Braising the steaks

Local chef to release new meat-focused cookbook

Milford chef Keith Sarasin of The Farmers Dinner has written three books since 2018 — his latest, available May 18, is a whopping 800 pages filled with recipes using all kinds of meats, from beef, pork and poultry to lamb, goat and several species of wild game.

But more than a traditional recipe book, Meat: The Ultimate Cookbook also contains a variety of easy-to-learn techniques for the home cook, in addition to stories from local chefs and farmers Sarasin has worked with. Signed copies can be pre-ordered now through his website.

Structurally, the book is broken down into sections by protein, totaling more than 300 recipes with accompanying photography. Various guides and descriptions are provided, on everything from how to carve cooked meat to the different types of cuts you might use, as well as the importance of letting meat rest during the cooking process.

“There are some beautiful sections on techniques like braising for some of the tougher cuts, and stuff on how to break down parts of the animal properly,” Sarasin said. “There’s a subsection on burgers with some fun flavors … and then the pork section is massive with a lot of recipes. … There are tons of demis and sauces in there too that elevate so many dishes to another level.”

Sarasin, who has a passion for Indian cuisine, noted the diversity of recipes and concepts throughout the book. Chicken tikka masala and lamb vindaloo are among the featured dishes, as well as a masala braised short rib sandwich with cilantro chutney and Indian spices to give it an extra kick. Others include a rib-eye with salsa verde and porcini mushroom salt, and a rosemary and mustard marinated leg of lamb that’s garnished with parsley.

“There are a lot of nods to many different cuisines, from Korean to Indian to Chinese,” he said.

Sarasin also delves into less commonly consumed meats like venison, pheasant, rabbit and duck.

“It goes into things about how cooking duck breast is different from chicken breast, so woven in are some techniques there,” he said. “Those definitely have some Asian influence, like Peking duck.”

Featured farmers in the book include Noah Bicchieri of Arkhive Farm in Chester, which raises its own wagyu beef, and Carole Soule of Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, which offers its own grass-fed beef, locally raised lamb and pastured pork and poultry.

“The publishers … really gave me the freedom to do some creative things, and so I started contacting some farms that I knew I wanted to highlight in the book,” Sarasin said. “Some of these farms are real gems that not a lot of people know about.”

Several other chefs receive mention in the book too. George Bezanson of Earth’s Harvest Kitchen & Juicery in Dover contributed what Sarasin calls his “famous” pork belly, while Justin Dain, former executive chef of Pine at the Hanover Inn, shares a burger recipe.

Masala braised short rib sandwich with cilantro chutney
Courtesy of Keith Sarasin, as seen in his new book Meat: The Ultimate Cookbook (serves at least 4)

3 pounds bone-in short ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 large sweet onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon curry powder
½ teaspoon red pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
Kosher salt
1 16-ounce can tomatoes (or two large fresh tomatoes, chopped)
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
4 cups beef broth
2 cups water
2 tablespoons cilantro chutney

Season the short ribs generously with salt. Heat the canola oil in a heavy-bottomed pot, over medium-high heat. Add the short ribs, working in batches if necessary, and brown on all sides (about 2 to 3 minutes per side). Remove and reserve. Add the onions and saute until beginning to brown (about 3 to 4 minutes). Stir in the garlic, ginger and tomatoes. Cook for about one minute, then add the cumin, curry powder, garam masala, red pepper and coriander powder. Pour in the beef stock to deglaze the pot. Scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook until the stock has reduced to about half. Add the short ribs back into the pot. Cover, lower the heat to a simmer, and cook for two hours or until tender. Once tender, let it rest for 20 minutes. Slice out the bone from the short rib, and assemble the sandwich with a bit of cilantro chutney on top.

Meat: The Ultimate Cookbook, by Keith Sarasin
Available May 18 through Amazon, Simon & Schuster, or wherever books are sold. Visit to pre-order a signed copy.

Aatma pop-up dinner series
Since launching The Farmers Dinner in 2012, Keith Sarasin has hosted nearly 100 farm-to-table events across New England in collaboration with other chefs, raising more than $125,000 collectively for local farms. In tandem with its ninth season, Sarasin is now also hosting a pop-up tasting experience specializing in food from the Indian subcontinent.
Aatma, named after the Hindi word meaning “soul,” is a new collaboration between Sarasin and Tarun Bangalore, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and chef of Indian origin.
“We’re taking modern plating concepts and techniques and essentially fusing them with regional Indian cuisine,” Sarasin said. “We want to teach people that Indian food is more than butter chicken and samosas. It’s so much more diverse than that.”
While Aatma’s debut dinners scheduled for May 16 and May 17 are sold out, more are expected to be announced in the coming weeks and months. Visit or follow them on Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Feautred photo: Meat: The Ultimate Cookbook is the third book from Chef Keith Sarasin of Milford, owner of The Farmer’s Dinner farm-to-table pop-up dinner series. Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 21/05/13

News from the local food scene

More Greek eats to go: Join St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral (650 Hanover St., Manchester) for its next Taste of Glendi event on Saturday, May 15, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. This will be another “Gyro Day” drive-thru pickup event similar to what the church held last fall, where attendees can get a meal featuring a gyro with a lamb and beef mixture on pita bread with lettuce, tomato and tzatziki sauce, a bag of chips and a drink for $10 per person (payment is by cash only; no advance ordering necessary). If you can’t make St. George’s event, Assumption Greek Orthodox Church (111 Island Pond Road, Manchester) is holding its next drive-thru food fest on Saturday, May 22, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., with orders being accepted now through May 18. This month’s menu is all about grilled meats, featuring items like open-face lamb and beef gyro plates or grilled chicken souvlaki plates, as well as tossed Greek salads with the option to add chicken or gyro meat. The church will also be selling desserts and pastries, like loukoumades (fried dough balls), homemade Greek rice pudding, and koulourakia (crisp braided butter cookies). This event is also pickup only (stay in your car; no walk-ins). Visit

Henniker market returns: The Henniker Community Market will kick off its outdoor season on Thursday, May 20, from 4 to 7 p.m. in the town’s Community Center park (57 Main St.), coordinator Monica Rico confirmed. The market will continue every Thursday during those times through Oct. 21, and is expected to feature a variety of local vendors throughout the season selling fresh produce, meats, artisan products and more. Find them on Facebook @hennikercommunitymarket.

