Monday, July 30, 2012

Agape Homestead

by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator

The Agape Homestead story is literally one of a Phoenix rising from the ashes.  Burnt to the ground in October of 2010 the Straughan family has rebuilt the farm on an adjacent property in Center Ossippee.  Fortunately, no one was hurt in the fire but the Straughans lost everything including most of their animals, cheese store, processing area, delivery vehicle, and home-school curriculum. Due to a series of fortunate events and the help of the community, a few months after the fire the Straughans were back to milking 28 goats including six that survived the fire.  Today the farm is thriving complete with a new barn, processing area, and a farm store which features not only their products but products from other local farms and local craftspeople as well.

In their local community, the Straughans are known for their goats and their commitment to feeding the poor through the Agape Ministry Food Pantry.  On the day of our visit there was a bustle of activity as a commercial kitchen is on the verge of being completed so that the farm can begin to can, preserve, freeze and process their own produce and to rent out the space to others to use as well.
The Co-op carries a variety of soft goat cheeses from Agape Homestead.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Saphouse Meadery

 by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator

The Saphouse Meadery was founded in 2010 by two young entrepreneurs, Ash Fischbein and Matt Trahan. Together they rejuvenated an old store front in downtown Center Ossipee, New Hampshire using many recycled materials and sustainable methods. Saphouse Meadery is its own store front, shipping warehouse and production facility. Saphouse Meads use only time-tested traditional methods and procure their ingredients from local farms and markets
Mead (pronounced meed) or honey wine is an alcoholic beverage created by the fermentation of water and honey.  Although no one can pinpoint the exact location or time period when mead was first created and enjoyed, the history of mead can be traced back thousands of years to antiquity. It is quite possibly the oldest alcoholic drink in history and may have been accidentally discovered when old tree stumps serving as homes for honey bees were flooded during the rains and the fermentation process took place naturally, only to be found and enjoyed by the people traveling through.

With the critical reminder of the importance of healthy honey bees in today’s world and the resurgence of backyard beekeeping, it is no wonder that we are on the verge of a major upswing in craft mead production.  Saphouse Meadery uses only traditional methods of making mead, and they pair those methods with unconventional ingredients such as blueberries, vanilla bean, or maple syrup. They haven’t reinvented the wheel but Ash and Matt are in the process of putting some shiny new rims on it-as witnessed by their stainless tanks in the photos.


Click here for more information about Saphoue Meadery

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ice Cream for Breakfast

by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator 
Nothing says breakfast like ice cream
I am a little hesitant to post this for fear that too many people will find out about one of the best kept secrets in the White Mountains-the Sandwich Creamery.
The Creamery is tucked into a small valley at the northern edge of New Hampshire’s Lakes Region, an area through which tourists pass or stay seasonally.  According to Farming magazine, “If you find the Sandwich Creamery, it’s because you’re looking for it. Off a minor state road, off a gravel road, onto a smaller gravel road, past a windmill and down over a hill…etc”  It’s a destination close to attractions such as Squam Lake and hiking hot spots in the Sandwich Range of the White Mountains but not so easy to find.  That quaint, out of the way feel is precisely what attracts so many people to sample the products the Sandwich Creamery…that and delicious homegrown NH ice cream!

Tom and Lisa
Tom and Lisa Merriman established the creamery in 1995 and they now produce cow’s milk farmstead cheeses in many varieties: aged cheddar, smoked cheddar, Caerphilly, Coulommier, Jersey Jack, and brie, as well as a variety of fresh soft cheese spreads.  The Co-op is adding more and more cheese varieties that Sandwich Creamery produces and will hopefully be adding their ice cream in the near future.
Although Sandwich Creamery no longer produces the milk that goes into their products the majority of their liquid dairy is shipped down the road from Walker Farm in Bristol, NH.  Ice cream and cheeses are made by hand in small batches using time-honored methods. As a small family business, Sandwich Creamery is committed to a product that helps people stay connected to their local farms.
"Can't get there from here!"
 To read more about the Sandwich Creamery click here