Adventures with Youngsters

On June 21, summer will officially begin, but you’d never know it by today’s temperature.  It’s 1:00 pm and the temperature on this 6th day of June is hovering somewhere between 46° and 48°, depending on which weather app you check. The weatherman predicts we’ll break the record low for this day.

It’s been a welcome rainy spring to put an end to our drought so we aren’t complaining. We’ve had days of beautiful New England spring weather in-between storms, enough to be satisfied, especially since our goal for this summer is to become better acquainted with everything our area offers…. often through the eyes of children.

Wentworth Marina by the Sea

We no longer own boats, but a stop at the Wentworth Marina by the Sea in New Castle with the grandchildren was one our first spring adventures. What a blast to let the little ones wander up and down the docks, watching boats come and go, including the excitement of the marine police arriving to check the place over. A stop here would hardly be worth it without a relaxing lunch at The Green Bean, outdoor dining while answering 100 little questions, between bites of tasty pulled pork sliders, about boats, birds, water, and rigging.  “What is that spinning thing on top of the masts?” “That’s the wind speed indicator…” “Why do they have them up there?”  Fun, fun, fun!

The Green Bean - Pull Pork Sliders with cheddar cheese and red onions

We’re thrilled to support the wonderful outdoor Exeter Farmers’ Market once again this spring, especially on the warmest days when we can follow-up with homemade strawberry popsicles or the best local ice cream, but that’s only when the grandchildren accompany us. Yes, we all had a popsicle on this day!

Strawberry popcicles - Exeter Farmers' Market

Watching the Phillips Exeter crew teams practice on the Squamscott River is something we stopped to watch for the first time. That was another new adventure for us thanks to keen interest by these little folks.

Grands on the Squamscott River

Our local school crew teams in Virginia were nationally ranked and these crew teams are tops in the nation, according to their website. So much fun to watch… especially through the eyes of children and also after reading The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Highly recommended!

I’ve been in working hard in the garden in-between rain showers but I’ll soon be back in earnest. A warming (or hot) trend is approaching for the weekend and I’m ready. Stay tuned.

Let it SNOW!

All I’ve been posting about lately is snow but what else is there in New England in the winter? Old Man Winter has a firm grip on us up here in Exeter while my family members in the mid-Atlantic area are experiencing spring-like mild weather. My daughter texted to say she was outdoors in a short sleeve shirt today and a sister reported daffodils in bloom. Their unseasonably warm temperatures combined with brisk winds from a weather low across the area will advance northward tomorrow, hit an Alberta Clipper and impact us with a potentially big snowfall Sunday evening…. and maybe a little thundersnow! What’s true in New England? They love a snowfall. They ski, snowshoe, snowboard, bike and have epic snowball parties.

Annual Portsmouth Snowball FightThat’s mostly for the young. We aren’t as adventuresome, but will be warm, safe, and well-fed as we watch from our windows. We have plenty of wood for the fireplace and we stocked up this morning with the freshest of foods at our local Winter Farmers’ Market.

We arrived early and you can see that many in Exeter had the same idea as we did. Unless you ski, snowshoe, or sled, where else can a person go and have winter fun?  Happy, socializing crowds were filling bags full of vegetables, breads, meats, baked goods, eggs, and whole meals…. plus much more. It was an event and great to see folks support their local farmers.

(click photo to enlarge)

Exeter Winter Farmers' MarketBusiness was brisk and mister gardener’s bag was weighted down with an assortment of everything he could carry.

We have all we need to weather the storm. Bring it on!

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Cool Weather

I like Winter, Spring is Nice, Let’s Skip Summer, And do Fall Twice(Rusty Fischer)

Fall is my very favorite season. We have officially transitioned in New Hampshire. There is an invigorating crispness to the air so we’re wearing sweaters now, we sleep under down at night, it’s darker in the morning and in the evening, football is on the tube, leaves are changing, and it’s apple picking time!

Yesterday we spent the afternoon at our outdoor farmers’ market in Exeter, the 2nd largest in the state, where an abundance of fall crops, meats, sweets, meals, crafts and friendly faces greeted us. We didn’t have a shopping list but browsed from booth to booth stocking up on mostly vegetable goods but, oh, how to resist the flowers!

Exeter Farmers' Market 9/29/16

Browsing the booths with fall crops was a little like walking through a rainbow!

Click to see anything up close

That was yesterday. This morning I made the 4-mile drive to Applecrest Farms, New Hampshire’s oldest and largest apple orchard. They grow a variety of goods from peaches, berries, pumpkins and all the summer vegetables. A popular pastime is Pick-Your-Own. We’ve participated and ridden the wagon to the far fields for a variety of fruits.

Here is the ancient sign at Applecrest to help customers make good buying decisions. This week I’m making an apple crisp with cinnamon whipped cream topping so today I was seeking Macs, Courtland, Ida Red for cooking and Honey Crisp for eating.

