From Mac & Cheese to Farm & Forest

2/2/2013 7:00 AM
By Lorraine Merrill New Hampshire Agriculture Commissioner

The Third Annual Macaroni & Cheese Bake-Off was bigger than ever, with more than 750 mac & cheese fans lining up, with scorecards in hand, to sample the creative variations on this classic comfort food prepared by 28 competing cooks.

New Hampshire Made entrepreneurs displayed their wares for sale, and flavored and plain milk choices from three New Hampshire dairy farms were popular with attendees of all ages.

The cooks — including home cooks, professional chefs and firefighters — competed in five categories, and for the ultimate grand champion cheese board trophy.

This year’s big winner was Molly’s Restaurant of Hanover, and Chef Justin Hoyt’s Robie Farm Rigatoni, featuring three cheeses from Robie Farm in Piermont.

Doreen Morris took home top honors in the New Hampshire Made category for her sister and brother-in-law, Deb and Doug Erb, Landaff Creamery at Springvale Farms in Landaff. This was the Erb family’s second win in the NH Made category. Their recipe — which uses their own Landaff cheese, Cabot butter and Hatchland half-and-half — will be featured on the menu of Cotton restaurant in Manchester.

See all the winners and get their recipes at

Farm and Forest Expo

Exhibitors and workshop presenters are gearing up for the 30th Annual Farm & Forest Expo, slated for Feb. 8-9 at the Manchester Radisson. The theme is “Showcasing Success and Innovation.”

Jon Wraith, dean of University of New Hampshire College of Life Sciences and Agriculture, will welcome attendees to a Friday morning program highlighting research projects at the NH Agricultural Experiment Station geared to helping ensure future success and innovation for farming and forestry in our state and region. Audience members also will have time to provide input to researchers on their needs and challenges.

“From Forests to Fields: Ensuring Sustainable Production in a Changing Climate” will take place in the Pierce Room from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Soil scientist Stuart Grandy leads off with a talk on soil dynamics in changing environments, followed by forest ecophysiologist Heidi Asbjornsen on how climate change is affecting water resources in New England. She and graduate student Katie Jennings will present their research on the effects of nitrogen deposition and drought on forest health in the region.

Tom Lee will speak on invasive glossy buckthorn and forest management in New Hampshire and Kirk Broders and Isabel Munck of the U.S. Forest Service, Durham, will discuss White Pine Needle Damage (WPND), the emerging epidemic among eastern white pine in the Northeast.

The session starting at 11:15 a.m. leads off with Matthew Wallhead and Kirk Broders on integrated disease management strategies and improving disease forecast models for apples in the Northeast. Rich Smith will speak on forage species mixtures to increase productivity and extend the grazing season. Andre Brito will report on his research on methane emissions and milk production in organic Jersey cows fed flaxseed on pasture. The program concludes with an open discussion from noon to 12:30 p.m. for all in attendance on the challenges faced in ensuring sustainable agriculture and forest production.

New for the 30th anniversary of Farm & Forest is a photo booth where attendees can pose for photos with Max the Moose and Smokey Bear.

The program is packed with meetings and workshops for all interests. Follow the action on Facebook and Twitter, or visit the official website,

See you at Farm & Forest!

Lorraine is New Hampshire’s Commissioner of Agriculture, Markets & Food.

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