Natural good time

Festival mixes music, yoga and art

An impromptu party a couple of summers ago is the impetus for a two-day event blending live music, movement, camping, inclusion and environmental responsibility. The Barefoot Music & Arts Festival happens at a yoga center in the woods of Hillsboro that’s popular for healing retreats and farm-to-table community dinners. It’s not the first place that comes to mind for a mini-Woodstock, and that’s part of the inspiration.

The Evocatives, an eclectic, electric reggae sextet, played an evening show at Bethel Farm Yoga and Living Art Center that was closed out with a DJ set by the son of farm owner Steve Bethel. The vibe was infectious, as revelers danced late into the night.

“It put a little bug in our brains,” Evocatives singer Jennifer Bakalar said by phone recently. “Maybe we want to turn this into something that we could do again … share it with more people.”

Fifteen performers are booked to perform over two nights, but this is no simple rock show, Bakalar said.

“We really wanted to have a clear intention, so we decided on two founding principles,” she said. “Whatever we did needed to live up to the names ‘Leave No Trace’ and ‘Radical Inclusion.’”

The first principle is easy to understand and is detailed in a National Park Service article linked on the festival website. The second is less concrete. “It’s just about being the kind of human that you’d want to run into at a festival,” Bakalar said, “and a willingness to tolerate ambiguity or open-endedness. Maybe not necessarily understand but be OK with it.”

It begins with a varied musical lineup that includes singer-songwriters Tyler Allgood, Caylin Costello, Jon Stephens and Ian Galipeau doing sets, Cajun and zydeco dance music from Bayou X, led by New Orleans native Peter Simoneaux, along with the jammy Modern Fools. Electronica duo Deep Seize blends hand pans with hip-hop and funky grooves; psychedelic folk band Party of the Sun and indie rockers Hug the Dog are some of the other acts.

In addition to leading his eponymous jazz trio, Ben Jennings will help in a community kitchen. “We expect people to bring a lot of their own food because they’re camping,” Bakalar said, “but we also want to offer something for the crew and the volunteers, and for people that might not have packed enough. He has a great chili recipe, so he’s going to do a huge batch.”

Such collective spirit is the underlying ethos of the festival. All musicians are donating their time, but any profits beyond production costs will be split.

“Anyone who had a stake, who was really invested and involved” will share, Bakalar said, adding, “it’s been amazing how things have kind of fallen into place; any time there’s been a real significant need, someone has stepped up and found a way for us to fill it.”

When onstage performances are over, the festival crowd will provide the music.

“We have a drum circle planned around a fire,” Bakalar said. “Bring your drums, sit around the fire, and drum until it’s time for bed.”

There’s plenty beyond music; everyone is encouraged to participate.

“It’s going to be whatever people make it to be,” Bakalar said. “If you don’t try a class or… explore the art, you’re only going to have a limited experience of the festival.”

Bakalar is an art teacher and enjoys giving her brethren a platform.

“I don’t think they get that opportunity often enough in a way that really does them justice,” she said. “We have two visual artists that are coming to do an installation and make their work on site, [and] we have a vendor village full of artists making things and selling things that they’ve made, artwork, face painting, temporary tattoo, artwork, that kind of stuff.”

The living arts aspect is particularly unique. “Yoga, breathwork classes, movement workshops, self-massage, things that I’ve never even tried I’m really excited about,” Bakalar said, adding that all yoga classes are complimentary. “Really, if you were a yoga fan, coming for all the free workshops that we’re offering would be well worth the value of the ticket.”

When attendees leave their tidy campsites, carrying anything non-recyclable in a compostable trash bag provided by the festival organizers, Bakalar wants no one to feel exhausted.

“It’s a festival where you’re not walking away from it feeling like you need a few days to recover before you can go back to work; it’ll feel inspiring and rejuvenating and creative,” she said. “It’s not just a crazy music festival. It’s about community and really building something that’s sustainable that we could do again and keep doing in years to come.”

