From the Editor | Late Spring 2017
A unified body of individuals. That’s what we strive to celebrate at edible. Our stories explore pockets of community within the larger, burgeoning local food movement happening in New Hampshire. In this issue specifically we cover New Hampshire’s many farmers’ markets, aquaculture happening on the Seacoast, pick-your-own culture, and a marketplace that gives farmers a landing site for their hard-earned produce. We spend a lot of time looking at our regional food system from the perspective of you, the consumer. We’ve always encouraged talking to the farmer at the market, asking questions about the produce or poultry, purchasing a CSA to support farmers during the planting season, and shopping local to support our state’s economic growth. We talk extensively about making sustainable living easier on busy families and how to take the stress out of cooking at home.
What we don’t talk about often enough is the community of individuals who dedicate their energy to local food in the culinary setting. Individuals who work in the service industry, whether that’s foraging responsibly for busy chefs, brewing craft beer, or cooking on line at any one of our many New Hampshire restaurants. They’re folks who might not be at market at 8AM every Saturday because they closed the restaurant at midnight the night before, but they’re folks who have dedicated their lives to food and food service. They live humble lives, yet rewarding ones, supported indefinitely by the unified body of individuals who share in the unique experience of a life dedicated to culinary culture.
In my own 13 years of service industry experience, I continue to find a sense of community that makes the good days a gift and the bad ones worthwhile. I’ve always had a tribe of fellow servers and bartenders to turn to in any circumstance. While some of us are wholly dedicated to ensuring that local products, services, and farms are utilized at every possible opportunity, some places aren’t there yet. That’s why edible is here in the first place; to facilitate that growth. We’re happy to say that it’s becoming more common to find local beer or spirits on any given New Hampshire menu, and our good friends at Three River Farmers Alliance are making it easier for restaurants to explore using local produce with every passing season. But at the end of a long, busy weekend, most service industry folks want the same thing: a cold beer (local, or not) and a community of people to validate their work.
That could always be found at The State Street Saloon in Portsmouth. Although their menu didn’t boast the name of every farm within twenty miles, it was where the locals went for friendship and folly (and a $6.99 lobster roll). When the building burned to the ground this past April, New Hampshire’s Seacoast community was rattled to its core. Though, thankfully, no lives were lost, hospitality professionals lost their homes in the apartments above The Statey, their jobs within The Statey, and the comfort of a long standing Portsmouth landmark.
Immediately, local restaurants opened their doors to employees who needed jobs, offered complimentary meals with proof of residency or employment, and fundraiser upon fundraiser was held to ensure that although some people lost everything, they didn’t lose what The State Street Saloon stood for: community.
While the future of the space at the corner of State and Pleasant is uncertain, what’s clear is the strong, unified camaraderie of our Seacoast hospitality professionals and those who support them. Together, we form the perfect example of an edible community, dedicated to local food and each other. In the coming months, we can all continue to help by spreading the word and our dollars just a little further in support of area restaurants and the unity that they stand for.
In solidarity: Statey Strong.