November 11, 2010

 Navigation

   Home Page

 News & Features

   News

 Columns & Opinions

   Publisher's Note

   Boomers

   Pinings

   Longshots

   Techie

 Pop Culture

   Film

   TV

   Books
   Video Games
   CD Reviews

 Living

   Food

   Wine

   Beer

 Music

   Articles

   Music Roundup

   Live Music/DJs

   MP3 & Podcasts

   Bandmates

 Arts

   Theater

   Art

 Find A Hippo

   Manchester

   Nashua

 Classifieds

   View Classified Ads

   Place a Classified Ad

 Advertising

   Advertising

   Rates

 Contact Us

   Hippo Staff

   How to Reach The Hippo

 Past Issues

   Browse by Cover


It's snowing veggies
Local farmers offer CSAs in winter
By Angel Roy aroy@hippopress.com

“I’m not sure which is colder this morning,” Larry Pletcher said on a recent frosty day as he walked into a 10-by-12-foot cooler stocked with carrots, beets, onions, parsnips and celeriac.

The cooler is housed in an insulated heated 30-by-40-foot building at The Vegetable Ranch, 443 Kearsarge Mountain Road, Warner, for Pletcher to store goods for his winter community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. Still weeks away from the first pick-up, Pletcher’s storage space is already filled with daikon radishes, potatoes and a variety of squashes — carnival (sweet dumpling), acorn, buttercup, butternut and winter.

A CSA allows individuals to support farmers and local products by paying a set amount in advance to receive goods regularly throughout the season. Many farms opt to run CSAs in the summer; Pletcher and other local farmers have begun offering winter CSAs.

“When people pre-buy their vegetables, that membership money is there and spread out to farmers to get a jump on the season…,” Pletcher said. “You don’t have to make all of your money in five months. You can plan your harvest and spread out your labor.”

Keeping farm staff employed is another reason why local farmers are starting winter CSAs.

“I have employees that I like to keep working all winter because it keeps them around and from going out and finding other jobs. … It might not be full-time in the winter but enough to keep them,” said Roger Noonon, owner of Middle Branch Farm, 280 Colburn Road, New Boston, who also offers a winter CSA.

Both Noonon and Pletcher participate in the Concord-based Local Harvest CSA in the summer. Summer CSAs run from mid-June to mid-October. Concord, Derry, Salem and Weare all run winter farmers markets.

It will be the first winter CSA offered by Noonon at this farm.

“It keeps our customer base, members, engaged…. We are giving it a shot this year; hopefully it will be economically viable and sustainable for us,” Noonon said, adding that he is hoping for 100 members to join.

Noonon said he began participating in CSAs because while his products are sold to Manchester restaurants and local cooperative markets, he likes to get his food right to the user.

“This allows us to partner directly with families that are buying our food. … Members will know where their food is growing every week,” he said. “I will not have to be on the phone for four hours every morning trying to sell my goods. They will already be committed to.”

In addition to the vegetable share membership cost of $250, Noonon said, customers will be given the option to purchase other goods. Noonon also offers a meat share option (his farm produces chicken, pork, beef and lamb) that has a price tag of $255. Members must participate in his vegetable share program to enroll in the meat share, Noonon said. They will be given a poundage limit for storage crops, as well as a set amount for fresh produce (leeks, kale, Swiss chard, bok choy, cabbage). For meat, members will also be given a poundage limit.

Noonon will run six pick-ups, one in December before the holiday, two in January and one in February and March. Whereas Noonon does regular pick-ups in Nashua and Manchester throughout the summer, customers will have to pick up their produce at his farm this winter because there is too much uncertainty in weather conditions for him to commit to a regular spot.

Entering his third winter CSA year, Pletcher said he has yet to have an issue with weather when doing pick-ups in Concord, but said he would change the distribution date should road conditions be too dangerous.

“If people can’t make their pick-up and they let us know, we will double up next time,” Pletcher said. “Because winter crops store pretty well we are happy to do that.”

