Find your farmers markets

A look at the socially distant summer market scene

You can still get your leafy greens, grass-fed meats and fresh poultry at local farmers markets this summer, but there’s no denying that the fresh-air market vibe won’t be the same, with regulations in place to promote social distancing and the cancellation of vendor demonstrations, tastings and live music.

“It has really been a shift from hanging out and socializing at the market … to just coming in and purchasing or picking up the product,” said Julie Dewdney, market manager of the Canterbury Community Farmers Market, which began on June 3.

Farmers markets have been considered essential businesses from the beginning, according to Gail McWilliam Jellie, director of agricultural development for the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food. The department has encouraged markets to stay open, both to maintain cash flow for the vendors and to provide food sources for customers. Despite that, many summer markets started late and some have canceled altogether.

Early season markets

One of the only markets in the Granite State that has remained uninterrupted during the pandemic is in Salem. The year-round market, which normally operates indoors from November through about April or May, moved outside several weeks earlier than planned, on March 15, despite temperatures barely above freezing.

“I think on that first day [we went outside] it was 37 degrees out,” board president Bonnie Wright said, “but people wanted to come and vendors wanted to come, so we kept the market going. … We’ve had to adapt a great deal and make a lot of changes as the virus situation has evolved.”

After being in the parking lot of the Mary A. Fisk Elementary School for a few weeks, the Salem Farmers Market moved back to its normal summer location at Salem Marketplace a few miles away on April 5. Since then the market has been operating at limited hours each week, on Sundays from 10 a.m. to noon only — it’s normally from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., according to Wright.

Moving the market outdoors in a paved parking lot, Wright said, has allowed its board members to further space out each vendor and control the flow of customers. Only 100 people are allowed into the market at a time to prevent long lines from forming. Table fees are, for the time being, waived for all vendors in an effort to help supplement the income some have lost.

“It definitely doesn’t have that farmers market feel that people are used to,” Wright said, “but we are seeing quite a bit of people … and occasionally people have to wait to get in.”

In Concord, after the cancellation of its winter market in Eagle Square on March 17 with more than a month left to go, growing uncertainty loomed over whether the city’s summer market on Capitol Street could go on. The market did miss its targeted opening date of May 2 by one week, resuming operations on May 9 with just a fraction of its vendors, but president Wayne Hall said it has exceeded his expectations since then.

“It’s been tremendous,” said Hall, who owns Rockey Ole Farm in Concord. “It’s been very, very steady, and people have been very respectful of the things we’ve been putting in place. … We are also constantly adding more new vendors as we go along.”

Hall said there is still an abundance of leafy greens available at the market, such as lettuce, kale, and Swiss chard. Next up for produce will be strawberries, coming from Apple Hill Farm, followed by blueberries later in July. Summer squash, tomatoes and cucumbers are all expected to be available soon too.

A second summer market has also debuted in Concord this year. For the first time, Cole Gardens is hosting an outdoor market in its parking lot following the conclusion of its indoor winter market in April, market manager Jane Iarussi said.

The Contoocook Farmers Market, according to manager Karin Cohen, began its summer season a couple of weeks earlier than planned, on May 23. Another year-round market, Contoocook had suspended operations indoors at Maple Street Elementary School on March 14.

“We were slated to reopen outdoors on June 6, but there were a lot of community requests for us to open [earlier], and a lot of our farmers also felt like they were ready to go,” Cohen said.

Now back at its normal summer location next to the Contoocook Railroad Museum, the market is encouraging just one member per household to visit if possible, and to leave all children and pets home. Reusable and single-use plastic bags are allowed, as long as you don’t place them on any table surfaces. Product sampling, vendor demonstrations, live music and arts and crafts vendors have all been temporarily suspended until further notice.

“We’re really trying to encourage people not to linger, just because we are such a small market,” Cohen said. “Unfortunately, it’s not the social market that we’re used to, but I think everyone so far has been happy to still be able to come out and support our local farmers.”

Jim Ramanek of Warner River Produce in Webster is a featured vendor at the Contoocook, Cole Gardens and Canterbury markets — he’ll also be joining the Franklin market on Tuesdays when it gets underway on June 23, and has started an online ordering system via

“We still have a few winter vegetables and we’re doing lots of mixed lettuce, radishes and baby turnips,” Ramanek said. “Spinach is on the decline because it’s just been too hot for it.”

Work Song Farm in Hopkinton, another vendor at this year’s Contoocook market, has certified organic strawberries available first-come, first-serve. According to co-owner Dan Kilrain, the farm will have them for at least the next two to three weeks.

June and beyond

The month of June has brought with it several more summer markets in the state kicking off their seasons under new guidelines. The Canterbury Community Farmers Market was able to begin on schedule, Dewdney said, after its association spent several weeks discussing what the safest practices would be for vendors and customers.

“It was really important to us that we opened up that access to good products,” she said, “so we came up with a whole set of guidelines, with help from the UNH Cooperative Extension and the Maine Federation of Farmers Markets.”

In addition to encouraging masks, all handling of products is done by the vendors until after purchases are made. The Canterbury market has also eliminated all special activities it would normally have throughout the season, and is encouraging people to limit attendance to one visitor per household.

