LaBelle Winery welcomes comic Juston McKinney

Ever a relatable comedian, Juston McKinney tries to find the local angle wherever he performs. His latest YouTube special, On the Bright Side, was filmed in Concord. It begins with a story about a The Price Is Right contestant from Massachusetts winning a trip to the Capitol City.

The prize came with a round-trip flight — between Los Angeles and Manchester. “She’s gotta go all the way out and come all the way back,” McKinney joked. “She didn’t win a vacation; she won the longest tax-free liquor run in history!”

For a July 13 show at Labelle Winery, some anecdotes will come from closer to home. “My grandfather ran McKinney Dairy in Derry, and that’s where he met my grandmother,” the comic said in a recent phone interview. The punch line: “So she ended up marrying the milkman!”

McKinney primarily performs in New England, which keeps him nearer to his family; he lives in Newmarket. This makes for a lot of repeat business, forcing him to keep his act fresh. “I try to tell people that if you give me a year and I come back, I’ll have an 80 percent different show.”

It can be a double-edged sword for fans with a favorite bit; the memory bank can only be so full before it overflows. Consider a recent comment on Facebook. “It said, ‘I saw you 20 years ago, and I’m still laughing at your Old Navy button fly joke.’ I have no freaking idea what the Old Navy button fly joke is,” McKinney recalled. “I gotta message the guy … because if it’s really good, I’m gonna do it again.”

Another side effect of keeping to the region is making the rest of the country feel slighted. “People are getting mad that I’m not leaving,” he said. “They’re literally like, ‘Oh, you’ve got something against South Dakota?’ So I’m trying to get out a little bit, just to give something to these fans. I just did Ohio, and now I’ll do Detroit. I usually try to do Vegas every couple of years.”

To enjoy family time with his wife and two teenage sons, McKinney maintains a light summer schedule.

“I have a house with a water view … yeah, we put an above ground pool in the backyard,” he joked. “My whole trick has been balancing being a dad with being a comedian. Not looking back when these years have passed and going, ‘Oh, my kids are going to college [and] I’ve been on the road 40 weeks a year.”

Unsurprisingly, McKinney mines his home life for laughs — to a point. “Sometimes my wife will cut it right in the bud and go, ‘You’re not doing a joke about that,’” he said. “I get in this argument about how I’m gonna frame the joke, and finally I’ll say, ‘Alright, I’ll make it about my friend.”

On the other hand, McKinney’s boys can be a bit more agreeable about inspiring his standup.

“I’ll say something funny, and they’ll say, ‘You should do a joke about that.’ As long as it’s not at their expense, and they’re not the butt of the joke. My kid the other day WTF’d me in a text because I was late. I go, ‘You don’t WTF your parents!’ He goes, ‘Dad, I didn’t spell it out, it’s just the abbreviation.’ I’m like, ‘So is FU; don’t you put it in a text to me.’ He’s like, are you going to do a joke about that?’ I go, ‘I don’t know, but you’re gonna get in trouble if you do it again.’”

He tends to avoid flashpoint topics like politics, but in McKinney’s hands, even the war in Ukraine can provide a chuckle. In On the Bright Side, he observes that their draft age tops out at 60. “That’s kind of pushing it; I mean, I go to bed at nine thirty. I got a CPAP machine; I’m gonna need an outlet,” he said. “Is that a problem?”

This idea would never work in the United States, McKinney added. “We can’t get 18- to 60-year-olds to go to work, let alone go to war,” he said. “We should draft people into jobs.”

