In the kitchen with Addie Leader-Zavos

Addie Leader-Zavos, Pastry Chef and co-owner of Eden’s Table Farm and Farm Store (240 Stark Highway North, Dunbarton, 774-1811,

“I grew up in the middle of Washington, D.C. I loved to cook from a really young age. I got this book called Preserving the Seasons for my birthday when I was 9. It was fantastic, and the author was making things like apricots in lavender syrup, or brandied pears, and talking about walking out to the patio and picking fresh herbs. I was like, ‘That’s the life for me!’”

After exploring several different careers, Leader-Zavos went to culinary school at the Cordon Bleu in Boston and worked in fine dining restaurants that focused on seasonal menus. After being sidetracked by a back injury, she moved into pastry and opened a custom pastry and catering business specializing in dessert buffets and bespoke wedding cakes. After the Covid-19 lockdown, she and her husband, co-owner Michael Williams, bought Eden’s Table Farm in Dunbarton to focus on local and seasonal produce, locally produced farm products, and fresh baked goods.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A digital scale. I love to bake, particularly now … there is no better way to ensure high-quality results than to be precise and consistent with measurements.

What would you have for your last meal?

Definitely my grandmother’s slow-cooked brisket with onions. My grandmother made brisket for every holiday and my mom makes it for holidays and every time she comes to visit. It’s just that instantly comforting meal that’s made even better by all the memories attached to it.

What is your favorite local eatery?

The Nepalese restaurant KS Kitchen in Manchester. The food is super-flavorful, well-crafted and perfectly seasoned, just absolutely delicious. Plus, I cannot turn down any form of dumpling and their momo is out of this world.

Name a celebrity you would like to see shopping at your farm store or eating something you’ve prepared.

Pastry chef and author Claudia Fleming. I really admire her style of baking and pastry-making; it’s very seasonal, uses lots of fresh local ingredients, and incorporates salty/savory notes.

What is your favorite thing you make or sell at the moment?

Our chocolate chunk cookie because it has such a great homey taste and texture, big chunks of dark chocolate and a nice kick of sea salt. We’re using regionally grown, freshly ground flours, chocolate from New Hampshire bean-to-bar chocolate maker Loon Chocolate, and an apple brandy from Flag Hill Distillery for top notes. It’s a classic that’s distinguished by the local ingredients we’re using and I hope we’ll be making it for years to come.

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

I’m really impressed with how New Hampshirites are coming together to improve opportunities for small farms and home-based food businesses right now. Last year HB 119 was passed, making it easier for small farms to have certain types of meat processed locally. Just a few days ago HB 1565 was passed, which makes it possible to sell pickles made in a home kitchen. Now the legislature is considering HB 1685, which would open up even more opportunities for small farms and food entrepreneurs. This trend of creating more opportunities for people who want to participate in the local food economy really benefits everyone who loves good food, so I hope we’ll see more of it.

What is your favorite thing to cook for yourself?

When I cook for the enjoyment of cooking, I take a dish and make it over and over again until I get it exactly the way I want it. But when I cook to feed myself I tend to keep it very simple — a fresh-picked cucumber sliced up and served with some homemade dip, a big bowl of roasted zucchini with a little soy sauce, or maybe a cheese omelet with fresh herbs and hot sauce. We have access to so many fresh, flavorful ingredients on the farm and through our farm store that I really don’t have to do much to create something very satisfying and enjoyable.

Featured Photo: Addie Leader-Zavos. Courtesy photo.

On The Job – Rachel Ovaginian


Rachel Ovaginian creates reusable plastic-wrap alternatives with beeswax and cotton fabrics in a myriad of print styles through her business, Sewohva. Find her on Facebook @Sewohva

Explain your job and what it entails.

I make beeswax wraps, which are an eco-friendly plastic wrap alternative. I am also a stay-at-home mom, so I started making wraps because I was looking for a reusable, sustainable option.

How long have you had this job?

About three years that I’ve been actually selling to people outside of friends and family

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I think my day job has been a stay-at-home mom. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for seven and a half years now. Looking to be able to help financially with our household. We are pretty eco-friendly in my house … I just kind of looked around to see what was out there … and realized I could do that and started making them.

What kind of education or training did you need?

Really, none. I do have my master’s in mental health counseling, but I’m not practicing as … It was a lot of trial and error to get the formula right and find the right type of fabrics to use but no special education needed to be able to do it.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Because it is hot wax, usually it’s shorts and T-shirts but then I have an apron to try and keep my clothes from getting wax all over them.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

I would say work/life balance because I am home with my kids while I’m making them. It’s something that I’m able to do one step of the process here and then help them with whatever it is they might need before to be able to go back and finish what I’m working on, so I think that is probably the most challenging aspect, but also trying to find patterns and prints and fabric that I think the masses will like and not just something that I personally like.

