. The chain now has more then 190 locations and sales grew by 19% in 2006. Mackey tells TIME that even he prefers local grown food to organics. "I would probably purchase a local nonorganic tomato before I would purchase an organic one that was shipped from California," he says. Cloud writes that Mackey "called the two tomatoes `an environmental wash' since the California one had petroleum miles on it but the nonorganic one was grown with pesticides. `But the local tomato from outside Austin will be fresher, will just taste better,' he said." Mackey also says that most Americans will never eat a purely local diet. "One of the challenges of being a retailer is you don't want to offend people," he tells TIME. "Some customers want to eat apples [year-round]

, and they're willing to pay more for a New Zealand apple."

Cloud's extensive reporting—which includes joining a Community Supported Agricultural (csa) program that delivers fresh local food to his house each week—leads him to conclude that he prefers local to organic. He writes, "In matters of digestion, I prefer science over culture. The problem is that science offers no clear guidelines yet on how beneficial organic food is."

"When it comes to my basic ingredients—literally, my `whole' foods rather than my convenience foods—I would still rather know the person who collects my eggs or grows my lettuce or picks my apples than buy 100% organic eggs or lettuce or apples from an anonymous megafarm at the supermarket. Choosing local when I can makes me feel more rooted,and (in part because of that feeling, no doubt) local food tastes

The March 12, 2007 issue of TIME goes on sale on Friday, March 2.
Read the complete story at TIME.com:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/ article/0,9171,1595245,00.html
Download this week's cover image at

Media Contacts: TIME PR HOTLINE, (212) 522-4800 Daniel Kile, (212)
522-3640; Betsy Burton, (212) 522-3651; Dara Yaffe, (212) 522-0613

Oh, and speaking of CSAs, there are still plenty of shares left in the Seacoast area for the 2007 season.


Goodbye Lindbergh's . . . .

Hello Black Trumpet. Evan Mallett is staying put (along with, likely, his awesome support of local growers and producers). Black Trumpet should open later in March, reservations are being accepted starting the 24th, according to our waiter the other night.


Meadow's Mirth CSA

an announcement for a certified organic CSA on the seacoast of NH/ME for this coming season:

Meadow's Mirth Farm in Stratham, NH will be offering a limited number of Community Supported Agriculture shares for the 2007 growing season.
To learn more about our CSA, details are available on our CSA webpage:

Contact Jean for more details and pricing information.
jean AT meadowsmirth DOT com

Think Spring!


local enough

They won't be anywhere near as amazing as New Roots Farm tomatoes in the summer, but at 129 miles, these hydroponically grown 'maters might make my winter diet a bit healthier - coming to Hannaford soon, Backyard Beauties.

While I'm waiting for someone to do an energy analysis about heating & lighting giant greenhouses in Maine in the winter v. trucking things in from California (though taste has been one of the bigger reasons I just don't eat winter tomatoes) I think I'll defrost some of my summer pesto and pick up some Silvery Moon Creamery fresh mozzerella. Local caprese in NH in the winter. Go figure.

found via the Maine Foods Network


da bears

me at Soldier Field
I am a lifelong Bears fan. So this coming Sunday is a pretty big deal, the first big deal Superbowl in 21 years.

But it isn't New Orleans or even Chicago I wish I were going to be viewing the game from this Sunday. This Sunday, I'll be wishing I were in Buffalo.

People in Buffalo understand football, but they also understand bar food. Yes, the wings are that much better. The Anchor Bar doesn't rest on its laurels, and its influence is awesome to ingest. The worst wings in Buffalo are better than any I've had in NH. So then you've got your leftover blue cheese dip, and brilliantly they dip the pizza crusts into said blue cheese.

Pizza and wings are really Buffalo's specialties, but there is a healthy bar culture there. A big part of that is the design of the city, with neighborhoods all over the place and thus neighborhood bars.

I'm not sure what I'll be eating this Sunday, but I think I'll take the week off from my never-ending quest for acceptable wings. Maybe some hot dogs.

A couple Seacoast NH restaurant notes -

  • Something called "Tavern on the Rocks" will be opening in the old Spuds location on rte 1 in Rye. "Coming Soon!"
  • AK's opened in Jack Quigley's old space in Portsmouth. We went three days after opening, to a limited menu. Pretty standard bar fare, pretty standard bar overall.
  • KNR, which was what opened when the owners closed 43 Degrees North last May, closed with about a week's notice. The petty part of me is happy because I really liked 43, and I didn't like KNR. The bigger part of me really wonders what will happen with that space.


Andy's Greens CSA

Andy's Greens in York Harbour, ME is offering a limited number of shares for a CSA for the 2007 season. Not just greens. Certified organic. Check it out.