“Our first week was really successful,” Dewdney said of the June 3 market. “We didn’t have to control the crowd level. We had one entry point and we kind of just had a steady stream.”

The Canterbury market averages about 20 vendors — and even though Dewdney said a few vendors have dropped out, the Association has been receiving interest from newcomers.

One of the returning vendors, Kathy Doherty of Sanborn Meadow Farm in Canterbury, said the market’s opening day went well and that many customers even thanked her for being there. Doherty focuses primarily on herbs and leafy greens.

“Early in the season, it’s a lot of radishes, arugula and mixed Asian greens. That’s what I brought the first week, and I’ll diversify a bit with lettuce, broccoli, rhubarb and some varieties of kale,” Doherty said. “The spring was very cold and it seemed to delay everything … but they’re starting to catch up now. I think tomatoes will be coming a bit later than usual.”

The New Boston Farmers Market, which opened for the season on June 6, has roped off access from outside the town common, only allowing one-way entrances and exits for customers. Market co-manager Allison Vermette said the response to the changes has been positive so far.

“Most of the people who have shown up have been very thankful that we’ve been open. I think there’s been a very big push to have more local products available during this whole pandemic,” Vermette said. “It’s normally a very community-based market, so this year we do look a lot different. … We usually have different community guests come in, but that’s unfortunately been cut out for the foreseeable future. We’re also not doing our children’s market this year.”

In Milford the pandemic caused the cancellation of the town’s final two indoor winter market dates on March 14 and March 28. But on June 13 the market was able to start its summer season under new guidelines at 300 Elm St. across from the New Hampshire Antique Co-op.

“I’ve done a lot of research on how to open safely,” market manager Adrienne Colsia said. “Last year I used probably only half the parking lot, but now we’re using the whole perimeter of the lot to space everybody out. … We have one entrance, and we’re encouraging people to just grab and go and not hang around if they can. Customers are allowed to bring reusable bags.”

Colsia, who also co-owns Paradise Farm in Lyndeborough with her husband Wayne, said they will have strawberries available at the market. Other items you can expect at the market include meats like grass-fed beef, pork and lamb, poultry, fresh fish, cheeses, and leafy greens like kale, arugula and Swiss chard.

The Bedford Farmers Market, scheduled to begin on June 16, is in a new spot this year — the parking lot of the Harvest Market on Route 101 in Bedford, which closed its doors about a month ago, according to market manager Lauren Ritz. The market had previously been in the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church on Meetinghouse Road.

“The Diocese of Manchester … wasn’t comfortable with having us in the parking lot with the state that New Hampshire was at, at the time the decision was made,” said Ritz, who also co-owns Hoof and Feather Farm in Amherst, one of this year’s vendors. “So we actually reached out on the Bedford’s town Facebook page, and the Harvest Market offered us their parking lot.”

The market will feature 30 vendors throughout the season, some of which will rotate depending on the product availability of each. Hoof and Feather Farm is the meat vendor, featuring chicken, beef and pork, while other vendors are selling various fruits and vegetables, cheeses, honey, maple syrup and personal care products.

Newcomers include Jennifer Lee’s Bakery out of Worcester, Mass., which makes gluten-free and dairy-free baked goods; and the Bedford Sewing Battalion, which will have a table handing out free masks and accepting fabric and elastic donations. Like many of the state’s other markets, Ritz said Bedford had to cancel all planned live entertainment and demonstrations.

Merrimack’s farmers market is also expected to begin this week. According to market manager and town agricultural commission chair Bob McCabe, the Merrimack Town Council on June 11 approved the market to begin on June 17, one week after its proposed start date. That market is expected to continue through mid-October, in the parking lot of Vault Motor Storage on Daniel Webster Highway.

More markets to come

A few more summer markets in the state are expected to get going as the month winds down.

In Nashua, for example, the market will resume on June 21, continuing every Sunday through the middle of October. Due to several lane closures on either side of Main Street to accommodate outdoor dining space for restaurants, this year’s market has moved from its normal spot between Temple and Pearl streets down to the area in front of City Hall Plaza.

“We’ll be around City Hall on the Main Street side, as well as in the shaded area of the Nashua Heritage Rail Trail and [in] the surface parking lot to the rear of the building,” Great American Downtown executive director Paul Shea said. “It’s a larger area than where we normally operate … so customers will have a lot of space to move through the market while distancing.”

The Franklin Farmers Market is expected to begin on June 23 at Marceau Park on Central Street, while in Wilmot the farmers market will start on June 27 on the town green.

While the Intown Farmers Market in Manchester will not be taking place in the traditional sense, plans are in the works for a limited version of the market to return. Starting on June 25 farmers with Fresh Start Farms, a program of the Manchester-based Organization for Refugee and Immigrant Success, will be at Victory Park every Thursday through August.

“It’s going to be more like a farm stand,” Intown Manchester executive director Sara Beaudry said. “We were already in the process of restructuring our farmers market … to move from Stanton Plaza back to Victory Park, but then with everything going on we teamed up with ORIS to bring the market back and to simplify it.”

