Side stage stars

The Gravel Project provides DMB lead-in

For fans of original local music, the show always starts early at Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, on the venue’s Hazy Little Stage. Situated just beyond the Gilford amphitheater’s entrance, the second stage hosts some of the region’s finest local talent, with each act chosen to complement the headlining performer.

Upcoming are the countrified Not Leaving Sober ahead of Sam Hunt on July 7, and blood harmony band Town Meeting prior to Counting Crows’ July 14 show. In August, singer-songwriter April Cushman precedes Jelly Roll, with jam band stalwarts Supernothing playing prior to a Slightly Stoopid and Sublime with Rome double bill.

In a perfect pairing, the concert season closes out on Sept. 30 with ’90s acolytes Donaher teeing off for the Goo Goo Dolls. The Hazy Little Stage’s full schedule can be found on the venue’s website.

Providing the prelude to Dave Matthews Band’s July 11 show is The Gravel Project, a Boston band offering a vintage rock and soul sound that pairs with the bill-toppers like a salted pretzel and a cold IPA. On guitar and vocals, Andrew Gravel leads a novel configuration of his brother Jordan on keys, drummer Dave Fox and Eguie Castrillo playing percussion.

Gravel has been the band’s one constant since it began in 2013, though for the past six years he, his brother and Fox have formed its nucleus.

“The fact that we call it a project means we’ve got other people who come and play with us from time to time,” Gravel said by phone recently. “It kind of describes the whole nature of it.”

Playing without a bassist is uncommon but wasn’t always the case. The choice came out of necessity; a few years back, when their then-bass player didn’t make it to a couple of gigs, Jordan crafted a low end on his keyboards.

“We were like, ‘that was actually really good,’” Gravel recalled; they kept at it after that. “It was an organic direction for us at the time … then it brought a level of consistency to the lineup that we hadn’t felt prior.”

Live at Wellspring, released in February, is the first album to include a female voice in a prominent role. Having another vocalist “was something I always wanted to explore,” Gravel said. “A lot of these songs [are] meant for more than one singer.”

Though the vocalist who appeared on Wellspring is gone, with a rotating roster now accompanying the band (American Idol alum Erika Van Pelt joins them in Gilford), the added element on the live LP made Gravel realize that a woman on stage made a big difference. “It opened the band up for us, and there’s definitely a commitment to keep that role filled.”

The Gravel Project has played Meadowbrook’s side stage before; last year they opened for Tedeschi Trucks Band. Like DMB, that slot reflected Gravel’s influences as a performer “Nineties rock was the soundtrack to my childhood, but even before that, in the eighties, when I was younger, my parents were always just playing tons of Beatles in the house,” he said. “A lot of Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin … that stuff kind was from the very beginning real close to my heart.”

Early on, Gravel played a Fender Stratocaster. These days he toggles between two Gibson guitars — the iconic Les Paul, and a hollow body ES-335.

“That’s a big part of my sound, the vintage Gibson thing,” he said. “I’m also a sponsored artist by Two-Rock, which are these amazing amplifiers made out of California. They capture the spirit of the Sixties Blackface Fender sound [and] take it a little bit further.”

To extend the theme, Jordan plays both Hammond B3 and Fender Rhodes organs. “He loves, just like I do, the vintage gear,” Gravel said. “I mean, you just can’t beat it.”

Gravel is pleased to be opening DMB’s two-night stand. “It’s certainly an honor to be involved,” he said. “It’s such a loyal fan base that loves good music, and we’re excited to bring something that’s different [but] closely enough related. I think all his fans are certainly into great songs, and they’re also into extended jams and improvisation.”

The Gravel Project
When: Tuesday, July 11, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford
Ticket for Dave Matthews Band required – $74 and up at

Featured photo: The Gravel Project. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/07/06

Local music news & events

Al fresco fiddling: The second in a series of free outdoor shows has the New Hampshire Fiddle Ensemble, a community orchestra that includes players of all abilities. Music in their shows range from Celtic to country to folk and bluegrass. Thursday, July 6, 7:30 p.m., Eagle Square, Main St., Concord. See

Beat-dropper: A lengthy bill of dubstep purveyors is topped by Codd Dubz, a Long Island DJ well-known for his chopping skills, using a channel fader or crossfader to switch up sounds. For a good example, check out “Slice & Dice” on Soundcloud or stream his latest EP, Finesse the World.. Also appearing are Sqishi and Brainrack, along with local performers Draza, Steak and Txrran. Friday, July 7, 8 p.m., Jewel Music Venue, 61 Canal St., Manchester, $25 at

