the Flavors Sextet

Yes, we sing about Flavors

Confession: we sing a little tune about Flavors of the Valley, around the office, in meetings, while photocopying…. Click here and watch with sound if you dare- the big reveal is at the end. Treat your ears today and your tastebuds on Sunday, April 8 from 11 am- 3 pm at Hartford High School.  All the details, discounts, specials, information about 45 local food vendors and their samples, and more are on our Flavors of the Valley page. Thank you CATV 8/10 for our CATV debut.

Upper Valley Farm to School 2018 Mini-Grants!

I am so excited to announce the 2018 mini-grant program at Upper Valley Farm to School! We have funding focused on both Vermont and New Hampshire schools. Start dreaming up your farm-to-school projects – we want to support you!

 

Application deadline – Wednesday March 28, 2018HSS - Green team at market 1

Mini-grants are designed to help your school, afterschool program, or school-related wellness program launch projects related to farms, our agricultural heritage, farm products, food production, or local food consumption at the school itself.

A broad range of projects have received funding in recent years including field trips to local farms, food from a local farm, materials for gardens and garden activities, and stipends for farmers, teachers, or FTS coordinators. Funds could also be used in the cafeteria, to pay for training, supplies, or equipment.

 NEW FOR 2018: The maximum mini-grant award is now $500. Both New Hampshire and Vermont schools are eligible to apply for funds. Recipients in both states are required to present their project at Trek to Taste on June 2, 2018 (in addition to other grant requirements, below). We encourage schools to include costs related to project presentations and attending Trek to Taste in their grant budget.

For additional information on eligibility, the application process, and possible projects, please go to our on-line application form, download a form or, contact me.

The Upper Valley Farm to School mini-grant program is made possible thanks to the Couch Family Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Wellborn Ecology Fund.

Tunbridge - Garden Day TeamworkBeth Roy
Farm to School Coordinator
Upper Valley Farm to School Network
Beth@VitalCommunities.org
802.291.9100 x105

Farm to School Forum: King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids Program

Join Upper Valley Farm to School Network as we learn how to make the dough!

 

 

KAFBFG

King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids Program

  • Kids LEARN to make bread from scratch. Math + science + reading + baking know-how = something delicious!
  • Kids BAKE. They practice their new skills and use ingredients we provide to bake bread or rolls.
  • Kids SHARE within the community, and give part of their baked goods to those in need. (They keep some to enjoy!)

How does BFGK Self-Directed Group Baking work? 

  • 5-50 kids, grades 4-12
  • Kids watch BFGK video with you
  • KAF provides flour, yeast, recipe booklets, dough scrapers, video lesson, and more
  • Kids work in teams, bake together with you, and donate rolls

Learn how easy (and fun!) it is to bring our very popular free BFGK Self-Directed Program to YOUR students. We’ll show you how it works, how to access helpful information, and practice some roll shaping skills! Take home BFGK Program materials and enjoy some homemade pizza!

Instructor: Paula Gray, is the Manager of the Bake for Good Kids Program. She has been an educator/presenter for over 30 years, and is an employee owner of the King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, VT

When: Monday October 30, 2017, 5:30-7:00PM

Where: Culinary Learning Center, COOP Food Store, 12 Centerra Parkway, Lebanon, NH 03766

Fee: FREE!

Register: Contact Beth Roy at Beth@VitalCommunities.org or (802)291-9100 x105 or register on-line

Farm to School Professional Development Course Offered in Partnership with Vermont FEED

Pic for webJoin Upper Valley Farm to School and Vermont FEED for a Level I Professional Learning Course: Cultivating Farm to School. This learning opportunity is designed for school educators, staff, administrators, and community members to explore and expand their personal and professional knowledge and experience related to Farm to School education while building and strengthening school community connections. Participants will be encouraged to build and develop shared learning experiences for their students while building and developing the vital relationships necessary to make Farm to School education a real and lasting part of their community, classroom and cafeteria.

Interactive class sessions will include a balance of hands-on cooking, individual work time, networking, guest presentations, dialogue, small group activities and practical experiences that will serve to deepen participant understanding of the various elements and promising practices of farm-to-school programs.

The class will take place at Mascoma Regional High School 4:00-7:00pm

3/21/17
4/4/17
4/25/17
5/9/17
5/23/17
6/6/17

We are very fortunate to be able to provide free tuition to all New Hampshire participants. New Hampshire participants will also be eligible to apply for a mini-grant to support a farm to school project in their school. Funding for this opportunity is from the Wellborn Ecology Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.

To learn more about the course and to register please visit http://bit.ly/2kQvAyY or contact Beth Roy, Farm to School Coordinator at 802.291.9100 or Beth@VitalCommunities.org

Upper Valley Farm to School 2017 Mini-Grants!

I am so excited to announce the 2017 mini-grant program at Upper Valley Farm to School! We have funding focused on both Vermont and New Hampshire schools. Start dreaming up your farm-to-school projects – we want to support you!