Barefoot Music & Arts Festival
When: Friday, Aug. 4, at 5 p.m. through Saturday Aug 5, at 10 p.m.
Where: Bethel Farm & Yoga Studio, 34 Bethel Road, Hillsboro
Tickets: Two-day passes $90.57, Friday only $43.61, Saturday only $54.92 at

Friday lineup:
Tyler Allgood
Caylin Costello
Lord Magnolia
Bayou X
Saturday lineup:
Jon Stephens
Ian Galipeau
Party of the Sun
Deep Seize
Modern Fools
The Ben Jennings Trio
Hug the Dog
DJ Flex

Featured photo: Evocatives. Courtesy photo.

The Music Roundup 23/08/03

Local music news & events

Hip-hop hops: A Nashua microbrewery marks its collaboration with Fee the Evolutionist on a double IPA with a release party that includes a live performance by the rapper and Harry Bosch, conveniently happening on International Beer Day. Artwork on the new cans has a QR code that links to a free download of Fee’s commemorative “The Recipe,” which he said was “created using all beer brewing materials.” Thursday, Aug. 3, 8 p.m., Rambling House Food & Gathering, 57 Factory St., Nashua,

Off stream: On her new album Last Days of Summer, singer-songwriter Lucy Kaplansky “weaves fragile lives together, making even tenuous connections as palpable as flesh and blood,” according to USA Today. Friday, Aug. 4, 7 p.m., Word Barn Meadow, 66 Newfields Road, Exeter. Tickets $14 to $30 at

Guitar man: It’s easier to follow a hockey puck on television than to discern what Jesse Cook does on a fretboard with his fingers. The Toronto-based guitarist defies the laws of physics every time he plays Flamenco music on his nylon six-string. Since releasing his debut record, Tempest, in 1995, Cook has captivated audiences across the world. His 11th, studio release, Libre was named Album of the Year by JazzTrax in 2021. Saturday, Aug 5, 8 pm., Nashua Center for the Arts, 201 Main St., Nashua, $39 and up at

Listening room: As her musical confidence grew, Rebecca Turmel joined many New England musicians by spending time in Nashville to get to the next career level. Her newest single, “Wish You Well,” came out last April. Turmel plays a duo set with guitarist Jim Yeager. Sunday, Aug 6, 6 p.m., Bank of New Hampshire Stage, 16 S. Main St., Concord, $15 at

Midweek music: Specially priced four-ticket blocks of lawn seats are available for alt rockers Incubus, who perform with Badflower and famous daughter Paris Jackson. Now in its 30th year, the SoCal headliner draws from nu-metal, hip-hop and jazz tributaries for its unique sound. While Ben Kenney recovers from brain surgery, Nicole Row (Panic! at the Disco, Miley Cyrus) joins the band on bass. Wednesday, Aug. 9, 8 p.m., Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion, 72 Meadowbrook Lane, Gilford, $35 and up at

Haunted Mansion (PG-13)

LaKeith Stanfield, Rosario Dawson, Owen Wilson and Tiffany Haddish all board Haunted Mansion, a particularly strong ride-to-movie translation.

This is basically the ride — all wacky paintings and expanding rooms and floating candelabras — with the story serving as the car on a track that takes us from the murderous ghost bride to the head (Jamie Lee Curtis) in the crystal ball.

Doctor Gabbie (Dawson) and her son Travis (Chase W. Dillon) move to an old house outside of New Orleans to make a fresh start after some unspecified difficulty in New York. Sure, the house is a fixer-way-upper, but, Gabbie tries to reassure Travis as spooky things happen behind her, a vanilla-scented Yankee Candle and a little work and this mansion will feel like home. And then a spooky thing appears behind Travis and Gabbie says oh heck no, grabs him and runs out of the house.

When Father Kent (Wilson), an alleged priest with a real “surfside cabana bartender” vibe (i.e. an Owen Wilson vibe) seeks out New Orleans tour guide Ben (Stanfield), we pretty quickly figure out that just running out of the house did not solve Travis and Gabbie’s issues with ghosts. Before he was the depressed leader of a historic walking tour, Ben was an astrophysicist working on a camera that could capture “ghost particles,” which for the purposes of this movie pretty much just means “ghosts.” Kent offers Ben a nice payday to go to Gabbie’s house and photograph the spooky stuff floating through her would-be bed and breakfast. Ben thinks this whole endeavor is goofy — so goofy that he goes ahead with it, making “click” noises at the appropriate time, even though his camera is out of batteries — but he shows up and takes the money. And then he leaves and puts it all behind him.