Nineties redux: Quirky Canadian alt-rockers Barenaked Ladies resume their Last Summer on Earth tour, with fellow VHI favorites Del Amitri and Five for Fighting. BNL is still making new music; the band released the single “Lovin’ Life” recently from on their 2021 album Detour de Force. Saturday, July 8, 7 p.m., Bank of NH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, $29 and up at

Heritage act: Powerful bloodlines are on display as the Allman Betts Band comes to town, with a lineup including guitarists Devon Allman and Duane Betts, sons of Allman Brothers Band members Gregg Allman and Dicky Betts, and Berry Oakley Jr., son of the Allmans’ original bass player. Their sets include songs from two original albums released by the band, and classics like “Whippin’ Post,” “Ramblin’ Man” and “One Way Out.” Sunday, July 9, 7 p.m., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua, $39 and up at

Boozy bluegrass: Genre-bending roots trio Stillhouse Junkies have New England roots. Mandolin player Fred Kosak was a Boston high school teacher before following his muse to Durango, Colorado, and fiddler Alissa Wolf studied at Berklee. Along with upright bassist Cody Tinnin, they often hit the stage in custom-stitched Dickies overalls. The band name comes from a distillery near their Rocky Mountain home base. Wednesday, July 12, 7 p.m., The Word Barn, 66 Newfields Road, Exeter, $14 to $25 at

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (PG-13)

Harrison Ford breaks out the hat and the whip to take another whirl as the titular archaeologist in Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny.

It’s 1969 and Professor Henry “Indiana” Jones (Ford) is a full-blown “hey kids, turn that music down!” grump who is retiring from his job of teaching antiquities to bored young boomers at a New York City college. He lives in a city apartment alone — he and Marion have split up and the movie also sidelined their Shia LeBeouf son, basically undoing most of the 2008 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull stuff. On the day of his retirement, Helena (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) appears in his class. He doesn’t recognize her at first but she later reminds him that she is the daughter of his old friend Basil Shaw (Toby Jones) — and Indy’s long-estranged goddaughter.

In the movie’s opening scenes, we see Basil and Indy attempt to steal back some stolen antiquities from the Nazis in the waning days of World War II. Jürgen Voller (Mads Mikkelsen) isn’t interested in the “lance that pierced Christ’s side,” the principal historical item the Nazis have been charged with finding. What he wants is Archimedes’ dial, an advanced mechanism designed by the Greek mathematician from the 200s BC. As we eventually learn, Voller and Shaw both theorize that the dial may have some time manipulation abilities.

Back in the present, Shaw the father has died and Helena is in search of the dial for the archaeology of it all, she tells Indy, but later we learn she’s actually a shady dealer in stolen antiquities.

Voller and a team that is a mix of his own goons and CIA agents are following Helena as he also looks for the dial. The U.S. government is essentially indulging Voller in this dial thing; he’s now a Wernher von Braun type for NASA ― help us get to the moon and we won’t be so picky about any activities during the war.

When Helena asks Indiana to help her with her desire to retrieve the dial, he turns her down, but a shootout and chase has him wanted for murder and worried about the trouble Helena has gotten herself into. As Helena begins her quest to sell the dial, Indiana follows her to Morocco, setting up some familiar chases through Middle Eastern streets, where Helena is being hunted both by a local mobster and by the Nazis. She gets help in her schemes from young teenager Teddy (Ethann Isidore), Helena’s, like, conman intern.

My vague memory is that I liked Kingdom of the Crystal Skull better than a lot of people did. It was the kind of “hey, childhood stuff, fun!” we were just starting to get served up and I think the novelty of it plus the “OK time at the movies for the whole family” quality won me over.

I think Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is probably a better movie but now, after so much everything-old-is-new-again IP, less exciting. And yet, if Crystal Skull was the Star Wars prequels, Dial of Destiny is The Force Awakens. It doesn’t give you a brand new thing in the familiar universe; it basically gives you the original thing again, all the stuff you like and expect, right down the middle, no deviations, but with enough real skill to pull it off. We get Indy, a lady and a kid; multiple chases through exotic locales; the Nazis — Dial of Destiny plays all the hits. We get some fun cameos, some nice callbacks and scenes of Indy and Helena walking into an ancient cave that have a vaguely amusement park ride entrance feel. It’s all perfectly fine, very “Indiana Jones movie.” It also reminded me of that odd spot these franchises — your Indiana Jones and Star Wars — are in in that they are basically adventure movies for all ages (or, you know, a lot of ages; there are Nazis and guns and skeletons), not quite kids’ movies but also not not kids movies. You get the sense that the movie worked to add just enough violence to make it to PG-13 so that grown-ups unaccompanied by kids would still buy tickets.

