Meet one of the originators of New Hampshire Maple Weekend

By on Mar 23, 2017 in Food To Do, Stories |

On Thursday morning, I drove into Barbara and Don Lassonde’s driveway to see Barbara tacking a poster to the side of the sugar house. It was only appropriate that the man depicted in the poster, wearing a green full-body jumpsuit and pouring sap into an evaporator, looked an awful lot like Don. He’s married to the woman who helped begin the advertised event – the Kearsarge Maple Festival – as well as the statewide New Hampshire Maple Weekend. The Lassondes began sugaring in 1972 at their Fisherville Road house in Concord as a hobby – they had a maple tree in the yard, Barbara told me, and both wanted to do it after seeing their New England relatives sugar. “My uncle had 1,500 buckets,” Don said. “Can you imagine washing those at the end of the season?” Once they began their own operation, Don said it was handy that they lived near a fire station. “If we had too much smoke from the...

Legislators aim to make ‘ritual slaughter’ inclusive of more faiths

By on Mar 2, 2017 in Stories |

Grinding through a bill about livestock and meat inspection, legislators have spent a lot of time on one, short section: which faiths are permitted to perform animal slaughter in accordance with religious beliefs. The proposed legislation originated from a 2016 study committee examining livestock and meat regulations. Slaughter according to Jewish religious ritual was already allowed, and the study committee decided that slaughter required by Islamic religious ritual should be permitted, too. Both methods require an animal to be alive, not shocked, shot or otherwise harmed prior to slaughter, to be performed by someone of the Jewish or Muslim faith, and to be done with a single, swift slice to the throat. Not everyone in the House Committee on Environment and Agriculture agrees with the bill’s more inclusive terminology. Meeting minutes show that on Feb. 14, Republican Rep. Anne Copp...

Boscawen therapeutic riding program looking for new home

By on Mar 2, 2017 in Stories |

Everything about Whispering Horse Stable is understated, quiet. The therapeutic riding center is obscured behind Tim Reese’s Boscawen home on Corn Hill Road. Its small barn is occupied by just one horse, Cloud Dancer – also known as C.D. And most days this winter – due to abundant ice and snow – owner Heather Wunschel said she’s mostly stayed inside, completing barn chores and leaving rides on C.D. until mud season ends. By that time, though, Wunschel will need a new place to run her business. She said that Reese informed her that the current barn space will no longer be available as of April 15, her one-year anniversary of opening the business. Wunschel is now on the lookout for a new home in Boscawen. If she can find one before the warmer season, her business will be bustling: she’ll again start up riding lessons for her two current clients, bring in her volunteers from last summer...

Bill would take away local control of agritourism

By on Feb 15, 2017 in Stories |

Less than a year after legislators approved a bill defining how municipal bodies should treat agritourism, the New Hampshire Senate is considering another bill that would completely remove local regulation on the issue. During a Senate Public and Municipal Affairs Committee hearing, the bill’s primary sponsor, Sen. Bob Giuda, argued that the law passed in 2016 didn’t go far enough to protect the commercial interests of farmers. “We are allowing our local communities … to define commerce in our state,” he said. “That is not a power we give to our towns and communities.” Giuda said his proposed amendments to the law were necessary in light of several ongoing lawsuits that pit farmers who want to diversify and host weddings to stay in business against their neighbors who want peace and quiet on the weekend. “The law is being used against individuals by other individuals because we...

Dairy farmers closer to receiving drought aid

By on Feb 10, 2017 in Stories | 1 comment

From “cow committee” to the New Hampshire Senate floor, dairy farmers inch ever closer to receiving funds to help make up for last summer’s drought. In a 19-3 floor vote Thursday, state senators moved forward a bill that would provide $2 million to the Milk Producers Emergency Relief Fund board to then be distributed to the state’s dairy farmers. The board recommended that the Legislature appropriate a $3.6 million one-time payment for dairy farmers back in October. This was in response to the 2016 drought and associated feed losses, which were compounded by two years of low milk prices set by the federal government. Over the course of 2016, the number of licensed cow dairy operations in New Hampshire dropped from 123 to 115, according to state data. The Dairy Farmers Task Force took up the issue this past fall, a group that Senate majority leader Jeb Bradley said was fondly referred...