Juston McKinney
When: Thursday, July 13, 7:30 p.m.
Where: LaBelle Winery, 14 Route 111, Derry
Tickets: $40 at

Featured photo: Juston McKinney. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/07/13

Local music news & events

Feel like redo: After what he thought was his final tour in 2019, Peter Frampton came back from a diagnosis of inclusion-body myositis. Thus, his current run is dubbed the Never Say Never tour, as the guitar hero whose LP Frampton Comes Alive broke records in the mid-’70s returns to perform his biggest hits. Thursday, July 13, 8 p.m., Bank of NH Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, $35 and up at

True veteran: Early in his career, Tom Rush was the first to record songs by Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne. Later, his own “No Regrets” became a standard, with covers from Emmylou Harris and Midge Ure, among others. He’s been touring for more than 50 years and remains one of the funniest and most engaging performers around. Friday, July 14, 8 p.m., 7 p.m., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua, $29 and up at

Good cause: Memorializing a local sports hero, the Two to Lou Festival raises scholarship money to help students pursue athletics or music in college. Past years have featured premier tribute acts, and this time around it continues, with all-star act Beatlejuice covering the Fab Four, and Cars doppelgangers Panorama. Preciphist and River Sang Wild are among a dozen performers rounding out the bill. Saturday, July 15, noon, Sandlots Sports & Entertainment, 56 North Road, Sandown. Tickets $25. More at

Heavy metal kids: An unholy trinity of core (death, metal and hard), Devitalized is a young Massachusetts band inspired by acts like Alpha Wolf and Chelsea Grin. The latter is featured on their latest single, “Godslayer.” The band describes itself as having “a heart of gold and a taste for blood,” with music that “features rebellious themes inspired by … collective backgrounds in bullying, abuse, poverty, addiction, mental illness, and more.” Sunday, July 16, 7 p.m., Nashua Garden, 121 Main St., Nashua, $39 and up at

Long players: Over 25 years, Utah rockers Royal Bliss have released six albums; their latest, the aptly titled Survivor, dropped in the spring. Support for an area show is provided by Royal Thunder and New Monarch. Wednesday, July 19, 8 p.m., Bank of NH Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord, $23.75 and up at

Joy Ride (R)

Four 20-somethings road trip through China in the soft-hearted comedy Joy Ride.

Attorney Audrey (Ashley Park) and artist Lolo (Sherry Cola) have been best friends ever since Audrey’s adoptive parents (Annie Mumolo, David Denman) excitedly approached Lolo’s parents (Debbie Fan, Kenneth Liu) to ask if the girls — the only two Asian girls in their hometown of White Hills — could play together. Thus began a best friendship that lasted through elementary and high school and well after college.

Audrey is up for a big promotion at work, one that hinges on her closing a deal with a Chinese company. She speaks conversational Mandarin, she tells her boss (Timothy Simons) — but really this woman raised by American parents doesn’t speak Chinese. Though Lolo’s genitalia-based art isn’t the image Audrey wants to project professionally, she asks Lolo, a truly fluent Chinese speaker, to join her when she travels to China to act as a translator for Audrey’s meetings. Lolo’s cousin Deadeye (Sabrina Wu), an awkward K-pop megafan, unexpectedly tags along. In China, Kat (Stephanie Hsu), Audrey’s college roommate who has become a big star of Chinese TV, also joins the group.

The foursome spends a night drinking with Chao (Ronny Chieng), the man Audrey is trying to close a deal with. He wants to know more about Audrey and her ties to China. Lolo lies and says Audrey is close with her Chinese birth mom. This leads the gang on a frantic quest to find Audrey’s birth mother, which sends them to a more rural region of China and through a series of unexpected detours due in part to an American drug dealer and a Chinese basketball team stacked with hotties.

For a movie with some impressively explicit sex scenes, Joy Ride is cute and huggable in its whole friendship vibe. Lolo and Kat have a frenemy relationship as dueling best friends of Audrey, who is wound tight and feels that she doesn’t fit in anywhere (not white like “everybody else” in their American home town but not connected to her Chinese heritage like Lolo and Kat). Deadeye is eager to find friendships IRL, having previously only made good buddies via K-pop fan sites. The various discomforts of the group seem like the discomfort of their relative youth, trying to figure out who they each are and what they want. It’s all ultimately very sweet, and while I did at times feel like some of the jokes could use another pass to make their comedy and their observations sharper, I enjoyed spending time with these characters. Park may be the central character but the excellent Hsu and Cola are the standouts.