 

Application deadline – Friday, March 24, 2017HSS - Green team at market 1

Mini-grants are designed to help your school, afterschool program, or school-related wellness program launch projects related to farms, our agricultural heritage, farm products, food production, or local food consumption at the school itself.

A broad range of projects has received funding in recent years including field trips to local farms, food from a local farm, materials for gardens and garden activities, and stipends for farmers, teachers, or FTS coordinators. Funds could also be used in the cafeteria, to pay for training, supplies, or equipment.

For additional information on eligibility, the application process, and possible projects, please go to our on-line application form, download a form or, contact me.

The Upper Valley Farm to School mini-grant program is made possible thanks to the Couch Family Foundation, the National Park Service, and the Wellborn Ecology Fund.

Tunbridge - Garden Day TeamworkBeth Roy
Farm to School Coordinator
Upper Valley Farm to School Network
Beth@VitalCommunities.org
802.291.9100 x105

Enjoying the Fruits of their Labors in Newbury

Newbury Elementary School: “The Newbury Elementary School has beboy in garden dec 16en enjoying the fruits of many labors with the success of our first “Grow-a-Row” program. Throughout the summer, green-thumbed and generous community members tended an extra row or two in their gardens and then sent along the harvest to Chef Paul, our energetic food service director. Instead of piling up produce in the kitchen and walking away, these same folks and others met on certain days to help Paul process and freeze the offerings so that they could be used throughout the school year in our lunch program. It’s such a win-win and the program continues to gain interest and develop. We enjoy wonderful community support here.
We’ve added two new components to our program that helps support the Grow-a-Row program and our commitment to eating more locally: we Newbury Elementarypurchased a large, walk-in freezer and a small greenhouse. The freezer has already been pressed into action holding the processed vegetables we acquired over the summer. The beautiful new greenhouse will be utilized by the students and teachers as we continue to learn together about gardening and botany.
We held our first of the year staff meeting about our Farm to School program. Staff members learned about our plan for the next five years, the resources available to them, and in the process, made a really delicious “massaged kale salad” to enjoy during the meeting. The Farm to School team did a great job informing the rest of the staff about easy ways to build in farm to school lessons and values into the curriculum through project based learning. Students helped “put Newbury Elementarythe gardens to bed”… all except one: our 5/6 team planted a bed of garlic to be used in the kitchen next year. It is now sleeping under this first snow of the year!
We wish all of our Farm to School friends happy holidays and a great start to the new year. The attached photos show our 5/6 grade “Falcons” and “Otters” working in the permaculture garden and harvesting squash in one of the raised beds this fall. The top photo shows Chef Paul addressing our Grow-a-Row community group.” Kim Goody, Farm to School Coordinator

Sharon’s Learning Fair to Focus on Farm to School

Sharon june

Sharon Elementary School: “Our gardens are put to bed, but the cooking and learning continue here at Sharon. The first and second grade classrooms made two school wide snack taste test. The school enjoyed applesauce and roasted butternut squash. The apples came from a local orchard and the butternut squash came from our garden! As a school, the staff met to discuss the future of our farm to school program. We’ve decided to focus our annual learning fair this year on farm to school! Classes will be busy developing what they want to share with the community!” Keenan Haley, Third Grade Teacher

Grilled Flat Iron steak1 credit Julia A Reed

Across the Grain: Grilled Flat Iron Steak

As an eater and a former restaurant worker, I know there’s often some tension around balancing the price and ease of mass-produced meat with the benefits of local meat to farmers, the environment, and society’s health. Put more bluntly, locally raised meat often comes in cuts we don’t know how to cook and is usually more expensive than meat from the supermarket.

Here are some suggestions—and a recipe—to make it work when you buy the local stuff:

  • Spend the same amount on meat from the local farmer as you do at the supermarket but stretch the smaller quantity by making stew, stir-fry, or more veggie side dishes. We know we’re supposed to be eating less meat and more veggies anyway, right? More veggies + meat that is actually good for you = happy stomachs.
  • Or get a cheaper cut and learn how to cook it to optimize flavor and tenderness. Since farmers do raise entire animals, and a whole beef is more than just 750 pounds of rib-eye, your local farmers’ market vendors sell a variety of cuts. It’s not hard to learn how to cook these other cuts so that they’re delicious and amazing! See below.

Grilled Flat Iron Steak

Ingredients:

Flat iron steak or similar (like skirt steak)
Olive oil
Splash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper
Herbs of your choice

Directions:

  1. Remove any clear silvery membrane that may remain on the steak. This so-called “silverskin” is really tough to chew.
  2. Marinate steak with olive oil and a little Worcestershire sauce, plus salt, pepper, and any herbs of your choice, for 20 minutes or more.
  3. Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking it.
  4. Grill meat at medium high heat until grill marks show on the surface. The browning indicates the meat’s sugars and proteins are raw steak with tongs credit Julia A Reedcaramelizing to offer a wonderful flavor.
  5. Turn steak, repeat browning, and insert a meat thermometer.
  6. Turn the heat down or move the meat off to the side and finish cooking to 135º F for medium-rare.
  7. Let steak rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to be reabsorbed, resulting in more juicy steak.
  8. Cut meat ACROSS THE GRAIN. See details below.