Harrison Ford is also fine — perhaps he, like the movie itself, is not crackling with energy the way the first set of movies did way back in the 1980s. (I mean, most of us who can remember the 1980s probably aren’t crackling with energy either.) But he gets the job done and reminds you of why you like the character.

Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny doesn’t dim the luster of the series and is fun enough, even if it is longer and at times adds some unnecessary “hat on a hat” elements to its action. B

Rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, language and smoking, according to the MPA on Directed by James Mangold and written by Jez Butterworth & John-Henry Butterworth and David Koepp and James Mangold, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is distributed in theaters by Walt Disney Studio Motion Pictures and is two hours and 34 minutes long.

Featured photo: Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

The In-Between, by Hadley Vlahos

The In-Between, by Hadley Vlahos (Ballantine, 259 pages)

For much of the past 50 years, most Americans died in a hospital. That was a change from the first part of the 20th century, when most people died at home. Since 2017, more people are dying at home again, in large part because of the expansion of hospice care.

Hospice provides in-home support for a dying person and their caregivers, administering pain medication to the patient and providing other services. A new memoir from a hospice nurse provides a surprisingly upbeat look into hospice care and what people can expect at the end of life.

Hadley Vlahos was a single mom in her early 20s when she became a registered nurse, and then began working in hospice. She looked so young that families sometimes mistook her for a nurse’s assistant (and in one funny case, a stripper), but her youthfulness was also an asset, as when a dying man decided his new purpose in life was teaching this young woman everything she didn’t know about sports and current events.

But the main thing that Vlahos learned from her patients is that there is a liminal state between being alive and being dead, a state she calls “the in-between.” Her memoir is built around a series of stories about what past patients experienced during this time, from seemingly interacting with long-dead relatives to having a premonition about a future event.

She tells these stories matter-of-factly; there is no mysticism or religious proselytizing in the book; in fact, Vlahos was raised in a religious home, but turned away from her childhood faith after the death of a friend. And she doesn’t speculate on anything that happens after she pronounces the time of death of the patient aloud (which is part of her job). She is simply relating the “in-between” experiences of dying people, to which her work makes her a witness. And those experiences are, put simply, rather riveting.

There was, for example, Carl, a bed-ridden patient whom one day Vllahos found walking around his house with a flashlight, looking under furniture and behind curtains. When asked what he was doing, he said that he was playing hide-and-seek with Anna, his 2-year-old daughter who had drowned decades before. Vlahos, who had been trained to “meet patients where they are,” accepted this calmly.

“But where was Carl?” she wondered. “It seemed as if he was in two places at once. Physically, he was in the room with Mary and me; emotionally and mentally, he seemed very much to be somewhere else, with Anna.” Carl also said to Vlahos that he’d had a conversation with his mother. He seemed otherwise rational and consented to go back to bed.

Consulting with a physician, Vlahos learned it wasn’t unusual for dying people to have a spurt of physical energy, similar to the flash of cognition called terminal lucidity that sometimes occurs shortly before death. The phenomenon that caused Carl to get out of bed is called “the surge” by medical professionals, and it often fools family members into thinking their loved one is recovering, when actually it’s a sign that they will likely die within a few days. And indeed, Carl went downhill the next day.

This is the sort of practical information that is useful for any family considering hospice, especially since so many of us have been far removed from the physical processes of death as it was relegated to hospitals and nursing homes. But the book is also surprisingly hopeful, given that it involves the last day of the terminally ill, some of whom are dying in what should have been their prime.

There is, for example, the story of Elizabeth, a 40-year-old woman who is dying of lung cancer despite having never smoked and having no family history, and Reggie, the 58-year-old who is dying from advanced liver disease brought on by alcoholism. (Reggie’s story has additional poignancy from the reaction of his devoted dog to his death.) Elizabeth is a beautiful woman who had clearly been athletic before she got sick; in one of her conversations with Vlahos, she tells her that she regrets she had spent so much of her life working on a treadmill and confides that she avoided being with friends on her birthday because she didn’t want to eat cake. “I wish I’d just eaten the damn cake,” Elizabeth said.

Vlahos, who has struggled with disordered eating because of something her father said in her childhood, takes Elizabeth’s advice to heart. In fact it is because of the wisdom that so many of these patients impart in their final day that she sincerely enjoys her work, despite the reaction she gets from others when they learn what she does. (That revulsion clearly doesn’t carry over to the general public; she has more than a million followers on TikTok and Instagram, where she goes by NurseHadley.)

The work takes Vlahos everywhere from elegant homes in beach communities to a homeless camp, and she interperses the stories of her patients with the timeline of her own life — growing up with a father who appears to have been emotionally abusive, having a child out of wedlock at age 20, finding love with a physical therapist and navigating the terminal illness of her new mother-in-law.

