The upstate New Hampshire region offers many organic and farm-to-table restaurants. Locals can enjoy their
meals at these restaurants knowing they're helping the local economy, and visitors can use this as an
opportunity to enjoy local foods unique to the region and season.
The NH Farm to Restaurant Connection
works to link together small-scale farms and restaurants in
NH. Through features on its website such as "Meet Your Farmer", the organization also helps create a
connection between farmers and residents of the state. Charlie Burke, president of the NH Farm to
Restaurant Connection, sees many benefits in sourcing locally, for both the consumers and sellers.
Local farms create safer and fresher food, since the food is "bred for flavor, not shelf life,"
Burke said. "Local food is safer, because local farmers feed their family the same food they sell."
One health advantage of local farming is that small-scale farms produce their food on a manageable
scale. This means contamination is easily controlled, versus large-scale production factory farms
where contamination of one product could lead to widespread food poisoning. Another health benefit
is smaller farms tend to use less chemicals, relying instead on practices such as crop rotation
to keep out pests and avoid depleting soil of its nutrients, according to Burke.
Buying from local farms can also have great benefits on local economies. Buying locally helps keep
your money in your state, contributing to the economy by supporting both farmers and the tourism
industry, according to Burke. "[Buying locally] helps preserve the rural environment and local
spaces we love so much, which bring the tourists," Burke said.
Some people are fearful of how getting involved with the farm-to-table movement will impact their
business. Corrine Rober, owner of the Margarita Grill
, said the increase the Margarita
Grill has seen in business since switching is a good indication of how a business could benefit,
since the restaurant has been around for 29 years.
According to Burke, earlier this year Margarita Grill
became the third restaurant in NH
to become "certified local" by his organization. According to Rober, her business has improved in
the one-year process of switching over the restaurant to become certified. Rober said her business
saw a "38 percent increase in volume of business in May, and a 50 percent increase in June."
Even in July, which is a very busy month already, Margarita Grill
had a 20 percent increase, according to Rober.
Rober said switching to have the restaurant use local ingredients was the "right thing to do to
support the community." Margarita Grill purchases ingredients from local farms such as Pork Hill Farm
and Sherman Farm
in East Conway
Rober is not alone in her philosophy. Many NH restaurants are recognizing the value and importance in
sourcing their ingredients locally. Executive Chef Adam Parker, who artfully constructs tantalizing dishes
at the Mountain View Grand Hotel
, is continually updating his menu
to reflect seasonal
options. Having worked in restaurants all over the United States, Chef Parker revels in "Chef-to-table side"
style dinners where he accommodates the tastes and needs of his patrons individually. This allows for
guests to enjoy fresh and local products seasoned and prepared to their liking. He also has extensive
experience creating meals that cater to vegans, vegetarians, diabetics and those with celiac disease.
Another farm to table restaurant that has recently been certified is The Sugar Hill Inn
. Located in,
you guessed it, Sugar Hill
, this fine dining destination cuts herbs fresh from their garden for
every meal. Sample some local, fine aged cheddar from Harman's Cheese & Country Store
with a touch of rich, NH maple syrup sourced straight from the sap of Sugar Hill trees. They
offer a decadent four-course "prix fixe" dinner menu that provides a culinary survey of tasty,
seasonal offerings statewide.
Last, but certainly not least, is the Wentworth
restaurant in Jackson Village
. Chef Neal Myers
and Sous Chef Brad Frederick can be found every Saturday and Sunday morning rummaging about
the Jackson Farmers Market
and the North Conway Farmers Market
local produce, dairy and meat. We have been told that when visiting the Wentworth, you might
just bump heads with "Bill the Mushroom Man," who has been scouring the NH forests to
provide the restaurant with wild mushrooms for over twenty years! They are partnered with
over twenty local farms and are deeply dedicated to the mission of strengthening NH's state
economy and health by increasing the demand and awareness of local, sustainable food.
UpStateNH Farm To Table Restaurants List:
► Dartmouth - Lake Sunapee Region
► White Mountains Region