So he thinks.

As Gabbie and Father Kent know and Ben quickly learns, the house’s ghosts are, as Gabbie describes, like bedbugs — once you step in the house they cling to you and you can’t get rid of them. Ben, having actually captured a photo of a ghost in his own living room, decides to take photographing them seriously. Eventually psychic medium Harriet (Haddish) and historian Bruce (Danny DeVito) also end up at the house, making for a Scooby Gang that decides to investigate the house’s history in an attempt to rid it of its most malevolent of spirits.

Along the way, there’s some stuff about grief, there are some indications that some ghosts are more well-intentioned than others and there are a fair amount of “ghosts do the darnedest things” visual gags that are more ghosty visual cleverness and/or jump scares than actual horrors. Which is probably why my 11-year-old was adequately entertained and not scared by the movie (though she wasn’t a fan of the more “feelings”-centered moments).

“Adequately entertaining” is probably the most accurate way to describe this movie overall. It is staffed with talented people (including writer Katie Dippold, who also did 2013’s buddy comedy The Heat and 2016’s “Ghostbusters but ladies” — which I enjoyed and which this feels a lot like, tonally). Stanfield brings way more to this movie than it probably deserves but he does help make this movie overall not a chore to watch. Haddish and DeVito sort of sprinkle on their individual brands of funny — the movie isn’t a laugh riot but no one element becomes so “Johnny Depp in later Pirates of the Caribbean movies” that it’s tiresome. It’s light, enough fun to complement the air conditioning that would be the main reason to see this in a theater and many-ages enough that you could entertain a tweens-and-up audience. B-

Rated PG-13 for some thematic elements and scary action, according to the MPA on Directed by Justin Simien with a screenplay by Katie Dippold, Haunted Mansion is two hours and two minutes long and distributed in theaters by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

Featured photo: Haunted Mansion.

The Heat Will Kill You First, by Jeff Goodell

The Heat Will Kill You First, by Jeff Goodell (Little, Brown and Co., 385 pages )

The effects of a warming planet seem less obvious in New England than in, say, Phoenix, Arizona, where it is 115 degrees Fahrenheit as I write. Except, of course, for the recently flooded towns in Vermont. And the hazy smoke that keeps drifting down here from Canada.

We can argue until the cows come home about whether we sit on the precipice of weather-driven, man-made calamity, but Jeff Goodell’s mind is made up. Heat, he says, is “an extinction force that takes the universe back to its messy beginnings. Before there was light, there was heat. It is the origin of all things and the end of all things.” And he is 100 percent certain about what is driving recent extreme weather: “250 years of hell-bent fuel consumption, which has filled the atmosphere with heat-trapping carbon dioxide.”

Goodell is a journalist who has been writing about climate for more than a decade. The cover of his 2017 book The Water Will Come looks like a still from a dystopian movie, with a trio of skyscrapers nearly submerged in seawater. Now Goodell is back with the equally alarming title The Heat Will Kill You First. His timing is impeccable.

Smart people on either side of the debate can disagree about whether recent record-setting heat waves are blips in time or a uniquely dangerous threat to humankind. But there’s no disputing that Goodell is an engaging writer at the top of his game. He’s like the love child of Ed Yong and James Patterson, with a little bit of Rachel Carson thrown in, which is to say he writes science-based, dystopian thrillers.

He acknowledges that small changes in global temperatures in recent centuries (overall, we’re up 2.2 degrees) don’t seem particularly scary. “Who can tell the difference between a 77-degree day and an 81-degree day?” he asks. … “Even the phrase ‘global warming’ sounds gentle and soothing, as if the most notable impact of burning fossil fuels will be better beach weather.”