Joy Ride isn’t perfect but it is a light and fun bit of friendship, road trip comedy. B

Rated R for strong and crude (and unapologetic! and totally giddy!) sexual content, language throughout, drug content and brief graphic nudity, according to the MPA on (where you can see a crude-but-cute alternate title for this movie). Directed by Adele Lim with a screenplay by Cherry Chevapravatdumrong and Teresa Hsiao, Joy Ride is an hour and 37 minutes long and is distributed in theaters by Lionsgate.

Insidious: The Red Door


The Lambert family returns in Insidious: The Red Door, the fifth Insidious movie, which picks up on events of the second movie.

The third and fourth movies were both prequels — a fact remembered thanks to Wikipedia because even though I’ve seen and liked all of these movies I forgot basically everything about them other than Rose Byrne and Patrick Wilson. Quick recap: Father and son Lambert both have the ability to astral project into a demon-y realm called The Further, and sometimes demon-y beings try to follow them back.

It’s been a decade since the second movie and the Lambert family isn’t doing great. We first see Josh Lambert (Wilson) at the funeral for his mother. Renai Lambert (Byrne) and the kids — Dalton (Ty Simpkins), Foster (Andrew Astor) and Kali (Juliana Davies) — are with him but leave in a separate car because Renai and Josh have split up. Josh has a difficult relationship with the moody Dalton, who is headed to college. Renai suggests that Josh drive Dalton to school so they can spend time together.

What we know from the movie’s start that the oldest two Lambert dudes don’t is that Josh and Dalton have been hypnotized to forget the previous Insidious movies. So everything about The Further, their journeys to this place and the demons that plagued them there and followed them into the world has been sort of erased. Sort of. They’ve been left with enough shadows of what happened to feel uneasy and foggy.

Once at school, an art teacher’s assignments have Dalton starting to draw and remember the Further. Dalton makes friends with Chris (Sinclair Daniel), a girl mistakenly assigned to room with him for just long enough that she gets dragged into his whole spooky deal. Meanwhile Josh also has flashes of the Further and its denizens. The more father and son remember, the more the demon-y world starts to bleed into our own.

It takes about two-thirds of the movie for the characters to catch up to where we are at the movie’s start. Wilson is engaging as always and there’s some cute stuff between Dalton and Chris as they investigate Dalton’s growing strangeness, but the movie just takes way too long to ramp up. And then it feels a bit like we race to the finish. I wish the movie could have found some way to better balance that mix of when the characters aren’t and then are up to speed, and bring the whole family, including Byrne, who brings such a good exasperated energy, back together faster. C

Rated PG-13 for violence, terror, frightening images, strong language and suggestive references, according to the MPA on Directed by Patrick Wilson with a screenplay by Scott Teems, Insidious: The Red Door is an hour and 47 minutes long and is distributed in theaters by Screen Gems.

Featured photo: Joy Ride

Better Living Through Birding, by Christian Cooper

Better Living Through Birding, by Christian Cooper (Random House, 282 pages)

“Writing a memoir is akin to taking off one’s clothes in public” is how Christian Cooper begins his acknowledgments, wherein he thanks everyone who made his memoir possible, with one extremely notable exception: the Central Park “Karen” who vaulted him to fame.

Cooper is the bird enthusiast who was out early on Memorial Day 2020 looking at birds when an unleashed dog came running in his direction. He politely asked the dog’s owner to leash her dog, as the law requires in the part of the park called the Ramble. When she said she wouldn’t — that her dog needed exercise — he started filming their exchange, which later went viral because the woman called the police, falsely reporting that Cooper, who is Black, was threatening her.