Jameson Small, program manager for the New American Sustainable Agriculture Project at ORIS, said members of Fresh Start Farms are also at the Bedford, Concord, Merrimack, Milford and Salem markets. In addition to leafy greens they’ll have tomatoes, cucumbers and squash later in the summer, as well as ethnic crops, like amaranth greens and African eggplant.

Market cancellations

The pandemic has caused a few markets in New Hampshire to pull the plug on their summer seasons entirely. One of the most notable to shut down for the year is the Derry Homegrown Farm & Artisan Market, which would have begun earlier this month in downtown Derry.

The market’s board had initially announced that the season would at least be delayed before the decision was made to cancel it altogether on June 2, one day before its original opening date.

“It was a really, really difficult decision that we did not want to have to do,” market manager and board vice president Neil Wetherbee said of its cancellation.

Wetherbee said it came down to the market’s location and its board ensuring the safety of all vendors and customers. Unlike most of the other markets, which are on paved surfaces, Derry’s is on grass, eliminating the ability to make six-foot markers with chalk. He also said its unique location in the center of town, along with its proximity to the rail trail, made it difficult to mandate specific entry and exit points for visitors. Other potential locations in town were considered but its board ultimately could not find one suitable.

In addition to all of those factors, Wetherbee said if the market were to take place it would have featured less than half of its regular vendors.

“We spent the last three years trying to turn this into a community event … and it really would’ve been a shell of what it has been,” he said. “A big part of discussion also was that we didn’t want to live with the responsibility if one of our vendors, especially one of our older vendors, was to get sick, or if we started to see a spike in virus cases in Derry.”

The Lee Farmers Market, which would have started on the last Thursday in May, has also canceled its season, instead “existing virtually,” according to manager Tina Sawtelle.

“We’ve sort of pivoted to becoming an online source to help local farms connect to customers, and to point people in the right direction for where to get product,” said Sawtelle, who originally started the market with her husband through the Lee Agricultural Commission. “It’s actually helped our vendors increase their CSA shares too.”

Find a market everyday
Here’s a list of summer farmers markets happening in southern New Hampshire.

• Cole Gardens Farmers Market is from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Cole Gardens (430 Loudon Road, Concord), now through October. Visit
• Dover Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Henry Law Park (1 Washington St., Dover), now through Oct. 11. Visit
• Nashua Farmers Market will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at City Hall Plaza (229 Main St.), June 21 through Oct. 18. Visit
• Salem Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to noon at Salem Marketplace (224 N. Broadway). Visit

• Durham Farmers Market is from 2:15 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of Sammy’s Market (5 Madbury Road), now through October. Visit
• Fresh Chicks Local Outdoor Market is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Monadnock Community Hospital (452 Old Street Road, Peterborough), now through October. Email

• Bedford Farmers Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the former Harvest Market (209 Route 101), now through Sept. 29. Visit
• Franklin Farmers Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. at Marceau Park (Central Street), June 23 through Sept. 29. Find them on Facebook @franklinlocalmarket.
• Rochester Farmers Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. at Rochester Community Center (150 Wakefield St.). Visit

• Canterbury Community Farmers Market is from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Elkins Public Library (9 Center Road), now through Sept. 30. Visit
• Dover Farmers Market is from 2:15 to 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Dover Chamber of Commerce (550 Central Ave), now through Oct. 7. Visit
• Merrimack Farmers Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. at Vault Motor Storage (526 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack), now through Oct. 7. Visit
• Peterborough Farmers Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. on the lawn of the Peterborough Community Center (25 Elm St.). Find them on Facebook @peterboroughnhfarmersmarket.

• Exeter Farmers Market is from 2:15 to 6 p.m. behind the Seacoast School of Technology (30 Linden St.), now through Oct. 29. Visit
• Henniker Community Market is from 4 to 7 p.m. at Henniker Community Center (57 Main St.), now through October. Find them on Facebook @hennikercommunitymarket.
• Intown Manchester’s Farmers Market will be from 3 to 6 p.m. at Victory Park (Concord and Chestnut streets, Manchester), June 25 through Aug. 27. Find them on Facebook @manchesterfood.
• Rindge Farmers Market is from 3 to 6 p.m. at West Rindge Common (Route 202 North), now through Oct. 8. Find them on Facebook @rindgefarmersandcraftersmarket.
• Wolfeboro Area Farmers Market is from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Clark Park (233 S. Main St., Wolfeboro), now through Oct. 15. Visit

• Francestown Community Market is from 4 to 7 p.m. across from the Francestown Police Station (15 New Boston Road). Find them on Facebook @francestowncommunitymarket.