Pletcher said he would like to see 120 customers sign up for his winter CSA and is almost halfway there. Last year, he capped membership at 100 customers. “We have a good retention rate…. That means they are happy with what they are getting and happy to support local food,” Pletcher said. “Anyone is happy to get anything green and fresh in wintertime and we’re able to do it.” For $315, members of The Vegetable Ranch winter CSA receive 10 food pick-ups, with the first in mid-December to “get everyone through the holidays.” Two pick-ups each are done in January, February, March and April, and one in early May. Pletcher offers pick-ups both at his farm in Warner and at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Concord.

The goal, Pletcher said, is for customers to receive two green items, such as spinach, lettuce, bok choy, arugula, shoots and sprouts, per pick-up, with the product depending on the month. Basic pick-ups will have a value of $30 and include seven to eight items.

Membership is limited as Pletcher is concerned about how many greens he will be able to produce this season.

“Bok choy, arugula and spinach all do quite well in the winter,” Pletcher said. “They don’t necessarily grow but they hold and stay nice.”

Hoop houses — unheated greenhouses — are used to grow and store crops in the winter.

“It is an efficient sustainable way to do it,” Pletcher said.

To protect their crops from frost in the hoop house, farmers cover them with poly-woven blankets, also known as floating row covers. On sunny days, Pletcher said, the hoop house gets “nice and toasty,” but on colder days and nights he might lay down two to three row covers, depending on the crop. Each blanket layer has four degrees of frost protection, he said.

“Even at 17 below zero, you may get a little frost on top but the root zones don’t freeze,” Pletcher said. “Everything remains healthy.”

For the months of January and February, Pletcher plans to convert his walk-in cooler into a hot area with grow lights and space heaters to grow shoots and sprouts, which can be ready in less than two weeks.

Committing to a CSA program, Noonon said, goes beyond writing a check.

“You have to commit to show up for the vegetables and to prepare the vegetables,” he said. “This is not food you just go home and throw in the microwave.”


Winter veggies
• The Vegetable Ranch 443 Kearsarge Mountain Road, Warner, 456-3628, www.vegetableranch.com

• Middle Branch Farm 280 Colburn Road, New Boston, 487-2540, www.middlebranchfarm.com
Know of another winter CSA or farmers market? Let us know at food@hippopress.com.


11/04/2010 Making cookies at the Currier
10/28/2010 Pumpkin Sweet and Savory
10/21/2010 Special sauce and steamed buns
10/14/2010 40 restaurants on the menu
10/07/2010 Yes Concord has good food
9/30/2010 Know Your Apples
9/23/2010 Vegetarian: ‘not as scary as it sounds’
9/16/2010 It's Glendi!
9/09/2010 Take another taste
9/2/2010 Chili Week sets a hot stage
8/26/2010 Finding the fun in food
8/19/2010 Cutting remarks
8/12/2010 The world in your cup
8/5/2010 A world of food in Manchester
7/29/2010 Fun fair food from fruit to frappes
7/22/2010 Food for folks
7/15/2010 Mexican in Manch
7/8/2010 Kugelfest or falafelpalooza
7/1/2010 It's pizza from Portland
6/24/2010 A millyard dog
6/17/2010 Lamb on the grill, lamb on the skewer
6/10/2010 Take some ribbing
6/3/2010 Taste is everything
5/27/2010 Taste time in Nashua
5/20/2010 Gluten-free bread, but noone has to know
5/13/2010 Shaker Village gets a new restaurant

5/6/2010 Mother's Day meals
4/29/2010 3C's makes a move
4/22/2010 Welcome to the Pattie Shack
4/15/2010 Move over calzones
4/8/2010 A taste of Boston on the West Side
4/1/2010 Sunday's best
3/25/2010 Taste brings the towns to Nashua
3/18/2010 Coffee and creativity
3/11/2010 Where to wear the green
3/4/2010 Tedy J's is a family endeavor
2/25/2010 New chef for the Granite
2/18/2010 Choose what pig you want to eat
2/11/2010 A whole lotta love
2/4/2010 European experience, local ingredients