The incident was bad enough on its own, but was magnified because of something else that happened that day — the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. And within days Cooper had become something of a folk hero, an example of the ordinary dangers of being Black while driving, while jogging, while birding or doing any number of ordinary activities. He became famous while the dog walker, Amy Cooper, became infamous. And he has leveraged that fame into an enchanting memoir that has surprisingly little to do with what happened that day, but instead is an ode to the natural world and an account of growing up Black, gay and intellectual in 1970s America.

The first sign of how well-crafted this memoir is comes in the first chapter, “An Incident in Central Park.” He describes running through the park alone and says, “I know what this looks like.”

“My sneakers are old and muddy, my jeans in need of a good washing, and my shirt, though collared, could at best be described as unkempt. I am a Black man on the run. And I have binoculars.” As it turns out, the “incident” is not what we think, but something entirely different, related to birding. It is a smart, charming entry into Cooper’s story, which has a mystery at its heart: How, exactly, does an otherwise normal person get so rabidly obsessed with birds?

In Cooper’s case, birds were, like science fiction and comic books, a mental sanctuary as he was growing up on Long Island in a lower-middle class family where intellectual pursuits were prized. When he was 9 he attended a summer woodworking class, where he was given a choice of making a footstool or a bird feeder. He picked the bird feeder, and the first bird to come to that feeder, a red-winged blackbird, became his “spark bird,” the creature that began his birding obsession.

After carefully navigating high school while keeping his sexuality secret, Cooper went to Harvard on a scholarship, where he finally was able to come out as gay. (When he told his father, the father asked if he wanted to see a psychiatrist, he said.) But it wasn’t until he spent time in South America, on a post-graduation fellowship funded by Harvard, that he really began to embrace his sexuality and see that being a Black man in other countries was a vastly different experience from being a Black man in America. “In Buenos Aires,” he writes, “I had found myself in a city full of white folks who desire me because of my Blackness, not in spite of it. … I’d spent my whole life being told that as Black person I was not quite as worthy as a white person, and on an unconscious level, I had internalized that proposition.”

Even then, there were the birds, and Cooper writes beautifully about their migrations, their habitats and his searches for them, from the Blackburnian warbler to the alarmingly named Ovenbird. This man is really, really into birds, and he wants us all to be. While the narrative meanders through Cooper’s work and relationships, it is interspersed with birding tips and interludes about the “pleasures of birding” — for example, “the joy of hunting, without the bloodshed.”

Eventually he returns to the other “incident in Central Park” and offers a much fuller understanding of what happened that day.

To his everlasting credit, Cooper has been remarkably chill about the exchange that enraged millions of Americans and effectively canceled the dog walker for life. He wasn’t even responsible for the video going viral; he had shared it with a small group of friends on Facebook, where he normally shared what notable bird he had just sighted, and his sister asked permission to post it on Twitter. He agreed — “after all, how much attention could it get?”

The tweet landed in the feed of comedian Kathy Griffin, who retweeted it, and within hours the media were calling. (Interestingly, he found out about the George Floyd video during an interview with “Inside Edition.”)

Although Cooper was pressured by the district attorney’s office, and many people in the public, he declined to participate in any charges related to the incident. He said what the dog walker did and said was “incredibly racist” but passes no judgment on Amy Cooper herself. But he has also made clear that he had no interest in any sort of kumbaya-esque reunion with her and says she never reached out to him personally to apologize for that day. “It’s not about Amy Cooper,” he writes. “What’s important is what her actions revealed: how deeply and widely racial bias runs in the United States. (Ironically, she was born in Canada, yet she still tapped into that dark vein that carries its poison to every part of this land.)”

