Whether you're new to the New England Seacoast or you've lived here your whole life you know this gem of the country harbors some spectacular winter views and a satisfied craving for locally produced food. Although some days you may be advised to stay off the roads you wouldn't change it for anything... and that's usually because a pot roast with root vegetables and a bathtub of therapeutic herbs & petals are being considered instead. 

While we bear the winter, farmers conquer a different type of challenge. Freezing water troughs and delays on a harvest schedule create a setback only seen in the cold. Spinach may be growing in the ground but if it's too cold to collect, farmers must wait until it warms up. Hopefully only a few days before a market, says Kate Donald of Stout Oak Farm. "On the upside cooking tons of root vegetables, reading, regrouping and installing solar panels on the barn is what you can picture this time of year". Flipping through seed catalogs and planning beds are other duties well underway. Seeds are arriving and plant starts are even starting to grow!
Is there anything you’re hoping to try this year? We'd love to know! 

Stout Oak Farm's spinach in a high tunnel creating an environment one hardiness zone warmer than the field. 

Stout Oak Farm's spinach in a high tunnel creating an environment one hardiness zone warmer than the field. 

You may remember when Lemieux Family Concessions (aka Toni’s Donuts) sold homemade donuts by the half dozen, back when the Portsmouth market was on Parrott Ave; Back when Stonewall Kitchen was there selling jam from a card table! Barbara, husband and 2 daughters Denise and Darcy would have the back of their station wagon packed with as many doughnuts as it could hold. Sadly, about 12 years ago, when Mr. Lemieux became ill, they closed the doughnut business and scaled back to a more manageable roster of items. You may have tried one of their mouthwatering lobster rolls while strolling the market or brought home a container of Boston baked beans to share with the family; Good for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or better yet breakfast for dinner! As you anticipate the opening of our markets in May, rest assured that Lemieux’s in-season fruit bars and classic pies will continue for her 30 years at market. If you get a chance to check out a Seacoast Eat Local winter market in Rollinsford, check out booth # 46 and ask them about their annual road trip to PA for memorable Amish pies!

Blueberry Hill Alternatives For Life now has a men’s department!  
Fresh with pre-shave oil, beard oil, bay rum aftershave and hearty soaps in manly scents like pine and spice, Bonnie's adding inventory. She says Pine pollen tincture is making a comeback and pollen is plant testosterone, helpful for raising levels and for allergies since it comes from local trees.
Permaculture is helping the land come back to its wild state, with woodland herbs and berries, sources of her main ingredients. In the forecast she has three cherry trees grown to about 6 or 7 feet and should bloom either this year or next (great for the wild cherry mix). "Edible species are afoot although not quite ready and I'm still waiting on the stumps inoculated with mushrooms. Maybe this summer, although a giant reishi is coming off one pine.  Things are looking up", Bonnie said.