Blog : April 2011
Many on the Seacoast are familiar with the “farm-to-table” movement – the philosophy whereby restaurants seek to get more of their ingredients from local sources.
Now, Southern Maine residents and business – including the GA’s Clay Hill Farm – are adding their own little twist. Call it “farm-to-lunchroom”.
Throwing their weight behind a program nearly a year in the making, the York-based restaurant recently purchased a 300-pound side of beef from Archer Angus farm in Buxton, Maine. In return, Archer Angus provided a $50 credit to the York School Department’s lunch program, in the process helping bring a local, organic, and free range option into its lunchroom.
Originally launched as a way for residents to help support the farm-to-table movement, last month Clay Hill Farm became the first business to participate in the program.
According to Jennifer Lewis-McShera, co-owner of Clay Hill Farm, the restaurant’s involvement came about more by chance than anything else.
“We actually heard about the residential program as parents in the local schools,” recalls McShera, whose restaurant and wedding venue has of late taken to incorporating more local food into its own menu. “When we contacted the folks at Archer Angus, they were a little surprised, because they hadn’t had any businesses interested in participating at that point.”
“Luckily they were excited to have us on board, and we were excited to help do our part to support local farmers,” she said.
Clay Hill plans to include a special cut of Archer’s meat for a proposed summer special insert menu, which McShera hopes will feature 100 percent local fare.
Fans of the book and documentary film No Impact Man will want to pay close attention to the Green Alliance blog next week. From May 1 to May 8, Rebecca O’Brien of Portsmouth will be posting regular updates about her experience as a participant in NH No Impact Week, a truncated version of Beavan’s effort to live in New York City with no environmental impact.
“The No Impact Experiment is a one-week carbon cleanse that allows you to experience the difference lowering your impact can have your quality of life, community, and planet!” according to the initiative’s website, where anyone can sign up to join the hundreds of Granite Staters who will be participating.
Going green is no experiment for O’Brien, a Green Alliance member who spends her days helping nonprofits achieve their missions, and ensure their programs are sustainable. Lately, O’Brien has been doing her part to support the local economy by frequenting local GA member businesses in Portsmouth. “I have been flashing my Green card downtown!” she is happy to report.
Greenovations is now offering handmade, 97.7% recycled copper sinks from Premier Copper Products. In addition to their beauty, the benefits of copper products are innumerable. Purchasing a copper sink ensures longevity because copper has the ability to regenerate itself infinitely. You'll have no need for superfluous cleaning products, since copper contains natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties - a sink that essentially cleans itself.
Additionally, copper produces patina, an environmental barrier that protects the sink from rusting and becoming aesthetically unappealing. As if you needed another reason to love copper, it is eternally renewable and recyclable, so that your old copper sink (should you ever choose to get rid of it) would take up significantly less room in the landfill than most other types of sinks would.
What's more, these copper sinks are affordable and available locally at Greenovations, a business that has no trouble finding innovative, sustainable products to sell. Christopher Ring, owner of Greenovations is proud to offer the greenest of green products, including no-VOC paints, and home insulation made entirely from recycled denim and cotton. For more information about Greenovations and their extraordinarily unique products, click here.
The folks from A Perfect Move and Gentiques would like to thank everyone who attended last week's Chairs for Charity Auction. It was a huge success, with $1600 being raised to help benefit the Children's Literacy Program. Click here to see video footage taken from the event!
The money raised will help purchase books to give away to local children ranging in age from 3-6 years. The following are the dates and locations of the upcoming Summer Story Hours. If you know of a family who’s children could benefit from an activity like this, please extend a personal invitation to one of the hours. There is no cost – that has been covered by your support of the Chairs for Charity Auction!
Story Hours are complimentary, open to the public, and appropriate for children ages 3-6 years old with a caregiver. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-438-0421 for any of the locations and dates:
- Camp Kittery Estates June 23, 2011 11 am; Camp Stories and activities in Celebration of National Camping Month 220 State Road Kittery, ME
- July 20, 2011 11 am; The Mark Wentworth Home 346 Pleasant Street Portsmouth, NH -- Theme to be announced!
- August 25, 2011 11 am; Langdon Place of Dover 60 Middle Road Dover, NH -- Theme to be announced!