Fame that erupts on social media is often fleeting and unearned. Christian Cooper is the rare exception — his is a story worth telling, and in this memoir he does so exceptionally well. A

Album Reviews 23/07/13

Craving, Call Of The Sirens (Massacre Records)

I’m barely doing Facebook at all lately because I’m trying to finish a new book, but one thing I did notice in my recent drop-ins to that hell-site was the descent of local author and Hippo co-founder-or-whatnot Dan Szczesny into the ranks of epic metal fanboys; in other words, he really likes bands like Nightwish and Visions Of Atlantis, which, basically translated, means bands that are basically like Trans Siberian Orchestra except there’s a lot more opera and all that stuff. Usually he’s a Springsteen-head, but it’s a free country, so here’s an album I can recommend to Dan and whoever else might dig “epic metal as defined as ‘melodic black metal and melodic death metal,’” mainly because the drummer of this German trio broke the “unofficial world record in playing blast beats at 250 bpm for over 20 minutes straight,” why aren’t you buying this album right now? OK, maybe you shouldn’t; it’s big into old-school black metal, going by opening tune “Mich Packt Die Wut” and much of the rest of this stuff, but it is indeed epic, fusing Scandinavian hardcore grog-oi to the dulcet caterwauling of Deafheaven. It’s fine. A

Cut Worms, Cut Worms (Jagjaguwar Records)

This is as good a time as any to let all you local bands in on a secret: If you’re paying for studio time to make a record, don’t hire a producer. Do. Not. Unless they’ve cut an actual Top 10 album, the producer is as lost as you are. You want a certain sound, just tell the engineer to get it for you. I bring this up because this follow-up to Brooklyn indie dude Max Clarke’s 2020 album Nobody Lives Here Anymore is better than that one because he took the helm himself: It nails the happy-go-lucky Beatles-meets-Ben Kweller vibe he wants. It’s retro ’70 radio pop at its best (there are moments in opener “Don’t Fade Out” that evoke Todd Rundgren for sure, Let It Be-era Beatles in “Take It and Smile,” etc.). These tunes just want you to feel good, and they go a long way toward that without any forced awkwardness or lonely precarity like so many of his peers are into. Nice stuff here. A


• Ahoy, mateys, looky yonder, hard a-larboard (which means “to the right” in Moby Dick language), it’s a whole fleet of new albums coming this way, sure to delight the senses and such and so, when they all go on sale this Friday, July 14! OK, let’s do this, you trolls, the first thing to get out of the way is the inevitable “too soon” album to appear after the recent death of Canadian folk-pop genius Gordon Lightfoot! This one is a live album, titled Gordon Lightfoot At Royal Albert Hall, featuring all his greatest hits and more, from “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” to “Sundown,” which was a really great song indeed. The only real tangent I can offer as far as Gordon Lightfoot stories is the time I was a rising young business executroid doing phone sales stuff for IBM. I was on a call with some software company and suddenly I was talking to his actual daughter, and no, I’ve totally forgotten her name, but she was nice. Anyway, that’s it, gang, that’s it, Gordon Lightfoot everyone, go buy this new album so his nice daughter can quit her software job.

• I know diddly about ’80s funk/soul-poppers Kool & The Gang except for the fact that I never really cared about them at all, so please enjoy yourselves as you watch the silly journalism man try to fill some space with random brain droppings about the group’s new album, People Just Wanna Have Fun, an album title I think would be much more fitting if the group were a death metal band, but you do you, Kool and the Whatevers! No, OK, I’m kidding, k-i-d-d-i-n-g, folks, I think they had a song on the New Jack City soundtrack, which automatically makes them relevant forever — nope, it wasn’t them, never mind, they’re still irrelevant, except no, they did that song “Celebrate,” and recorded the worst funk song ever in music history, “Emergency.” There, that all should serve as a usable intro to the Kools, and now let me just duck out of here for one second and head to YouTube to listen to the new single, “Let’s Party,” which, if I recall correctly, was named after something really gross the maintenance crew had to clean up after Aztec ritual sacrifices. It sounds like a cross between Daft Punk and the Weeknd; your puppy would probably jump around cutely to it if you played it on your phone and told the little rascal you were going to upload the video to TikTok.

