Among the many reasons I would never move from the Upper Valley is the food, and I mean the good stuff. Strafford Creamery ice cream, Thistle Hill Farm Tarentaise cheese, Long Wind tomatoes. You can buy eggs at a local farm or scoop up a dozen from Mac's Happy Hens at the Lebanon Co-op. Wherever you may shop--supermarkets, co-ops, farm stands and markets, CSA programs--you are astounded at the variety of locally-grown and produced food, even as you develop your favorites. For me, for example, nothing beats MacLennan Farm's asparagus and corn; once you have packed your larder with Killdeer's carrots (self-harvested from their fields at the end of the season), you will only go back to the pre-packaged supermarket variety if you must, in the cold bareness of mid-winter.
Food co-ops, farmers' markets, kitchens and small food production sites exist throughout the landscape. If you are new to the area, or in a self-imposed culinary rut, one place to start to learn about local offerings is at Vital Communities' Flavors of the Upper Valley, now in its 17th year. This expo of 45 farm and food-related vendors will take place at the Hartford High School on April 8, 2018 from 11 am to 3 pm. You can taste and buy and chat up the farmers and food producers. As this is a zero-waste event, you should pack your own bowl and spoon or just stick to the finger foods.
New this year are vendors such as Sweet Doe Dairy gelato and Hawk Mountain Farm hummus, pesto and salsa. Crossroad Farm will be offering free herb plants; Griddle and Groovy is dishing up mac and cheese with ham. Root 5 Farm? Sauerkraut and kimchi. The Enfield Shaker Museum will feature its herbal teas. If you ride your bike or walk to the event, you might qualify for a free mug. There is a bouncehouse and scavenger hunt for the kids.
Some of the good folks at Crossroad Farm. Photo by Molly Drummond
Admission is $12, $11 if you prebuy online by April 7. There is a family maximum of $35 ($32 if bought in advance), and kids under 6 are admitted for free.
Just in case you think we are only about bucolic farms, the city of Lebanon NH will be bringing a touch of the urban to its downtown on June 22. A dozen food trucks: Back Road BBQ, Boisvert's Curbside Kitchen, Boogalow's Island BBQ, The Box, Burro Bites, Gabi's Smoke Shack, JUEL Juice, Kimberly's Gluten Free Kitchen, Kona Ice of NH, Martha's on a Roll, Taco's Tacos, and VT Munchies will be backing up to the west side of Colburn Park for the evening. For more information, go to the Lebanon Rec and Parks website. A future story will appear on this blog closer to the date.
(Photos courtesy of Vital Communities and Molly Drummond)
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