But heat is deadlier than most of us think, he says. The human body is generally a well-regulated heat-generating machine, but it doesn’t take a whole lot of excess heat to kill us. Internally, there’s less than 10 degrees difference between our normal, everything’s-fine temperature of 98 degrees and the catastrophic cell death and organ failure that can occur at 107 degrees. And tragically, we get new examples of this almost every year when another fit athlete dies from heat stroke that occurs during a run or a football practice.

To drive this point home, Goodell recounts the story of the California couple who died with their baby and dog on an otherwise unremarkable day hike close to their home. The deaths, which made national news because they were originally so puzzling, were eventually determined to be from hyperthermia and dehydration. It had been in the 70s when they started the hike going downhill, but temperatures exceeded 100 on their way back up, and all appeared to have died of heat stroke.

“Just being alive generates heat. But if your body gets too hot too fast — it doesn’t matter if that heat comes from the outside on a hot day or the inside from a raging fever — you are in big trouble,” he writes. As our internal temperature rises past 103 degrees, blood pressure falls and people pass out. Interestingly, “This is in fact an involuntary survival mechanism, a way for your brain to get your body horizontal and get some blood to your head. At this point, if you get help and can cool down quickly, you can recover with little permanent damage.” But if you fall in a hot place and there is no one to help, you may never wake up.

Of course, people freeze to death when they fall unintended in cold places; falling and extreme temperatures are bad generally. But heat, Goodell says, is an “extinction force” and “the engine of planetary chaos, the invisible force that melts the ice sheets that will flood coastal cities around the world. It dries out the soil and sucks the moisture out of trees until they are ready to ignite. It revs up the bugs that eat the crops and thaws the permafrost that contains bacteria from the last ice age.” The next pandemic, he predicts, may come from some recently thawed ancient bacteria.

It’s not just humans at risk in extremely hot temperatures; others struggle in ways we normally wouldn’t think about. In the heat wave that hit Portland in 2021, for example, people were finding an unusually high number of injured baby birds on the ground. They weren’t dehydrated. They were leaving their hot, crowded nests before they were old enough to fly. And yes, dogs pant in heat since they can’t sweat like humans or plants, but some dogs fare better in heat than others, and not just because of differences in their fur. “Dogs with flat faces and wide skulls, such as English bulldogs, are twice as likely to succumb to heat as beagles, border collies and other breeds with more pronounced snouts.”

There is hardly a page without an odd, memorable fact like that, and a beautifully crafted paragraph that, as an added bonus, kindles a vapor of fear. Goodell, a longtime writer for Rolling Stone, is a pro at the dialogue-rich narrative style that keeps readers turning pages. Also, he’s really, really worried about us. From the sea creatures dying in warming oceans to deliverymen and farm workers passing out from heat stroke, he sounds the alarm on every page: you don’t know what is coming, you don’t know what is here.

In air-conditioned offices and homes, it can seem a bit overwrought, but, as he points out, there is a big divide between “the cool and the damned.” The affluent have central air conditioning while the poor swelter in homes without AC, or with old, inefficient units they can hardly afford to turn on. The disparity is worse in poorer countries. “Two hundred and twenty million people live in Pakistan, but there are fewer than a million air conditioners in the country,” Goodell writes. Economic inequality will be manifest in a “thermal gap,” he said, in which some people will fare better than others.

Goodell seems doubtful that things will improve; he notes that, were carbon emissions to cease today, carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, but also acknowledges that human beings are adaptable and are already coming up with new ways to live; some cities, for example, are painting streets white to deflect heat. In other words, most of us can probably survive this — if the heat doesn’t kill us first. A

Album Reviews 23/08/03

Babychaos, “Guilty Hands (I Bleed)” (self-released)

