Tag Archives: Nashua

Opening Day in Nashua Rain or Shine

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Downpours all morning turned the grand opening of the new and improved Nashua Main Street Farmer’s Market into a soft opening with a few hardy vendors in attendance.  By noontime, the rain lightened and Nashua’s Country Dreams Farm was selling summer squash, zucchini, Walla Walla onions, rhubarb and strawberries.  Garlic scapes were already gone to those that braved the weather earlier.

Also from Nashua, Dirty Girl CSA, in its first year of production thanks to a locally famous start-up campaign through Kickstarter, was selling early greens and radishes, as well as tomato seedlings, T-shirts and stickers.

Fred’s Farm made the hour and half long trip from Alexandria and was selling a great variety of salad and cooking greens, all organic, all harvested hours earlier. Spiczka Farm from Dunstable, MA featured early peas and strawberries.

DJ’s Pure Natural Honey from Manchester, Celeste Oliva’s Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar from Concord, 50 Buick Rooster from Nashua (selling plants and birdhouses) and Rubino’s Gluten Free Italian Cookies were all also at the market today, everyone with great spirits despite the slower business.

This is what I picked up at the Nashua Farmer's Market on 6/21/15
This is what I picked up at the Nashua Farmer’s Market on 6/21/15

I picked up some squash, radishes and an onion to roast up. I may get adventurous and cook up the radish greens – something I’ve never tried before – perhaps into a frittata.  Check this space for a hopeful success story on that.  Oh yes, and of course some strawberries, perfectly ripe.

The Grand Opening has been rescheduled for next Sunday, June, 28th, where they expect around 20 vendors.  I’ll be there! Main Street Bridge and Pearson Ave, Nashua, NH.

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Shopping for Local Produce in the Off Season

Can the average New Englander find produce grown in New England at an average New England supermarket on an average winter day?  I went to my neighborhood Shaw’s to find out.

If you want to eat local, should you even bother with a supermarket?  We all know that most of the produce you find in supermarkets is from South America or California – at any time of the year.  Even during the height of the local apple season, we find Washington apples on the shelves.  Now, add to that that it is winter.  It would appear to be a lost cause.

But I found some things.  You just have to look carefully.

The Shaw’s I stopped at last week is a smaller one in Nashua, but fresh produce section has a good variety of items from all around the country and beyond.  The first thing that greets you upon entering is the fruit section.  In the winter, we have a lot of oranges and grapes and there are always apples, but nothing local.  Not even the apples.  I will never understand why local supermarkets don’t take advantage of the miles of surrounding apple farms here.  Once in a while, I’ll see local apples in the supermarket during the very height of apple season, but there’s no reason to not sell them through winter.  You can go to any one of these apple farms in the winter and find excellent apples.

Moving on, we hit the salad greens, tomatoes, and other cold-eating vegetables.  No local greens – another surprise, considering that they are often grown year-round indoors – but they did have something I never expected: tomatoes.  Big, beautiful Ugli Ripe heirloom tomatoes from Maine’s Backyard Farms sat on the shelf next to basic varieties shipped from as far away as Mexico. Turn the corner and I also found 10oz boxes of Cocktail Tomatoes on the vine from Backyard Farms.  These tomatoes are grown year-round indoors and distributed only as far as day’s drive.

Ugli Ripe Tomatoes from Backyard Farms at Shaw's
Ugli Ripe Tomatoes from Backyard Farms at Shaw’s

Next to the tomatoes, I found packages of Broccoli and Mung Bean sprouts and Pea shoots from Jonathan’s Organic Sprouts in Rochester, MA.

Broccoli Sprouts and Pea Shoots from Jonathan's Organic Sprouts at Shaw's
Broccoli Sprouts and Pea Shoots from Jonathan’s Organic Sprouts at Shaw’s

There were no local selections among the cooking greens and herbs, but there were a few choices within the root vegetable section.  Maine potatoes are an easy find in any supermarket and Shaw’s has some bagged from Fresh From the Start – a New York state distributor.  There is no indication where in Maine the potatoes come from and since they might travel from Maine to Long Island and back, one might question how local that ends up being.  I set my boundaries to the ends of New England, but since New York State is just beyond that, I guess I’ll take it.

They also had bagged Sugar Mountain Parsnips from Manheim Farm in Whatley, MA.  Manheim is a larger farm along the Connecticut River that sells their produce wholesale only.