The Beach Plum opens in Salem: The Beach Plum, a local eatery known for its fried seafood and ice cream options as well as lobster rolls, foot-long hot dogs, burgers, sandwiches and chowders, opened its newest year-round location on May 1 in Salem’s Tuscan Village plaza (8 S. Village Drive). This is The Beach Plum’s fourth location — the others are in Epping and Portsmouth, both of which are open year-round, and in North Hampton, which is typically open from March to October. The Salem location is open Sunday through Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visit to view their menu.

Historical brews: The Whipple Free Library in New Boston is partnering with New Hampshire Humanities to present Brewing in New Hampshire: An Informal History of Beer in the Granite State from Colonial Times to the Present, a virtual event set for Thursday, May 20, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. Presenter Glenn Knoblock will explore the history of New Hampshire’s beer and ale brewing industry from the colonial days, when it was more home- and tavern-based, to the modern breweries and brewpubs of today. Several lesser-known brewers of New Hampshire will be discussed, including the only brewery owned and operated by a woman before the modern era. Admission is free. Visit to register — you’ll then be emailed a Zoom link prior to the talk.

On The Job – Mary Sargent

Mary Sargent

Family mediator, Mary Sargent Mediation

Mary Sargent is a certified family mediator based in Bedford.

Explain your job and what it entails.

The conflicts I mediate are largely divorce and parenting [issues]. … I help parties dispute and negotiate toward agreements by facilitating healthy, productive conversation that may or may not [end in] an agreement. I make sure that people are hearing and understanding each other, and that they have all the information they need to make a decision. Then, I help them put [their decision] in whatever form is needed, whether it’s a court order or a contract or a simple agreement.

How long have you had this job?

Twelve years.

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

Over the years, I’ve held a lot of different positions within family work — Child Protective Services worker, guardian ad litem, case manager — and at the core of all of those positions is identifying areas of problems, disputes and conflicts. … I was seeing a lot of people in a lot of pain because they were trying so hard to avoid an issue when what they really needed to do was resolve the issue. … I realized that mediation allows an opportunity to address a problem head-on … and really drill down to the heart of it, rather than trying to avoid, deny or work around it.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I have a bachelor’s degree, and I’ve had extensive training through certificate programs. In New Hampshire, you have to go through a certification class and an internship to [become certified].

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Business casual.

How has your job changed over the last year?

Prior to Covid, the very idea of doing [mediation] remotely was controversial, industry-wide … but, ultimately, we were forced into it, and I do the vast majority of my work remotely. I’ve found that it actually solves more problems than it creates. It can be difficult for people who are in conflict with one another to sit at a table in the same room. It’s a little easier for them and mitigates some of the anticipatory anxiety if they can be in the comfort of their own home where they aren’t in close physical proximity to each other.

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

How hard it would be and how long it would take to build a practice and make a name for myself. A lot of people didn’t even know what mediation was, so getting them to buy into mediation, and then to find me [was hard].

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

Mediators don’t make decisions. … A lot of times people come to me and say, ‘We need your help in deciding what is fair,’ and I tell them, ‘I have no idea.’ We can guide people … [in having] a productive conversation, but we can’t determine what is or isn’t fair for them. The fair and equitable [outcome] is whatever they agree on as being fair and equitable.

What was the first job you ever had?

Summer camp counselor.

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

Be mindful of the present, and assume there’s space for an agreement, even if you don’t know what that looks like yet.

Five favorites
Favorite book
: To Kill a Mockingbird
Favorite movie: The Birdcage
Favorite music: Showtunes
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite thing about NH: Lake Winnipesaukee

Featured photo: Mary Sargent. Courtesy photo.

Treasure Hunt 21/05/13

Dear Donna,
I found this small horse charm and it says “Black Horse Ale NY.” It’s only 1 1/2” x 1” and is made of plastic. Can you give me any information and a possible value?


Dear Lynne,
I did some research on your horse charm and found out it was an advertising charm for Black Horse Ale. The story is a very interesting one but a long one as well; if you’ve got the time I would encourage you to do some research online to read the story of Black Horse Ale and see how one tiny plastic charm has such a history.

The interesting thing to me about this charm, and other small collectibles, is how did such a tiny piece even survive to today?

The value on it is in the $25 range but the history is priceless. I know that collecting charms from gum machines, cereals, Cracker Jack and premiums is still happening today. What’s amazing is how many old ones are still out there and the stories that go behind them.

Insects with benefits

Most species aren’t as bad as you think

It’s spring, and insects are hatching, flying and munching. Contrary to what you may think, most are not a problem for your garden. There are over a million named insect species and many — perhaps most — coevolved with flowering plants. They pollinate our crops and do many wonderful things for us.

One of the most hated insects is the Japanese beetle. These beetles, as the name suggests, are originally from Japan and were first observed in New Jersey in 1916. In just over 100 years they have become omnipresent in the eastern United States. Why? They have very few natural predators — even birds don’t want to eat them.

