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On Your Mark, Get Set: Searching for Summer Under Three Feet of Snow

2011 February 8

by Stephanie Tickner

When Sarah recently asked me if I might be interested in participating in RecipeRelay I felt a mix of emotions. I was excited because I love cooking, photography, and writing. On the other hand, I wondered how I would manage with two young children, a part time job at Antioch University New England (where I met Sarah and Brianna), and two unexpected school board meetings that week. Another concern was if I would be able to find locally grown foods in my area in the middle of the snowiest winter in years! I live in Marlow, New Hampshire, a small rural town a half hour from the nearest supermarket.

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Sarah mentioned she would be making a carrot, onion and basil quiche from which I would be relaying. So I called my friends Marty and Ellen who live and work at The Orchard Hill Farm in East Alstead, New Hampshire. The Orchard Hill community includes The Orchard School, Orchard Hill Breadworks, the gardens for the Village Roots CSA, and an organic apple orchard. I asked if they had any vegetables left at the farm and was thrilled to hear that in their root cellar they had potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, shallots, sweet peppers, and even broccoli in the freezer. It was perfect for the Relay!

On my day off, I woke to four more inches of powdery snow on top of the three feet already on the ground. I drove the six miles of dirt roads that connect my house to Orchard Hill and Marty filled my basket with vegetables. Then I headed up the hill to Orchard Hill Breadworks where I bought two loaves of their delicious, hearty artisan bread. I feel a strong connection to this place since my children have attended preschool, summer camps and after school programs there. I am glad the farm and bakery became part of the Relay.

Later, after meeting the kids at school, we headed to their friend Anna’s house just outside Marlow village to get fresh eggs from her chickens, who did not seem to mind that their coop was surrounded by deep snow! The feeling of community was growing for me.

Finally we returned home to gratefully find that my neighbor Moose had plowed the driveway! I went to thank him, and he invited me in to chat. I told him about RecipeRelay and mentioned I hadn’t found any local herbs. Amazingly, his wife said she had rosemary growing up in their loft! They sent me home with a bag of the fragrant leaves to add to my recipe.

Like Sarah, I have decided to create a comforting baked dish to warm us in this very cold and snowy winter. I have just a few more ingredients to buy at that distant supermarket to get ready for Thursday, see you then with the finished recipe!

-Stephanie