• Barnstead Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 96 Maple St. in Center Barnstead, now through September. Visit
• Concord Farmers Market is from 8:30 a.m. to noon on Capitol Street in Concord (near the Statehouse), now through October. Visit
• Contoocook Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to noon at 896 Main St. in Contoocook. The year-round market usually moves indoors to Maple Street Elementary School (194 Main St.) beginning in early November, according to market manager Karin Cohen.
• New Boston Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the corner of Route 13 and Meetinghouse Hill Road, now through October (no market on Saturday, July 4). Visit
• New Ipswich Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to noon at the New Ipswich town offices (661 Turnpike Road). Find them on Facebook @newipswichfarmersmarket.
• Milford Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 300 Elm St. in Milford (across the street from the New Hampshire Antique Co-op), now through Oct. 10. Visit
• Portsmouth Farmers Market is from 8 a.m. to noon at the Little Harbour School (50 Clough Drive, Portsmouth), now through Nov. 7. Visit
• Warner Area Farmers Market is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lawn of Warner Town Hall (5 E. Main St.), now through October. Visit
• Wilmot Farmers Market will be from 9 a.m. to noon at 9 Kearsarge Valley Road in Wilmot, June 27 through Sept. 26. Visit

Weekly Dish 20/06/18

Glendi canceled: For the first time in four decades, Glendi, a popular three-day festival celebrating Greek culture through food, music and dancing in Manchester, will not be taking place this year. Glendi had been scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, through Sunday, Sept. 20, at St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral, but the church made the announcement of its cancellation in a June 10 press release. “Our number one priority is the safety and health of our volunteers, our parishioners and our customers,” the release read. St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church’s 72nd Lamb Barbecue, which would have been on June 20 on the church grounds on Bridge Street in Manchester, has also been canceled, its Parish Council announced.

Appetite for poutine: In place of the canceled fifth annual New Hampshire PoutineFest, which would have been last Saturday, the first PoutineFest Roadshow will be kicking off next month. Tickets recently went on sale online to purchase a special roadshow “passport” for $14.99 (or $29.99 with an event T-shirt included). From July 11 through Aug. 31 you can take the passport with you to any participating restaurant and get 25 percent off a regular order of poutine. According to event organizer Tim Beaulieu, participating Roadshow restaurants encompass much of New England, including many in New Hampshire but others as far north as Maine and the Canadian border and as far south as Rhode Island. “It’s just our way keeping the community of poutine-lovers alive,” Beaulieu said of the Roadshow. “We’ve also had some restaurants in the past that have wanted to come participate at PoutineFest but couldn’t because they were so far away, so now this is their opportunity.” Visit

Dinner at your doorstep: Great New Hampshire Restaurants, which owns T-Bones, Cactus Jack’s and the Copper Door, has recently launched a new project called Known as a ghost kitchen, prepares and delivers ready-to-cook meal packages, featuring items like scratch-made chicken pot pie, burger kits, butcher cut steaks, pasta dishes and homemade desserts. Currently, pre-ordered deliveries are available to all Manchester and Bedford addresses on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 1 to 5 p.m. Orders must be placed 24 hours in advance. Visit, find them on Facebook @dddeliver or call 488-2828.

Tropical Fruit Stack

Try this at home

The weather finally is turning to the warmth of summer. Although we, as New Hampshirites, are excited for the increased temperature, we also will be complaining about how hot and humid it is in the very near future. With that in mind, I have created a dish that welcomes the arrival of summer while keeping one cool.

Allow me to introduce to you the tropical fruit stack. While its name may make you think that it’s a sweet dish, it actually has a nice balance between sweet, savory, salty and even a little bit of spice. Yes, it’s all of the taste categories in one dish. Additionally, it has a nice balance between tender and crunchy, so what’s not to like?

This is a simple dish to make, but because of its simplicity you also need to be mindful when purchasing your ingredients. All of the produce needs to be fully ripened, as it won’t spend any time cooking or macerating to highlight its flavors. If you can only find under-ripe produce, that’s fine. The mango and avocado can be ripened by placing them in a paper bag on the counter for a day or two. The same is supposed to work with pineapples, although I’ve never tried that.

You may hesitate to try this recipe because you need a ring mold. However, there are many substitutes for a ring mold. You can make one out of aluminum foil. If you buy your pineapple whole but with the skin removed, that container can work, if you cut off the bottom. You also could cut the bottom off a large disposable plastic cup and use it with the widest part as the bottom of your mold.

With fresh ingredients and your tool acquired, you’re ready to make a dish that’s sure to wow. It’s pretty easy to make, elegant to view and refreshing to eat. Summer dining doesn’t get much better than that.

Tropical fruit stack. Photo by Michele Pesula Kuegler.

Tropical Fruit Stack
Serves 2

1 1/3 cup diced pineapple
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 avocado
1 teaspoon lime juice
1 cup diced mango
2 tablespoons finely chopped salted macadamia nuts

In a small bowl combine pineapple, chili powder, and salt.
Stir until pineapple is fully coated.
Remove skin and pit from avocado.
Place avocado and lime juice in a small bowl.
Using a fork, mash until avocado is creamy.
Place a 4-inch ring mold on a small plate.
Spoon half of the pineapple mixture evenly as the bottom layer.
Spread half of the mashed avocado on top of the pineapple.
Spoon half of the diced mango over the avocado.
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of macadamia nuts over the mango.
Carefully remove mold, and repeat for second serving.
Serve immediately.