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your career?

That it’s OK to have setbacks as long as you continue to make forward progression.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

That is really fulfilling to have other people say that they really like my wraps, they use my wraps frequently, they tell people about them. And I like that my kids are seeing me do something that I’m passionate about — even though I am home with them, I am still able to do something that I really love doing.

What was your first job?

I worked at a Staples as a cashier.

Zachary Lewis

Five favorites
Favorite book: I like fantasy books.
Favorite movie: The Princess Bride
Favorite music: Country
Favorite food: Grilled cheese
Favorite thing about NH: The outdoors … generally being able to experience the outdoors at all seasons.

Featured photo: Rachel Ovaginian. Courtesy photo.

Mushroom hunt

Meet the NH Mycological Society

Christine Gagnon, founder of the newly formed New Hampshire Mycological Society and owner of the Uncanoonuc Foraging Co., shares her expertise on mushrooms. The New Hampshire Mycological Society will host an urban foraging walk in Manchester at Stark Park (550 River Road) on Saturday, July 27, from 1 to 3 p.m. Their mission statement is as follows:“Fostering knowledge, inclusivity, and enthusiasm for fungi, the New Hampshire Mycological Society unites a community passionate about mushrooms. Through education, exploration, and advocacy, we promote sustainable practices, deepen understanding, and inspire a profound connection to the mushroom kingdom and its ecology.” Visit or the New Hampshire Mycological Society’s Facebook page for more information.

What is Uncanoonuc Foraging Co.?

I live in Goffstown close to the [Uncanoonuc] mountains so I just decided to use that as the name of my company. I basically started that company to teach others about mushrooms and about foraging. I lead a lot of walks, I give a lot of talks and presentations to different groups like the Boy Scouts or garden clubs, conservation boards, things like that.

What types of edible mushrooms can you find in the area?

In the hundreds, three digits. Quite a lot. But … as time goes on and you learn more, the numbers increase … for the easy ones, it’s easily 10 or 20 for people who are just out foraging for edible stuff. There are things like oyster mushrooms, or black trumpets, or chanterelles, or hen of the woods, or chicken of the woods, or Black Standing Polypore different milk caps. There’s just tons of different edible mushrooms … all kinds of yummy goodness in the woods.

What are some good safety tips when foraging mushrooms?

Don’t eat something unless you 100 percent feel confident that you are able to identify it on your own. That’s the No. 1 rule. Just don’t eat something because you think you know what it is. Eat something because you know what it is and you know that it’s safe.

Can you expand on what the New Hampshire Mycological Society is and any upcoming foraging events?

It’s very newly formed. Right now we’re working on deciding on board members and what the job descriptions, so to speak, would be for each … and then from there we will start filling out all the paperwork to apply for a nonprofit status so that we can continue to grow and offer events in different places…. There are two other small mushroom groups in New Hampshire. One is out in the Monadnock region and one is in Sunapee. We kind of felt a need to form a group that might reach out to different parts of the state and one of the things that’s important to us too is spreading the word and including people in cities who might not necessarily have access to trails out in the country, because there is a lot of foraging that can be done in urban centers. So for our first walk we decided to go ahead and plan one in Manchester in the park so people in the city can get a different point of view … to say, ‘Hey look, these things are out here in your city and you probably weren’t even aware.’ Just to bring that knowledge and that love of mushrooms and fungi to people who can’t always get out of the city. I think we want to expand that at some point and we may do some in Nashua and some other big cities as well and not always focus just out in the country, out in the suburbs.

What are your top two or three favorite mushrooms?

Chicken of the woods. I’m just going to give you common names. Chanterelles, oh goodness, can I give you four? Hen of the woods and black trumpets. Then there’s more, though, because I also like hedgehogs and I also like the milk caps.

Zachary Lewis

Urban mushroom foraging walk
Hosted by New Hampshire Mycological Society
When: Saturday, July 27, from 1 to 3 p.m.
Where: Stark Park (550 River Road, Manchester)
Free and limited to 30 people ages 10+; advance registration is required.
Register at

Featured image: Photo by Christine Gagnon.

In the kitchen with Griffin Starr

Bartender, 815 Cocktails and Provisions (815 Elm St., Manchester, 782-8086,

“I’m 24 years old, born and raised in Manchester, New Hampshire,” Starr said. “I got the opportunity to start working at 815 Cocktails and Provisions in 2022, where I began learning the trade of being a bartender. Through this and the help of some of the loveliest people I’ve had the opportunity to work with, I’ve had the pleasure of serving some unique drinks. Being able to make cocktails is great, but really the best part is the experiences you share with new people every night and I’m glad I get to do it.”