- September 22, 2011 11 am; Sentry Hill of York Harbor 2 Victoria Court York Harbor, ME -- Theme to be announced!
Disappointed that you missed A Perfect Move's Chairs For Charity event? Or did you love it so much that you cannot wait to participate in another fundraiser event hosted by A Perfect Move? Or maybe you are beginning to think about some spring cleaning, and you really need somewhere to donate your unwanted treasures...
A Perfect Move's non-profit thrift boutique, Gentiques will be hosting a Giant Blow Out Yard Sale to benefit Kittery's 5th grade D.A.R.E. graduation! Donate your items, or browse the yard sale and find some more treasures to add to your selection. The sale is to be held on May 7th, from 9am to 4pm at Gentiques on 240 U.S. Rt. 1 in Kittery. For more information, contact Kellan Maloney at email@example.com or call (207) 438-0421.
A Perfect Move has been extensively recognized for their community and sustainability initiatives. They provide free Customer Care to help customers sort through their belonging to make sure nothing goes to waste, and often donate customers' unwanted items to local thrift stores. The company employs a policy that is as green as can be - reduce, reuse and recycle. They manage their offices and enterprises as sustainably as possible, and use reused boxes, furniture from local thrift stores to furnish their office, and organic cleaning products for the office. For more information about A Perfect Move, click here.
To support the local movement for better quality food products served to children in our community schools, Clay Hill Farm restaurant purchased a side of beef from a Maine farm that then issued a credit to the York school department’s food service program.
In a program spearheaded by Doris Demers, Director of School Nutrition in York, Linda & Ray Buck, of Archer Angus in Chesterville, Maine, offered residents the chance to help the local schools by offering a side of beef, in various cuts, at a special rate. With each side of beef purchased, Archer Angus will issue a $50 credit towards the purchase of all-natural, locally-raised beef to the York schools. Clay Hill Farm was the first restaurant to support this initiative, but many more may take advantage of this opportunity as the movement grows. “This program is a huge step forward for our communities,” said Demers, “It’s good to get back to what is safer and healthier for our kids.”
Archer Angus is just one of the Maine farms & local growers to be featured in Clay Hill Farm’s Made in Maine special insert menu this summer to give visitors a true taste of Maine’s fabulous food. Archer Angus is a purveyor of locally-raised beef, selling their products to Maine restaurants, and to the public at local farmer’s markets.
Clay Hill Farm is an award-winning restaurant, wildlife habitat and bird sanctuary on eleven private acres in Cape Neddick, Maine. A state Environmental Leader property committed to community outreach, Clay Hill Farm celebrates real people making a difference in the world through their EcoReach TM online initiatives and live on-site events.
Children, young and old, will pour into Portsmouth's downtown on Sunday, May 1st from noon to 4pm for Pro Portsmouth's annual Children's Day Fair! This afternoon of family family fun on the Seacoast will feature family-friendly activities, entertainment, and sweet treats. Along the lines of sweet treats, drop by the Green Alliance table for some recycled art-making. You can take your little darlings on an Isles of Shoals Cruise, parade downtown and peek into shops for free giveaways and great activities like face painting and candle pin bowling.
Don't forget to sign up for the Fantastic Free Raffle, and if you are feeling extra lucky, try your throwing arm at the Dunk Tank. And if you aren't too tanked from the dunk tank, be sure to check out the Blue Ocean Society's Touch Tank where you'll learn about the Seacoast's unique marine environment. The day concludes with the Grand Finale at the Isles of Shoals Steamship Co. Dock. For a map of downtown Portsmouth and a full list of exciting events, click here! For more information about Children's Day and Pro Portsmouth Community Initiatives, click here.
Smuttynose Brewery in Portsmouth offers two tours a week – one on Friday, at 3pm during working hours, and the other on Saturday at 11am.
Guess which one I chose?
Luckily for this writer, going on the tour technically constituted “work”. (I even have the hand-written notes to prove it. Really, I do!) So there was no shame in leaving the office at 2:30 in order to catch the 3pm Friday tour – particularly on a gorgeous, near-70-degree April day.
