NH Restaurants: Farm to Table Restaurants in New Hampshire's North Country.

NH Recreation Article: Farm to Table Restaurants in NH's North Country


Farm to Table Restaurants
in the North Country
by Sarah Pollus

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.

Farm fresh to table is a growing trend in NH. 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 in Glen, 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 in Glen 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 in Ossipee 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 in Whitefield, 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, coupled 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 handpicking outstanding 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

Britt Hoxie contributed to this article.


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