Harvest Time At Fulchino’s Vineyard

http://www.fulchinovineyard.com/index.htm

It was a comfortable over cast Saturday morning. The sun still hasn’t found her bright and cheery way through the clouds. The vineyard was still lightly damp with dew and on that August morning. The grapes sang the sweet song of harvest time. Due to the hot dry summer the fruit’s sugar numbers had been soaring above their normal August numbers.

Amongst the early morning mummers of the birds and the bugs, the buzz of the morning chatter from the early rising pickers, who had gather outside of the new tasting room which is well on its way to inviting its first guest into sip the delicious nectar from the grapes the rest in front of it, could be heard. They grouped together for the opportunity to harvest the first grapes of the season. Some were first time pickers, having only enjoyed the taste of wine, but never the thrill of the harvest labor. While other were return pickers ready to dirty their knees and work the cores in hopes of enjoying the delicious wine all the sooner.

Al Fulchino, owner and lead farmer of the vineyard, led the way by handing out grape-razors to the group and pointing out which rows of grapes to start picking from. The group headed off into the vineyard to begin their morning adventure.  As they pick and grab a small taste here and there, they share stories and small talk as the morning flew by quickly.  The pickers learn the best position to crouch down in and the best placement of the bucket to prevent too much bending and shifting while still getting the grapes into the bucket.

Soon the sun pokes her pretty little head out to see what’s going on down in the vineyard and the temps in the field rose quickly. The group, after picking for a steady 4 hours, disengaged from the work to take a short break. Knees were dusted off and hands were washed as samples of fresh squeezed grape juice were passed around for tasting. The juice was sweet and earthy. Purer and more natural tasting then any purchased juice ever could be. The liquid was delicious and refreshing after the fun but hard work. The decision was made to pick one more row before lunch came. So the group eager went back to work picking and tasting. Chatting and bonding, over fresh picked fruit which would one day soon be a staple for each picker to savor in after a long day.

When the row was picked over, lunch was served with wine to compliment the food. No food or wine ever tasted better than that served after a hard morning of work.

Fulchino’s wine is not your typical New Hampshire winery. While there are many great wineries found in New Hampshire, this winery offer something different in its complex flavors and the rich character of the wines. Every sip is an experience and should be savored and not gulped up. The family; Al, his wife Susan, their children and even the honorary wine guy, Pete, are often around and invite everyone into taste their wines as well as enjoy their nursery.  They make sure everyone feels like another member of the family sharing stories about the wine, the harvest and the construction of the new tasting room!

I hope everyone has a chance to visit Fulchino’s to taste the wine and appreciate the wonder of the great little vineyard in Hollis! Check them out on facebook!

Volunteerism NH

It’s recently come to my attention that people feel that voluntarism will only happened when forced.  One day while relaxing and listening to a conversation amongst my peers, I heard it said that everyone should be forced to volunteer and that got me thinking.  Is this really volunteering? If someone says you must volunteer for 6 hours doing this task for society, it’ll teach you principles and to serve the community, is that what volunteering is? Is this the best way to inspire our children to help out in the community?

According to Merriam-Webster: Volunteer means “a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as”.  This definition does not imply any form of forced entry into service.  The undertaking should be done willingly or else it is not volunteering and the body being forced may not being learning to give back to the community at all.

The next question would be if you can’t force people to volunteer how can you inspire people to want to give back to the community they live in? Well for me a simple story in the local paper influenced me to look into what I could do to help out around my community. Weekly we receive the Union Leader, in it I found a story about a man named Mark Previe. Mark Previe takes the bus and makes a difference, is the title of the article. This article is about 47 year old Previe who regularly rides the bus on his own dime and helps the elderly on and off the bus in Manchester. He helps them carry their packages and groceries to their homes. This New Hampshire native takes a lot of pride in what he does and he’s been doing it for 18 years!  He says in the article, ‘“I helped a guy out, and he seemed to appreciate it. After a while I started doing it every day. I love doing it. They appreciate it.”’  It’s amazing, he saw a problem and stepped in to do something about and it turns out he enjoys doing it. Previe wasn’t forced to help people on and off the bus. He wanted too.  In an age where we plug in to block out, one man looked around and saw something simple he could do to help out and stuck with it for 18 years.