1/28/2010 Warm your tummy and your soul
1/21/2010 Veano's Italian Kitchen returns
1/14/2010 The co-op movement grows
1/7/2010 A new Leaf
12/31/2009 New eats and more beer
12/24/2009 Feast your way into the New Year

12/17/2009 Foodie gifts for 2009
12/10/2009 Microbrew heaven in the east
12/3/2009 Key ingredient: New Hampshire wine

11/26/2009 Enjoy south Indian cuisine in Nashua
11/19/2009 Barbecue all year
11/12/2009 Ciao Italia at Cotton
11/05/2009 Hops in Hooksett
10/29/2009 A 200-pound meatball in Concord?

10/22/2009 Hops in Hooksett
10/15/2009 A sweet little spot in the Capital City

10/8/2009 30 restaurants, one stop
10/1/2009 T-Bones: 22 new dishes for 25 years
9/24/2009 Sausage seller settles in
9/17/2009 Glendi means good times
9/10/2009 Sunny Side Up in Concord
9/3/2009 The night of 26 restaurants

8/27/2009 Milltowne at the airport
8/20/2009 Feast Day for all
8/13/2009 Beyond tacos

8/6/2009 Cooling off with a cone
7/30/2009 And the sippin is easy ...
7/23/2009 South of the border west of the river
7/16/2009 the food is the best part
7/9/2009 Today Pittsfiled, tomorrow the world
7/2/2009 The art of the sandwich

6/25/2009 Kitchens then and now
6/18/2009 Treat dad to something special

6/11/2009 Newly minted
6/4/2009 It's a stretch
5/28/2009 A South End tradition continues in Concord
5/21/2009 Nibbling through downtown
5/14/2009 Gyro, pastichio or spanakopeta?
5/7/2009 Give the gift of nobody doing dishes
4/30/2009 A Taste of old favorites, new dishes
4/23/2009 A week of eats in Manchester
4/16/2009 So happy together
4/9/2009 After candy, brunch and diner
4/2/2009 All made right here
3/26/2009 A sappy story
3/19/2009 Five-course trip to Lebanon
3/12/2009 Irish meals
3/5/2009 Get a peice of the farm

2/26/2009 Before late night eats,an evening at the pub
2/19/2009 Drinks with Dan Akroyd

2/12/2009 Crooked Birch branches out
2/5/2009 Dinner with your sweetheart
1/29/2009 Food for the 50-yard line
1/22/2009 Artisan bread at The Good Loaf

1/15/2009 "Fold, mush, turn"
1/8/2009 Once upon a time at a bistro...
1/1/2009 Zacky's to go
12/25/2008 2008 in small bites

12/18/2008 Manchestert brewing opens in Concord
12/11/2008 Delicious gifts for the foodie
12/4/2008 New chef at UnWine'd
11/27/2008 Corks pops at BVI
11/20/2008 Big plates, big food
11/13/2008 IPA first prize

11/6/2008 You want it? He'll bring it.
10/30/2008 Cooking up a mystery
10/23/2008 Running with the bulls
10/16/2008 Like grandma made it
10/9/2008 The flavor of Concord
10/2/2008 Indie donuts rising