While her writing is best described as workmanlike — there are no soaring passages of prose — the book is memorable for the stories and the remarkable pattern of dying people reporting conversations with loved ones (who sometimes tell them — accurately, as it turns out — when they are going to pass). These experiences take place whether people are religious or staunch atheists. These are usually people on morphine, of course, and the experiences can easily be written off hallucinations or delusions caused by the medicine or the body gradually shutting down. And most of us know of the dying experiences of people who didn’t experience anything quite so dreamy.

While Vlahos (very carefully) does seem to eventually side with those who believe in an afterlife, she clearly is open to anything as an explanation for what she has witnessed. “I don’t think we can explain everything that happens here on Earth, much less after we physically leave our bodies,” she writes. The observations of the living can neither predict or confirm the experience of the dead, but this memoir offers hope that dying may not be as terrifying as many people think — at least not with hospice care. B

Album Reviews 23/07/06

Cyclone Static, Cave Pop: Dance Songs For Primitive People (Mint 400 Records)

Wow, this isn’t the usual stuff I get from this particular public relations dude; it’s full-on throwback ’80s-rock a la Billy Idol or The Alarm or [name of angry-sounding oi-pop band] as opposed to the truckload of metal CDs he floods my mailbox with every month. But wait a minute, a few critics have tagged it as grunge stuff, and yup, it is, on the dumb, bonky, basically Nirvana-ish “On the Block,” but wait a minute, on “Real Sign” it makes like Weezer after way too much beer, all loud and aggressive and slow. And then they go full-on Nirvana again on “It’s Okay Now.” Wait a minute, maybe the problem is that this New Jersey (punk) band doesn’t have any idea what it’s doing (it’s actually proto-’90s-punk with too much raucousness to be counted as grunge), but whatever, a combination of Billy Idol, Weezer and Nirvana is pretty listenable, just admit it. A+ —Eric W. Saeger

Andrew Hung, Deliverance (Lex Records)

OK, I liked this one right from the drop, which is a nice break from, like, every little thing going wrong for like the past two weeks straight. Deliverance is Hung’s third album, but between releases he’s been Doing Things, most importantly collaborating with folktronica princess Beth Orton. I was warned ahead of time that Hung’s voice isn’t very good, not that that’s ever stopped anyone, and besides, his hesitant, repressed baritone sounds like Ric Okasek from The Cars trying to stay barely loud enough to be picked up at all. Also weirdly, opening tune “Ocean Mouth” has the same beat and tempo and affability as the old Cars tune “Touch and Go,” but anyway Hung’s trip doesn’t really parallel anyone else’s past that. His ethos combines punk with just enough tech and a lot of serious listenability, reminding me of guys like Winston Giles. There’s a dubstep feel to a lot of this, too, but the drum sound is splashy and super nice. Well worth investigating. A


• Our next general CD release date is July 7, the Friday after this year’s really badly placed Fourth of July day off, thanks so much for having it on a Tuesday, founding fathers, so that we get to nurse our lager hangovers for three days in a row without any random naps! Actually I could use a nap or some fetid American beer right now, because there’s no escaping it, I have to talk about the forthcoming Taylor Swift album, Speak Now (Taylor’s Version), because she really could use some press, like, have any of you ever even heard of this person? No, I’d seriously rather write an essay on my favorite dentists than write about Taylor Swift, because it will involve some research on my part, given that (a) all I know is that she writes her own bad country songs and leaves the writing of all her diva hits to the two European dudes who write all the other bubble-pop hits, and (b) I couldn’t care less. I assume she’s got a bunch of drama going on, oh for cripes sake why don’t I just Google it. OK, forget it, just some 4chan-level “edgy” nonsense from her new totally-not-boyfriend/ex or whatever Matty Healy, who looks like a Spago’s busboy, I’m all set with all this, let the 11-year-olds argue about all the ins and outs. Ack, ack, listen to that new single, the title track, it is a harbinger of the ’90s grunge-chick radio-pop that’s poised to take over the world any day now. That’s right, folks, before you know it all the hip kids will be buying old Sub-Pop record albums instead of buying food or other important things, just to impress their slacker friends, and all the pop-divas will sound like Lisa Loeb and Jewel, and then everything will be horrible when all the Gen Z’ers discover Ani Di Franco. That’s what we have to look forward to, folks, mark my words. Move to Belgium while you still can before it’s too late.