Initial single heralding a fast-forthcoming EP from this eye-rollingly edgy goth chick, who, like Poppy (and you’ve already forgotten how awesome Poppy is, or at least was, I’ll bet), is Boston-based (this girl won the Metal Artist of the Year award at the 2022 Boston Music Awards), has a lot of gross slasher-movie stuff in her videos (Poppy wanted to be a one-woman Meshuggah before she foolishly abandoned that ship in a rush), has a lot of tattoos (I think Poppy’s are fake) and is a big social media influencer. Does that automatically make her interesting or important? No, it does not, but it might inspire some to become entranced by her siren song (she’s from Salem, Mass., by the way!), because — at least going by this single — her trip is part Marilyn Manson and part Evanescence — my stars, look at how edgy she is on this video! OK, may I go now? B

The Mystical Hot Chocolate Endeavors, A Clock Without A Craftsman (Massacre Records)

So I’d just finished up the Babychaos review (somewhere else on this page), and funnily enough Poppy has an album coming out as well, but the only advance I had in hand was a single, but even funnier-ly enough, this prog-rock band is from Boston as well, so let’s give this a whirl. This count-’em 98-minute double album from the four-piece group professed to enjoy dabbling in “everything from ’70s progressive rock, ’90s alternative rock/shoegaze, ’80s New Wave” to blah blah blah, this was a pleasant surprise. It’s tough to nail them down, not because they’re unfocused but because they really are good. A lot of this stuff really soars, toward a middle-of-the-road, aughts-indie-radio fashion: try to picture Nile with a Minus The Bear fetish, or just Minus The Bear, period, but 10 times more technically busy, and that’d be this. Seriously, if you’d be down with a more tech-metal Foo Fighters, this’d fit the bill for you. It’s already on my short list for Underrated Record Of The Year. A+


• Oh, no, it’s August already, I am not ready for the summer to end, are you? Of course not, especially because you can be sure that Mother Nature will make up for the limp winter she sent us last year, remember? Yup, I only used the snowblower once, and since all the “snow” was actually just lemon slushie goop that was already half-melted, my indestructible 30-year-old snowblower was all like, “right, you know all I’m going to do is clog and stall, let’s just bag it and take a nap, there, buckaroo, it’ll be melted by morning, relax.” And it was, and what that means is that this winter will be a vengeance-wreaking hellscape of horizontally blowing ice-doom and Abominable Bumble monsters chasing Yukon Cornelius around and eating cars — oh, just tell me when it’s over and I can go have fish on the beach again, won’t you? Where was I, oh, yes, the new albums that are hitting the streets on Aug. 4, that was it. Art School Girlfriend is the pseudonym of Polly Mackey, a producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Wrexham, North Wales, and her new LP, Soft Landing, is headed this way right now. I just checked out the latest single, “Real Life,” from this music album, and it’s pretty cool if you like a little Portishead vibe with your Goldfrapp-style bedroom techno. It’s pretty somber and depressing overall, but her samples and grooves are quite nice indeed.

Girl Ray is an all-female indie-rock trio from London, U.K., and look over there, their new album, Prestige, is on the way for delivery to stores this Friday, if there are indeed any record stores still in existence other than the Newbury Comics in Manchvegas, unless even that place stopped selling records and got into the vitamin supplements market. Anyway, this album is quite fascinating, or at least the tire-kicker single “Love Is Enough” certainly is; it leans heavily to a funky, almost progressive vibe a la Red Hot Chili Peppers, but with Lana Del Ray-ish vocals. Hard to picture, I know, right, but trust me on this, it’s impressive.

• Hey, Zoomers, did you know that once upon a time there was a TV show called General Hospital, and it starred this guy Rick Springfield as one of the doctor/model dudes or whatever they are? No, I can see you don’t, and I don’t blame you at all, just suffice to say he was basically the prototype for the Kardashians, except he didn’t know how to apply press-on fingernails, which is, admittedly, an essential survival skill. But whatnot, anyway, Springfield’s new “platter” is Automatic, I’ll bet it sucks beyond belief, let’s go listen to the title track, shaaaall we? Ack, it has a sample composed of unplugged guitar, and it moves really fast; the song sort of rips off Robert Palmer’s “Simply Irresistible.” You’d have to hear it for yourself, let’s move on.

