Guess what consumers? You can support New Hampshire fishermen

By on Sep 28, 2016 in Stories | 0 comments

Nine months into this food systems reporting gig where I’ve done everything from cuddling with a heritage pig to chomping on fresh-picked mustard greens, there’s been a lingering question that’s bugged me all along. What about the fish? “The food system has not been paying attention to seafood,” Niaz Dorry, the coordinating director for Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, said. “Change is happening in land food. For me it’s sort of ironic that the only thing that we eat that had the word ‘food’ in it has not been included.” And that’s especially rich given that small and medium fishing operaitons have gone through almost the same exact decline as family farms as the industry has consolidated, privatized and taken over by large corporate interests. “A lot of them got out, a lot of them got big, and that’s when we started seeing the slippery slide of our food quality getting worse for...

Fishy business: Pair likely only in N.H. to both catch and sell fish

By on Sep 28, 2016 in Stories | 0 comments

It’s unusual, nowadays – a fisherman that mongers his fish. But Meredith native Amanda Parks, 24, and Tim Rider, 40, of Manchester arrive at their boat in Portsmouth about 2 a.m. most mornings before going four or five hours into open ocean. There, listening to hip-hop and ’80s tracks on satellite radio, they use large fishing rods and bait hooks to catch pollock, cusk, haddock, cod and Acadian redfish before returning home, some 16 or 18 hours later. The next morning, Parks and Rider hop into their white, refrigerated van with their business name, New England Fishmongers, proudly painted on the doors. With energy drinks vibrating in the cup holders, the two bounce from restaurant to restaurant along the New Hampshire Seacoast, plopping whole, gutted fish into chef’s metal trays. They meet with a handwritten list of established clients and also stop at some new spots, offering free...

Happy Highland Heifer

By on Sep 25, 2016 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The cow looked thin, thinner than the day before so I suspected that there must be a new born calf around. I had been watching Lucy closely for about a month. She was pregnant and her udders had filled out a few days earlier so I knew she was due soon. This year all the eighteen births on the farm were easy and accomplished without help from me, the farmer. In previous years we’ve had to pull out calves that were backwards or too big to be born on their own. Every birth is special and even if we don’t help with the birth we feel it’s important to watch the cow and baby for a few days to make sure the calf is nursing and healthy. Besides being thin, Lucy was looking intently towards the back of the pasture. Newborn calves are very hard to find so it’s best to let the mom lead you to them. I walked in the direction Lucy was looking and as I walked she followed...

Kiwiberries in Concord

By on Sep 22, 2016 in Food To Do | 0 comments

Curious Concord farmers market goers can try some unusual fruit this Saturday. The University of New Hampshire’s kiwiberry research team will be set up in the New Hampshire Savings Bank parking lot along with the other vendors, and they are giving out free tastings 8:30 a.m. to noon on Sept. 24. The kiwiberries, bred as an economically viable crop for small farmers in the north country, are smooth skinned, grape-sized, tropical tasting and easy to eat. “Just pop them in your mouth,” the kiwiberry team advises. Plant breeder Iago Hale has been experimenting with the fruit since 2013 at New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station’s Woodman Horticultural Research Farm. The berries themselves have been growing in New England backyards for 140 years, though this is the first research project of its kind. Little commercial production exists for the fruit. Concord...

Boscawen: A farmer’s life for Tom Giovagnoli

By on Sep 21, 2016 in Stories | 0 comments

Tom Giovagnoli finally has his girls. The 52-year-old retired Manchester diesel mechanic now lives with 20,000 chickens on his brand new farm in Boscawen, and he couldn’t be happier. “I think it’s awesome,” Giovagnoli said. He’s always wanted his own farm, he said, having grown up raising hogs in Manchester. Operations at Giovagnoli Farms LLC officially began when the birds arrived last Thursday, making him one of about 50 small family farms supplying Monroe-based Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs. This plan was hatched several years – and one lawsuit – ago. Giovagnoli spent two years negotiating with several towns about his potential egg farm, starting in 2013 with Dunbarton, where he owned an 83-acre farm on Twist Hill Road. The planning board rejected Giovagnoli’s plan for a 27,000-square-foot laying barn after residents complained of potential smell and wastewater runoff. For a time,...

New Hampshire residents can file for payment in dairy anti-trust settlement

By on Sep 15, 2016 in Stories | 0 comments

Residents of New Hampshire, 14 other states and the District of Columbia can now file a claim for part of a $52 million dairy anti-trust settlement. The settlement was reached earlier this month in a federal class-action lawsuit alleging that National Milk Producers Federation, through its voluntary farmer-funded national program, Cooperatives Working Together, artificially limited raw milk production by paying farmers to send more than 500,000 cows to be slaughtered prematurely. The “herd retirement program” stipulated that farmers send a herd for slaughter and not produce dairy for a year in exchange for payment. This was one attempt to combat dairy farmers’ struggle with fluctuating milk prices. The suit alleges that as a result of CWT’s program running between 2003 and 2010, there was a cumulative increase in milk price revenue of $9.55 billion. This, the suit claims, unfairly...

Legislators chew on meat law changes

By on Sep 7, 2016 in Stories | 0 comments

Meat has been the main course lately in Concord’s legislative office building. New Hampshire House and Senate members are reworking a law that created a state meat inspection program five years ago. So far, however, that program has received no funding through the state budget, and it has never been implemented. “And here,” House Environment and Agriculture Committee member Rep. Tara Sad said, “we sit.” Now lawmakers are doing what they can with the language leftovers. This work comes just a month after New Hampshire experienced its first locally farmed beef recall in over a decade from PT Farm slaughtering facility in North Haverhill. The main intent of the livestock and meat inspection study committee is to revise and clarify the 59-section statute (and to consider things like whether parrots fall under the definition of “poultry”). Committee members also discussed the future of...

Rain, When Will It Fall?

By on Sep 7, 2016 in Carole's Corner | 0 comments

The drought continues. Will it ever rain? I always thought that New England was safe from drought but not so this year. We spend about $30,000 a year on hay but this year we’ll spend more. The pasture on my farm has dried up so I’m feeding hay to some of my cattle now. That means that I’ll have to buy more hay to get through the winter. The Farm Service Administration is offering a drought relief program which includes low interest loans but for some farmers that won’t be enough. Dairy farmers are not only hard hit by the drought but commodity milk prices are down so dairy farmers are now getting paid less than it costs to produce milk. Not only are dairy farmers scrambling for hay, they are getting paid less for their milk. Even if we get rain now, farmers won’t be helped much. Grass won’t grow a lot this late in the summer. Miles Smith Farm is...