• What’d I just tell you, folks, the Worthless Nineties are back! Look over there, it’s a new album from British indie-rocker PJ Harvey, titled I Inside the Old Year Dying, her first full-length since 2016’s The Hope Six Demolition Project, which drew criticism for its political messaging because she offered no solutions, just complaints. But isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing, yelling into our social media bubbles without ever being constructive? I don’t know, but whatever, she always makes me think of the Lili Taylor character in the movie Say Anything, strumming her guitar and singing angry-disaffected-angry tunes like “Joe Lies!” about whatever, but hey, maybe this time she’ll change the world with her singing; let’s go have a listen to “I Inside the Old I Dying,” eh wot? So, right, the first part is awful, like she’s singing bad on purpose over some ukulele (have we not yet had enough of stupid ukuleles yet, America, like, can we just move on to French horns or whatever’s next?) but the other half is forebode-y and gothy and dark. So it’s half-good and half-stupid, right in line with the zeitgeist.

• Chamber-pop performer Anohni is releasing a new album with her backing band, The Johnsons, titled My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross! The single, “Sliver Of Ice,” is slow and depressing and weird, I wish I hadn’t listened to it because now all I want to do is eat an entire angel food cake. All set with this.

• And finally it’s Local Natives, a vanilla-indie-rock band from Los Angeles, with their latest, Time Will Wait For No One. If you like Muse you’ll probably be down with their new tune “NYE,” but if you find Muse annoying, as most normal people do, you won’t.

If you’re in a local band, now’s a great time to let me know about your EP, your single, whatever’s on your mind. Let me know how you’re holding yourself together without being able to play shows or jam with your homies. Send a recipe for keema matar. Message me on Twitter (@esaeger) or Facebook (eric.saeger.9).

Warm heart, iced coffee


  • 3 ounces cold-brew coffee concentrate – Trader Joe’s makes a very good one.
  • 6 ounces half & half
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • frozen coffee (see below)
  • dark chocolate, frozen (optional)

Coffee Ice

The secret to truly excellent ice coffee is coffee ice.

We’ve all been there, really, truly enjoying a cup of iced coffee on a bone-deep level. Not guzzling it — we’ve been around the block a few times, and we know that an ice cream headache is a real danger in situations like this, but we’ve also learned the hard way that we don’t make great decisions after ingesting an injudiciously large caffeine bolus.

So we nurse our iced coffee.

The first sip is transcendent.

The second one, 10 minutes later, is still pretty good.

After half an hour, we ask ourselves if it was really that good to begin with. Right now, it’s only so-so.

It eventually sinks in that the enemy here is the ice, gradually, subtly diluting the iced coffee, like an unwanted watery chaperone.

The secret is to make your ice out of coffee. Pieces of coffee ice will melt, but when they do, do you know what they add to your iced coffee? More coffee!

Use leftover coffee to make ice cubes, or make some with cold-brew concentrate.

But it isn’t the 1970s. What if you don’t have an ice cube tray?

Do you have a cake pan? Or a large zip-lock bag? Use one of those to make a block of ice, then chop it up with an ice pick.

But this isn’t a suspense movie; what if you don’t have an ice pick?

Wrap the ice in a tea towel, and swing it over your head, smashing it into the kitchen counter. Do this three or four times and you will have your choice of smashed ice — from coffee snow, to jagged coffee-sicles, to chunks of frozen coffee that will take up half your glass. Use what you want, then put the rest in a Tupperware container in the freezer for your next, inevitable iced coffee.

The actual iced coffee

The question here is how much restraint do you want to show with your iced coffee? The amounts here will make a very respectable 16-ounce serving. Maybe you only need a little pick-me-up. Maybe you have guests. Maybe you have in-laws staying with you. There are any number of reasons why you might want to drink a reasonable, temperate amount of iced coffee.

But maybe you are alone, or Having. A. Day. Maybe the kids or your boss are making extremely unreasonable demands. Maybe you need to drink enough iced coffee to stun a water buffalo. I’m not here to judge you.

The important thing to keep in mind here is the proportions. A one-quart glass jar would work just as well as a juice glass for this.

Pick a glass, then fill it halfway with coffee ice.

Add the half & half and cold-brew concentrate in a 2:1 ratio.

Add enough simple syrup to sweeten to taste.


Using a microplane grater, or the tiniest holes on your box grater, grate frozen dark chocolate on top of your coffee, as garnish.

If you think you don’t like iced coffee, you might want to try this. It is creamy and slightly sweet. It isn’t a takeout milkshake pretending to be iced coffee. It’s the real thing. It’s delicately sweet, without much of the bitterness that mass-produced ice coffee tends to have. It starts out pretty innocent, whistling and looking up at the ceiling, but over the course of an hour it becomes more and more grown-up coffee.