As larvae these pests generally live in lawns, feeding on grass roots. They are whitish grubs of various sizes but up to an inch long. If you cut open a square foot of lawn with a sharp shovel and peel back the sod, you are likely to see a grub or two. If you count 10 or more in that sample, you have an infestation that will be a problem.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture developed a remedy in the 1940s called milky spore, which is a bacterium that can be suspended in water and sprayed on lawns. It is not a miracle cure and is quite expensive. Not all entomologists believe that milky spore is an effective cure, at least not in New England, where cold winters can kill the bacterium.

Not only that, those darn Japanese beetles fly. So you can treat your lawn with milky spore only to have your neighbor’s beetles fly over the fence to attack your roses. I did talk to an enterprising gardener once who convinced her neighbors to treat, too, and she feels it made a significant reduction in beetle numbers.

What else can you do? There are beneficial nematodes (unsegmented worms) called Hb nematodes that will attack Japanese beetle larvae and are said to be 96 percent effective in eliminating Japanese beetle and rose chafer larvae if applied properly. The best time to apply these nematodes is July and August, when the grubs are feeding in your lawn. If you buy them, follow the directions carefully: They need to be applied to moist lawn at dusk and then watered in. These are live worms, and as such need to be used soon after purchase. They are not generally available at garden centers, but are available online.

What about those Japanese beetle traps? Give them to neighbors you don’t like. They attract lots of beetles but only capture some — so they attract more hungry beetles to your property if you use them. Really, just don’t buy them.

I am a firm believer that the best method of insect control for most bad bugs is hand-picking them and dropping in soapy water. Insects often have several life cycles in a summer, so try to reduce numbers before they reproduce.

Hand-picking works for potato bugs, for example, if you check your plants early in the season, before large numbers have appeared. Look under the leaves: if you see orange egg masses, scrape them off and drown them in soapy water, along with the beetles and larvae. If you grow too many potatoes for hand-picking bugs, try something called “Bt”, another beneficial bacterium. It is readily available at garden centers. It does not act as a contact poison, but sickens the larvae so they stop feeding and don’t reach adulthood.

My insect nemesis is the striped cucumber beetle. It is a small striped beetle that can devour an entire small plant in one night. It eats not only cucumber leaves, but anything in that family including squashes and pumpkins. I do two things to help prevent their destruction: I grow my seedlings in pots until they have three or four leaves so the beetles can’t kill the plant in one night. And I cover my plants with row covers (breathable garden fabric) to physically keep those darn beetles off the leaves. Which is not to say that they can’t come up under the covers through the soil, but the method does help. And when the blossoms come, I’ll have to remove the row covers to allow pollination.

Can you create habitat for beneficial insects? Sure. Don’t manicure every inch of your garden. Leave a few dead branches or decomposing flower stems in piles at the edge of your property. Allow fallen leaves to serve as mulch. Consider putting up a simple structure for solitary wasps (such as those that control those pesky tomato hornworms). They are sold next to the birdhouses at the garden center.

I’m afraid that mosquitoes, black flies and deer ticks have given all insects a bad name, but most are beneficial. They pollinate, serve as food for baby birds, they help to keep vigorous plants and other insects from taking over. And please remember this: If you decide that spraying pesticides is easier than the organic methods described here, know that those same sprays will kill small beneficial insects that you probably never even notice.

Featured photo: Catch Japanese beetles with a milk jug and soapy water. Courtesy photo.

Kiddie Pool 21/05/13

Family fun for the weekend

The tipi set up at Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. Courtesy photo.

Virtual field trips

Watch on-stage performances of Pete the Cat, Dog Man the Musical, We the People: America Rocks and other kid-friendly shows as part of the Theaterworks USA Virtual Field Trip series, available through the Capitol Center for the Arts’ website ( The series was created for schools, home-schooled children and families. Non-school groups can purchase tickets through, where there is a full list of productions that are available for in-home rentals. Most shows are $20 per household, and once purchased they are available to view for 48 hours.

Free fun for military families

The Children’s Museum of New Hampshire (6 Washington St. in Dover; children’, 742-2002) kicks off its Military Appreciation Summer on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 15, allowing all current and retired military personnel and their immediate family members free admission. From this Saturday through Sunday, Sept. 5, military members with an ID will receive free admission, plus free admission for dependent children and spouse — up to five family members. The museum’s current hours are Wednesdays and Sundays from 9 to 11:30 a.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 a.m. or 1 to 3:30 p.m., and reservations are required. Admission is $9 per person ages 3 and up.

Explore Native cultures

The Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum in Warner (18 Highlawn Road, 456-2600, is now open for the season, offering self-guided tours Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. The museum features exhibits that explore Native cultures and encourage respect for nature, including historical and contemporary crafts and customs. Two new exhibits are a scenic mural in the Northeast Region and an 1800s Cree man’s outfit from the Plains Region. Outside, the Medicine Woods Trail features native plants that were commonly used for food, medicine and shelter, the Janeway Arboretum includes 85 species of trees, and there are 20 new birdhouses throughout the property. The cost of admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $7 for kids ages 6 through 12, free for kids under 6 and Native Americans, and $26 for families of two adults and children under 18.

Featured photo: The tipi set up at Mt. Kearsarge Indian Museum. Courtesy photo.

Visual voices

Youth artwork celebrates Mental Health Awareness Month

New Hampshire youth speak out about mental health through art at the Magnify Voices Expressive Arts Contest Celebration, happening Thursday, May 20, at the Tupelo Drive-In in Derry and virtually via livestream.

