Tag Archives: Monadnock Menus

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






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!

Pete’s Farm Stand Bio

Pete’s Farm Stand is currently owned and operated by Mike Janiszyn, like his father and grandfather before him.  Mike describes his style as 1930’s farming because he values a more simple way of life and farming that was more prevalent then.  Pete’s Farm Stand has established a dedicated customer base over the 40 years it has been in operation.  The produce is picked from their gardens and brought directly to the farm stand for sale to the customer.  Mike says, “we pick fresh everyday and you can’t beat that.”

Mike admits that farming is a difficult life.  “It’s a tough life to do, the chips are against you” then he adds, “it’s a worthwhile thing to do.  It’s really necessary, I’m sure, to the survival of the community.”  It is his commitment to the community that prompted him to join Monadnock Menus.  He believes that Monadnock Menus will help keep money in the local economy when institutions buy from local farmers.  Furthermore, he hopes that this will create a community network where local farmers and institutions will be able to help each other out.  “When you’re a part of the community, and you do business in the community, money has less of a value and it becomes more of a relationship.”  It is important to work together to gain more flexibility and when farmers have more places to sell to, food will not be wasted.

Pete’s Farm Stand has focused on direct retail sales to the consumer.  Selling wholesale has been a challenge in the past.  Wholesale requires the use of more packaging, processing and uniformity. Mike plans on growing vegetables that can store well so sell through Monadnock Menus, such as carrots and potatoes.

 The ability to use and preserve all food that is grown at Pete’s Farm Stand is part of Mike’s vision of a return to 1930’s wisdom.  If you go back to just your grandparents generation, they had the knowledge for using all of the food a farm grows without waste.  Knowing how to can and process food would make use of such things as oversized zucchini and beets.  Mike hopes that this knowledge can become more mainstream again, not only so people can save some money, but because knowing how to use all the food that our area produces will help us become more self-sufficient.  “This area can feed everyone in the area.  There’s such good farmland, some of the best farmland in the country, in the world, right here.  So…we can feed ourselves.  People just have to know how to do that.”

by: Erika Stimpson

Echo Farm Puddings

It all started when two sisters showed horses at a 4-H project.  There they met the neighbors’ shows cows and they fell in love.  The sisters convinced their parents to start the dairy farm on their picturesque Hinsdale, NH property in 1990 – just as many other dairy farmers were struggling to get out of the business!

Beyond selling milk, Courtney and Beth decided to produce a value added product in order to make the farm profitable.  After looking at dairy products produced and sold in the area, they realized that pudding had yet to be undertaken.  And so it was that Echo Farm Puddings was created.  Beth says they persued this path because, “it’s not exciting seeing our product leave on a truck.  You produce a quality product and you want to own it all the way down the line, you want to see the person that bought it, you want to know they are excited about what you do.  For us that is definitely important.”  Rather than shipping all of their milk, producing delicious pudding gives them the satisfaction of knowing they produced an excellent product that will be appreciated by those who enjoy it.

Echo Farm Puddings is experienced with selling wholesale.  They work with local distributers selling in parts of New England, New York City, and Rhode Island.  Selling local is important to their business philosophy.  Beth says, “we have to be a community in New England if any of us are going to survive.  We need to survive. I don’t think [the people who live here] should get their milk from Idaho.  We’re right here!”  It is because of this philosophy that Echo Farm Puddings will be joining Monadnock Menus.

Community and school outreach is also important to the sisters.  Their farm is always welcome for people to tour.  In the past they have allowed tour bus groups have stopped to look around at this New England Dairy farm.  For years they have also been giving tours to local school children.  They used to bring in fourth graders, but now they are touring kindergarten students.  This experience for the children has been proven to be memorable.  According to Beth “Right now we have three employees that have told us, ‘I remember touring your farm in third grade!’” Therefore, it is important to educate children about the importance of eating local foods.  Beth believes “putting the infrastructure stuff in place is critical to getting off the ground.”  Monadnock Menus will play a key role in being able to help local farms, like Echo Farm Puddings sell locally, and by selling to school children, a new generation will grow to believe in and support a local food economy.

by Erika Stimpson

Getting the word out

Hello fellow food lovers,

The Monadnock Menus cards are on the streets! Well, once you pick them up that is.  We will be placing cards and an informational flyer at the following locations this week:

-Keene Public Library on their events bulletin board

-Keene Chamber of Commerce

-Stonewall Farm farm stand

-Stonewall Farm’s booth at the Saturday farmer’s market

-Peterborough Chamber of Commerce

-Tracie’s Community Farm farmstand

Be sure to pick yours up!  As we gather speed and more information about the local food that’s out there, please let us know by posting a comment under “Share your stories”.  We look forward to hearing from you!

Hello world!

Welcome to Monadnock Menus!

Check back here for updates about the Monadnock Menus Project, who’s serving some new local food dishes on their menus in the Monadnock region, and some cool stories about local food and farming.  Browse around the different pages to see what we’re all about, and contact us if you’d like to know how you can help get more local food on our menus.

Thanks everyone for your support and EAT LOCAL!

-The Monadnock Menus Team