Featured photo: Iced Coffee. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Karla Jones

Karla Jones is the owner of Sweet Goods from the Woods (, and on Facebook and Instagram), a business offering homemade whoopie pies, brownies, cookies and other treats that she started earlier this year. Baking is a newfound passion for Jones, who admits that in the past it was not her strong suit. After the dealership she worked at for 19 years was sold, she wondered what was in store for her next. It was when she started volunteering at a farm stand bakery last year that she discovered her passion for baking and decided to go into the business by creating her own business. Sweet Goods from the Woods is a vendor of the New Boston Farmers Market, held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the New Boston Town Common (on the corner of Route 13 and Meetinghouse Hill Road), through October.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

A timer.

What would you have for your last meal?

The ultimate coconut cake, and that’s at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, South Carolina. I am a coconut fanatic and I would die for that cake. It’s delicious.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

Yoshimama [Japanese Fusion & Sushi Bar] in Nashua. They are wonderful there. … It’s just nice that he creates whatever he wants and it’s just a special feast.

What celebrity would you like to see trying something you baked?

My first thought was Robert De Niro and only because he looks like my dad.

What is your favorite item that you offer?

I don’t know if I have a favorite thing on my menu. I think my favorite thing … is just seeing the little bit of happiness on everybody’s face and just to watch their eyes light up.

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

I see a lot of people doing the decorated sugar cookies. People are amazingly talented; some of them that I’ve seen are like [art] on a cookie. … Just amazing.

What is your favorite thing to make at home?

I’m a fish person so I love making blackened salmon … or tuna, or any kind of fish dish.

Mya Blanchard

Old Fashioned Peanut Cookies
From the kitchen of Karla Jones of Sweet Goods From The Woods in New Boston

½ cup of (1 stick) unsalted butter
½ cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons Madagascar bourbon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2 large farm eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1¼ cup low salted peanuts (ground)

In a large bowl, cream butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Beat in eggs, stir in flour and peanuts. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, until lightly brown. Let cool

Featured photo: Karla Jones, owner of Sweet Goods from the Woods. Courtesy photo.

Supporting local agriculture

NOFA-NH to host Fun on the Farm event

By Mya Blanchard

There is no time like summertime for barbecues, blueberry picking and live music, which is exactly what you will get at Grounding Stone Farm in Contoocook during its Fun at the Farm event. Presented by the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire, the event is happening on Thursday, July 13, and will feature Celtic music performed by the Jordan Tirrell-Wysocki Trio, along with a Southern-style barbecue and an opportunity to pick your own blueberries.

According to NOFA-NH education program coordinator Kyle Jacoby, the nonprofit started in 1971 to promote organic and sustainable agriculture. Today, this is done by supporting and advocating for the standards set by the federal government, some examples of which include improving soil quality through the use of things like compost and practicing crop rotation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“At the end of the day I think that’s all about trying to use things that are plant-derived [and] not using synthetic fertilizers, but [it] can go beyond that, like trying to reduce our consumption of certain energy practices to make things more sustainable,” Jacoby said. “It’s all about input, what you’re inputting into the earth to get your outputs, and it’s a never-ending learning and growth opportunity.”

In addition to the advocacy for these standards, NOFA works to improve policies and educate people to build skills among farmers, food producers, students and homegrowers, also striving for food security.

“Food security is all about how we can ensure that people in our community have access to quality local food,” Jacoby said.

This means ensuring that food producers are able to connect their food to those in the community, and that those in the community are able to gain access to that food. NOFA works to establish an infrastructure that will connect farms to people, and also helps those in the community financially through farm share programs.

“Whereas a lot of farms can defer to getting subsidies from the government, I think the ideal case scenario is that we as a community are investing our time and money into our farms,” Jacoby said.

Through the Fun on the Farm event, attendees will be supporting NOFA as well as Grounding Stone Farm, which has been growing blueberries since 1986, according to their website. Since 2016 the farm has been owned and operated by Kathleen Jacobs and David Miller.

“Growing organic blueberries includes manually pruning to keep the bush open, airy and lush, weeding by hand, mulching and farming the way our ancestors farmed,” Jacobs said in an email. “It means working with nature and not against it.”

Supporting local farms like this one not only strengthens local infrastructure, but also results in better-tasting, more nutrient-rich food. According to Jacoby, it all comes down to the community to make these investments.

“That’s why we like an event like this and why we’re doing an event like this,” he said. “It’s just an opportunity for people … to come together and connect and have our farms be a backdrop for that community connection.”