• And finally we have Mammoth WVH, with their new album, Mammoth II. Guess what “WVH” stands for, I’ll bet you’ll never get it, it’s Wolfgang Van Halen, gawd, I miss his dad Eddie so bad, don’t you? Wolfgang plays almost all the instruments on this album, and the first single, “Take A Bow,” sounds like Creed trying to be the Foo Fighters, but take heart, maybe there are other songs on this album that will save the day and preserve Eddie’s legacy, I am not sure at this writing.

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).

Mango daiquiri

Days like this call for something cold, boozy and tropical, something with a lot of crushed ice.

Mango Rum

  • Unsweetened dry mango
  • White or silver rum

With a heavy knife, chop the dried mango into a small dice — very small pieces. Add the chopped mango to a large, wide-mouthed jar, one with a lid. It’s best to look around and find a lid to fit the jar you are using before you get up to your elbows in mangoes.

Add white rum to the same jar — three times (by weight) as much as the mango you just chopped. Could you use vodka, or even blanco tequila, instead of rum? You could, but you would be heading off on a different adventure than the one we are on today.

Seal the jar with a tight-fitting lid, shake it well, then store it someplace cool and dark — maybe in that cabinet above the refrigerator that you always forget about — and shake it once or twice per day, for a week.

Strain with a fine-mesh strainer. Bottle and label it. You will be surprised at how much rum has been absorbed by the dried fruit, but also how much color and flavor the rum has taken on. This rum should keep indefinitely.

Guava Syrup

  • Fresh guava (Available in international markets, and at Walmart, guava is one of those fruits that you are probably pretty sure you’ve never had before, but you probably have. It’s one of the perfumy background flavors in “tropical” juice mixes.)
  • White sugar
  • Juice of half a lemon

Chop fresh guavas into medium-sized pieces, then freeze them for several hours. This is to let the ice crystals poke holes in all the fruit’s cell walls and make it oozier when it’s time to cook with it.

Cook the frozen guava over medium heat in a small saucepan, with an equal amount — by weight — of white sugar. Stir occasionally. As it thaws, the frozen guava will give off a surprising amount of liquid. If you wanted to help it along its way, you could encourage it with a potato masher.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Swirl it around the saucepan to make sure that all the sugar has been dissolved into the syrup.

Remove the mixture from heat, stir in the lemon juice, then strain the syrup with the same fine-mesh strainer that you used for the mango rum (see above). This syrup will keep for several weeks in your refrigerator.

Mango Daiquiri

  • 3 ounces mango rum
  • ½ ounce guava syrup
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice, which isn’t discussed above but you can probably figure out
  • Lots of crushed ice

Wrap several handfuls of ice cubes in a kitchen towel, and beat viciously with a rolling pin or some sort of martial arts weapon that you find lying around, until well-crushed. I like to leave a mixture of different sizes of ice. Fill a large rocks glass with the crushed ice.

Add the mango rum, guava syrup and lime juice to a cocktail shaker, and shake it over ice, until it is very cold. Feel free to shake it longer than you normally would; this is a strong, sweet drink that will benefit from the cold and the melted ice.

Strain the shaken daiquiri over the crushed ice. Call up footage of a beach view of Bora Bora on your laptop. Watch it through half-closed eyes as you drink this daiquiri. If small children try to disturb you while you do this, tell them that you are listening for secret messages that you have to be very, very quiet to hear.

It’s no secret that rum plays well with sweet fruit, which in turn plays well with acidic citrus like lime juice. The first sip of this daiquiri will be sweet, then a little sour, which will make your mouth water, which prepares you perfectly for another sip.

Featured photo: Mango daiquiri. Photo by John Fladd.

In the kitchen with Lindsey Bangs

Lindsey Bangs has always had a passion for baking. Her mom taught her how to bake, buying her her first cookbook when she was just 2 or 3 years oldA few months ago, she decided to step away from her job as a medical receptionist to focus on I Whisked It full time. She specializes in custom cakes, cupcakes and cake jars as well as hot chocolate bombs with homemade marshmallows and French chocolate during the winter. You can find I Whisked It at the Bedford farmers market every Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m. through Oct. 17, and the Candia farmers market the third Saturday of every month through Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to noon.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

I would have to say my small offset spatula. I reach for it for everything from smoothing brownie batter in pans to decorating cakes.