Upon arriving at Smutty’s Heritage Avenue headquarters, I’m immediately struck by the outwardly Spartan appearance of the facility – the puddle-riddled dirt driveway, corrugated steel and haphazardly-parked trucks all impart a no-frills, unpretentious façade.
After parking, I approach the door reading “Tours This Way”. I open and enter, only to find that I’m exactly where I would have been had I walked through the enormous open bay door directly beside it.
A single attendant, who stands at a small series of taps maybe four feet wide, shoots me an odd look – the kind of look you shoot a dude who just needlessly pushed open a large steel door. Luckily, he forgets my clumsy entrance and introduces himself as Jason, and shakes my hand. I explain I’m writing a story on the green aspects of Smutty’s brewing process. This seems to please him, and he offers me my first sample “taste”. Who cares if I’m a half hour early?
Right on cue, the sample – my first was the Smuttynose flagship classic Old Brown Dog ale – was handed to me in a corn-based compostable plastic cup.
Turn what would otherwise be throwaway materials into food for a garden? Check.
The entrance quickly fills with 30-40 more tour-goers, all of them imparting the kind of mischievous look people typically have when they’re ditching work early. But this is no waiting room; the entirety of Smuttynose’s operation can be seen from anywhere on the floor, including here.
Coors or Budweiser, this is definitely not.
By Suzanna Vicinus
Kittery (4/18/11) -- While everyone is gearing up for Earth Day this Friday, the organizers of the Kittery Block party are carrying the green themes through to their event being held on Saturday, June 18.
“As a committee, we are working hard to include green themes in all aspects of the event. From food vendors to Block Party activities, maintaining an eco-friendly atmosphere is top of mind,” says Michael Landgarten of the event’s primary sponsor, Bob’s Clam Hut.
To keep paper refuse to a minimum, event sponsors know that promotion for their businesses won’t be plastered on brochures or flyers that inevitably serve to litter the streets. Instead, sponsors will be listed on the Kittery Block Party Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as being displayed on centrally located event maps which can be found in three locations within the block party.
Attendees can also do their part to pitch in. EcoMovement will be on hand with recycling stations throughout the area as well as having stations set up to collect compostable material. Participants in the Block Party will be asked to use recyclable materials only as organizers try to make this a Zero Waste event.
“We are excited to create a community event that is fun, but also thoughtful and responsible,” says Janice Grady, chair of the Kittery Recreation Department. “Our green commitment is woven into our event and we’re looking forward to sharing that message with attendees.”
Admission to this event is free, promising to be fun for all ages! Being held in Kittery’s downtown Foreside district, all are welcome to attend on Saturday, June 18 from 10:00am – 4:00pm and enjoy live music, strolling entertainment, a children’s area, tasty cuisine, vendor booths and much more.
Here's an easy recipe: take one Friday in late April, add a forecast of sunny, 60 degree weather, mix in some of Portsmouth's finest shops and restaurants, sprinkle on some extra discounts, and ta-da: you've got the 2011 version of "Hit the Decks", a celebration of Portsmouth's wonderful ambience and vibrant businesess (including the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, the Portsmouth Brewery, Two Ceres St, and Poco's Bow Street Cantina).
As the Seacoast now enters what's know in Canada as "patio season" (warm enough to stroll through downtown and enjoy the outdoors without needing a lined coat or furry Russian hat), "Hit the Decks" is a wonderful opportunity for visitors and locals to revel in the vibrant downtown Portsmouth scene.
For Waterline Alternative Energies, the big-time projects just keep on coming.
Last Wednesday, the Seabrook-based alternative energy company was on hand to watch the Town of Lee, Massacusetts – for whom Waterline served as the general contractor – receive the 2010 Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Award for their work on the city’s Water Treatment Facility.
Presented by the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority, the award was given to 10 cities and municipalities who achieved the dual task of water safety and energy efficiency.
Taken together, the ten towns and their facilities will save $14.8 million, while reducing carbon emissions by over 72,000 tons – the equivelant of taking 18,100 cars off the road or planting 217,185 trees.
Launched in 2007 by the Massachusetts state EEA and DEP, the Green Infrastructure Program was intended to provide funding for projects that would help set the standard for renewable energy endeavors in the state. By 2009, 10 water and 11 wastewater facilities had been granted a total of just over $69 million to improve efficiency.