Weekly Dish 20/6/11

Taste of New Hampshire goes virtual: Join the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central New Hampshire for the annual Taste of New Hampshire, which, for the first time in its 15-year history, will be going virtual. Normally a one-night event held in the fall at the Grappone Conference Center in Concord, Taste of New Hampshire this year will take place online over the course of a week. At 6 p.m. every day from Monday, June 15, through Friday, June 19, you can tune in to a free livestream through the event website, where discounted gift cards to several local restaurants will be sold. Local musicians are also expected to host livestreamed performances each evening. Visit or search “Taste of New Hampshire” on Facebook for more details.

• “Window” service: A new eatery offering made-from-scratch comfort foods and home-cooked meals is now open in downtown Manchester for online ordering and window pickup. Diz’s Cafe officially opened on May 29 in the former space of Lorena’s Cantina at 860 Elm Street, according to Judi Window, whose husband, Gary “Diz” Window, is the head chef. Due to Covid-19, windows directly adjacent to the front door of the restaurant are currently being used for walk-up orders and pickups. The menu is available for viewing in the window too; there’s a customizable “build-your-own” menu featuring a protein and three sides, plus other offerings like sandwiches and flatbreads, soups and salads, and specialty entrees, like chicken Parmesan, grilled steak skewers, buttermilk chicken macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and honey ginger shrimp stir-fry. Menu items, Judi Window said, will change all the time. For now, Diz’s Cafe is open Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., but the plan, she said, is to open for breakfast on Sundays once restaurants in the Granite State are allowed to resume indoor dining. Visit

Pie season: The Live Free or Pie Stand (455 East Road, Hampstead), a seasonal business offering home-baked pies with local ingredients, will reopen for the season on Saturday, June 13, at 10 a.m., according to a May 27 post on its Facebook page. Owner Crystal MacDonald launched the stand in June 2018 at the end of her driveway. Throughout the summer and early fall she’ll restock the stand twice a week with full-sized and mini fruit pies for sale. Flavors include strawberry rhubarb, blueberry, triple berry, peach, peach raspberry, peach blueberry and apple, all of which are baked in her home kitchen with hand-picked fruits from farms, orchards or farmers markets in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. The stand will be open Thursdays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 a.m., and masks are required for all visitors. Visit

Market news: Both the Milford Farmers Market and the Bedford Farmers Market are scheduled to hold their outdoor season openings this week. The Milford market will begin on Saturday, June 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 300 Elm St. in Milford, continuing every Saturday through Oct. 10. Bedford’s market will kick off on Tuesday, June 16, from 3 to 6 p.m. in a new location, the parking lot of the old Harvest Market (209 Route 101, Bedford). That one will continue every Tuesday through Sept. 29. In other local market news, the Derry Homegrown Farm & Artisan Market will not be taking place this year. Its board had announced in a May 11 press release that the scheduled June 3 start date would at least be delayed, but in a June 2 update the market was cancelled for the season. “We hope that people will understand that this decision was not made lightly and was a very difficult one to make,” the statement read. “At the end of the day, weighing the health and safety issues along with the impact of existing restrictions, the board did not feel we could offer the kind of market experience that patrons and vendors … have come to expect.”

Burgers and brews: Join The Barley House Restaurant & Tavern (132 Main St., Concord) for its 15th annual Burgerfest, a gourmet burger fundraiser for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD). All kinds of unique burger creations with beef, pork, turkey, vegetables and seafood will be available at the restaurant from noon to 10 p.m., Monday, June 15, through Saturday, June 20, alongside a lineup of local craft brews. Since its inaugural event in 2005 Burgerfest has raised more than $10,000 in annual donations to CHaD, according to a press release. Visit

In the Kitchen with Carmel Shea

Carmel Shea of Londonderry is the owner of O’Shea’s Caife & Tae (44 Nashua Road, Londonderry, 540-2971,, a health-focused eatery and coffee shop that opened in 2018. O’Shea’s offers fair trade coffees, teas and espresso drinks, pastries and breakfast sandwiches, and bagels with homemade butters and whipped cream cheeses. The lunch menu features sandwiches, salads, smoothies and mroe. Shea co-owned The Grind Rail Trail Cafe in Derry before opening O’Shea’s. The cafe is currently open for takeout.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

The mixer. We do a lot of whipped creams and cream cheeses with it. We just started doing a whipped coffee.

What would you have for your last meal?

Filet mignon, mashed potatoes, green beans and a nice cabernet.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

I am a huge fan of the Copper Door [in Bedford and Salem].

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from O’Shea’s?

Ellen DeGeneres. I just love her and I can totally imagine her coming in here.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

The oatmeal latte. It’s espresso with oat milk, brown sugar and cinnamon. It just has this really warm, comforting flavor.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

People supporting local. … I think it’s been amped up even more now.

What is your favorite thing to make at home?

You can’t beat a nice batch of warm chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven.

O’Shea’s homemade peanut butter
Courtesy of Carmel Shea of O’Shea’s Caife & Tae in Londonderry
3 cups dry roasted unsalted peanuts
3 ounces vegetable oil
2 ounces simple syrup
Place all ingredients in a food processor on high for two minutes or until smooth.

Whisked away

New food truck debuts in Loudon

A new food truck rolled into Loudon last week, and as its name and the whisks on its logo suggest, the Whisked Away Cafe wants to “whisk” you away to a different part of the world — or to Grandma’s house — each week with an ever-changing menu of specials that includes creative takes on wraps, sandwiches, burgers, salads, kid-friendly eats and more.

