Cooks and farmers, a necessary connection

Cooks and farmers, a necessary connection
Remembering when: Jaffrey chef on his lifelong relationship with food
By Aylmer H Given III
Printed in the Monadnock Ledger Transcript, July 15, 2014
Available online here

Chef Aylmer from Summerhill Assisted Living in Peterborough, who is a huge local food and Monadnock Menus supporter, shared this essay with the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. We need to strengthen the connections between cooks and farmers as Aylmer says in order to grow a vibrant local food economy in the Monadnock Region. Thank you Chef Aylmer for your eloquent words and your support of our area farmers and producers! We need more champions like you!

summerhill aylmer and keith

Chef Aylmer (l) and Chef Keith (r) at Summerhill

 

 

 

 

 

Monadnock Menus and Windham Farm & Food in the News

Check out the recent article in Parent Express about the growth of Farm to School programs in the Cheshire County, NH and Windham County, VT region. Monadnock Menus and Windham Farm and Food are working hard to make it easier for our local schools to access fresh, local produce and other local food products through our aggregation and delivery services. You can find out more about our producers and how to become involved by visiting our website at www.monadnockmenus.org. Now is the time to join as more fresh fruits and vegetables become available each week.

 

Monadnock Menus Online Marketplace



It’s 2014! Where has the time gone? No posts lately as we have been focusing efforts on our online marketplace and deliveries. You will find all the delicious Monadnock Menus products and amazing local producers here at the online marketplace. We’ve been selling our great products in Cheshire County through the marketplace since October 2012.

Please contact Monadnock Menus Coordinator, Sara Lovitz, at coordinator @ monadnockmenus.org if you have any questions or would like to sign up as a buyer or producer. Thanks for checking out this blog, which is a  good historical record of the beginnings of Monadnock Menus, thanks to a dedicated group of volunteers. You can also read more about many of Monadnock Menus farmers and producers.

Monadnock Matchmaker a Delicious Success

Sharlene, Monadnock Menus Coordinator,  was at MFCC’s Monadnock Matchmaker at Stonewall Farm last Wednesday signing up farms and buyers interested in using the service. The event put busy food system professionals in the same room to establish business relationships so food produced here can more easily end up on all of our plates.

Pungent cheeses paired with sweet and tangy sauces, bushels of crisp vegetables and fresh yogurt helped those in attendance feel less guilty about the gorgeous cheesecakes swirled with local fruit, spiced granola bars, rich whipped cream, jam, biscotti and decadent puddings being sampled. In all, 10 farms, 7 value added/specialty food producers, 5 retail venues, 3 schools, 2 distributors, 2 caterers, 1 restaurant explored each other’s products and needs, and built the foundations of future working relationships.

During a panel discussion including Michael Faber, the Manager of the Monadnock Food Co-op and Beth Hodge of Echo Farm Puddings, professionals shared challenges they have faced and advice on how to develop effective, mutually beneficial working relationships. Marianne Forshee, a beginning farmer found the panel most useful, while Fenella Levick of Monadnock Berries was looking for new wholesale buyers for fruit.

Farmers’ markets are less and less lucrative [because of market saturation], what we need is reliable buyers who take the risk and high labor costs out of selling. At market if it rains I don’t sell anything and still pay someone to stand around, and the fruit doesn’t last long so we might have to get rid of it. If I sell to the County Jail or Neighbor Made, if it rains they still use our fruit. They pay less, but I’m not paying anyone to stand there

Every business has different needs, it is our hope that by providing services like Monadnock Menus and the Monadnock Matchmaker Event we can help facilitate the connections that allow Farms like Monadnock Berries, retail outlets like the Great River Food Coop, restaurants like The Works, Distributors like Black River Produce, schools like Northfield Mt Hermon, value added producers like Merrymeeting Farm and facilities like Neighbor Made to provide local food for the plates of the passionate consumers of our region 365 days a year!

The people are demanding local food, and it’s only going to get worse.” – John Ayer, Brattleboro High & Middle Schools (who is passionate about local enough that in the fall he buys all the schools’ produce locally except bananas and oranges!)

The 2012 Monadnock Matchmaker event’s collaborators are: Monadnock Farm and Community Connections, Stonewall Farm, Cheshire County Conservation District, Hannah Grimes Center, UNH Cooperative Extension, Monadnock Food Co-op, Small and Beginning Farmers of NH, NH Farm Bureau, NOFA NH, and Monadnock Buy Local, Keene State Dietetic Internship.

Hot off the press – NH Farm To School Report

New Hampshire Farm to School LogoHere is the NH Farm to School Report examining farm to school purchasing over the last three years in NH. It highlights both barriers and successes, and the undeniable rise in direct and distributed local farm-to-school purchasing!

Monadnock Menus goes live!


An enormous amount of vision, planning and collaboration over a couple of years have brought us to this point – Monadnock Menus makes its first delivery this Wednesday, October 3rd!

The ordering site for institutional buyers is: 
http://harvesttomarket.com/farmers-market/Monadnock-Menus where you can see that the list of producers has grown!

Of course, each producer will have different items to offer at various times throughout the season and we are not too far off from the end of the New England harvest season for this year. However, products like Elm City Bagels, Echo Farm Puddings, Orchard Hill Breadwork and Commonwealth Dairy Yogurt will enable us to work out any logistical issues that arise over the winter months. And the produce farms are already able to plan their planting and harvest for next season with this added demand in mind so we can scale up in the spring.

Watch this space to find out more about local food in schools and institutions near you!

Ten Reasons to Fix School Lunch and Save Our Children’s Future

Thank you to Katherine Gillespie of Windham County Farm to School for sharing this – I think it deserves a re-post here to inspire us!

Source: http://www.chefann.com/html/tools-links/Boulder.html

Five Facts to Motivate Us

  1. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that of the children born in the year 2000, one out of every three Caucasians and one out of every two African Americans and Hispanics will contract Diabetes in their Lifetime – most before they graduate high school.
  2. The achievement gap, which is truly a social justice issue will never be shrunk unless we clearly understand that healthy food is linked to academic performance. Hungry or malnourished students cannot learn to the best of their abilities.
  3. Studies have shown that a diet consisting of foods high in fats, sugars, food additives and artificial colors, and low in vitamins, minerals and other protective factors such as fiber and phytochemicals commonly found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains can negatively impact learning.
  4. National Institutes of Health has stated that, of the six leading causes of death in the United States, four are linked to unhealthy diets. The gap in life expectancy between the rich and poor has widened by almost 50% in the last 20 years – much of that can be attributed to diet and exercise.
  5. Exposure to pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and other chemicals through our food supply is being increasingly linked to such conditions and ADD, ADHD, antibiotic resistance and early onset of puberty, as well as diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Five Facts to Give Us Hope

  1. Because Harry S Truman was right when he said; “No nation is healthier than its children or more prosperous than its farmers.”
  2. A study done by Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School and the CDC of a school in New York showed that 80% of the children and or parents changed the way they cooked, ate or shopped because of the school’s food program.
  3. A recent study in Berkeley CA done by the UC Berkeley Center for Weight and Health provided findings that children in the school districts program ate three times as many vegetables when eating school lunch as those students who brought their lunch from home.
  4. A study done by Massachusetts General showed that children served a nutritious breakfast were better able to learn and had less behavioral problems.
  5. Removing chocolate milk from schools could remove 4 – 6 pounds of sugar from children’s diet every year.