“The project afforded the town of Lee a great opportunity to minimize cost to its customers while also going green,” said Chris Pompi of the Town of Lee Department of Public Works. “We expect energy consumption at the plant to be reduced by a total of 60%, which means we’d be approaching net-zero energy usage.”
As part of the project, Waterline installed a 38 kilowatt roof-mounted photovoltaic solar array. They also made efficiency modifications to the hydroelectric turbine, and installed high efficiency motors, lighting and HVAC upgrades throughout the facility.
All of the upgrades were completed last December.
Greenovations owner Christopher Ring's Spring seminar series, "Living Green in Portsmouth" resumes this Thursday evening, 7 PM, at the Portsmouth Public Library on Parrot Ave.And this Thursday's seminar deals with a topic of great importance to many Seacoast area property owners: residential landscaping.
We New Englanders take our growing season seriously. But the widespread use of fossil-fuel based, nitrogen-intensive fertilizers has led to a variety of damaging environmental consequences, including degraded water quality and noxious alage blooms in our region's abundant waterways. But it doesn't have to be that way, and guest speaker Brian Wade, owner of Portsmouth based Wade Landscaping & Property Maintenance, hopes Thursday's seminar will help dispel myths about the need for perceived need for harmful fertilizers an excessive water use.
"Much of Thursday's seminar will dwell on how you can have a vibrant backyard with out using chemical pesticides, typical fertilizers, and without needing to constantly water your lawn and garden," says Wade, whose company focuses its warm-season business on sustainable landscaping techniques. "And I'll also discuss the benefits of native planting, as non-native species have a way of crowding out others, and end up doing your garden more harm than good."
Thursday's seminar will also contain information on rain collection and drainage, which Wade predicts will have significant appeal after last Summer's hot but dry weather.
Attendance is free, and RSVPs are not required. Just show up, and be ready for an informative evening with good neighbors and lively, helpful discourse!
Join Just Us Chickens Thursday, April 28th from 5 to 7pm for a fundraiser that benefits the Kittery PTA! They'll be featuring various styles of jewelry, dichroic glass, hand-made lamp work beads, sea glass, beach pebbles and rocks, driftwood sterling silver, and other items great for proms, Mother's Day, graduations, and more. Wine and hors'd'oeurvres. will be served, and Green Alliance members receive 10% off all merchandise!
15% off all sales goes to support Kittery PTA's programming for children.
There's just 4 days left to get the discounted registration price for a regional event with wide appeal: the 5th Annual Kittery Fire Association 5K Run and Walk. An early-bird registration fee of $20 is available online through May 1st; $25 thereafter. A $5 discount code is available to Green Alliance members, seniors over the age of 60, and 2010 participants: kittery5k. Visit www.kittery5K.com to sign up today. A registration table will also be available at the Pancake Breakfast on Saturday and on Sunday from 7:30 to 8:30 AM.
This Friday, arborists from four local tree care companies will continue a volunteering tradition three years in the making.
In recognition of Arbor Day, the owners and employees of Northeast Shade Tree, The Organic Arborist, along with GA Business Partners Suntree Tree Health Care and Cornerstone Tree Care, will donate their time helping to clean out and beautify Portsmouth’s Langdon Park.
As in past Arbor Day events, this year’s efforts will be geared towards removing deadwood from the overstory or canopy of the trees, as well as trimming them of unhealthy – and potentially dangerous – branches.
Micum Davis of the Portsmouth-based Cornerstone Tree, who along with Suntree’s Chris Kemp has served as the event’s chief organizer since the first incarnation three years ago, is looking forward to this year’s challenges.
“We’re always excited to give back by volunteering our time and expertise to our community in a way that benefits a common space,” exclaims Davis. “We feel like our costs are outweighed by the benefits of bringing the community together around something that we all share in common.”
“It just feels right,” he said.
Portsmouth can certainly use the help. Because many of the trees in the city’s parks are so old, keeping them well maintained is not only a matter of aesthetics, but one of safety as well.
“Without the removal of deadwood from trees, it’s kind of like leaving a rotten tooth in the jaw,” explains Davis. “Over time, it will damage other parts of the system. This makes the removal of deadwood critical for maintaining long term tree health as well as park safety.”