Cutting is one of the most important things to get right when cooking tougher cuts like flat iron. Cut across the grain to optimize tenderness.

Let me explain. If you look at a flat iron steak, you can see the thin strips of muscle all going more or less in one direction. In the photo to the right, the grain is going up and down. If you cut the steaks into strips FOLLOWING that grain, you’ll end up with those long (and tough) muscle fibers intact because your knife is just separating them from each other. But if you cut ACROSS that grain, you’re slicing each muscle fiber into short pieces, leaving your teeth with less to do. See the finished slices in the opening photo. Note that if you choose a skirt steak instead of a flat iron, the grain goes from side to side, so you should cut the steak the long way.

Some cuts have really obvious grain patterns. Others—like short ribs—can be more subtle and may even change direction in a single piece of meat. What to do? Slice a small corner and take a look – does your slice have stripes (bad) or little circles (good)? If you need to start again from another side, do that. If you’re cutting away and the grain changes direction part way through, just rotate the meat until you’re cutting in the right direction again. Be the boss of your steak.

– Bethany Fleishman

Photo credit: Julia A. Reed

Taylor Brothers Farm 6.28.16 027

Visit to Taylor Brothers Farm 6/28/16

If you follow Valley Food and Farm on Instagram, then you may know that this summer we have been taking time to travel around the NH side of the Upper Valley photographing and profiling farms east of the Connecticut. These road trips are made possible through the New Hampshire Specialty Crop Block Grant Program which we were awarded this spring to create more support and awareness of NH specialty crop farms through promotional events and materials. Specialty Crops include varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers, nursery trees and shrubs, honey, herbs, and of course, maple. The SCBG Grant itself is designed to provide NH organizations with the funds to conduct projects which benefit NH specialty crop farms under the areas of food safety, pest and disease prevention, research and development, industry promotion and marketing, and technology and innovation. Many of the farms we are traveling too are located in our online Valley Food and Farm Guide

Our goal is to increase support of Upper Valley farms to build healthy communities, markets, and environments for all who live here. This will be done through providing more marketing opportunities, materials, and other such opportunities for NH farms. Taking pictures of these farms is part of that overarching goal. So be sure to keep your eyes out for more pics of NH farms in our website, blog, newsletters, printed materials, Facebook, and Instagram! If you are a NH farm and would like us to come take pictures of your fields or stand please let us know at 802-291-9100 or email kylie@vitalcommunities.org!

One of the first farms I was able to visit was the Taylor Brothers Farm in Meriden, NH. The Taylor Brothers Farm is a four generation family farm started in 1970 by Steve and Gretchen Taylor with sons Jim, Bill, and Rob who now operate the farm. They began by raising cows, sheep, and vegetables. Then in the early 1980’s the farm switched over completely too dairy which today produces 3,000 pounds of milk each day from a herd of 120 Milking Shorthorn and Holstein cows. Up until 2009, all of the milk produced was sent to Cabot and while they still do send some off to be made into Cabot butter, the Taylor Brothers have begun making their own cheese in a creamery located right on the farm. I had the wonderful pleasure to talk with Gary who runs the creamery and makes each of the three varieties Taylor Brothers Farm Offers: Evelyn’s Jack, Cloverfield Colby, and Mill Hollow. These cheeses are aged anywhere between 2 weeks to 3 months and are available at the farm store in Meriden, at the online store, and at various food stores throughout the region.

Taylor Brothers Farm 6.28.16 045

 

In addition to cheese, The Taylor Brothers produce maple syrup. This year alone, the Taylor Brothers maintained 6,000 taps and produced 2,400 gallons of syrup! Jim, Bill, and Rob have been sugaring commercially since 1992 though they have been boiling for fun since childhood. Now-a-days, the brothers rely on reverse osmosis to remove most of the water first before boiling it in an evaporator. In addition to syrup, the Taylor Brothers offer maple cream, sugar, and candies for sale.

Taylor Brothers Farm 6.28.16 021

The newest addition to the farm has been the incorporation of Garfield’s Smokehouse which is managed by Bill Taylor and his wife Liz (Garfield). Garfield’s Smokehouse is located right across from the creamery and sugar house and offers a variety of NH hardwood and cob smoked meats and cheeses made in their USDA inspected facility right on the premises.

Taylor Brothers Farm 6.28.16 004

One of the biggest highlights of this visit was talking with an Upper Valley farmer who is proud to call NH home and to work so closely alongside his brothers throughout all of the decision making as the farm and family have evolved and grown over the past 35 years. Through creating solutions to overcome economic shifts, building facilities to incorporate value-added products, and merging family businesses, it will be fun to see what the Taylor Brothers have to offer the Upper Valley as their family and farm continue to grow and develop over the years. Be sure to check out their farm stand located about 10 mins south of West Lebanon right below KUA in the beautiful hills of Meriden, NH.

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