What is your must-have kitchen/bar item?

I feel like good glassware is a must. I’m always hunting around second-hand shops, trying to find good coupes or a new tiki mug. Who doesn’t love having a funky little cup to drink out of?

What would you have for your last meal?

Scallops with risotto was always a special treat growing up, so if I’m going out I’m going out thinking about all the good scallops I’ve had. The pizza they eat in A Goofy Movie is my backup option.

What is your favorite local eatery?

This is a really loaded question, but Alley Cat Pizzeria has always had my back through thick and thin. Whenever I come back from a trip, I go and get a pie as a way to bring on that feeling of being home.

Name a celebrity you would like to see drinking one of your cocktails.

I feel like getting to serve David Byrne would be a once in a lifetime experience. His music has been a part of my life for so long that it would be such an honor to create something for someone who has unknowingly created a lot of memories for me. Finding a glass worthy of his style would be the hardest part.

What is your favorite drink on your menu?

‘Tacos Sold Separately’ is a drink we launched earlier this year that was a lot of fun coming up with. It’s a tiki drink with Myers’s Rum, Cynar, orange juice, lime, coconut, vanilla and nutmeg. I just love the melody of flavors that goes on with the fruits and spice while the dark rum kind of guides you through.

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

There’s been an increase in people who have been hopping on the mocktail train, which has been cool to see. I think what a lot of people are looking for today is a way to have that fun experience of going out without dealing with the side effects that alcohol can bring. I have definitely seen bartenders around the state upping the quality and care they put into their mocktails, because everyone deserves to have a good time out.

What is your favorite thing to make at home?

I’m pretty boring when it comes to making myself drinks, to be honest. Usually I just sip some rum or mezcal over ice. What I really love doing after a shift is making nachos with whatever random ingredients I may find in my fridge. No recipe, varying results, always a good time.

Classic Daiquiri
from Griffin Star
With the rapid rise in temperature I think everyone should know how to cool off with a basic daiquiri:

¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce simple syrup (I really prefer demerara or a brown sugar syrup)
2 ounces of your favorite rum
Shake that up with some ice and strain into a chilled coupe.

Featured Photo: Griffin Star. Courtesy photo.

On The Job – Tom Mackenzie

Co-owner of X Golf Bedford

Tom MacKenzie is co-owner of X Golf Bedford (5 Colby Court, Unit 110, Bedford), the area’s largest and most technologically advanced indoor golf simulator with a full restaurant and bar and the option to take lessons from a PGA professional. Find X Golf at @xgolfbedford on Instagram or visit

Explain your job and what it entails.

I am one of the owners — myself and Zane [Villandry] are the owners of X Golf Bedford. It’s a new high-tech indoor golf experience….

How long have you had this job?

The process started in November of last year, but we’ve only been officially open for about 2 1/2 months.

What led you to this career field and your current job?

I think just love of the sport led me to this career field. Kind of hungry to go out and test the market and provide a service for what seems like a thriving golf community in the Bedford, southern New Hampshire area.

What kind of education or training did you need?

Myself, anyway — Zane has the small business experience — myself, just some, a little here and there projects that I like to work on for fun on the side. Started a couple of small businesses just with friends and family and I wanted to take that to the next level. But other than that, my background is completely unrelated to business ownership. I worked in the sales industry for a pharmaceutical company.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

I would say golf professional. So polo and slacks. In the summer, polo and shorts. Just like your standard golf course attire.

What is the most challenging thing about your work, and how do you deal with it?

I would say the most difficult thing is just managing people. Bringing people with different backgrounds, experiences and attitudes and work habits together to work in sync and to cooperate together and being able to facilitate all that has been probably the biggest challenge…

What do you wish you had known at the beginning of your career?

That there are massive opportunities out there in the market and you just need to apply yourself and go take what you want rather than falling into a typical 9-to-5 role…

What was your first job?

My first job was making pizza. Pizza tosser. Main Street Pizza in Henniker.

What is the best piece of work-related advice you’ve ever received?

I think the importance of networking. A lot of times people say, ‘Everything in business is who you know.’ I would say the most important advice I’ve gotten is that … but also, who likes you. It’s about making good impressions and creating positive networking in business and in life. —Zachary Lewis

Five favorites
Favorite book: The first thing that pops up on my Audible is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Be Useful
Favorite movie: Point Break
Favorite music: classic rock
Favorite food: breakfast, omelets
Favorite thing about NH: The Live Free or Die mentality. No sales tax.

Featured photo: Tom MacKenzie. Courtesy photo.