Now in its third year, the contest invites middle school and high school students in the state to submit an original work of art be it a two- or three-dimensional visual art piece, short film, essay, poem or song that expresses their experience with or observations of mental health. The art work is then featured at a celebratory event in May to honor Mental Health Awareness Month and to highlight the need for improved children’s mental health care in New Hampshire.

“I think being able to see what our kids are experiencing in this very visual way can really help us get a better understanding of what they’re going through,” said Michele Watson, family network coordinator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness New Hampshire Chapter, which co-sponsors the event with the New Hampshire Office of the Child Advocate and other mental health- and youth-focused organizations throughout the state.

Upon arrival attendees will be guided to distanced parking spaces. For the first hour of the event, from 4 to 5 p.m., they will be able to stroll the parking lot, masked, and visit information booths for around a dozen local organizations involved with youth mental health.

“Part of bringing [mental health] awareness is letting people know where they can go for resources,” Watson said. “We want to make sure that, if they ever need help, or if they have a family member or good friend who might need help, they know where to go.”

Also during that time, all 43 art pieces that were submitted will be displayed on a large screen near the stage. They consist mostly of visual art pieces, Watson said, including drawings, paintings and computer-generated images, with a few short films and poems in the mix.

“The art work just completely impresses us,” she said, “and not just because of the messages that they share but also because of the quality of the art work. A lot of [the artists] are extremely talented.”

Watson said that she and the contest judges noticed “a different tone” in this year’s pieces, with more artists opening up about their personal struggles with mental health.

“In the past a lot of the submissions were focused on awareness,” she said, “but now we’re seeing the [artists] who are experiencing [mental health issues] themselves really expose themselves by sharing their own stories and expressing how they’re feeling.”

The awards ceremony and a series of presentations by guest speakers, which attendees can watch from inside their cars or from their own lawn chairs situated just outside their cars, will begin at 5 p.m. Ten finalists chosen by the judges will be named and will each receive a framed certificate and a $250 cash prize. The audience, including those watching the livestream from home, will then have a chance to vote for their favorite of the 10 finalists to win a People’s Choice Award.

Guest speakers will include mental health awareness advocate and former New Hampshire Chief Justice John Broderick; 10-year-old New Hampshire Kid Governor Charlie Olsen, whose platform is childhood depression; and Dr. Cassie Yackley, a specialist in trauma-informed mental health care, discussing the importance of art in mental health.

The event is often “eye-opening” for the audience, Watson said, as it gives youth an outlet to publicly express thoughts and feelings that they may not have wanted or been able to articulate before.

“Our youth really have a lot to say, and [art] helps them deliver it in a different way,” she said. “Now we just need to listen to them.”

Magnify Voices Expressive Arts Contest Celebration
: Tupelo Drive-In, 10 A St., Derry, and virtually via livestream
When: Thursday, May 20, 4 to 6:30 p.m.
More info/register: Visit and

Featured photo: Youth art from a previous Magnify Voices Expressive Arts Contest. Courtesy photo.

The Art Roundup 21/05/13

The latest from NH’s theater, arts and literary communities

The Nashua International Sculpture Symposium returns May 20. Courtesy photo.

The sculptors are coming: The 14th annual Nashua International Sculpture Symposium will commence on Thursday, May 20, with a private opening reception, which will be recorded for the public to watch online. During the symposium, three renowned sculptors will spend three weeks in Nashua creating three outdoor sculptures for permanent installation in the city. This year’s sculptors, all coming from the U.S., are Gavin Kenyon from New York, Sam Finkelstein from Maine, and Nora Valdez, from Boston, Mass., originally from Argentina. The sculptors will work outside The Picker Artists studios (3 Pine St., Nashua) Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., from Monday, May 24, through Friday, June 4. They will relocate to the sculpture installation site on Saturday, June 5, where they will continue their work until the closing ceremony on Saturday, June 12.During those times, the public will be able to watch the sculptors work and interact with them during their breaks (masks and social distancing required). The closing ceremony, at which the finished sculptures will be revealed, will take place at the installation site and will also be available to watch online. Visit

NH Jewish Film Festival returns: The New Hampshire Jewish Film Festival returns virtually Wednesday, May 19, through Thursday, June 10, with 11 independent foreign films as well as a series of food-themed shorts. The feature films — all New Hampshire premieres — come from eight countries: the United States, Israel, Ethiopia, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland and Switzerland. They will be released one at a time on different days, each with a 72-hour watch window, starting with When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, a period drama from Germany and Switzerland, on May 19. “Our goal is to bring thought-provoking and enlightening documentaries, fiction films and shorts that you can’t find anywhere else,” festival co-chair Ross Fishbein said in a press release. “We’re delighted to bring some of the world’s best indie films straight to your living room.” Additionally, there will be Q&A events with the filmmakers for five of the films, to be held over Zoom. Tickets are per household and cost $12 per film, $43 for a four-pack film pass and $110 for an all-access pass to all 11 films. The shorts series, which includes five short films, will be free and available to watch at any point during the festival. Visit

A call for Covid poetry: New Hampshire residents are invited to submit original poems for review and possible publication in COVID Spring Vol. II,an anthology of poetry about the pandemic experience in New Hampshire, to be edited by New Hampshire Poet Laureate Alexandria Peary and published by Hobblebush Books this summer. The anthology is a follow-up to COVID Spring: Granite State Pandemic Poems, published in September 2020, which features original poems submitted by more than 50 New Hampshire writers, providing “a thirty-day snapshot of what life was like in the Granite State in April of 2020” through topics such as Covid-related “job loss, loneliness and love, masks, social distancing, surreal visitors, uncertainty, graduations deferred, grief, neighborly and less-than-neighborly acts, observing the beginning of the pandemic and making projections about the future, recalibrating or confirming what it means to be human, to be a resident of this region,” Peary said in the anthology’s introduction. Youth age 18 and under may also submit original poems to be considered for the anthology’s new youth section. Submit a poem or poems (up to three) by Sunday, May 23, through the online submission form at Poets will be notified of the editor’s decision by June 15.