• Kosovo-born electropop-singing lady Rita Ora is back, with a new album, her third, You & I, and she wants you to listen to it, because — wait, “Rita Who?” you ask? Why, just one of the most famous England-based singing ladies in the world at the moment, that’s who! Wait, let me dial it down and Americanize it for y’all, you’ve heard of the song “Black Widow featuring Rita Ora” by Iggy Azalea, right? Well that explains everything right there, because she’s the same Rita Ora! Other than that she gets hundreds of millions of views on her videos from British bots and the occasional stray human of course, but who even cares about all that, let’s just go listen to her new Fatboy Slim-produced single, “Praising You,” won’t that be coooool? Right, it’s neo-disco with a neat little U.K. garage-ish drum sound underneath. I like it fine, but you might not.

• Lastly, it’s Norwegian nu-disco producer Lindstrøm, who has gotten in line to become this year’s Steve Aoki. Everyone Else is a Stranger is his new album, and it features the tune “Syreen,” an Aoki-ized house jam that’d be fun at a beach club if there were any such thing as fun anymore.

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).

Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind with Baking Spice

Summer is the season of watermelon. Most of the time we simply throw out the rinds. Why not find a use for some of this leftover produce?

This recipe is really simple and creates a slightly tart, slightly sweet snack. Pickled watermelon rind makes a fine addition to a charcuterie tray, a nice topping to a salad, or a different side to serve with burgers.

When making this recipe, the most difficult step is removing the layer of green rind. You can try using a vegetable peeler; however, I found it to be a slow process. I recommend using a paring knife to remove the green rind. Just take your time, as you are working with a slippery ingredient.
Once your rind is ready for brining, the rest of the process is simple. The only tricky part is waiting 24 hours to enjoy the final product. It’s well worth it. In that amount of time the rind absorbs a nice amount of flavor. As these are quick pickles, they do need to be stored in your refrigerator and will last about one month. (That is if they aren’t all eaten by then!)

Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind with Baking Spice
Makes 1 pint

2 cups watermelon rind
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon whole cloves

To get 2 cups of watermelon rind, you need 1/4 of a small watermelon.
Cut out the watermelon flesh, and save for another use.
Using a knife, remove all of the green skin from the watermelon rind.
Cut the rind into small, bite-sized pieces, about 1/2-inch cubes.
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar, water, sugar, salt, peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Once it begins boiling, stir occasionally until the sugar and salt are dissolved.
Add watermelon rind, and lower to a simmer.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until watermelon cubes are fork tender, about 8 minutes.
Transfer rind to either 1 pint jar or 2 half-pint jars.
Top with brining liquid.
Allow to cool for an hour before sealing with lids.
Refrigerate for at least 24 hours before serving.

Featured photo: Quick Pickled Watermelon Rind with Baking Spice. Photo by Michele Pesula Kuegler.

In the kitchen with Chris Davis

Chris Davis has been a cook at Red Arrow Diner for the past six months. Originally from Arizona, Chris moved to New Hampshire to be closer to family, with no prior cooking experience. A self-proclaimed “jack of all trades,” Davis has worked as a mechanic, in contractor work and construction and was ready to try something new.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

Spatulas, because if you don’t have a good spatula it affects how you make your egg … affects how you cook.

What would you have for your last meal?

My last meal would probably be steak and lobster.

What is your favorite local eatery?

Definitely would be here.

Name a celebrity you would like to see eating in your restaurant?

I would probably like to meet Mark Wahlberg.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

I would have to say the Trump Burger. [The Trump Tower Burger is two grilled cheese sandwiches replacing the bun with a handcrafted beef burger topped with fried mac and cheese and cheese sauce, served with fries, according to the Red Arrow’s menu.]

What is the biggest food trend in NH right now?

Flatbread would probably be the most trending thing going on up here.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

Chicken enchiladas.