So maybe it’s time we put our iPhones and MP3 players away and start checking out the world around us. Help a stranger, mow an elderly neighbor’s lawn or volunteer at the local homeless shelter. Now is the time to prove we do not need people forcing our hand because we can open our own hearts to the world and do something good for someone else.

http://www.unionleader.com/article/20120811/NEWHAMPSHIRE09/708119937

Attached is a link to a website that offers volunteer opportunities around New Hampshire. Check it out !

http://www.volunteernh.org/html/volunteeropportunities.htm

Downtown Dinner in Oz or Nashua

A clear summer night sitting outside of a favorite restaurant enjoying a glass of wine as the sun sets and the stars burst in all of their brilliance into the darkening night sky.  The hum of Wednesday night traffic rumbles by and the smells of popcorn and a fresh warm dinner fill the air. A large screen sits at the end of East Pearl Street blocking the view of the busy Main Street but the chatter of people sitting nearby or strolling past adds nothing less to a night on the town.  Silverware and glasses clank as people devour their dinner and drinks while waiting for the last rays of the sun to drift off to sleep and the film of the evening to spin to life. Waitresses slip around the outdoor tables quietly getting patrons ready for the start of another silver screen adventure.

If this sounds like a great night out, Nashua’s Chamber of Commerce and Community Events, LLC partnered with Great American Downtown took advantage of this by hosting Nashua’s very own Downtown Dinner and a Movie summer series.  This event offered a Wednesday night of movies and dining from either Stella Blu or Villa Banca. It started June 20th and ended this year on August 22nd. They had 6 days and 6 great movies picked out.  Grease, Dirty Dancing, Princess Bride, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Anchorman and the Wizard of Oz, were this year’s movies! A great classic is always better than a new movie.  I say excellent choices only wish I had discovered this sooner!

http://www.nashuamovies.com/

So I attended yesterday’s showing, which start at 7:00pm, of the Wizard of Oz, great classic film.  This was the last Downtown Dinner and a Movie and it had drawn quite a crowd. The place was hopping! Dinner was sold and served by Villa Banca. It has been known to receive a lot of accolades for its delicious Italian food! The dinner menu was scaled down from the offering in the restaurant and a drink menu had to be asked for when choosing a beverage but otherwise the service was excellent. I had the lobster wrap and it was tasty as well as well priced at $16.

http://www.villabanca.com/index.html

The movie started around 8:30pm and after a few early glitches from the blue ray. The movie went on without a hitch. It’s always nice to relax with a glass of wine and a wonderful old movie and besides what’s more classic than Wizard of Oz.  So all in all this was a great night out and very well organized and run. So make sure you keep your eyes open for their return next summer!

Downtown Dinner and a Movie

A Hike with a View – Mount Chocorua

Everyone is looking for a room with a great view well how about exercise that offers the best scenery imaginable as far as the eye can see. Mount Chocorua is just that exercise with the reward of the most amazing views, a perfect place to enjoy life and get some perspective. Waterfalls and a 360 degree view of New Hampshire that offers clouds gently floating past the mountain tops, Mount Washington standing tall to the northern side of the peak and the lakes rest to the south. Mount Chocorua stands about 3490 feet while it’s not the tallest peak in the White Mountains it does offer a stunning panorama.

 

 

http://www.hikenewengland.com/ChocoruaNH090405.html

Mount Chocorua is at the eastern most section of the sandwich mountain range. It can be reached from the north by route 112 by the Champney Falls Trail, east from route 16 by the Piper Trailhead or south from route 25 by the Liberty Trail. I hiked Champney Falls. Champney Falls is named Benjamin Champney a famous White Mountains painter and offers about 70 feet of cascades. This was my trail of choice because it offers beautiful cascading waterfalls, the tranquil sound sooths the soul while the sight raises the spirit.   At one point, to the side of the trail, there are two waterfalls side by side. During the rainy seasons the falls are full and lovely.

http://whitemountainart.com/biographies/bio_bc.htm

Legend has it Mount Chocorua was named after a Native American man who was friendly with the colonists and left his son with to stay with them when he was called away. Upon his return he found his son had died after drinking poison. He blamed the family left in charge of his son. Chocorua was blamed for the murder of the wife and children of this family. The husband sought out Chocorua and shot him on Mount Chocorua. It was said before he died he cursed the man who had been responsible for his son and then jumped off of Mount Chocorua to his death. Since then, it is said this mountain was named after him. Although no record of this man exists.