Joining together for Portsmouth arts: The All Together Now benefit concert series kicks off Friday, May 14, with singer-songwriter Zachary Williams performing live at The Music Hall (28 Chestnut St., Portsmouth) at 5:30 and 8 p.m. The series is a collaboration between The Music Hall and its fellow Portsmouth arts venues Prescott Park Arts Festival and 3S Artspace to raise funds for the latter two to help them recuperate from the pandemic. The series continues with Rachael & Vilray on Saturday, May 22 (sold out), and Son Little on Friday, June 11, at 5:30 and 8 p.m. Tickets cost $25, $40, and $60. Visit



DUO ARTIST EXHIBIT Features oils by Jim Ryan and watercolors by Lorraine Makhoul. On view during May. Seacoast Artist Association, 130 Water St., Exeter. Call 778-8856 or visit

35TH ANNUAL OMER T. LASSONDE JURIED EXHIBITION The New Hampshire Art Association presents a group art show featuring works in a variety of media by NHAA members and non-members. NHAA’s Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery (136 State St., Portsmouth). On view now through May 30. Call 431-4230 and visit

• “TRANSFORMATIONS: NATURE AND BEYOND” The New Hampshire Art Association presents works by digital artist William Townsend. Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce Gallery, 49 S. Main St., Concord. On display now through June 17. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit or call 431-4230.

• “THE BODY IN ART: FROM THE SPIRITUAL TO THE SENSUAL” Exhibit provides a look at how artists through the ages have used the human body as a means of creative expression. On view now through Sept. 1. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

• “TOMIE DEPAOLA AT THE CURRIER” Exhibition celebrates the illustrator’s life and legacy through a collection of his original drawings. On view now. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

• “RETABLOS RECONSIDERED” Exhibit features works by 12 artists inspired by retablos, the honorific art form of devotional paintings that relate to miraculous events. Twiggs Gallery (254 King St., Boscawen). On view now through June 6. Gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Call 975-0015 or visit

• “GEOMETRIC ABSTRACTION THROUGH CUT AND PASTE” City Arts Nashua and The Nashua Telegraph present an exhibition featuring the works of Meri Goyette, including statement collages and collectible greetings cards that she crafted from paper, fabric and glue during the pandemic. On display in the windows and lobby of the Telegraph offices (110 Main St., Suite 1, Nashua). Now through June 11. Visit

• “CRITICAL CARTOGRAPHY” Exhibit features immersive large-scale drawings by Larissa Fassler that reflect the Berlin-based artist’s observations of downtown Manchester while she was an artist-in-residence at the Currier Museum in 2019. On view now through fall. Currier Museum of Art, 150 Ash St., Manchester. Museum admission tickets cost $15, $13 for seniors age 65 and up, and must be booked online. Call 669-6144 or visit

GALLERY ART A new collection of art by more than 20 area artists on display now in-person and online. Creative Ventures Gallery (411 Nashua St., Milford). Call 672-2500 or visit


14TH ANNUAL NASHUA INTERNATIONAL SCULPTURE SYMPOSIUM Three renowned sculptors will spend three weeks in Nashua creating three outdoor sculptures for permanent installation in the city. The public will be able to watch the sculptors work and interact with them during their breaks (masks and social distancing required). Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Fri., May 24 through Fri., June 4, outside The Picker Artists studios (3 Pine St., Nashua), and Sat., June 5 through Sat., June 12, at installation site. A private opening reception will be held on Thursday, May 20, and closing ceremony and sculpture reveal on Saturday, June 12, both of which will be recorded for the public to watch online. Visit



42ND STREET Recorded live in London. Virtual screening presented by Capitol Center for the Arts in Concord. Now through May 19. $15 per ticket. Call 225-1111 or visit

•​ FUN HOME The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents. 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Now through May 28. Visit or call 433-4472.

•​ GODSPELL The Seacoast Repertory Theatre presents. Virtual and in person at 125 Bow St., Portsmouth. Now through May 30. Visit or call 433-4472.

DISCOVERING MAGIC WITH ANDREW PINARD The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Wed., May 19 and June 16, 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $22 for adults, $19 for members, seniors and students, and $16 for senior members. Call 715-2315 or visit

A WIDER CIRCLE The New Hampshire Theatre Project’s Elephant-in-the-Room Series, in partnership with the Seacoast Mental Health Center, presents a reading of the play, written by local playwright and social studies teacher Mary Ellen Hedrick. Virtual, via Zoom. Thurs., May 20, 7 to 9 p.m. Free. Registration is required. Visit

QUEEN CITY IMPROV The Hatbox Theatre (Steeplegate Mall, 270 Loudon Road, Concord). Fri., May 21 and June 4, and Thurs., June 17, 7:30 p.m. Tickets $22 for adults, $19 for members, seniors and students, and $16 for senior members. Call 715-2315 or visit

Garden Escapes

Get all of the flower-filled beauty with none of the work at public gardens

Plenty of people like working in the garden, planting and pruning and watching things grow. But there’s something to be said about relaxing in a luxurious garden where you don’t have to lift a finger to reap its rewards. Public gardens are the perfect opportunity to enjoy stunning displays of nature, from flowers that are bursting with color to vibrant trees, grasses and water features. So take a break from weeding — or from endlessly watching HGTV in the hopes that you’ll be inspired to do some weeding — and check out some of these public gardens.

Fuller Gardens

10 Willow Ave., North Hampton 964-5414,

Colorful history: Fuller Gardens is a public, nonprofit botanical garden that dates back to 1927, when Massachusetts Gov. Alvan Fuller commissioned a landscape architect for his summer estate, known as Runnymede-by-the-Sea. In the ’30s, Fuller — also a successful businessman who started the first auto dealership in Boston — hired another firm to improve those gardens and to create a rose garden to honor his wife, Viola. Since then, the garden has expanded even more, with additions like a Japanese garden and a dahlia display garden.

The brains behind the beauty: Jamie Colen has been the garden director at Fuller since 1999, and there’s a staff of seven that works at the gardens seven days a week.

Standout features: Three acres of gardens featuring annuals and perennials, water features, a koi pond, ornamental statuary and more. Fuller is best known for its roses, Colen said, with about 1,700 rose bushes and approximately 125 varieties.

Growing season: At Fuller Gardens, getting the space ready for its busiest time of year starts in February and March, with work in the greenhouse. There are thousands of pots that have to be replanted, and then the crew gets outside to start the maintenance, like making sure the underground irrigation system is working and undoing all of the winterization that they did back in December, like tying the rose bushes and preserving the statuary and other parts of the garden’s hardscape.

“We basically take care of an outdoor museum,” Colen said.

And yes, there’s raking and pruning and weeding, too. What you won’t see, though, is the crew using bark mulch, a staple gardening supply for many home gardeners.

“Bark mulch is really acidic and you’re putting it on plants that like a neutral pH,” Colen said.

Fuller Gardens is also “virtually pesticide-free,” using potassium bicarbonate to keep the roses pest-free. Colen said they make a point of working with nature, not against it.

“We mow three times a week, no chemicals — there’s no magic here,” he said. “We have some clover. It looks great [and] takes a lot of abuse.”

Your garden experience: Because they do succession planting, there’s never a bad time to see the gardens, Colen said.

“It’s a beautiful design because there’s something in bloom all the time,” he said.

The roses start blooming at the end of June and are often still blooming until November, growing as high as 12 feet tall, Colen said.

“The first bloom is probably the biggest, but it’s not the most spectacular,” he said.

Whenever you choose to go, you can walk through the gardens at your leisure.

The details: Fuller Gardens opened for the season on May 10 and will remain open through mid-October, seven days a week, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The cost of admission is $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, $6 for students with an ID, $4 for kids under 12 and no charge for infants who are carried.

Photos courtesy of Fuller Gardens.

The Fells

456 Route 103A, Newbury 763-4789,

Colorful history: The Fells, which encompasses 83 acres of woodlands and grounds and nearly half a mile of undeveloped Lake Sunapee shoreline, is located in Newbury and is the former summer home of American writer and diplomat John M. Hay (1838-1905), who began acquiring abandoned sheep farms in the late 1800s and ultimately owned nearly 1,000 acres of land. His son Clarence inherited the property when John Hay died in 1905, and he and his wife Alice transformed the rock pasture into extensive formal and informal gardens. In 1960 the Hays deeded 675 acres to the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests to protect it from development, and the remainder was deeded to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the ’70s.

The brains behind the beauty: HorticulturistNick Scheu has been the landscape director at The Fells for three seasons and has an assistant and typically two interns in the landscape department.

Standout features: There are eight major gardens at The Fells, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Scheu said The Fells is well known for its rhododendrons, and he particularly likes the heath and the heather, and the “lovely” perennial border that dates back to 1909. There’s also a poetry walk and an ecology trail. On the property this year will be the Art in Nature 2021 Sculpture Exhibit, with pieces that areintegrated into the surrounding landscape and are based on the theme “Stillness & Motion.”

Growing season: Getting the property ready for the spring season starts in mid-March, Scheu said, when they start uncovering winterized plants and pruning the fruit trees and shrubs. Scheu runs pruning workshops throughout the spring, specific to blueberries, apple trees, spring bloomers and more, plus potting workshops that have participants potting seed and planting plugs for both The Fells and their own home gardens.

Your garden experience: Though the landscape will evolve throughout the spring and summer, “We hope we have things in flower pretty much from May to September or November,” Scheu said. Different plants do shine at different times, though, he said, noting that the rhododendron and azaleas are especially nice from mid-May to mid- to late July, while the asters in the fall are on full display and attract hundreds of butterflies.

“Early summer gardens are always a joy to see,” Scheu said. “[They have] really great colors and new growth appearing from Memorial Day to the end of June.”

The Fells offers guided garden tours each day that the Main House is open (see details below), and there’s a free guided hike on the first Thursday of every month. At any time, you can “casually walk the grounds and enjoy whatever is flowering,” Scheu said.

He said there’s often wildlife to see too — he had just left a fox den full of babies, and it’s not unusual to have deer, bear and fisher cats roaming the property.

Scheu suggests that prior to visiting The Fells guests should look at the extensive website, which includes maps of the property, a calendar of events and other useful information that can enhance the experience.

The details: The gardens and trails at The Fells are open daily year-round, and visitors may hike the trails and visit the gardens from dawn until dusk. The Fells’ Main House opens for the season on Saturday, May 29, and will be open on weekends until the summer season begins on June 16, at which point it will be open Wednesdays through Sundays until Sept. 6, when it reverts back to weekends and Monday holidays only, through Columbus Day. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. When the Main House is open, the cost of admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, $4 for kids 6 to 17, free for kids 5 and under, and $25 for families of two adults and two or more children ages 6 or above. When the Main House is closed, admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and students, $3 for children and $15 for families of two adults and two or more children ages 6 or above. Winter admission, December through March, is $5 per household, payable at the self-serve Welcome Kiosk. Admission is always free for active military members and veterans, and their immediate family.

Forty-minute guided tours of the gardens, included in the cost of admission, are offered Wednesday through Sunday, Memorial Day weekend through Columbus Day weekend. Tours begin in Rose Garden at 11 a.m.

Scheu will host the next potting workshop on Saturday, May 22, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The $5 per person fee includes a sample of plant specimens to take home. Reservations are required; call 763-4789, ext. 3. Check the website’s list of events for all kinds of activities scheduled throughout the remainder of the year.

Rose terrace at The Fells. Photo courtesy of

Bedrock Gardens

45 High Road, Lee 828-8300,

Colorful history: The original farmhouse at Bedrock Gardens dates back to the 18th century, and the property was a dairy farm from 1845 to 1957. It was sold to the present owner in 1980 on a handshake, the 37 acres having been abandoned for about 40 years. It was first cleared of poison ivy and puckerbrush, and the landscaping project started around 1987, adding access to roads along with garden beds and a wildlife pond. About two-thirds of the property is now gardens.

The brains behind the beauty: Led by Executive DirectorJohn Forti, Bedrock Gardens also has a group of volunteers and a small ground crew. The founders are still very involved: “The two of them are like having a staff of a dozen,” Forti said.

Standout features: One main focus at Bedrock Gardens is showcasing rare and unusual native plants. “Everything looks vaguely familiar, but [for example], you’ve never seen a maple quite like that,” Forti said. There’s the ornamental Grass Acre — “the space was designed to look like an impressionist painting,” Forti said. “It evolves through the whole season.” There’s also a spiral garden, a rock garden, a Japanese Tea House and garden, and a serpentine waterway that Forti particularly likes, with its lotus and water lilies and the sense of motion that it adds to the landscape.

Growing season: “We are a garden that looks at sustainability,” Forti said. “We’re not racing to put out tens of thousands of annuals in the spring. … We really rely on perennials.

Of course there are a few garden cleanup days, plus planting the annuals and improving soil quality, he said, but the garden is laid out on a sort of grid system so that everything is easy to get to and maintain.

Your garden experience: “Unlike a lot of other public gardens, it’s not a single design space — it’s a landscape journey,” Forti said. “Over the course of 37 acres it keeps you moving through room after room, and each space has its own feeling and emotion.”

Forti said there are a number of ways to enjoy the garden, whether you want to take a walk along the mile-plus of walking trails, get a guided tour to learn about the gardens, or just relax. Forti said that one volunteer has said that when she walks through the gardens her blood pressure goes down about 20 points.

“Some people are just going there to quiet their minds … [and] enjoy nature,” he said. “They love to relax into the landscape. … You might be relaxing and reflecting by a pond and then move on … to a different garden.”

He said you can spend a couple hours there or a whole day — and there’s no “best” time of the year to visit.

“It’s so different by the season, and that’s … part of its design,” he said.

The details: Bedrock Gardens opened for the season on May 12 and is open Tuesday through Friday, and the first and third weekends of the month, through Oct. 11. The hours each day are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There’s a suggested donation of $10 per adult; children 12 and under get in free. Daily overview garden tours are offered Tuesday through Friday at 10:15 a.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 10:15 a.m. and 1 p.m., when open. The guided tours are free with admission. You can also take a self-guided tour and spend as much time as you want on the property; you will be given a map with a suggested route.

Rose terrace at The Fells. Photo courtesy of

Kirkwood Gardens

Squam Lakes Natural Science Center, 23 Science Center Road, Holderness, 968-7194,

Colorful history: Kirkwood Gardens is about an acre in size and was created on the grounds of the historic Holderness Inn, in the space of a former parking lot. In trying to figure out what should take the place of the parking lot, a plan put together by internationally known landscape designer — and six-year Science Center trustee — “Sunny” Grace Kirkwood won out. It used plants that are adapted to grow well in New Hampshire and that are attractive to birds, bees and other pollinators, according to resident garden expert Brenda Erler. Erler said Kirkwood was very elderly when she was designing the garden. “Her nurse would actually bring her to the gardens, complete with her oxygen tank, and she would just sit for hours and watch the shadows to see how [the sun would hit the plants],” Erler said. The entire community pitched in to make the design happen, from an anonymous gift to amend the soil to area garden centers and local residents donating plants, garden features and labor. Kirkwood only survived long enough to see the upper garden planted, Erler said; that was completed in August 1996, and Kirkwood died in September. “It was the last garden that she ever donated in the United States,” Erler said.

The brains behind the beauty: According to Marketing Manager Amanda Gillen, Brenda Erler is the “expert on all things Kirkwood Gardens.” Erler has been at the Science Center since before the gardens were designed, and she leads a group of volunteers in maintaining the gardens.

Standout features: A 25- by 60-foot bluestone patio offers scenic views and a place to sit in the summer shade. The upper garden has a variety of ferns, hostas, azaleas, rhododendrons and other shade-loving plants, while the lower garden features sun-loving shrubs, trees and perennials, a sundial and a millstone fountain that attracts birds and butterflies.

Growing season: Erler said that each season she and a group of volunteers do the pruning and cleanup of winter debris as well as improvements and enhancements. “We keep kind of adding things to the fringes and [consider the] things we want to improve the looks of, [like] the exits, the entrances.” She said at the start of the season the volunteers do a walkaround to see how the plants are doing and whether any need to be replaced or moved, and they figure out which annuals to plant.

Your garden experience: “People will see plants that will work well in their yard,” Erler said, noting that the plants have been labeled and a kiosk has information for every plant, including their growing conditions, to help anyone who might want to bring something home for their own garden. “You can spend time learning about the plants or just sitting on one of the benches and enjoying it,” Erler said. “People use the garden in all different ways.” There’s also a list of birds and butterflies to help people ID them.

Erler said that while the bulbs are “going like mad right now,” the gardens always have something to offer.

“Sunny was just a master at designing things, and there’s always something in bloom,” she said. “It changes radically through the seasons.”

One of Erler’s favorites is Joe Pye weed, a native plant that grows in wetlands.

“Most of the year people just ignore it, but when it goes into bloom the butterflies absolutely lose their minds over it,” she said. “There are so many monarchs hanging on it.”

Details: Kirkwood Gardens is open to the public daily, and there is no cost to get in and no need for reservations. However, if you want to spend a day at the Squam Lakes Science Center, admission is $18 for adults and seniors and $13 for ages 3 to 15, and it includes the live animal exhibit trail and all hiking trails. Trail passes must be pre-purchased online before arriving at the Science Center. The live animal exhibit trail and hiking trails are open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (last trail admission is 3:30 p.m.).

More public gardens
Here are a few other public gardens to check out. If you know of any more beautiful public spaces like these, let us know at

Maple Hill Gardens 
Beaver Brook Association, 117 Ridge Road, 465-7787,
The 13 theme gardens, wildflower trail and natural play area are open to the public daily. The gardens are maintained by volunteers, and garden tours and presentations are available. 

Prescott Park
Marcy Street, Portsmouth, 610-7208,
The gardens at Prescott Park are free and open to the public. In 1975, 40 formal garden beds were created on the South Lawn of Prescott Park, designed to study which varieties of ornamental plants performed best in the seacoast environment. Now, the gardens continue to be planted and maintained by the city’s Parks & Greenery department, which IDs the plants and flowers for visitors.

Tarbin Gardens
321 Salisbury Road, Franklin, 934-3518,
Opening in June, Tarbin Gardens is a hand-built English landscape garden covering five acres, with all kinds of plants, plus greenhouses, ponds and wildlife. The cost of admission (cash only) is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $30 for families of two parents and two or more children. Hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Featured photo: Pollinator on Cosmos. Photo courtesy of Squam Lakes Natural Science Center.

Quality of Life 21/05/13

Coming soon: a theater near you!

Regal Hooksett 8, the movie theater off Interstate 93 Exit 10 in Hooksett, will reopen Friday, May 21, according to a reply from Regal Cinema’s customer relations team. The Regal Concord is also set to open May 21. Last weekend was opening weekend for Regal Newington and O’neil Cinemas in Epping; Chunky’s in Manchester, Nashua and Pelham have remained open (AMC theaters are also open, though with reduced numbers of screenings). By the time A Quiet Place Part II is released on Friday, May 28 (Memorial Day weekend), movie-goers will (hopefully) have several local screens to choose from if they choose to check out a movie. (Other area theaters in operation include Smitty’s Cinema in Tilton and the Cinemark in Salem.)

Score: +1

Comment: QOL is ready for some popcorn.

Putting out fires

A New Hampshire fire captain has won a national award for his efforts in fire prevention. One of only five Smokey Bear Award winners nationwide, Capt. Douglas Miner of the New Hampshire Forest Protection Bureau recently received the honor from the National Association of State Foresters and the USDA Forest Service for “outstanding service with significant and sustained program impact in wildfire prevention,” according to a press release. In 2019, during Smokey Bear’s year-long 75th birthday celebration, Miner coordinated dozens of events in New Hampshire that featured Smokey Bear, with an estimated 12,000 people attending 61 events, the release said.

Score: +1

Comment: In his nomination of Miner, Brad Simpkins of the U.S. Forest Service (and former New Hampshire State Forester and director of the state’s Division of Forests and Lands) wrote that “Doug’s efforts, while above and beyond his normally busy ranger duties, are equal to or rival those that could be accomplished with a full-time prevention coordinator.”

Big summer expected for the Granite State

New Hampshire could have one of its busiest summer seasons in recent years, thanks to an increasing demand for travel, high vaccination rates and a wealth of outdoor recreation. According to a press release, the New Hampshire Division of Travel and Tourism Development is projecting 3.45 million visitors to the Granite State this summer, with spending reaching $1.8 billion — nearly as much as 2019’s pre-pandemic levels. To help with these efforts, the department is launching a special summer advertising campaign that highlights New Hampshire’s recreational opportunities and will target states on the East Coast, including New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio.

Score: +1

Comment: Despite the pandemic, visitation to New Hampshire was down only 14.9 percent last summer, according to the release.

A concerning uptick

As a lifelong New Hampshire resident, QOL is no stranger to ticks, but this season so far seems to be worse than usual. The sidelines of a high school baseball field have been especially ripe with ticks; not a single game has gone by without multiple spectators having to pick ticks off themselves, their bags or chairs and their dogs — the record that QOL has heard so far was one parent who found five ticks during one game. According to a publication from the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, these are likely American dog ticks, the most frequently encountered tick in New Hampshire, or the smaller, more rounded blacklegged tick, the second most common species in the state.

Score: -2

Comment: It’s hard to enjoy the great outdoors when you’re worried about ticks crawling all over you.

QOL score: 70

Net change: +1

QOL this week: 71

What’s affecting your Quality of Life here in New Hampshire? Let us know at

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