What would you have for your last meal?

I would start with a croissant with apricot or raspberry jam, Rhode Island-style calamari, halibut tacos and cheesecake with a traditional graham cracker crust and raspberry coulis.

What is your favorite local eatery?

I love Tuckaway Tavern in Raymond. .

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

I would love to have any of my favorite musicians, like Dave Matthews or Chris Carrabba, buy a cake from me just so I could thank them for the music and lyrics that so often keep me going. Or one of the cast members from Friends or The Office. They’re all responsible for delivering so many laughs in my house.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

I love my Pina Colada cake jar. It’s layers of light coconut cake, coconut cream buttercream and a pineapple coconut filling. It’s so good.

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

I’ve noticed a lot of food, drink and even ice cream flight options, so it’s not just beer anymore. It’s great because I love being able to try a little bit of everything.

Banana bread
From the kitchen of I Whisked It

¾ cup sugar
1½ cups mashed bananas (three large)
¾cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease a loaf pan with shortening, butter or non-stick spray.
Mix sugar, bananas, oil and eggs in a large bowl. Add in remaining ingredients and stir until just combined.
Pour into the greased loaf pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean (60 to 70 minutes). Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack with the pan on its side for 10 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan. Let cool completely before slicing. Makes 1 loaf.

Featured photo: Lindsey Bangs. Courtesy photo.

Friends and family on the farm

Vernon Family Farm hosts agritourism events

For the past nine years, Vernon Family Farm, a livestock farm in Newfields, has been supplying the community with fresh meat, farm-to-table meals and agritourism events like live music and outdoor classes hosted by other organizations. Their next event will be on Friday, Aug. 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. with dinner and live music by New Hampshire Grateful Dead tribute band Not Fade Away.

Having grown up in New London in a family that raised and processed animals for consumption, Jeremiah Vernon developed a love for the farming lifestyle. This interest was reinforced while attending college in Maine.

“There was a big dairy farm near the school and the dairy farm had a restaurant … and I just became enamored with the whole farm scene they had going on over there,” he said. “That was sort of my start of production farming and basically I’d been farming for other people for about 10 years and then in 2014 we bought our own property and started our one farm.”

What started out as Jeremiah’s passion has turned into a family affair, his wife Nicole Vernon, a Spanish teacher at Exeter High School, co-owning the farm with him.

“It’s what I wanted to do having worked on farms for so long. This is who I am and what I want to do,” he said. “Nicole at the time [was] on the outside looking in as far as her farming experience, but now 10 years in she’s as deep in it as I am. … Now it’s definitely a shared passion and shared career.”

The farm has come a long way since growing 1,200 broiler chickens on leased land in 2012. They now annually produce about 15,000 to 20,000 chickens as well as other livestock, like pigs and sheep and a small amount of vegetables, such as cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas, on their 33-acre property. They have a farm store open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., host dinners on Thursdays and Saturdays from 4 to 8 p.m. and Sunday brunch from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and have even created a second business, Vernon Kitchen. While the catering company used to be a part of Vernon Family Farm, it made more sense to have it be its own entity that the Vernons could hire to cater events.

“[It] means that we can do more events more often and we also have more resources available to us,” Jeremiah said. “It is also the highest-profit market aspect of our business, so having a customer buy a ticket and sit down for a fried chicken dinner, that’s the most profitable way we can get that chicken to you.”

On average, about 50 to 100 people attend these events, with upward of 300 on nights when there is live music. Tickets can be purchased on their website ahead of time or upon arrival for music events. For non-music events, a $5 cover is charged that is donated to various nonprofits.

In addition to dinners, entertainment and tours, the farm also functions as a space for other businesses to use for classes on yoga and meditation, cooking and art.

“Our farm is very beautiful, like many in New Hampshire,” Jeremiah said. “We have a big wildflower meadow, nice seating, there’s animals everywhere [and] ample parking. It’s a nice … creative space to occupy.”