Sisters Korrie Garland and Crystal Hopkins run the truck with their mother, Louise Cloutier. They began offering lunch service on June 2 at a dirt turnaround road on Route 106 in Loudon, steps away from Cascade Campground. You can now find them there every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., where a few dining tables are set up out front.

Fifteen years ago the three women also operated the Bonne Femmes restaurant in downtown Pembroke, a spot that was known in town for its breakfasts, sandwiches and soups. Years after she and Hopkins both had kids of their own, Garland said, they became interested in the freedom a food truck would give them to create different recipes. They ended up finding and purchasing the truck last November.

Prior to starting a regular lunch service last week, the Whisked Away Cafe sold homemade holiday pies late last year and dinners for local delivery in the Pembroke area in March.

“We were doing the deliveries … just to kind of help out the people that didn’t want to or couldn’t leave their homes, so that picked up some steam,” Garland said.

Now, Whisked Away Cafe’s menu features a variety of sandwiches, chicken or steak fajita sandwiches, chicken or seafood salad, and grilled cheese sandwiches called “toasties,” with flavors like jalapeno chicken popper, chicken cordon bleu and Buffalo chicken. There are also breaded chicken fingers, steak fingers, hand-cut french fries and beef, pork or veggie empanadas.

Hopkins said she, her sister and her mother wanted to create a section of the menu that was fun and accessible for kids too. The children’s menu features options like homemade macaroni and cheese and a grilled peanut butter and Fluff sandwich, plus an “octodog” and a “redneck sushi,” both of which come with chips.

“[An octodog] is a hot dog that we slice up so when it cooks it curls up and it looks like a little octopus with legs,” she said. “The redneck sushi is just a slice of ham with cream cheese and a pickle in the middle, so when you roll it up and slice it, it looks like little rolls of sushi.”

Garland said they’ve had several pages of ideas for what will be on their specials menu. They began their first week by featuring a special of pulled pork with homemade barbecue sauce and coleslaw on grilled ciabatta, with either fries or pasta salad as a side.

“Our idea was that we’re ‘whisking’ you away to Mexico, or to your grandma’s house, or to college with a ramen noodle dish,” she said.

For now, Garland said, the trio is sticking with the Tuesday through Thursday schedule. But eventually, she said, they may appear on additional days on the weekends, as well as at events at C-R Helicopters in Nashua, which Cloutier owns with her husband.

Whisked Away Cafe food truck
485 Route 106 South, Loudon
When: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More info: Find them on Facebook @whiskedawayfoodtruck

Caramelized peaches with bacon & blue cheese

There is nothing quite like a perfectly ripe peach as an afternoon snack. When a peach is tender and so juicy that you need to have a napkin nearby, it should be enjoyed on its own. There is nothing else this peach needs to evoke all of its flavors.

Sometimes, though, you have peaches that aren’t perfectly ripe. Then it is time to transform those peaches into an entirely different snack. Allow me to introduce you to a ridiculously simple recipe that turns ho-hum peaches into something much more spectacular.

You need only four ingredients and less than 30 minutes to create a dish that could be an appetizer or a side dish. It could even be your lunch if you wanted. Even better, slightly underripe peaches work well in this dish because the roasting time brings forth tenderness and sweetness. Topped with salty bacon and savory blue cheese, this makes an amazing mix of flavors and textures. Oh yes, this simple recipe produces a show-stopping dish.

A few notes on this recipe:

1. You don’t want to use thick-cut bacon, as you want the bacon to be really crispy after cooking so that it will crumble nicely.

2. I found it easier to cut through the pit, as opposed to trying to pull the peach flesh off the pit. Pulling resulted in squishing the fruit.

3. Be very watchful when broiling the final product. It takes mere seconds and will go from caramelized to burnt in the blink of an eye.

Although peaches are lovely on their own, after making this recipe you may be hard pressed to think about peaches without also considering blue cheese and bacon.

Caramelized Peaches with Bacon & Blue Cheese
Serves 2-4

3 slices regular-cut bacon
2 peaches
3 tablespoons blue cheese
1 tablespoon brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat large frying pan over medium heat.
Add bacon and cook until crisp.
Transfer fully cooked bacon to a paper towel-lined plate.
Cut peaches in half (using the crease as a guide) and remove pit.
Place peaches, cut side down, on a greased, rimmed baking dish.
Roast for 8-10 minutes or until tender.
While peaches bake, place blue cheese in a small bowl.
Crumble bacon into small pieces, adding it to the cheese.
Use a fork to combine the cheese and bacon.
Remove peaches from oven, and flip so that they are cut side up.
Change oven from bake to broil.
Move a rack to the highest shelf in the oven.
Fill peach centers with blue cheese and bacon.
Sprinkle sugar over peaches.
Place under broiler for 15-30 seconds.*

*Instead of broiling the peaches, you can caramelize them with a kitchen torch.