Mount Chocorua is a difficult hike and at times can be considered strenuous by some. It is not an easy hike although easier and shorter than the Franconia Ridge hike. Weather conditions should be taken in to account before attempting this hike. This hike offers views of the lakes to the south, Mount Washington to the north and glorious New Hampshire all around. Ensure good health and properly packing for the hike.  The hike offers fantastic views from its summit and beautiful nature on the way up. Take the time to really enjoy this hike it’s worth it!

http://www.hikesafe.com/

 

Exploring the Local Farmers’ Market – Deerfield

My last two farmers’ market week blogs are coming to a close.  Yesterday I attended Deerfield’s Market. Deerfield is a quaint quiet little town nestled just north of Candia and route 101.  If offers a romantically scenic drive through rolling hills and farm yards. As you drive up route 43 toward the farmers’ market, which is located at 8 Raymanod Road, there is a rolling field set off to the right with a large old silo with green vines and blossoms growing up it. It’s a beautiful vision to see on your drive to the market.

The market is held in the parking local outside of the George B. White building. It is a charming little farmers’ market where locals go to meet, chat and buy their local produce and local made products. They offered hand spun wool and artisan crafts made out of the wool.

http://www.farmersmarket.deerfieldnh.us/

As you head into the market two very talented young ladies were playing the violin. These girls were extremely talented and had their violin cases set up to collect tips.

Also a young girl had a homemade lemonade stand set up where her profits were being donated to a cause.

Produce and baked goods were offered from a variety of vendors at the small market. It was bustling with people and liveliness. A grill was going and burgers were part of the offering as well as potted herbs and a woman selling all nature soaps and lotions.

Deerfield is a cute quaint farmers’ market well worth checking out!

Exploring the Local Farmers’ Market – Manchester

I’m now down to my last three days of steady marketing. One thing I’ve learned from this, is local farmers and product creators produce a lot of really great merchandises. From now on I’ll definitely be a regular at the markets. I’ve really enjoyed my time at the markets and the people have been absolutely wonderful!

On to Manchester, this was one of the largest markets I’ve been too. It is held on the Concord Street side of Victory Park.  Victory Park is a charming little urban recreation area bustling with activity. The market moved like rush hour traffic with people weaving in and out of booth. The pedestrian traffic at some booths made them almost unnavigable but they thin out fast as most vendors kept things moving along. The market had something for everyone. Face painting for the kids, a harpist to sooth the weary traveler, snacks for man’s best friend, two wine vendors to help the frazzled unwind, and plenty of tasty dinner options for the famished!

Along my exploration of the market I stumbled upon a few vendors that really made an impression. Both of the wine companies had a wonderful selection of vino. Hickory Nut Farm had an array of goat milk product products to sooth mind and palate. Sharon’s Granola was offering the ever popular high energy snackable granola bars! Blackberry bakery was satisfying the sweet tooth with gluten free and regular goodies! Finally Valicenti Organico was providing the tasty Italian dinners.

Every great day is only made better by a great bottle of wine! Manchester had two wine vendors both offering some great wines. Candia Vineyards had a nice spread of wines out. I’ve found out they offer an excellent ice wine. They offer two, The Ice Storm and Black Ice; both are very sweet and wonderfully bold fruit wines! The also offer the most award Noiret. The other vineyard was the oldest vineyard in New Hampshire, Jewell Towne.  Jewell Towne offers a wonderful variety of very tasty wines. Tonight to go with dinner I brought home a bottle Marechal Foch. It paired well with our pasta sauce really bringing out the sweeter side of both the wine and the sauce!

www.candiavineyards.com

http://www.jewelltownevineyards.com/

Hickory Nut Farm is a goat farm from Lee. “Life changes can be dramatic, exciting and fulfilling. One day, we are husband and wife architects and now we are goat farmers. Our existence is uncomplicated, busy, fun and peaceful, with a new sense of appreciation for God’s creativity.” This quote is from their website and I thought it was awesome! They specialize in goat milk products. Today I experienced a couple of their very tasty goat cheese, fudge and admired their soaps.  I decided dinner wouldn’t be the same without the chive n’ garlic cheese. I was right! What a tasty treat!