Bags of Maine Potatoes and Sugar Mountain Parsnips from Mass.
Bags of Maine Potatoes and Sugar Mountain Parsnips from Mass.

The last item I found was a bag of Morning Kiss Organic Onions in the organic section.  These onions are distributed by Gold Bell of Arrow Farms in Chelsea, MA.  Keep in in mind, however, that it is a distribution center.  Arrow Farms makes no claims on its website that its produce is sourced locally, so the onions could have actually been grown anywhere.

All-in-all, this was not a bad excursion.  I enjoyed a nice plate of sliced tomatoes and some roasted potatoes and parsnips with dinner.  I didn’t expect an abundance of local produce, but I found enough to get by and that’s what counts.  You can find local food in the off-season.  You just need to read labels and stickers and be persistent.

Sliced Ugli ripe Tomatoes with oil, vinegar and garlic
Sliced Ugli Ripe Tomatoes with oil, vinegar and garlic

Nashua Rail Trail Community Garden Plots available for 2015

Just a quick note to pass on that you can get your application for a plot in the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail Community Garden for 2015 by following this link:

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1iBCOAIjJ-jGYqa99he69IpPs86DEUMYYkv8cXySVmsw/viewform

The Rail Trail gardens are located along the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail just west of Pine Street, between Everett Street and Stevens Ave and cost $35 for an 8×4 raised bed with water.

Nashua gets a b.good and life couldn’t be better

The amazing Adopted Luke Burger with added Vermont Bacon and a refreshing Beet-Ginger Lemonade.

I had one of the best burgers in my life at b.good in Nashua.  The Adopted Luke is a messy delight of all natural beef from Maine, smoked Gouda, bbq sauce, sautéed onions and mushrooms.  I added Vermont bacon for more spectacularness.   Amazing.  And I don’t even like mushrooms!  I guess I do, now.

You can order the Adopted Luke as a beef burger (sourced from Pineland Farms Natural Meats), or as turkey burger, a vegan veggie burger or as an all-natural chicken sandwich.  There are five other equally delicious choices, including the seasonal Joanie with avocado, spicy slaw and sriracha.  They also have oven-finished fries, sautéed veggies and seasonal Butternut Squash Soup.  But that’s not all.  There is a great selection of salads and “kale & quinoa” bowls that are newer additions to the company’s menu and have become big hits.

I went into b.good with the idea that its focus is on local food, but that’s not exactly true.  The focus at b.good is on “real” food.  That means, for example, that when you want to have pumpkin milk shakes on the menu for Halloween, you’re not squirting pumpkin-flavored goop into your vanilla shake, you are sourcing out and roasting real pumpkin to make that shake.  The added bonus is that they try to source their food as locally as possible.  The pumpkin in that milkshake came from Lanni Orchards in Lunenburg, MA.

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b.good wants you to know where their locally-sourced food is from

There’s a large chalkboard with a map of New England displayed prominently on the wall, identifying exactly where their locally-sourced product comes from.  Unfortunately, nothing from New Hampshire, (except maybe the kale that they grow right outside their door in the non-winter) but the tomatoes are from Backyard Farms in Maine, potatoes are from Szawlowski Potato Farm in Mass, and butternut squash is from Marini Farm in Ipswich.   Other seasonal vegetables are from Dick’s Market Garden in Lunenburg, cheese from the well-known Cabot Creamery in Vermont and the amazing bacon is from Vermont Smoke and Cure.

A fresh, delicious and filling Local Apple and Bacon Kale and Quinoa bowl featuring bacon from Vermont, apples from Mass and kale maybe from one of b.good's own gardens.
A fresh, delicious and filling Local Apple and Bacon Kale and Quinoa bowl featuring bacon from Vermont, apples from Mass and kale maybe from one of b.good’s own gardens.

Of course, not everything is locally sourced.  We’re not told where the turkey or chicken comes from, and the avocados are surely not from around here.  It may be too much to expect of a growing franchise restaurant to be entirely locally sourced, but b.good spends a good deal of time trying to get the most without sacrificing quality and competitivity.   Down in Boston, where the franchise is based and there are six locations, they grow their own produce on the roofs of buildings.

b.good in Nashua has been open a few months.  It’s located on the South End of Nashua, at 219 Daniel Webster Highway, across from Best Buy and next to the new and popular Not Your Average Joe’s.  I am so glad they are here and I suggest you go and check them out.