In the kitchen with Eddie Saktanaset

Eddie Saktanaset of Londonderry is the owner of Muse Thai Bistro (581 Second St., Suite C, Manchester, 647-5547, and Arincha (80 Constitutional Blvd., Merrimack, 420-8235,, two Asian restaurants with entirely different concepts. Muse Thai Bistro features authentic Japanese sushi and Thai options, while Arincha has more of a simplified fast casual approach, offering items like boba tea and Hawaiian-style poke bowls in addition to Thai street food. Born in Thailand, Saktanaset came to the United States when he was 6 years old. His parents own Siam Orchid Thai Bistro in Concord, which has been open for more than two decades. Due to Covid-19, limited menu offerings are currently available for pickup or delivery from both Muse Thai Bistro and Arincha.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

The one tool I must have in my hands is a yanagiba [Japanese chef’s knife], primarily used to slice boneless fish fillets for sushi.

What would you have for your last meal?

Sushi … and a cup of bubble tea that my wife makes for me on a daily basis.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Siam Orchid [Thai Bistro in Concord]. Most of the recipes come right from my mom.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from one of your restaurants?

Chef Masaharu Morimoto … [from the television show] Iron Chef.

What is your favorite thing on either of your menus?

There are a few but my personal favorite for Thai food would be [the] pad Thai, drunken noodles, Bangkok noodles and massaman curry. For sushi, the Arincha poke bowl, shrimp tempura maki and spicy tuna. For boba tea, it would be the black milk tea and the honey dew milk tea.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

Thai [food], sushi and boba tea. That was why we opened Arincha. We wanted [the menu] to be geared more toward street food, which is how you will find it when you go to Thailand.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

[My wife and I] usually just like to sit and relax and spend time with our son at home. But if we wanted to cook, our favorite would be to bake cookies or make Rice Krispies treats.

Photo: Eddie Saktanaset of Arincha in Merrimack and Muse Thai Bistro in Manchester. Courtesy photo.

Homemade pad Thai
Courtesy of Eddie Saktanaset of Muse Thai Bistro in Manchester and Arincha in Merrimack

Flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Protein (your choice of chicken, shrimp or tofu), cut into small pieces
2 eggs, beaten
Chopped green scallions
½ cup roasted peanuts
Handful of fresh bean sprouts

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon gluten-free soy sauce
5 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 tablespoons peanut butter (optional)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar

Cook noodles and rinse under cold water. Mix fish sauce, soy sauce, light brown sugar, peanut butter and rice vinegar to make the sauce, then set aside. In a large saucepan or wok, heat oil over medium to high heat. Add protein and any of your favorite vegetables. Cooking time will vary, depending on the type of protein you choose. Push your ingredients to the side of the pan and add a little more oil. Add the eggs, then add noodles, bean sprouts, peanuts and sauce, mixing and combining all ingredients. Top with peanuts and green onions.

Comfort classics

Flannel Tavern opens in Chichester

For Carrie Williams of Contoocook, flannel is reminiscent of the comforts of her childhood home. So it seemed only fitting that she would call her new restaurant, which features a menu of scratch-made comfort items, the Flannel Tavern. The eatery opened for takeout last month on Route 28 in Chichester, in the former space of Parker’s Roast Beef & Seafood.

“Flannel was big in my family when I was growing up. I grew up in a log cabin, [and] we would get flannel for Christmas, we had flannel sheets when it was cold, things like that,” Williams said. “So flannel to me is comfort, it’s family … and the menu is just that. The menu is really based on a lot of comfort foods I grew up with.”

Williams and her partner, Steve Reddy, took over the space and began renovations in mid-January. According to Reddy, the couple’s original target date for opening was the week of St. Patrick’s Day — the same week that Gov. Chris Sununu announced restaurants in New Hampshire would only be allowed to operate via takeout, curbside and drive-thru services. Once that happened, Reddy said, the decision was made to get the kitchen ready first so the Flannel Tavern can at least open for takeout. Within the last couple of weeks, they received their liquor license and added a few tables for outdoor dining.

The tavern’s current menu features a variety of options with their own unique twists on local ingredients. The soft pretzels on its appetizer menu, for example, feature a side of mustard from the Blackwater Mustard Co. of Contoocook. Other appetizers include hand-cut french fries, nachos with added options of pulled pork or chicken, and hand-battered chicken tenders, which come either plain with ranch sauce or Buffalo style with blue cheese dressing.

The burgers and sandwiches, Williams said, have been among the top sellers since the Flannel Tavern introduced its menu to the community. There’s the house Flannel burger, which is topped with pickles, mustard and four ounces of corned beef; the Ma’am-a-Ja’am burger, which has pulled pork and slaw; and a multi-layered sandwich simply dubbed “The Samich” that has ham, turkey and salami, American, Swiss and provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, purple onion, mayonnaise and Blackwater Mustard Co.’s sweet hot mustard.

Entrees are available too, one of which — the “MacDaddy” macaroni and cheese — is made to order every time, Williams said. That comes with garlic toast and a house or Caesar salad.

There are a few specials Williams has featured on the takeout menu. Recent options include the deep-fried macaroni and cheese balls, and a Sweet Italian sausage, pepper and onion sandwich that actually began as a customer request.