Mya Blanchard

Grilled Cajun Shrimp
From the kitchen of Red Arrow Diner

Fresh shrimp sautéed with diced red onion and diced tomatoes sprinkled with Cajun seasoning. Served over a bed of rice pilaf and sautéed baby spinach.

Featured photo: Chris Davis. Courtesy photo.

Putting down roots

Couple establishes new farm in Hollis

By Mya Blanchard

Life has been busy for Jack and Audrey Hertenstein Perez. They moved from Chicago to New Hampshire about a year ago, have a new 2-month-old baby and opened Singing Pond Farm, in Hollis, in January. They are attending both the Nashua and Derry farmers markets this season, where they sell their farm’s produce, such as romaine lettuce, kohlrabi, beets and radishes, as well as cut flowers and handmade pottery.

Originally from Pennsylvania, Jack Hertenstein Perez grew up around dairy farms and was influenced by his mother, who was an avid gardener.

“Growing up as a child, I loved gardening with my mom and felt how special it was having fresh, local food,” he said. “As I got older, I saw how valuable that was.”

Audrey had a similar upbringing, on a farm in central Illinois. The two met in Boston while in college, both pursuing degrees in health-related fields, Jack earning a master’s degree in public health; Audrey went on to become a family medicine doctor.

“[I] saw the connection between how important food is to your health [and] food access, and having access to nutritious food is kind of the baseline for your well-being,” Jack said. “That was also a connection [to] seeing food and food production as a way to promote the health of our communities.”

As a doctor, this was something Audrey saw firsthand.

“A lot of illnesses just come back to having access to healthy, fresh food, which was hard to come by for the population I was working with,” she said.

The two wanted to start something of their own somewhere out of the Midwest. They bought a house on a field in New Hampshire to put down new roots.

They plowed the land to turn the soil and bury dead grass, and implemented organic practices. According to Jack, this means working with handmade pesticides and fertilizers, like blended seaweed and fish, and covering crops with nets to keep away insects. It was also important to the pair to help those dealing with food insecurity, so they made the decision to donate a portion of each harvest to local organizations addressing this issue.

“Another motivation for moving to this career is the environmental impact,” Audrey said. “Especially having kids we’ve become more concerned about that … [having] a new life who’s going to be living through the more severe changes of climate change really motivated us to want to be part of the solution.”

She added that the fuel emission needed to transport food is one of the biggest contributors to the issue. Getting your food from local sources is a great way to help cut back on emissions while also supporting local farmers.

“Coming out to farmers markets is a great way. There’s a lot of local farmers you can connect with there,” Audrey said. “We live in a great area here in New Hampshire. I know there are a lot of bigger farm stands and local grocery stores that will actually source produce from local farmers … so we live in a really supportive area, which is something that hopefully the rest of the country can model from.”

Singing Pond Farm
Find them: and at the Nashua Farmers Market (Nashua Public Library parking lot, 2 Court St. in Nashua, Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Derry Homegrown Farmers and Artisan Market (1 West Broadway in Derry, Wednesdays from 3 to 7 p.m.).

Featured photo: Photos courtesy of Singing Pond Farm.

Relax and Unwined

New wine bar to open in Milford

By Mya Blanchard

For English sommelier Emma Round, wine is more than just a drink. It stirs up memories, adding depth to life’s moments. In 2021 she had the idea to open Unwined, a wine bar and restaurant, to bring this experience to others. In addition to wine it will also offer cocktails and a diverse range of food served small-plate and sharing style. It is projected to open its doors in late August or early September.

“I was like, ‘You know, it’s after Covid, I’m going to open a restaurant and wine bar in southern New Hampshire,” Round said. “‘I don’t even live in America, but I’m going to do it and it’s going to be great … why not?’ Yeah, I think I temporarily lost my mind.”

With a love for wine and a background in business management in the United Kingdom, Round started looking for locations. She noticed that while the wine industry was growing in America, people were moving out of cities after the pandemic.