9/25/2008 Buy a bowl, feed the hungry
9/18/2008 Oktoberfest — for a cause
9/11/2008 A slice ofGreece, Asia, France...
9/4/2008 Flavors of Manchester
8/28/2008 D.I.Y. sausage
8/21/2008 Summertime and the living is chilli
8/14/2008 Weekend of festivals
8/7/2008 Going for pizza gold
7/31/2008 Red and juicy, from vine to table
7/24/2008 Meet the Manch-vegans
7/17/2008 Meet the winemaker
7/10/2008 Pupusas, cervesa y batidos
7/03/2008 3C's Cafe opens in Highlander Inn
6/26/2008 Oh, tartar sauce!
6/19/2008 From farm to grill
6/12/2008 450 pounds of lamb
6/5/2008 Travel the culinary world at BVI
5/29/2008 Chocolate throwdown
5/22/2008 Hit the road for some Yum-Yum
5/15/2008 Local, gluten-free and ready made
5/8/2008 The return of brownies and pasta
5/1/2008 Have a fiesta
4/24/2008 Noshing and shopping
4/17/2008 Celebrating with Greek eats
4/10/2008 Drive-ins open for the season
4/3/2008 Noshing for a cause
3/20/2008 The Easter Bunny brings dinner
3/13/2008 The Irish Spirit
3/6/2008 The sweet season
2/28/2008 Cambodian (or Italian) made easy
2/21/2008 Fresh fish comes to Nashua
2/14/2008 Hearts and fibers
2/7/2008 A romantic dinner for two
1/31/2008 Celebrate Mardi Gras
1/24/2008 Morroccan in Milford
1/17/2008 The chef is inn
1/10/2008 Italian street food in NH
1/10/2008 The contorni approach
1/3/2008 Like Disneyland for foodies
12/27/2007 More food and wine events, a menu for the bar
12/20/2007 Lots of dough
12/13/2007 Gifts for gourmands
12/6/2007 Making spirits really bright
11/22/2007 Just don't ask them to cook
11/15/2007 Easy as pie
11/8/2007 Italian eats, bistro style
11/1/2007 Bringing Italia to New Hampshire
10/25/2007 Trick or treat, the grown-up version
10/18/2007 Shop where the pros go
10/11/2007 Enjoy apple season from orchard to plate
10/04/2007 Tradition on the menu
9/27/2007 Meet your pig
9/20/2007 In search of the right meat
9/20/2007 Vegan blogger branches out
9/13/2007 Get ready to eat
9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
8/2/2007 Perfecting a pound of pasta
7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
7/19/2007 Tart treats of a New Hampshire summer
7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
6/21/2007 Spicy meat, grilled meat and saucy meat
6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki — a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
4/26/2007 Pho sure
4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
4/12/2007 Serving up the first square
4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
3/15/2007 From homemade to home business
3/8/2007 Shop the farmers' market year round
3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
2/22/2007 Keepers of the vino
2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
1/11/2007 Where the beef is, piled high and hot
1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
12/28/2006 The return of pasta and fall of the diet: the year in eats
12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
12/14/2006 French but not fussy
12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
10/26/2006 Whip up a quiche
10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
10/12/2006 Comfort food for blokes and birds
10/05/2006 Smaller crop but still red and delicious
09/28/2006 The crunchier, lighter, healthier wrap
09/21/2006 City bagels in suburbia
09/14/2006 Cracking the custard code
09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
08/31/2006 New flavors for an old summer dish
08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
08/17/2006 Frappe vs. milkshake
08/10/2006 Enjoy the bluest month
08/03/2006 Death of Toro
07/27/2006 Vacation on a plate
07/20/2006 Hitting barbecue big time
07/13/2006 Relishing the raspberry
07/06/2006 Are your edible souveneirs kosher?
06/29/2006 Fish, upscale
06/22/2006 Sweet rosey taste of summer
06/15/2006 When to pull out the EVOO
06/08/2006 What can you grill?
06/01/2006 Taste of downtown Nashua
05/25/2006 Deulge at farms
05/18/2006 Adorable and delicious
05/11/2006 Rub down
05/04/2006 Pinot to go
04/27/2006 A bit Italian, a bit egg foo young
04/20/2006 Meatier than breakfast...
04/13/2006 Let yourself eat cake
04/06/2006 Fear not the Risotto
03/30/2006 Making Friday a fishy delight
03/23/2006 The Thin Mints are here
03/16/2006 Divining your personality from pizza
03/09/2006 Cooking up a big bowl of comfort
03/02/2006 Dumplings demystified
02/23/2006 Carbs and comfort all the way
02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
2/09/2006 Biting into the burger with bling
02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
01/26/2006 Goodbye rooster, hello year of the dog
01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic — it’s romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead — run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
It’s not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days
Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken — no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: it’s what’s for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch