Granite State Pride

Celebrate Pride Month with local festivals, parades and more

By Maya Puma

June is Pride Month and Manchester, Concord, Nashua and Windham are among the several New Hampshire cities and towns planning events to show support for the LGBTQ community.

In its first year, the nonprofit Manchester True Collaborative is partnering with YWCA New Hampshire and Queerlective to plan a week-long celebration of Pride events, beginning on Saturday, June 10, and leading up to the festival on Saturday, June 17, at Veterans Memorial Park — the latter will also include a “Queer Art Extravaganza” with a photo booth, interactive art displays and live performances.

Founded in the summer of 2022, Queerlective is a New Hampshire-based organization that works to promote local LGBTQ communities through art, according to founder Randall Nielsen.

“We really believe that art is such a great tool to connect and engage people, so we always make sure there’s some aspect of art to any gathering we put together,” Nielsen said.

Manchester Pride Week

Kicking things off for Pride Week in the Queen City, on Saturday, June 10, at 8 p.m., will be “Layers of Identity: A Visual Exploration,” presented by Mosaic Art Collective at the Currier Museum of Art. According to James Dzindolet of Manchester True Collective, the show will feature several artists celebrating diversity and inclusion in a wide range of art and media forms.

Stark Brewing Co. will then host “Queen City’s a Drag” on Monday, June 12, at 8 p.m.; that will be followed by a free “Youth Pride Hop,” on Tuesday, June 13. Those 21 and under are invited to Boards & Brews at 3 p.m., where they will then migrate to a few other nearby participating businesses, some of which will offer food while others will showcase live performances. Maps of the scheduled Youth Pride Hop route will be given out to participants at Boards & Brews.

The festivities return to Stark Brewing Co. on Wednesday, June 14, with a Pride-themed Karaoke Night at 7:30 p.m. The main event on Thursday, June 15, is a “Femmes and Thems” Night, happening at Breezeway Pub on the North End of Elm Street. That event is 21+ and will feature comedy from Mona Forgione, Jai Demeule and Holly Smith, beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15.

Manchester City Hall will hold a flag raising at noon on Friday, June 16, and Breezeway Pub will host a drag roulette at 10 p.m. that evening. Pride festivities will then culminate with the main event that Saturday, from 1 to 7 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, where you’ll find food trucks, local vendors and artist displays. An afterparty will follow at 8 p.m. at Jewel Nightclub.

“We’re hoping for, between the week of events and the day of, at least a couple thousand folks from the Manchester area and southern New Hampshire area,” Dzindolet said. “I love it when everyone comes together because there’s just so many talented people.”

More local Pride events

Beyond Manchester, events celebrating Pride Month are scheduled to take place in several other communities big and small.

Windham’s third annual Pride festival, for instance, is happening on Sunday, June 11, from noon to 3 p.m. at the town’s high school. The event will have more than 40 vendors, live bands, poets, face-painting, lawn games, children’s activities and more.

“It’s important for small communities to have Pride, just as much if not more important than large cities,” said Katrine Strickland, communications director of Windham Citizens for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “This is really important for folks to know their neighbors, [and that] the people they see at the grocery store and the soccer field support them.”

Windham DEI, according to chairperson Jackey Bennett, is 100 percent volunteer-run, regularly accepting donations to support local diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“[It’s] really important to highlight the family aspect, as Windham is full of families,” said Bennett, who added that the town high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance Club designs buttons to be given out during the festival.

Nashua’s annual Pride festival, returning to the Gate City on Saturday, June 24, includes a parade that starts at Elm Street Middle School at 2 p.m. The route, which makes its way up Main Street and ends at the Nashua Public Library, is free to walk in, although advance signups online are recommended.

From 2 to 6 p.m. the festival will take place in the library parking lot and feature more than 40 local vendors, a stage with live entertainment, food trucks and lawn games. New this year is a photo booth, while there will also be an indoor drag show at 3 p.m. inside the Court Street Theater and another at 8 p.m. at Martha’s Exchange Restaurant & Brewery, according to Kathleen Palmer, communications and special projects coordinator for the office of the mayor.

Pride in July

In Concord, Capital City Pride will host four events over two separate weekends in July.

According to chief officer Journee LaFond, the decision to hold Concord’s Pride celebration in July was a calculated one, as that way it didn’t interfere with any events scheduled in June.

“I hope that people support Pride and come out with each other and really revel in the support and the love that our community has to offer,” LaFond said.

Capital City Pride will kick off with a community art event on Saturday, July 15, at Kimball Jenkins, where there will be a vendor marketplace, live music and food, as well as a collaborative art piece from Queerlective.

The following day, Kimball Jenkins will continue the festivities with a Pride family picnic at noon, featuring live music, a petting zoo, face-painting and even a roller derby demonstration.

On Friday, July 21, head to Teatotaller on Main Street for a “Spill the Tea” event.

“It starts out as an open-mic type of situation for folks to share their coming out stories, or just stories of resilience or stories of joy, especially this Pride Month.” LaFond said. “Then we follow it up with karaoke. People share their stories with us and we sing back to them.”

Wrapping things up is an after party on Saturday, July 22, at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, featuring a drag show, dancing and a vendor marketplace.

Upcoming Pride festivals and celebrations

Sunday, June 11, noon to 3 p.m.: Windham High School (64 London Bridge Road; see

Saturday, June 17, 1 to 7 p.m.: Veterans Memorial Park (723 Elm St., Manchester; a full week’s worth of other Pride festivities is planned from Saturday, June 10, leading up to the day of the festival; see

Saturday, June 24, 2 to 6 p.m.: Nashua Public Library (2 Court St.; see

Saturday, June 24, noon to 5 p.m.: Market Square (downtown Portsmouth; see

Saturday, July 15, and Sunday, July 16; and Friday, July 21, and Saturday, July 22: Multiple locations around Concord (see for the full schedule)

Queen of the garden

All hail the tomato!

For me tomatoes are the best-tasting and most important vegetable I grow. I eat them raw in salads and sandwiches or cooked in soups and stews. I dehydrate some, I freeze many whole, and I make some sauce for quick dinners in winter. But they are not grown without difficulties — and sometimes heartbreak.

Heartbreak is rare. More than 10 years ago something called “late blight” came early and infected tomatoes all over New England. Plants blackened and died, and the fruits rotted quickly, becoming inedible.

Varieties of tomatoes have been bred to resist late blight since that fatal summer. The only one I have grown is called ‘Defiant,’ developed by Johnny’s Selected Seeds. It is a nice F-1 hybrid with 4- to 6-ounce fruits that appear early. It is a determinate tomato, which means that it produces a crop, then dies. Indeterminate varieties keep on producing until frost or blight kills them.

Of lesser portent is ‘early blight.’ Except for first-time gardeners, we all get it. It causes lower leaves to darken and dry up, but fruit is produced until all the leaves are gone. You can minimize this problem by mulching under your tomatoes with grass clippings or chopped fall leaves. You should do that now. Unlike late blight, early blight survives our winters in the soil, and splash from hard rains or watering gets it onto the leaves.

Other fungal diseases are common but can be minimized by spacing your plants well so they are not crowded. I use 24-inch spacing between plants and that seems adequate. It allows good sunshine on the leaves and breezes to keep the plants healthier.

To minimize diseases, don’t get the leaves of your tomatoes wet if you can avoid it. Avoid overhead watering devices, even though they are convenient. I use a watering wand to water my veggies as it allows me to direct the water just where my plants need it. It saves water, too, as I am not watering the walkways — and encouraging weeds there. The brand I like best is Dramm. Theirs allow good flow but are gentle on the plants.

By now most of you have planted your tomatoes. If you haven’t, and if you think this will be a hot, dry summer, plant them deep in the soil. You can bury the root ball 6 inches down or more, and the stem will grow roots in the cooler, moister soil down deep.

Tomato plants need support. Forty years ago or so, when I was less experienced than I am now, I tried just putting straw on the ground and letting my tomatoes flop over and lay on the ground. I had heard it would work just fine, but it didn’t. It was harder to weed, and the tomatoes were more prone to rot.

Now I use tomato cages. They are an investment but last for 20 years or more, especially if you store them in the barn for winter. Get the biggest ones you can find. Generally that means a wire cage that has four legs (not three) and is 54 inches tall. These cages need to be pushed into the ground at least 6 inches so they will not tip over. If you have rocky soil you may have to try several positions before you can install it deep enough.

Alternatively, you can buy 5- or 6-foot hardwood stakes. These are one-inch-square stakes that come with a pointed end that you can drive into the soil with a hammer — small rocks or not. But you have to tie your tomatoes to the stakes as they grow up. You can use old rags to tie them on, or sisal twine. Don’t use plastic twine as the vines may get damaged when they are loaded with heavy tomatoes. You may need to tie your tomatoes onto cages, too.

Throughout the summer you should prune out excess “suckers” that grow between the main stalk and a branch. These are just little shoots that develop into branches that clutter up the interior of your plant. They can shade out leaves and encourage diseases. If your plants get too tall in late summer, cut off the tops. This will keep the plants in their cages and putting their energy into producing fruits, not growing taller.

I grow at least a dozen Sun Gold cherry tomato plants each year. Each plant produces more tomatoes than I can count (even if I take off my socks to use both my fingers and toes). They are supremely tasty fresh, and are great dried and saved for soups and stews. I cut each tomato in half and use a food dehydrator to get it ready for storage. Later, I add them to soups, stews — and even scrambled eggs.

Big tomatoes can be frozen whole and stored in zipper bags, or chopped and stored in quart jars in the freezer. They aren’t suitable for sandwiches, but they are organic and tasty in cooked dishes.

If you freeze tomatoes whole, all you need to do is make sure they are clean. When you take them out of the freezer, you can remove the skins easily if you want by running them under hot tap water and rubbing gently.

No matter what I do with tomatoes, they always add flavor to any dish. I can’t wait for this season’s crop to be ready.

Henry is a UNH Master Gardener and the author of four gardening books. Reach him at He lives in Cornish Flat, NH.

Featured photo: Primula vialii is not commonly sold, but is wonderful. Photo by Henry Homeyer.

The Art Roundup 23/06/08

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

The sun rises on summer music series: Henniker’s Summer Concert Series kicks off on Tuesday, June 13, with music at the Angela Robinson Bandstand (57 Main St.) starting at 6:30 p.m. The summer begins with Peabody’s Coal Train on June 13, which is described on their website as a “local NH acoustic Americana 6-piece band” (see Food trucks and restaurants will attend the concerts to sell eats for the evening, according to a press release. Admission is free (donations accepted). See for the summer’s lineup.

Londonderry Concerts on the Common (265 Mammoth Road in Londonderry) continue with the second concert of the season on Wednesday, June 14, when the Windham Community Swing Band performs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. The schedule continues Wednesday, June 21, with Bruce Marshall and the Shadow Riders, according to a press release. Find the full line-up at

NH Master Chorale
The 30-voice chamber choir New Hampshire Master Chorale celebrates its 20th anniversary with two concerts this month, according to a press release. The concerts, themed “What (Only) Music Can Do,” will be performed Saturday, June 17, at 7 p.m. at the South Congregational Church (27 Pleasant St. in Concord) and on Sunday, June 18, at 4 p.m. at the Congregational Church in Plymouth. Tickets (which are available at the door or via cost $30 — $25 for seniors and free for students from kindergarten through undergrad, the release said. The concert will feature several pieces including “a pinwheel of favorites from the last 23 seasons,” the release said.

At the Currier: The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester; will feature the second of four sewing circle sessions with artist in residence Calder Kamin on Saturday, June 10, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Winter Garden Cafe. Drop in and join the creation of a “Dream Feather” to be sewn into a community quilt that will be revealed at the Currier’s annual Summer Block Party on Saturday, July 15, from 4 to 9 p.m., according to a Currier newsletter. All ages and skill leaves are welcome, the release said. The sewing circle will also take place on Saturdays, July 1 and July 8. Calder will also be at the Art After Work series (Thursdays from 5 to 8 p.m., when admission to the museum is free), when people can meet her and participate in her community projects, the newsletter says.

Admission to the museum ($15 for adults, with discounts for seniors and students; kids 12 and under are free) is free to all New Hampshire residents on Saturday, June 10, as part of the museum’s second Saturday program. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, plus 5 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

On Sunday, June 11, at 2 p.m. Jon Brooks, a New Hampshire sculptor whose work appears in the Currier collections, will hold an ARTalk for those who purchase a $75 raffle ticket, the newsletter said. The winner of the raffle will win a piece, called “Running Bench,” and visit and tour his studio; only 150 tickets will be sold. See

Beyond this weekend, on Thursday, June 15, curator of education and interpretation Rachael Kane will lead the final “Curator Tour” until the fall at 6 p.m., focusing on the ways textiles are represented in the museum’s collection.

And get tickets now for an ARTalk with photographer and educator Gary Sampson on Sunday, June 25, at 2 p.m. “Samson will offer insight into how New Hampshire photography fits into the larger picture of art history with a special focus on the legacy of Lotte Jacobi. Following the talk, the artist will lead a brief gallery conversation focusing on regional photographic traditions,” the newsletter said. Tickets cost $15.

One-night screening: The documentary Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North will screen Sunday, June 11, at 4 p.m. at the Church of the Good Shepherd (214 Main St. in Nashua), in collaboration with the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua and the Reconciliation Commision of the Episcopal Church of New Hampshire, according to a press release. The film looks at the descendants of the DeWolf family of Rhode Island and their role in the slave trade, according to a press release. The screening is open to the public and will be followed by a panel discussion (see for information on the panelists), the release said. See the trailer for the documentary on

Tiny Beautiful Things
Theatre Kapow wraps up its 15th season with a production of Tiny Beautiful Things, which runs Friday, June 9, through Sunday, June 11, at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage (16 S. Main St. in Concord; Based on the book by Cheryl Strayed and adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, this production is the first of the play in New Hampshire, according to a press release. The play tells the story of Sugar, an online advice columnist (Strayed was the author of the “Dear Sugar” advice column). The performances are Friday, June 9, and Saturday, June 10, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 11, at 2 p.m. See

New skills: The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen in Meredith (279 Daniel Webster Hwy.; 279-7920, has classes on the schedule for the end of June. On Saturday, June 24, from 10:30 to 4:30 p.m. learn to make a silver pendant with a bezel-set stone with League-juried artist Joy Raskin; tuition costs $75 per student plus a materials fee that varies based on silver and gemstones, according to a press release. On Sunday, June 25, from 1 to 4 p.m. learn to make a shadow box with League-juried artist Patsy Fraiser; tuition costs $40 plus materials fee of $20 paid to the instructor, the release said. Call or go online to register.

One City, One Book: This year’s “Nashua Reads: One City, One Book” selection is Hell of a Book by Jason Mott, according to a press release from the Nashua Public Library (2 Court St. in Nashua;, 589-4610). “Winner of the National Book Awards 2021 for Fiction, Hell of a Book is a groundbreaking and inventive novel about a Black author who sets out on a cross-country publicity tour to promote his bestselling novel. Masterfully weaving together three narrative strands — an unnamed author, a boy named Soot, and a figure known as The Kid — Mott creates a heartbreaking work that goes to the heart of racism, police violence, and the hidden costs exacted upon Black Americans, and America as a whole,” the release said. Programming for Nashua Reads will begin in the fall but more than 75 print copies of the book are available now at the library as well as large print, e-book and audio book versions, the release said. Mott is slated to visit the library on Sunday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m. for a “Beyond the Book” dicusssion. Tickets to the even cost $10 and can be purchased at the library or at Eventbrite.

Author events at Balin: Benji Wozniak, a writer, comedian and the host of the Woz Happening podcast, will be at Balin Books (375 Amherst St. in Nashua;, 417-7981) on Saturday, June 24, at 2 p.m. to discuss his book Hodge Podge.

Author events at Gibson’s: Gibson’s Bookstore (45 S. Main St. in Concord;, 224-0562) has several book events coming up in June. Author, hiker and parent Sarah Lamagna will discuss her new guidebook Hiking with Kids in New England: 50 Great Hikes for Families will discuss her book on Saturday, June 10, at 11 a.m. at Gibson’s. Debut authors Jean Duffy (author of the narrative nonfiction book Soccer Grannies: The South African Women Who Inspire the World) and Bev Stohl (author of Chomsky and Me: A Memoir) will be at Gibson’s on Tuesday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. Children’s authors Kari Allen (Maddie and Mabel Know They Can, the third Maddie and Mabel book) and Amy Makechnie (The McNifficents) will be at Gibson’s on Tuesday, June 27, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. to sign copies of their books. Marielle Thompson will discuss her debut novel, Where Ivy Dares to Grow: A Gothic Time Travel Love Story, on Friday, June 30, at 6:30 p.m. at Gibson’s.

Gibson’s will participate in a virtual event involving author Juno Dawson, who will discuss her new novel The Shadow Cabinet on Wednesday, June 21, at 7 p.m. Register online for the event only or for a book-and-ticket bundle.

The Wind
Like many an eventual cultural touchstone, 1928 silent film The Wind was a bust at the box office (its box office is recorded as a loss of $87,000), and it came out as movie audiences were turning to sound films, according to Wikipedia. But the movie, which includes actress Lilian Gish’s final starring role in a silent film, is considered a classic of early film and was selected for preservation in 1993 in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant,” according to a press release about the screening of The Wind on Sunday, June 11, at 2 p.m. at Wilton Town Hall Theatre (40 Main St. in Wilton). The film will be screened with live musical accompaniment by Jeff Rapsis. Admission is a suggested donation of $10.

Elevating their experiences

Black Heritage Trail presents discussion panel with immigrants and refugees

The Currier Museum of Art is promoting a different type of art: the human experience. The museum has partnered with The Black Heritage Trail NH in hosting a panel discussion about the lives of Black immigrants and refugees in the Granite State.

The discussion is based around Uprooted: Heartache and Hope in New Hampshire, a 2009 documentary produced and created by the University of New Hampshire.

“It’s a great documentary and it tells stories of life in refugee camps,” said Anne Romney, one of the organizers for the event.

Romney said the plan originally was to invite the subjects of the documentary to discuss where they are now, but it became clear that due to the passage of time it wouldn’t be possible. She said several of the people in the documentary were now elderly and at least one had died.

Organizers reached out to younger refugees and immigrants to create the new panel. Romney said they are just as impressive and just as incredible to hear speak.

“It’s very powerful to hear these stories, based on real people and real experiences,” Romney said. “We had a Zoom meeting to make sure everyone [on the panel] is on the same page and it was an amazing hour I spent with these folks.”

The speakers are Rashida Eltag Mohamed, a domestic sexual violence advocate through the Manchester Police Department; Anzura Gakwaya, a community building specialist with NeighborWorks Southern New Hampshire, and Fisto Ndayishimiye, the lead organizer for Change for Concord. The panel will be moderated by Grace Kindeke, a program coordinator for American Friends Service Committee NH.

Romney said it was important for the panel to be a discussion, not just a series of questions each expert was answering. She said the Black Heritage Trail wanted to highlight the human element and the lived experience each person brings to the table.

“You can read an article about immigration and it might be interesting, but you can start and stop reading,” Romney said. “If you’re talking and listening to some human being talk and you can feel the humanity of it, you get drawn in.”

Romney said the Black Heritage Trail is about educating people on Black history in New Hampshire and also on what the current Black experience is. This panel, she said, brings to light the modern experience for Black refugees and immigrants coming to this state.

“I think it takes courage and it’s exhausting to people to always be educating, to help others understand,” Romney said. “[But] I think it felt that there’s an appreciation of having a platform to speak, as hard and exhausting it is, I think it’s necessary and I think they believe it’s necessary.”

A month of celebration

The Black Heritage Trail of NH has several events scheduled in June as part of its Juneteenth Celebration. Other events include these:

  • “African Roots: Herbal Medicine, Inoculation & The Shaker Connection” This tour at the Canterbury Shaker Village starts at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 10 (with a bus pickup in Portsmouth at 9:15 a.m). The day will feature a talk and tour on the history of medicine at the Canterbury Shaker Village and Sister Edith Green, an African American Shaker who lived at Canterbury Shaker Village, according to the website. Tickets cost $35 for the tour; $45 with the bus ride.
  • “If You Knew, Let It Be Us” An opening reception for this exhibit at 3S Artspace in Portsmouth will take place Friday, June 16, at 5 p.m. The exhibit features McKinley Wallace III, “a mixed-media painter and art educator,” who “paints, draws and collages to tell stories of power manifested in resilient peoples,” according to the website. The event is free.
  • “Chanting Down Babylon: Redemption Songs of the Diaspora” This Reggae Festival will take place Saturday, June 17, from noon to 10 p.m. at the Strawbery Banke Museum grounds in Portsmouth. In addition to music (see the line-up of scheduled artists online), the day will include food and craft vendors, drumming, dance, kids’ activities and more, according to the website. Tickets cost $60 general admission, $10 for kids ages 6 to 18; kids 5 and under get in free.
  • “Camille A. Brown & Dancers: Reclaiming Black Narratives” This dance performance will take place at the Music Hall in Portsmouth on Sunday, June 18, at 4 p.m. Tickets cost $30 to $70.
  • The Healing Rhythm of the Drums This African drumming performance featuring Akwaaba Ensemble will take place at the Portsmouth African Burying Ground on Monday, June 19, at 11 a.m. and include a ceremony by Rev. Robert Thompson, according to the website. The event is free and open to the public.
  • “From Africa to America: We Are the Drums” The Howard Gospel Choir will perform at the South Church Unitarian Universalist Church in Portsmouth on Monday, June 19, at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $35.

Still Uprooted? Heartache and Hope in New Hampshire
Where: The Currier Museum of Art (150 Ash St. in Manchester;, 669-6144)
When: Wednesday, June 16, at 6 p.m. with a coffee hour before the panel at 5 p.m.
Tickets: Register at for the in-person or virtual presentation.

Featured photo: From left to right: Grace Kindeke, Anzura Gakwaya, Fisto Ndayishimiye and Rashida Eltag Mohamed. Courtesy photos.

Very berry

Anticipating the strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and more that will add sweetness to your summer

By Mya Blanchard and Matt Ingersoll

Nothing signals the start of summer quite like fresh berries, and the time to pick is right around the corner. Despite a recent unseasonably cold snap that threatened this year’s crops, most area farms remain hopeful for a decent harvest.

According to the National Weather Service, the temperature dropped 40 degrees in the Manchester area on May 18, from a high of 68 to a record low of 28 degrees. Concord also tied its record low that night of 25 degrees, set back in 1983, data shows.

Recent conditions had the potential to devastate entire crops at places like Rossview Farm in Concord, which is gearing up for pick-your-own strawberries very soon. Owner Don Ross was able to save a majority of them thanks to his irrigation pumping system — but not without lots of work and countless hours of extra invested time.

“In 31 years of growing strawberries, it’s only the second time that I can think of turning the irrigation pump on for frost protection while it’s still light out the night before,” Ross said.

Ross said that, while the ice that forms from freezing water on a strawberry plant does act as somewhat of an insulator, it can’t be relied upon alone.

“You have to continue to add water,” he said. “As water becomes ice, it has to give off heat and has to go somewhere. … So that’s the science behind it. You’ve got to keep watering until it gets warm enough in the morning that the frost is no longer a threat.”

Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry, which has been growing berries for the past 50 years, opens for pick-your-own strawberries on June 15. Farm manager Samanatha Fay said unusually cold temperatures far out into the spring had the potential to put this year’s crop at risk.

“We were [at] the end of our bloom so we thought we were safe, but a lot of damage set in because the temperatures dropped and they stayed for so long,” Fay said. “A lot of buds died off, unfortunately.”

Circumstances were similar at Kimball Fruit Farm, located on the Hollis town line bordering Pepperell, Mass., where some of the early blooms also took a hit. Despite the early damage, this year’s crop still seems promising.

The crops at Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, meanwhile, also seem to be doing OK, according to fifth-generation owner Chip Hardy. They’ll also start out with pick-your-own strawberries, followed by blueberries, raspberries and blackberries as the summer draws on.

“The weather has not had an adverse effect on these crops.” Hardy said. “They all look very good.”

white bucket of blueberries sitting under blueberry bush on sunny day
Strawberries from Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry. Courtesy photo.

Due to warmer weather earlier in the season, raspberries and blueberries are even expected earlier than usual this year, Hardy said.

“It’s really convenient for the folks to come pick strawberries because by the end of June [to] early July, we’ll have strawberries and raspberries ripe at the same time, and usually by the first of July our first blueberries will be ripe too,” he said.

But the weather has had the opposite effect on crops for farms farther north. Strawberry crops could be delayed at Apple Hill Farm in Concord, due to the erratic weather patterns that area of the state has experienced, according to co-owner Diane Souther.

“Because of the spring that we’ve had, they may be a little later in June before we’re really picking solid, so I’ll say after the 25th of June,” she said.

At Rossview Farm, Ross aims to be open for strawberry picking around the second week of June, while blueberries tend to be ready shortly after the calendar turns over to July. He said that, unlike strawberries, his blueberries don’t always need irrigation to the same extent.

“The blueberries are actually [from] a bush, and strawberries are [from] a plant,” he said. “Blueberries, the way they hang, are facing the ground and so they almost have a built-in frost protection system, whereas strawberry blossoms face upright, [to] the sun.”

In Contoocook, Gould Hill Farm is perhaps best-known for its many varieties of pick-your-own apples, but will offer a small selection of other fruits and vegetables, including blueberries. Owner Tim Bassett said that if all goes well blueberries should be ready to go around July 16 to July 18, and would run into early August.

“We had a little bit of frost damage, but right now things look OK, and we’re hopeful it will be a good crop,” Bassett said.

When are they ready?
Sources: and

Strawberries: early to mid-June
Blueberries: early to mid-July
Raspberries: early to mid-July
Cherries: early to mid-July
Blackberries: mid to late July or early August

Varieties and when to pick

Different fruits, and their varieties, thrive in different temperatures. Strawberries are the first of the berries to bloom, usually coming in around the second week of June, the ideal time for pick-your-own being the end of the month, said David Wadleigh, owner of Kimball Fruit Farm.

“They’ll start to come out when it’s warm, but once it gets too hot they’re all done,” Wadleigh said. “They last until about the Fourth of July [or] really when it gets so hot the plants just don’t produce fruit anymore.”

It’s around this time, Fay says, that blueberries and cherries usually make an appearance, with July being the prime time for harvesting. Fay said it can be hard to lock down a specific time that’s too far in advance of when berries will be ready to harvest, as many fruits have multiple varieties that bloom at different times of the season.

“One strand … will produce earlier in the season for you, where another one comes in later just because of the different temperature qualities and how it could survive better,” Fay said.

When it comes to growing these fruits, planting different varieties is key to getting the most out of the season. At Brookdale Fruit Farm, about 10 different varieties of strawberries are grown and harvested, from a mix of early maturing ones such as Wendy and Galletta, to mid-season varieties like Dickens and Honeoye and late season varieties like Rutgers Scarlet.

At Kimball Fruit Farm, about 4,000 strawberry plants were planted — 1,000 each of four different varieties.

“You get so many varieties like that so you have a crop throughout the whole season,” Wadleigh said. “If we planted [only] one variety, we would only have strawberries for like a week because each variety is only out for a short amount of time.”

The same is true for other berries as well. Because blueberries usually last five to six weeks, five to seven varieties will need to be planted in order for the crop to last the whole season, Wadleigh said.

Raspberries, which usually arrive toward the end of June in the middle of strawberry season, tend to have a longer season than some of the other berries, so only about four varieties are needed to extend the season by multiple weeks, Wadleigh said. As for blackberries, on the other hand, only one type is grown at Kimball Fruit Farm.

“You basically keep picking them until it gets too cold and then they don’t produce for you anymore,” Wadleigh said.

While their ripening times vary, there otherwise isn’t a distinguishable difference between these varieties.

“When people come to pick, they don’t typically ask for a certain variety of strawberry,” Souther said.” They just want some that [are] red and sweet and juicy.”

box of fresh strawberries sitting on wooden table
Strawberries from Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry. Courtesy photo.

Growing conditions

In addition to temperature, precipitation levels are crucial to the health and growth of crops.

“You need consistent rain,” Fay said.

Not having sufficient rain can hinder the growth and longevity of a berry’s season, as was the case last year with the raspberries at Kimball Fruit Farm.

“We had a pretty severe drought and kind of the blackberries too toward the end of the year, so it kind of shortened the raspberry season a little bit,” Wadleigh said. “We also had less raspberries out there to pick because the plant wasn’t getting one of the things that it needed.”

There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and rain is no exception.

“Berries are also really prone to mold and mildew, [which] travel by spores, and spores use heat and water as vectors to get into plants,” Wadleigh said. “So when it’s the middle of summer and the plants are all wet, it’s like a big sign saying, ‘Mold and mildew welcome here.’ So you do need water for the berries, but too much rain can also be detrimental to your crop as well.”

Too much rain can also cause root rot, inflicting harm on the plant itself, as Fay points out. As with most things, a healthy balance is best and creates the ideal conditions for the berry season.

“It’s always a nice even keel between moisture and sunshine because you need the sun to ripen the fruit and make the flowers bloom,” Fay said.

Assuming that there isn’t damage or disease that has harmed the plant, these berry plants — and trees, in the case of cherries — are perennials, meaning they will come back every year until the end of their lifespan.

“We have some raspberry plants at the farm that we had when I was younger when I started working here in high school,” said Wadleigh, who’s been working at Kimball Fruit Farm for 19 years. “Some of the cherry trees are at least 60 [years old] if not more.”

Strawberry plants may need to be replaced more often, roughly every three to five years, depending on the weather conditions they have experienced, according to Wadleigh.

There are several important measures to be taken, Fay said, to protect these plants from the elements.

“The first year of growth you want to pick off any of the fruit or the flowers that first come, because instead of them focusing on growing any fruit the first year, you want them to really focus on the roots’ support system,” she said.

It’s also important to shield the plants from cold temperatures. This can be done by covering them with hay or straw, or even covering them with water.

“The water almost acts like a blanket on top of them and it actually prevents the flowers from being damaged by the cold,” Wadleigh said. “We [have] had to do that … and it actually saved most of the early berries. … If the yellow center [of the strawberry blossoms] turns black you know that it was damaged by the cold.”

After harvest

After you’ve picked your berries, they are best kept in the refrigerator, as keeping them cool slows down the breakdown of the fruit, according to Fay. Just as the plants are prone to mold and mildew, the berries themselves are as well, Wadleigh said — for this reason, it’s also important to keep them dry.

“I always recommend, because mold and mildew use water as a vector, [not to] wash them until you’re about to eat them,” he said.

Once harvested, there are numerous ways to enjoy them.

“Strawberry shortcake is always a standby favorite,” Souther said.

She also notes that if you plan to make smoothies or frappes you can freeze the berries to throw in the blender later. Other popular recipes are pies, as Souther pointed out, and jams, custards and other desserts, according to Fay.

Berries can also be cooked down and mixed into drinks, like, for example, adding a blueberry syrup to lemonade, Wadleigh said.

While often made into or paired with desserts, berries can be included in savory meals too.

“A lot of people cook the berries down and make a sauce that they use in a savory dish,” Wadleigh said. “I’ve heard of … people cooking them down and [putting] it with different cuts of meat.”

Berry festivals
Check out these events happening in the Granite State that center around local strawberries and blueberries when in season. Do you know of one that we missed? Tell us about it at

Join J&F Farms (124 Chester, Road, Derry) for its annual strawberry fest on Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Festivities will include hayrides, food trucks, a petting farm and live music, in addition to food trucks and, of course, strawberries. Visit
Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls) will hold its 16th annual strawberry festival on Saturday, June 17, and Sunday, June 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy pick-your-own strawberries, tractor rides and berry-inspired snacks while listening to live music. See
A local tradition for more than 75 years, the Hollis Strawberry Festival returns on Sunday, June 25, from 2 to 4 p.m. on the town common (2 Monument Square, Hollis). The festival is put on by the Hollis Woman’s Club and features fresh, local strawberries and homemade biscuits, with or without hand-whipped cream and homemade ice cream, available for sale. There will also be children’s games, face-painting, craft vendors and a live performance from the Hollis Town Band. Visit
Celebrate the start of blueberry season at Applecrest Farm Orchards (133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls) with a blueberry festival on Saturday, July 22, and Sunday, July 23, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit

Where to pick your own berries

raspberries growing on bush
Raspberries from Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis. Courtesy photo.

Here are some farms that plan to offer fresh berries for pick-your-own throughout this upcoming season. Know of any we missed? Tell us about it at

Apple Hill Farm 580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862, What: Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries When: Projected opening date is around mid to late June, according to Apple Hill Farm co-owner Diane Souther, starting with pick-your-own strawberries.

Applecrest Farm Orchards 133 Exeter Road, Hampton Falls, 926-3721, What: Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries When: The farm stand is open daily, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; pick-your-own strawberries will likely be around mid-June, followed by blueberries in early July and raspberries in mid-August, according to

Berry Good Farm 234 Parker Road, Goffstown, 497-8138, find them on Facebook What: Blueberries When: pick-your-own blueberries will likely start around mid-July.

Berrybogg Farm 650 Province Road, Strafford, 664-2100, What: Blueberries When: Pick-your-own blueberries will likely start sometime shortly after the Fourth of July, according to the latest message from the farm’s picking hotline.

Blueberry Bay Farm 38 Depot Road, Stratham, 580-1612, What: Blueberries When: Pick-your-own blueberries expected to start on or around June 26, with peak picking season around the third week of July.

Brookdale Fruit Farm 41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, What: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries When: Pick-your-own strawberries are expected to be available around mid-to-late June, followed by blueberries and raspberries by early July and blackberries later into the summer.

Butternut Farm 195 Meaderboro Road, Farmington, 335-4705, What: Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries When: Strawberry picking is projected to run from about June 15 through July 10, followed by raspberries from about July 1 to July 25 and blueberries from about July 15 to Aug. 31, according to Butternut Farm owner Giff Burnap.

Carter Hill Orchard 73 Carter Hill Road, Concord, 225-2625, What: Blueberries When: Pick-your-own blueberries will likely start sometime in July, according to

Devriendt Farm Products 178 S. Mast St., Goffstown, 497-2793, What: Strawberries When: Pick-your-own strawberries expected around the second or third week of June.

Elwood Orchards 54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017, What: Cherries When: Pick-your-own cherries are expected to be available around July 4

Gould Hill Farm 656 Gould Hill Farm, Contoocook, 746-3811, What: Blueberries When: Pick-your-own blueberries will likely start around July 16 to July 18, according to owner Tim Bassett, and is expected to run into early August.

Grandpa’s Farm 143 Clough Hill Road, Loudon, 783-5690, What: Blueberries When: Daily, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; the projected opening date is around July 10, according to

Grounding Stone Farm 289 Maple St., Contoocook, 746-1064, What: Blueberries When: Projected opening date is around July 10, according to

Hackleboro Orchards 61 Orchard Road, Canterbury, 783-4248, What: Blueberries When: Daily, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; pick-your-own blueberries are expected between mid-June and late August, according to

J&F Farms 108 Chester Road, Derry, 437-0535, What: Strawberries When: The farm will likely have pick-your-own strawberries around the second or third week of June.

Kimball Fruit Farm Route 122, on the Hollis and Pepperell, Mass., border, 978-433-9751, What: Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries Expected hours: Pick-your-own strawberries are projected for the latter half of June. The farm stand is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Lavoie’s Farm 172 Nartoff Road, Hollis, 882-0072, What: Strawberries and blueberries When: Farm hours are daily, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

McKenzie’s Farm 71 Northeast Pond Road, Milton, 652-9400, What: Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries When: Strawberries are expected to be ready by the middle of June, followed by raspberries around July 4 and blueberries also in early July.

Norland Berries 164 N. Barnstead Road, Center Barnstead, 776-2021, What: Blueberries When: Berries will likely be available by early to mid-July.

Rossview Farm 85 District 5 Road, Concord, 228-4872, What: Strawberries and blueberries When: Strawberries are expected to be ready for pick-your-own by the second week of June, followed by blueberries around the Fourth of July, according to Rossview Farm owner Don Ross.

Saltbox Farm 321 Portsmouth Ave., Stratham, 436-7978, find them on Facebook

What: Blueberries When: Blueberries are expected by early to mid-July.

Smith Farm Stand 15 Smith Farm Road, Gilford, 524-7673, What: Raspberries and blueberries When: The farm features three raspberry beds and one blueberry field, according to Raspberries are expected to be ready for picking around the second week of July, followed by blueberries in mid-July.

Spring Ledge Farm 37 Main St., New London, 526-6253, What: Strawberries When: Pick-your-own strawberries expected later toward the end of June.

Sunnycrest Farm 59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-7753, What: Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and cherries When: 7 a.m. to noon, daily for pick-your-own strawberries, with an expected opening date of June 15, according to farm manager Samantha Fay. Beginning in late June or early July are cherries, followed by blueberries and raspberries by the start of July.

Trombly Gardens 150 N. River Road, Milford, 673-0647, What: Strawberries and blueberries When: Pick-your-own strawberries are expected later in June, followed by blueberries in early July.


Homemade strawberry rhubarb lemonade ice pops
Courtesy of Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord (makes about 12 to 15 ice pops)

3 stalks rhubarb, chopped fine (approximately 3 cups, packed loose)
¾ cup sugar
2½ cups water
3 cups strawberries, frozen or fresh, hulled and sliced
½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a large saucepan, bring the rhubarb, sugar, water and strawberries to a light boil for about three minutes, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let it sit in the pan for around 30 minutes or longer — this allows the fruit to blend together and lets it cool slightly before the next step. Place in a blender with the lemon juice and puree. Pour into ice pop molds and freeze until chilled.

Raspberry whip
Courtesy of Chip Hardy of Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis

1 pint raspberries
2 egg whites
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip the egg whites until soft, then add the sugar slowly and whip the egg whites until stiff. Fold in the vanilla. Add the raspberries and mix quickly with a beater. Refrigerate. Great for use on top of an angel food cake or pound cake.

All-berry pie
Courtesy of Chip Hardy of Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis

2 to 3 quarts any variety of berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries or blackberries)
¼ cup sugar
2 premade pie crusts
1 Tablespoon butter

Mix together the berries and add the sugar. Set aside. Using an 8- or 9-inch round pie plate, place the bottom pie crust inside and add the berry mixture on top. The top pie crust should have a lattice top for the steam to come out — if using the whole top crust, make sure to poke steam holes in the crust. Melt the butter and brush onto the top crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes until the crust is slightly browned. Remove from the oven and serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. Refrigerate after serving.

Strawberry buttercream frosting
Courtesy of Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1¼ cups sugar
¾ pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into small pieces
1½ cups fresh strawberries, pureed

Place whites and sugar in a double boiler cooking pot. Whisk until the sugar dissolves and the mixture registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Whisk with a mixer on medium speed for five minutes. Increase the speed to medium-high and whisk until stiff and glossy peaks form (about six minutes). Reduce the speed to medium and add butter, one piece at a time, whisking well after each addition. Switch to a paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, add the strawberry puree and beat until smooth (about three to five minutes). Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate (can be refrigerated for up to three days — bring to room temperature and beat on a low speed until smooth before using).

Strawberry cupcakes
Courtesy of Diane Souther of Apple Hill Farm in Concord

1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
1½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
1¾ cups sugar, plus more for sprinkling fruit
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups milk
10 ounces strawberries, hulled and cut into small diced pieces, plus more for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two and a half standard 12-cup cupcake pans with paper liners and set aside. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt, and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (three to four minutes), scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and then beat in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour — beat until combined after each addition. Fold in the strawberries. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full (about 2 ounces each). Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean (about 20 minutes). Transfer the pans to a wire rack to cool for five minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the pan and cool completely on the wire racks.

Featured photo: Strawberries from Sunnycrest Farm in Londonderry. Courtesy photo.

This Week 23/06/08

Big Events June 8, 2023 and beyond

Thursday, June 8

Celebrating Billy Joel – America’s Piano Man is coming to the Nashua Center for the Arts (201 Main St.) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the pianist’s album Piano Man. The multi-instrumental band will play all of Joel’s hits. Tickets to the show cost $29 to $59 and can be purchased at

Saturday, June 10

Today is the first day of the Motorcycle Week at New Hampshire Motor Speedways (1122 Route 106 North, Loudon) starting at 10 a.m. The event runs from today through June 18 with events on and off the track, like demo rides by Katancha and Harley-Davidson, USCRA FIM North American Vintage Championship races, and classes with Penguin Roadracing School. The event is free to attend. Visit for more information.

Saturday, June 10

Join The Sweet Spot at Sheridan Emmett Park (324 Beech St., Manchester) for a Summer Kickoff Craft Fair from noon to 4 p.m. There will be 40 vendors selling crafts and goods. For more information, visit

Saturday, June 10

The Range (96 Old Turnpike Road, Mason) has the first concert in its Summer Concert Series tonight. The show will feature jam band Max Creek, which first formed in 1971. Tickets cost $30 in advance, $38 the day of, and kids younger than 6 years old are free. Visit for more information or to purchase tickets.

Sunday, June 11

NH Guitars (41 Range Road, Windham) is hosting an informal summer jam session outside the shop today from 2 to 5 p.m. Visitors are invited to bring their own guitars or pick one up at the shop and join the team of instructors and professional musicians. Custom bass and guitar builder Mike Saint Germain will be at the jam for a meet-and-greet. For more information visit

Tuesday, June 13

SEE Science Center is teaming up with Science on Tap and Science Café NH to present Science Discussion Roadshow at the VFW Post 8641 (292 Daniel Webster Hwy., Merrimack). The topic will be the science behind ice cream. The doors open at 5 p.m., and the discussion begins at 6:30 p.m. More information about this event can be found at

Tuesday, June 13

The Henniker Concert Series starts tonight with Peabody’s Coal Train, a New Hampshire-based Americana six-piece band that started up in 2023. The concert is at 6:30 p.m. at the Angela Robinson Bandstand (57 Main St.). In case of rain the event will be moved to the Community Center adjacent to the park. There will be food available by Primetime Grilled Cheese. Visit

Save the Date! Saturday, June 17
The awards ceremony for the 23rd annual Hampton Beach Master Sand Sculpting Classic is today at 8 p.m. on the Hampton Beach Sea Shell Stage (100 Ocean Blvd.). Voting for the people’s choice portion of the award will be from 1 to 3 p.m. The ceremony is followed by fireworks at 9:30 p.m. The sculptures will be on display at Hampton Beach through June 26. For more information visit

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