Applecrest Farm

The Applecrest weekends are filled with autumn activities: music, Pick-Your-Own, hayrides, petting zoo, pie eating contests, fresh pressed cider, and fire roasted corn, sausage, dogs & burgers….. and a bit of clam chowder for me, please. On this Friday morning, they were abuzz setting up and getting ready. Mums..pumpkins…apples galore.

Oh yes, let’s do fall twice!

 

Know Your Farmer!

vegetable garden in VirginiaIn Virginia, mister gardener nourished us all summer with the freshest vegetables and fruits from his garden… a true slow food movement in our own backyard. He was also the main chef so the vegetables and fruits he harvested would go straight into the meals he prepared.

That was then and this is now.  He is still the main chef but we have downsized from 12-acres to a small property. mister gardener’s vegetables are now grown in pots and herbs are grown in my flower beds. No room for a vegetable garden, so what do we do? We support the slow food movement at our wonderful Exeter Farmers’ Market, the 2nd largest in the state, where we get to know our local farmers.

Exeter Farmers' Market We always enjoy the live music and bustling marketplace where we chat with farmers and craftspeople, meet our friends and neighbors while shopping for an abundance of local foods and produce. The quality of 100% locally grown produce cannot be equaled and it’s a good feeling to support local agriculture.

We are awed by the fresh veggies, fruits, meats, cheeses, eggs, honey, syrup, beer, baked goods, herbs and other plants, and numerous crafts… and stimulating the senses are savory meals served up hot and yummy.

Here are a few scenes from our most recent market. Click to enlarge photos.

From their website, here is who will be here for Exeter’s Farmers’ Market this week. See you there!

  • Anderson’s Mini-Maples
  • Applecrest Farm
  • Aspen Hill Herb Farm*
  • Barker’s Farm
  • Blueberry Hill: Alternatives for Life
  • Brandmoore Farm*
  • Bucovina Cuisines
  • Coombs Farm LLC
  • Coppal House Farm
  • Diane Louise Paul Handcrafted Leather & Repair
  • Divine Cuisines, LLC DBA Tulsi
  • Etta’s Soaps
  • Figtree Kitchen
  • Forty Five Market Street Bakery and Cafe
  • Heron Pond Farm
  • Hickory Nut Farm
  • Hurd Farm llc
  • Jessica Seaton Pottery
  • Jesta Farm *
  • Karimah’s Kitchen
  • Kellie Brook Farm
  • Leaven Beer And Bread House
  • mckenzie’s farm
  • Meadow’s Mirth*
  • Mona Farm
  • Moriarty’s Greenhouse*
  • New Roots Farm*
  • Riverslea Farm
  • SNAP Seacoast Eat Local
  • Soothey Designs
  • Stout Oak Farm*
  • Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm
  • The Soup Guy, LLC*
  • Throwback Brewery
  • Toni’s Donuts/Lemieux Family Concessions
  • Vernon Family Farm
  • White Cedar Farm
  • White Heron Tea & Coffee*
  • Zach’s Farm

Fried Green Tomatoes

Okay, so last week I ran, not walked to the last outdoor Exeter Farmers’ Market. I knew they would have what I’ve been hankering for the last few weeks. Green tomatoes are plentiful when the weather turns brisk and the tomato growing season comes to an end.

Green TomatoesMy first solid food as a babe might have been green fried tomatoes. They were a summer treat as soon as the tomatoes were big enough to pick. To me they are so divine tasting, not the most nourishing food, but flashes of ‘down home’ with every bite.

Green TomatoesMy mother cooked tomatoes in bacon grease. I compromised and used about three tablespoons of bacon grease for flavor (no preservatives), plus oil to make about 1/8″.  I dipped slices in an egg wash, then a good coating of seasoned flour with a bit of dry bread crumbs, fried them on each side until tender and golden brown. Drained well on a paper towel, I served them up to mister gardener. He initially turned his nose up when I put a small tomato on his plate. I forced a taste. He loved them and asked for seconds, then thirds. I wasn’t surprised. What’s not to like?

Green Fried Tomatoes

Roadside Retailing

I get a little giddy when Thursdays roll around. The Exeter Farmers’ Market, the second largest on New Hampshire’s seacoast, is just a stone’s throw from us. It is a carnival of sights, sounds, people, and aromas from fruits and vegetables, meats and seafood, cheeses, maple syrup products, soaps, baked goods and lovely decorative arts right along the beautiful Squamscott River. It’s a party and we’ve had a summer of fun but the outdoor market season is coming to a close this week.

We are sad about the outdoor farmers’ market ending, but we were thrilled to recently discover a smaller party to attend. It may be compact but it’s roadside retailing at its best. Close enough for us to arrive on foot is a new farm stand with delectable goodies that mister gardener can not resist. We’ve stocked up on tomatoes. We tried the apple cider. Organic eggs are beautiful. Pies are delicious. Heck, the bread is always sold out before we arrive but we’ll try to get there earlier.

Looks like this will be a regular destination for us…..

Pies

Apple Pieapple pie.Organic Eggspumpkin pie