“You shouldn’t need to travel to Portsmouth or Portland or Boston to go to a really great place,” Round said. “There are so many places in southern New Hampshire right now that are opening up and creating experiences that you would have expected in these large cities. … I’m hoping we can add a new layer to that.”

In England, Round grew up in a culture and family in which wine was a staple. Wine bars were plentiful, and the beverage was key at family dinners. On the contrary, Round felt that Americans often associated wine with older, wealthier populations. It was important to Round to eliminate this misconception, as well as to educate people in a welcoming environment.

“For us it’s really about taking away that pretentiousness [and] making an inclusive environment that is accessible to everyone,” she said. “We’re hoping to be able to educate people in a fun and approachable way.”

Prior to the establishment of Unwined, Round had never been to New Hampshire but had worked in hotels in Boston. She discovered that she loved New England, finding small-town America to be particularly charming. When looking for a location, she knew she wanted to find somewhere that was easily accessible and central to other locations. She researched areas near the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts, eventually deciding on Milford.

“I felt there was a really nice space for us there with the wine just to kind of [add to] the Milford food and beverage scene as a whole,” she said.

According to Round, the process of opening Unwined has been intense but incredible. While she had experience in the U.K., she had to learn how to manage a business in the U.S. She feels her European background will allow her to include unique and unusual wines not stocked at other wine bars.

“We’ve managed to source lots of fantastic products locally, and the entire community has been great,” Round said. “Milford town is chomping at the bit for us to open, and everyone has been so generous and open with me. … People have been incredible and so helpful, which I really appreciate.”

Where: 1 Nashua St. in Milford
Opening: late August or early September
More info:

Featured photo: Unwined. Courtey photos.

The Weekly Dish 23/07/13

News from the local food scene

Art of wine blending: Create your idea of the perfect wine at LaBelle Winery in Derry (14 Route 111) on Saturday, July 15, from 6 to 7 p.m. Once you arrive, you will be given all the necessary materials to create your own unique blend in a personalized bottle. Winemakers Amy LaBelle and Melaney Shepard will guide you, teaching you the fundamentals of wine blending and how to balance flavor and aroma varieties. Ages 21 and up are welcome. Seats are limited, so purchase your ticket now for $70 at

Rosé Tasting – Sip and Savor: Visit Vine Thirty Two, a self-pour wine bar in Bedford (25 S. River Road) on Wednesday, July 19, at 6 p.m. to learn about rosé while sipping four different blends from all around the world that will be paired with cheese. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online via Eventbrite.

Wine Down workshop: Sit and sip while creating your own custom bracelet with Caitlin and Emily of Seaside & Sunflower during a beading workshop at Vine Thirty Two, a self-serve wine and graze bar in Bedford (25 S. River Road) on Tuesday, July 18, at 6:30 p.m. All materials will be provided. Tickets include one custom bracelet and a $10 credit for wine tasting. Additional bracelets can be purchased during the event and the food menu will be available for additional purchase. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased via Eventbrite.

Murder mystery dinner party: Find out who dunnit at LaBelle Winery’s Murder Mystery Dinner Party (Amherst 345 Route 101, Amherst) on Saturday, July 22, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Enjoy a three-course dinner while professional actors take you back in time to the turn of the century in Britain, where a shocking crime takes place. It is up to you to be the detective and analyze, interrogate and solve the mystery. A wine pour is included when you arrive and a full bar will be available throughout the event. Tickets are $95.20 including tax and gratuity. Visit to purchase tickets.

Great American Ribfest: Save the date for the Great American Ribfest & Food Truck Festival at The Biergarten (221 Daniel Webster Hwy.) in Merrimack. The event will run on Friday, July 21, from 4 to 9 p.m.; Saturday July 22, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free entry after 6:30 p.m.) and Sunday, July 23, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. (free entry after 5:50 p.m.). Food trucks and vendors will be serving barbecue in addition to a variety of other options, including ice cream, bacon and gourmet food. Live music will also be featured.

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