www.hickorynutfarm.com

Sharon’s granola is a tasty high energy gluten free treat. Sharon was run the both herself and offering tastes to patrons.  If you’re into hiking or enjoying the outdoors these tasty little treats will fit in any little backpack or bag. When you get tired and hungry you can just whip in out and have a quick snack. I tried the Chamomile Teas & honey Lemon Zest bar. I loved it. Super yummy treat!

www.sharonsgranolabar.com

Blackberry Bakery, out of Londonderry, offered a wonderful variety of tasty treats, from cupcakes to whoopee pies. They also offer gluten free bake goods. I purchased a delicious pumpkin whoop pie from them. It was very tasty!

www.blackberrybakerynh.com

Lastly was Valicenti Organico. Which provided New Hampshire made pasta and sauce. Their sauce was delicious over their lobster raviolis. I enhanced this dish just a slight tweak with a pinch of cayenne pepper, and I sprinkled some chive n’ garlic goat cheese and paired it with Jewell Towne’s wine. It was a great dinner. Absolutely love the pasta and sauce made there!

www.Gimmespaghetti.com

This has been my exploration of the Manchester farmers’ market. It was a great time with great people and great food. Please try to check out your local market! If you have any suggestions for Markets you’d like me to go to shoot me an email or send me a commet.

Exploring the Local Farmers’ Market – Merrimack

In honor of New Hampshire Eat Local Month and NH Farmers’ Market Week, I’m dedicating this weeks’ blogs to New Hampshire’s Farmers’ Markets.  I hope everyone is enjoying my blogs this week and finding their way out to discover their own farmers’ markets!

I’ve journeyed from Salem to Durham and then to Bedford to experience the New Hampshire Farmers’ Markets. Exploring the provisions and the people supplying them has been an adventure and a delight. As we hit the high point in the week I visited the Merrimack Farmer’s Market. The market is held in the Tractor Supply parking lot, 515 Daniel Webster Highway.

Merrimack Farmers’ Market is the smallest market I’ve been to so far but what it lacks in size it makes up for in heart, and innovation. Most of the vendors were warm and friendly interested not just in selling their products but also getting to know their customers. The market was also offering a free raffle for an eco-Merrimack-Farmers’-Market-Bag

The market offered a wonderful selection of produce. Three different vendors were selling a wide variety of fruits and veggies, flowers and plants. Today, the businesses that really caught my attention were Gone Baking, a mobile bakery, The Yankee Cheeseman, and Gunther’s Goodies, a dog treat supplier.

Gone Baking is owned by Jenny Cheifetz. Ms. Cheifetz is a former Massachusetts teacher turned stay at home mom who found a passion for baking and transformed it in to a business. She’s was one of the most friendly people I had met today and then there was her carrot cake cupcake. I love carrot cake so any opportunity to try carrot cake will not be passed up by me. Gone Baking did not disappoint. This cupcake was excellent, soft and moist with rich sweet creamy frosting. It was worth cent! Who doesn’t like friendly people and cupcakes? If you answered ‘You don’t.’ to this question, well you don’t know what you’re missing out on. Check Gone Baking out on Facebook.

www.gonebaking.com

The Yankee Cheeseman was a man who loved his craft and loved to share it. You couldn’t sneak by without a taste and you wouldn’t want to anyway. His cheeses are excellent. I really enjoyed the sharp cheddars and the smoke apple wood. When I first got to the booth it was only a young lady and I tasting, when I left the booth a small crowd was forming around it. I left with a sharp cheese to pair with Fulchino’s, a local winery out of Hollis, Zinfandel. It paired perfectly!

Gunther’s Goodies, out of Machester, are fancy dog treats. I may not have a dog but this place caught my attention.  These gourmet dog treats are made from local ingredients. I love innovation, team work and reusing resources. White Birch Brewing, out of Hooksett, provides Gunther’s Goodies with their spent grains. Spent grains are the byproducts after the grains have been used for brewing. These spent grains are then used to make the dog treats.  Their treats can be purchased at White Birch as well as at the market. So if you are up in Hooksett tasting brews, be sure pick up a treat for man’s best friend to tell him how much you love him and New Hampshire. Check Gunther’s goodies out on Facebook.

That was my adventure in farmers’ marketing! I hope I have inspired some of you to check out your local farmers’ market. Keep on checking out your local scene!