Fun on the Farm: An evening of blueberries and Celtic music at Grounding Stone Farm
When: Thursday, July 13, 6 to 8 p.m.
Where: Grounding Stone Farm, 289 Maple St., Contoocook
Cost: $10 for NOFA-NH members, $12 for non-members, or $30 per family of up to five people; free for children ages 3 and under

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

Keep on brewing on

New Hampshire Brewers Association’s annual beer festival returns

Featuring one of the state’s largest collection of craft breweries at a single gathering, the Keep NH Brewing Festival is back — the event returns to Kiwanis Waterfront Park in Concord for an eighth year on Saturday, July 8, and will include more than 120 locally produced beers available for sampling, along with food trucks, local vendors, live music and more.

The signature fundraising event for the New Hampshire Brewers Association, the festival returned in person last year for the first time post-pandemic, according to executive director CJ Haines. Participating breweries encompass a variety of geographical locations across New Hampshire. Some even tend to bring certain beers that you may not be able to get outside of their onsite tasting rooms, or they may serve special collaborative options with other brewers.

The afternoon will begin with a special tasting hour available to VIP ticket holders from noon to 1 p.m., followed by the general admission portion from 1 to 4 p.m. All attendees receive free parking and a souvenir tasting glass upon entry through the gate.

Festival newcomers include Omnium Brewing Co., which opened its doors in Somersworth late last year, as well as Sole Track Brewing, hailing from Rumney. Several local food trucks and mobile food vendors will also be there, offering everything from pizzas, gyros and sandwiches to scratch-made vegan items and specialty desserts.

“We’ve expanded more kind of on the education aspect of brewing … because one of the things that we’re focused on is creating more occasions for people to drink beer, not just kind of circumstantial, ‘Hey, there’s a festival,’” Haines said. “We will … have two local hop farms there, and then there’s a local barley and malt vendor. … They’ll have some samples and stuff, so people can actually see the ingredients that go in behind the process.”

She added that attendees will also have access to plenty of drinkable alternatives to beer. Discoe Beverages of Lee, for instance, will be there to pour selections from Circle Back, its signature brand of ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails.

“We want to make it so that people can be safe, and if a designated driver wants to come, there’s still plenty for them to participate in,” Haines said.

Other vendors expected to attend include DraughtPick, a locally created website and mobile app providing users with the most up-to-date details on craft breweries and beers; the Granite Outdoor Alliance, a membership-based advocacy nonprofit promoting the state’s outdoors industry; and the New Hampshire Music Collective, which is also partnering with the Brewers Association to present two live acts — Matty and the Penders, a 1990s alternative rock cover band, at 12:30 p.m.; and acoustic guitarist Mikey G at 2:30 p.m.

As in previous years, festival proceeds benefit the Brewers Association’s ongoing efforts to promote and advocate for the craft beer industry in the Granite State. Haines said the Association works on a number of legislative efforts at the state level each session.

“One of the things we’ve done … is we’ve worked with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to create the Sustainable Craft Beverage program, which highlights all of the breweries that are practicing sustainable initiatives,” Haines said. “It started last year, and so more and more breweries have started to sign up for it.”

8th annual Keep NH Brewing Festival
When: Saturday, July 8, 1 to 4 p.m. (VIP admittance begins at noon)
Where: Kiwanis Waterfront Park, 15 Loudon Road, Concord (behind the Douglas N. Everett Arena)
Cost: General admission is $50 in advance and $55 on the day of the festival; VIP admission is $65; Designated driver admission is $20
Event is rain or shine. No children or pets are allowed. All attendees, including designated drivers, must be 21 years of age or older.