Planning for NH’s health

The Department of Health and Human Services releases its 2024-2025 Roadmap

Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Lori Weaver talks about the new DHHS Roadmap 2024-2025, which outlines the plan the DHHS developed with input from many stakeholders (people involved with or affected by the Roadmap) to help improve the state of health for all Granite Staters. Visit (get to the Roadmap via News & Events).

Explain ‘Mission Zero’ and how the Roadmap will address Emergency Department boarding?

Mission Zero is the Department’s commitment to eliminating boarding in an Emergency Department. … It used to be, years ago, that we would have 40 or 50 people sitting in any given day waiting to find a bed for psychiatric care. … the beginning of this year in January of ’24, we were at about 4 1/2 days sitting in an emergency department waiting for a bed … now we’re down to 2 1/2 days [in May]. … That basically means that you’ll have people come in that will need that level of care and rather than waiting weeks and months they’re actually getting care within an average of 2 1/2 days at this point.

What are school-based services for children enrolled in Medicaid and how will they be strengthened through the Roadmap?

We have a lot of school counselors who provide services to youth that may be having some issues. That could be mental health counseling, that could be substance-use disorder counseling, could be any sort of peer-related issue. The schools need a mechanism to be able to, for those students that have Medicaid, to be able to bill Medicaid for that service….The Department was able to secure a grant to be able to build an administrative infrastructure. … This process will automate and streamline those processes for schools to be able to bill Medicaid and then get reimbursed to be able to provide that service so the schools aren’t losing any money …. The commitment here is really about investing in the infrastructure so that it’s self-sustaining and lasts for a while.

Would you mind expanding on the Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies initiative and why that’s important in the Roadmap?

We know that our maternal health definitely stands out as a need in the state of New Hampshire. What we do is we put a lot of money into prevention and being able to get moms into prenatal care as soon as they’re eligible in their first trimester and then caring throughout … and then obviously post-delivery care. We know that if we put our money and time into prevention, then we’re seeing less on the other end of having to continuously treat. It’s putting the money in and the time in to be able to have that healthy mom and healthy baby and then sustaining as a community member not necessarily having to go in for needs after that. Maternal mortality rates for the state of New Hampshire are pretty high, as they are nationwide, so we’re looking to reduce those maternal mortality rates as well.

Why is it that the maternal mortality rate is so high across the country and in New Hampshire?

I think when we’re looking at equity of care that oftentimes we will see a lot of our diverse populations don’t have the same access to maternal care that some other parts of our population do. It’s really making sure that no matter who you are in the state of New Hampshire that you have access to that care. I think in New Hampshire we’re a small enough state that we can set that as a goal and I think make a dent in it.

Could you expand on the ‘building a system of care for healthy aging’ initiative?

… Basically, taking a lot of the parts of our services that serve seniors and working to update, upgrade, automate and making sure that seniors have access to services. It goes back to a lot of the same things about community-based services about trying to keep folks within communities rather than having to be in institutional care, so that means having a robust system that can get seniors’ needs met before having to go into a nursing facility, say, that they could actually get their care at home or in a community-based setting. We have things like our service link centers, which I think in our report is called the ‘aging and disability resource centers.’ Those are some of the first stops that our folks in the long-term care system will go to to get help. It’s making sure that wherever you are in the state you could go to one of these centers and clearly understand what … resources were available to you or your family members.

In what ways will customer service be improved?

When you think about the Department from customer service, we have a couple of different customers. … Oftentimes you have to fill out a form to see if you’re eligible for a service. We’re committed to making sure that there’s efficiency and expediency in those processes … The Department is so large, you could come in, Zach, and you might think you need one service from here but all of a sudden you find out you need a couple of other services from the Department. …You shouldn’t have to go knock on 10 doors to figure out how are you going to be able to get these services. You should knock on one door and then be able to have a care plan developed for you. So there’s that side of it. Our customers are also our providers, so we get a lot of federal money and [with] the money that we have we do contracts with providers, then those providers will go out and provide a service. Let’s just say, like a residential care home for the developmentally disabled, we would give money to a provider to stand up that service. That provider is also our customer, so we want to make it easier for them to do business with us, right. We want to be a better business partner. … We also want to be able to have a financial payment model that works for providers so that they’re able to be paid in a timely and sustainable way.

Is there an aspect of the Roadmap you’d like to expand on that you haven’t been asked about or something particular in the Roadmap you think is exciting to talk about?

The one thing you didn’t ask me about, really, was the commitment one, which is People and Culture. That’s our focus internally. … If we’re taking care of our staff and our workforce, it’s going to show up in the work … we’re going to have better customer service skills from our staff if we’re able to create an environment in the Department where people want to be, can grow and learn …. The Roadmap, really, is about the Department being able to say to all of those stakeholders that I just mentioned, who we are and what we do. —Zachary Lewis

Featured image: Lori Weaver. Courtesy photo.

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