Upcoming events at Vernon Family Farm

Kids Art Classes: Treehouse Construction
When: Friday, Aug. 4, 10 a.m. to noon
Where: 301 Piscassic Road, Newfields

Not Fade Away
When: Friday, Aug. 4, 4 to 8 p.m.
Where: 301 Piscassic Road, Newfields

Featured photo: Event at Vernon Family Farm. Photo courtesy of Vernon Family Farm.

The Weekly Dish 23/08/03

News from the local food scene

Sample wine and bourbon and golf: Don’t miss Bourbon, Wine & Nine at Stonebridge Country Club (161 Gorham Pond Road, Goffstown) on Friday, Aug. 4. Sample wines, bourbons and food from Drumlins Restaurant. Live music will also be featured, as well as a nine-hole scramble tournament and a putting contest. Golf registration starts at 2 p.m. and tee-off is at 3 p.m. The tasting tent opens at 5 p.m. Tickets range from $25 to $60 and can be purchased via eventbrite.

Try traditions from Zimbabwe: Sycamore Community Garden will hold the third and final event in its current guest speaker series on Sunday Aug. 6, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at NHTI (31 College Drive, Concord). Board member Sibongile Ndlovu will lead an interactive food preservation workshop. Learn how to properly dry tomatoes through a Zimbabwean food preservation technique and learn about the importance of food preservation in Zimbabwe through Ndlovu’s personal experience and cultural background. Everyone will help in cutting and preparing the tomatoes for sun drying. The event is free. Visit or sign up via eventbrite.

Get vegan Southern eats: Vegan pop-up vendor Southern Fried Vegan hosts Vegan Brews N BBQ at Rockingham Brewing Co. (1 Corporate Park Drive, Unit 1, Derry) on Thursday, Aug. 10, 4 to 8 p.m. Menu items are nut- and gluten-free and the menu includes jambalaya, totchos, cajun corn and more.

On The Job – Maggie Verrette

Spin instructor

Maggie Verrette owns her own indoor cycling business called VibeCo Cycle (458-7652, in Salem where she also works as a spin instructor.

Explain your job and what it entails.

I am the owner of VibeCo. I am also an instructor there, and I manage the entire studio, and I basically wear a bunch of different hats. I dabble in a lot of different aspects of running the business, as well as instructing and leading. I started VibeCo on my own, and it’s the only one, not a franchise.

How long have you had this job?

We opened in 2021, so we just celebrated two years.

What led you to this career field?

I was an athlete growing up, so I’ve always been super into fitness, team aspects and leading. When I graduated from college, I started instructing at a small studio, and I wanted to find a way to make it a bigger part of my life and make it my career path. When there was an opportunity to start my own business and open my own studio, I thought it was a perfect way to pursue that.

What kind of education or training did you need?

I went to Ithaca College and was a business major with a concentration in management, and I was also on the gymnastics team. I studied business for four years, and that was very helpful to what I ended up doing.

What is your typical at-work uniform or attire?

Since it’s physical activity, I’m usually just in leggings and a sports top.

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

I’d say one of the most challenging things is finding the perfect people to work for you, and since I’m so involved in the business and it’s so important to me as a small business owner, it can be difficult to find people who are as committed and dedicated to helping. I have been very lucky with the people that I do have, but it’s always hard to find more people to add to this team.

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

I wish I had known how much I was going to love it. I was super nervous to go for it, so if I had known that it was going to be as fun and successful as it is, then maybe I would’ve been more eager when it started.

What do you wish other people knew about your job?

I wish other people knew that I put everything into it 24/7, so I am always doing work for the business and for my team and making sure people are happy all the time and that everything runs smoothly.

What was the first job you ever had?

The first real job I ever had was teaching spin classes, but I taught gymnastic classes in high school once a week.

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

To always make sure that your customers were happy and everything else would follow through after that. —Maya Puma

Five favorites

Favorite book:
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Favorite movie: The Wolf of Wall Street
Favorite music: Hip-hop
Favorite food: Macaroni and cheese
Favorite thing about NH: Being so close to the beach and the city at the same time

Featured photo: Maggie Verrette. Courtesy photo.

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