Participating breweries

  • 603 Brewery (Londonderry,
  • Backyard Brewery & Kitchen (Manchester,
  • Blasty Bough Brewing Co. (Epsom,
  • Branch and Blade Brewing (Keene,
  • Burnt Timber Brewing Co. (Wolfeboro,
  • Canterbury Aleworks (Canterbury,
  • Chapel + Main (Dover,
  • Concord Craft Brewing Co. (Concord,
  • Dam Brewhouse (Campton,
  • Daydreaming Brewing Co. (Derry,
  • Deciduous Brewing Co. (Newmarket,
  • Elm City Brewing Co. (Keene,
  • Feathered Friend Brewing Co. (Concord,
  • Garrison City Beerworks (Dover,
  • Great North Aleworks (Manchester,
  • Great Rhythm Brewing Co. (Portsmouth,
  • Henniker Brewing Co. (Henniker,
  • Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Co. (West Ossipee,
  • Kettlehead Brewing Co. (Tilton,
  • The Last Chair Brewing Co. (Plymouth,
  • Lithermans Limited Brewery (Concord,
  • Loaded Question Brewing Co. (Portsmouth,
  • Long Blue Cat Brewing Co. (Londonderry,
  • Martha’s Exchange Restaurant & Brewing Co. (Nashua,
  • Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewing Co. (North Conway,
  • Mountain Base Brewery (Goffstown,
  • Muddy Road Brewery (New Durham, find them on Facebook @muddyroadbrewery)
  • Northwoods Brewing Co. (Northwood,
  • Oddball Brewing Co. (Suncook,
  • Omnium Brewing Co. (Somersworth,
  • One Love Brewery (Lincoln,
  • Out.Haus Ales (Northwood,
  • Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth,
  • Post & Beam Brewing Co. (Peterborough,
  • Rek-Lis Brewing Co. (Bethlehem,
  • Rockingham Brewing Co. (Derry,
  • Sawbelly Brewing (Exeter,
  • Schilling Beer Co. (Littleton,
  • Smuttynose Brewing Co. (Hampton,
  • Sole Track Brewing (Rumney,
  • Stoneface Brewing Co. (Newington,
  • Stripe Nine Brewing Co. (Somersworth,
  • TaleSpinner Brewery (Nashua,
  • Throwback Brewery (North Hampton,
  • To Share Brewing Co. (Manchester,
  • Tuckerman Brewing Co. (Conway,
  • Twin Barns Brewing Co. (Meredith,
  • Vulgar Brewing Co. (Franklin,
  • West LA Beer Co. (Swanzey,
  • Whym Craft Pub & Brewery (Hampton,
  • Wildbloom Beer (Littleton,
  • Woodstock Inn Brewery (North Woodstock,

Featured photo: Previous New Hampshire Brewers Association beer festival. Photo courtesy of Cheshire Media Co.

The Weekly Dish 23/07/06

News from the local food scene

Fody’s market postponed: Due to inclement weather, The Market at Fody’s, hosted by Katchi Events, a subsidiary of Katchi Organics, has been postponed to Saturday, July 8, and will run from noon to 4 p.m. at Fody’s Tavern in Derry (187½ Rockingham Road). Enjoy live music, food and drinks while browsing the stands of more than 30 local vendors showcasing their products. These items will include crafts, baked goods, bath, body and skin care products, local honey, pet products and more. Admission is free. Visit

Cafe la Reine closes: Cafe la Reine in Manchester has closed, according to a statement from owner Alex Horton in the Manchester Ink Link. The small downtown cafe opened in March 2013 and a sister restaurant known as Cafe La Reine North End opened in the city last year. Horton was quoted as citing inflation and rising food costs for the closing. ‘We ask our former patrons and friends to PLEASE consider shopping small, shopping local, and supporting family-owned businesses. They need your support now, more than ever and are part of the fabric of our community,’ Horton said in the article.

A taste of South America: Join the chefs at LaBelle Winery in Amherst (345 Route 101) for a Cooking with Wine class focused on South American recipes, from The Winemaker’s Kitchen Cooking Class Series, on Wednesday, July 12, from 6 to 7 p.m. The chefs will walk you through the process of making three South American recipes: the Greeting Cocktail, a coconut margarita with The Winemaker’s Kitchen Chili Lime Rim; steak empanadas and Colombian aji hot sauce paired with Granite State Red; and Colombian sancocho chicken stew with riesling. Attendees will be sent home with a recipe card to make the meals at home. General admission tickets are $40. All ages are welcome to attend, although only those 21 or older may sample the wine. Visit

Vodka tasting: Head to CodeX, a speakeasy-style bar in Nashua (1 Elm St.) on Sunday, July 16, at 2:30 p.m. for In the Spirit of Spirits: Vodka Tasting. Enjoy light snacks while trying 10 different pours of vodka. Admission is $50 per person and tickets can be purchased online via Eventbrite.

Food trucks and cider: The Whoa Nellie Food Truck will be at North Country Hard Cider Co. (38 Littleworth Road, Dover) on Saturday, July 8, from noon to 6 p.m. Sip some hard cider while enjoying food from the truck, which will offer various sandwich, sub and wrap options, like the Cajun chicken sandwich and the kielbasa sub. Also on the menu are chicken fingers, french fries, burgers and hot dogs. See or for a list of available cider options.

Stones Social closes: Stones Hospitality Group’s latest business venture, Stones Social in Nashua, has permanently closed after roughly three years in business. The decision to close was announced at the end of June, according to a blog post from restaurant owner Scott Plath, stating, “We leave Stones Social … knowing how truly great it could have been, no doubt. We didn’t choose the right location perhaps, nor the pandemic.” Despite the short-lived run of Stones Social, which opened in June 2020, its closing will allow Plath to better focus on his other two restaurants, in Massachusetts — Cobblestones in Lowell, which has been open since 1994, and Moonstones in Chelmsford.

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