The beer and wine menu has a rotating selection of domestic and local craft options. Williams said more dinner entrees and desserts are expected to be added to the menu when the tavern is able to open to full capacity. Eventually, a breakfast menu will get added to the mix too.

Williams, who worked as a caterer for more than a decade, said things have gone very well so far, despite the occasional supply hiccup. She’s had to make some adjustments to the menu when items like prime rib become unavailable — and has even had to bring in her own home freezer for extra storage when they needed more room but couldn’t purchase one — but she said the community has responded to the new eatery fondly.

“We were unsure of what it was going to be like, but people have been very understanding of the changes and everybody’s been very supportive,” she said. “Everybody’s been flocking out too. … The phone doesn’t stop ringing.”

Photo: “The Samich” (ham, turkey and salami, with American, provolone and Swiss cheese, tomato, purple onion, mayonnaise and sweet hot mustard on a ciabatta roll).Courtesy photo.

Game-changing eats and more

New sports bar and cornhole court opens in Londonderry

Bob Carrier and his younger brother Rodney are both avid players of cornhole, a game they said has consistently grown in popularity and has spawned multiple competitive leagues in New Hampshire and beyond. As the Carriers got to know fellow players, Bob realized there weren’t many communal spaces for them to enjoy food and drinks that could also accommodate cornhole leagues. Some members were even driving long distances — an hour and a half or longer — on weeknights to compete in tournaments.

Enter the Game Changer Sports Bar & Grill in Londonderry, which officially opened for outdoor dining and cornhole games on May 22. The new sports bar features a full menu of original appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, wraps and salads, plus more than two dozen beers and wines.

Named after one of the popular brand names of cornhole bean bags, Game Changer has an outdoor patio that can seat up to 26 diners. There are currently three outdoor cornhole boards out in front of the parking lot for anyone to pick up and play while they wait for a table.

Being open for outdoor dining only, Carrier said, has been effective at helping his servers and cooks get used to the new menu. So far the reception has been very positive.

“Our concept was to have not your everyday pub food … or fried food that makes you not feel very good after,” he said. “We’ve got really great salads, wraps [and] grilled foods … and a lot of the names are based off of sports [terms].”

Of particular note are the burgers, which Carrier said have been Game Changer’s best-selling items thus far. The Game Changer burger features an 8-ounce beef patty, topped with braised pork carnitas, cheddar jack cheese and jalapenos on a brioche roll. It’s then served with pico de gallo and lime. Others include the Buckaroo Burger, which has American cheese, bacon, a barbecue sauce drizzle, lettuce, tomato and onion rings; and a black bean veggie burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion and guacamole.

On the appetizer menu, popular sellers have included the Illegal Touch of the Hand Nachos, (loaded up with cheddar jack, pico de gallo, guacamole, sour cream, scallions, jalapenos and the option to add chicken or pork carnitas); the Playoff Pot Stickers, featuring pork-filled dumplings seasoned with authentic Asian spices and served with scallion soy sauce; and the Last Kid Picked Pretzels (Bavarian pretzel soft sticks served with an artisan beer cheese sauce).

Wraps, like the Changeup Chicken Caesar, the Gridiron Guac BCLT or the Play Action Pulled Pork, are available on white or wheat tortillas, and are served with regular or sweet potato fries. There are also multiple flatbread options, like the Powerplay Pepperoni (with marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese and smoked pepperoni); the Changeup Cheeseburger (with Angus beef, marinara, red onion, mozzarella and fries); and the Hat Trick Hawaiian (with marinara, mozzarella, Canadian bacon, sweet pineapple and bacon crumbles).

The bar features 16 taps of domestic beers and a rotating selection of local craft brews, as well as bottled and canned beers, some wines and cocktails, like the Game Changer house margarita, which has Hornitos Reposado tequila, triple sec liqueur, agave syrup and fresh lime juice.

The dessert is the only section of the food menu not currently available, according to Carrier, but you can expect several sweet treats soon, like fudge brownie sundaes with vanilla ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream; cinnamon sugar-covered churros; and multi-layered dark chocolate cakes topped with white chocolate mousse.

When the bar opens indoors, a large designated section will have eight lanes for cornhole, each with high-top chairs and tables, for either competitive or recreational games. For now, Carrier said he’s thinking of having each lane open on a first-come, first-served basis, with rentals for larger groups and leagues. Sanitized bean bags will be available for a small charge.

Behind each cornhole board is an iPad that will keep score of your game. During tournaments, the iPads will be synced up to each 75-inch television screen on the opposite wall that will keep track of the brackets.

Carrier said the concept of Game Changer was not to attract cornhole league members or competitive players, but also to create a spot for anyone to play the game while enjoying a shared appetizer, a burger and fries or a beer.

“Everybody can play cornhole. … It doesn’t matter what age you are. You can throw the bean bag,” he said. “We also like the family atmosphere of just coming to hang out, playing cornhole and maybe watching sports on our TVs. … There have already been a lot of people that have reached out to us to hold tournaments and games to raise money for school sports, fundraisers and stuff like that. So once we get open inside, we’ll start booking those.”

Photo: Interior of Game Changer Sports Bar & Grill in Londonderry. Photo by Matt Ingersoll.

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