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November 2018: Maxine’s Annual Letter

Dear Friends,

Another year is coming to a close.  Much has happened since my last letter.

Last October, Brenda and I took a weekend off for a NH-Made Lake Winnipesaukee Cruise and to attend NH State Grange.   I broke my hip minutes before the cruise.   I spent the weekend in the hospital and had a partial hip replacement.  Brenda missed the cruise, too, and most of State Grange but did attend the Grange banquet as they honored Sugar Hill’s Chief Dave Wentworth as NH’s Grange Law Enforcement Officer of the year.

That same October weekend, Sugar Hill had a major rain and wind storm, felling trees all over town.  Most of Sugar Hill was without electricity, phones or internet for a week.  Harman’s lost power Sunday through Thursday; so if I had to be in Laconia, I picked a good time.   Harman’s was closed for the entire week due to the outages.





I stayed in Laconia for my rehab.  I received numerous cards, well wishes, and gifts, keeping me connected to everyone.  I even did a few puzzles while I was at the Rebab Center.  In November, I usually make jam for the Willing Workers annual Christmas Sale.  Diane Souther of  Apple Hill Farm  stepped in for me; making and donating a special Christmas jam for the sale along with pies and baked goods – they were so generous!  We wish they would add the Christmas jam to their list of regular jams because it was a delicious combination of cranberries and strawberries.





During rehab, Brenda and Dawn took me to the Christmas Light Show at NH’s Motor Speedway.  It was an amazing display of lights..  I returned home in early December and continued physical therapy through June.  My right hip healed well but now my left leg and knee have issues.  I do my exercises and attend Bone Builders exercise class to keep everything working.

It was a cold winter.  On January 1st, it was -33℉ at my house but on Dec. 28th, Mt. Washington hit a record low of -34℉ with sustained winds of over 100 mph creating a wind chill of -89℉.  I can’t even imagine how cold that felt.   Since I was not working at the store this winter, I did more puzzles.  Since last November, I have finished over 75 puzzles.

In January, my brother-in-law, Richard Aldrich, passed away at age 94.  Richard was a skiing soldier; served in WWII and Korea as part of the Army’s 87th Infantry Regiment of the 10th Mt Division.   In August, Brenda & I drove up Mt. Washington in the rain for the annual 10th Mountain Division Military Memorial Service as they honored all past and present soldiers that had died in the last year.   Richard was also a volunteer at the Elliot Hospital for 27 years from 1991-2018.  This Manchester Hospital dedicated the Hospital’s Veterans room to him and you can read about his legacy on the walls.  Soon, you will see Richard’s WWII Army skis at Polly’s Pancake Parlor.  He leaves a big hole in our lives.






In March, I finished an older puzzle given to me by my niece, Tuddie, back in January.  This puzzle of East Orange, Vermont shows my family’s home up the road behind the church.  I framed the puzzle and it now hangs in my kitchen.  Recently, Brenda and I visited East Orange.  My family’s home and the town’s businesses are gone, the fields are full of trees, but the Church is the same.

In June, my nieces, Barb & Wanda, joined my 85th birthday celebration.  Brenda arranged for a helicopter to pick us up and fly us around the area, landing at Polly’s Pancake Parlor for lunch.  In the evening, we topped the day off with dinner at the Inn at Sunset Hill.  And then in September; my son, Cliff, and I went up again in the helicopter to enjoy the beautiful foliage.






Also in September, my brother, Bob celebrated his 71st wedding anniversary with his wife, Hilda.  They are both 91 and staying active, living in their own home.  We have made a few trips to visit them and my other siblings this year as well as a trip to New York to visit my son, Bob, & Patty.

Brenda tried to have a garden but due to a dry spring, it didn’t produce as much as in past years.  We still had enough to eat and because the frost was late this year, we had plenty of tomatoes.  We made garden relish, bread & butter pickles, and tomato sauce.  The raspberries produced well, we froze them for future jam making and have already made several jars of jam including for the November Willing Workers Sale.   Harman’s had a box of bruised apples so I turned those into applesauce and spiced apple butter.

Harman’s News:  This year we had to divide our annual delivery of 28,325 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar (14 tons) into 2 deliveries in June and November.  We have grown to the point that we don’t have the space to have all 14 tons come at one time as our walk-in can only fit about 12 tons.     Part of the reason for the lack of space is that we have been saving some “extra” blocks of cheese and aging them longer.  In March of 2019, we are very pleased that we will be offering 5-year Aged Cheddar and a very limited amount of 10-year Aged Cheddar.  Watch for the postcard in the mail and also for the e-mail blast.

The other big news is that on Memorial Day, we started taking credit cards in the store.  That’s still an adjustment for us but since few customers carry cash, it was a necessary change. I wasn’t sure if I could make the change but I learned how to process a credit card at the cash register and have done a few successfully.

Employee News:  Carl & Valerie had their Hawaii vacation before the volcano eruptions. Shawna graduated from high school. She is taking online classes at my alma mater (now named Northern Vermont University) and working at Harman’s 4 days a week.  Past employee, Madeline Hansalik, married Travis Rooney this summer in Texas and they have started their life together in upstate New York.  Allie is at Plymouth State University and works 2 days each week.  Dawn switched back to part-time work but still puts in many hours. Sadly, we said “good-bye” to our next-door neighbors and employees, Sue and Phil, as they moved to Nevada.

New products in the Brochure:  We have added two new cheeses from Taylor Brothers, all made in New Hampshire: Colby Cheese with Dill and Colby Cheese with Rosemary and Red Pepper – both are delicious. Maxine’s Cheese Balls (Cheddar Cheese Biscuits) are back in the brochure.   We still send out the recipe in our little tradition brochure in every package we send but now you can buy them pre-made.   We have Local Honey from White Mountain Apiary.   The Orange/Cardamom Honey is superb.  Want “Christmas in a Jar”?  Try the Sour Cherry Spiced Wine Spread from Wozz! Kitchen Creations another great product from their expanding condiment selection and made locally..   Check out our web-store for more products that you won’t want to miss.   Coming soon: Zen Wooden Custom Puzzles. that we hope will be in-stock and available by December 1st.   We have chosen 4 photos by  local photographer, Chris Whiton:  Winter Sunset at Cannon Mountain, Sugar Hill Lupines, Franconia Notch in Autumn and the Hiking Trail at Mt. Haystack.  





2017 Holidays:   Last year our Holiday crew included Dawn, Carl, Carol Y, Carol R, Bev, Sue, Kathy, Lorie, and Shawna with Brenda and Valerie in the office.  To round out the crew, Polly’s Pancake Parlor shared Sarah and Stacey with us.  Allie, Rick and Phil ran errands, worked weekends and nights. This was the first holiday season that I wasn’t able to be up at the store although occasionally Brenda brought some work home for me to do.  This year I plan to be there part-time to help out.

During last year’s holiday season; we shipped 2,563 packages, cut and wrapped over 8,600 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar, and processed 1,695 orders.  On one of our busiest days, December 12th, our crew cut and gift-wrapped over 320 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar and also sent out 240 packages.  Pictured below Valerie on the phone, Bev wrapping cheese, Dawn & Carl packing your orders into boxes.







We enjoy hearing from you by mail, phone, e-mail, or in person when you visit.  We love reading your posts and seeing your photos on facebook.  During the holidays we gift wrap our items and include gift cards. Remember If you ordered last year, we have a record of your order with all the addresses..

2018 Holiday Season: For Delivery by Christmas, please order before December 12 as it does take us a few days to process and insert your order into our shipping queue.  It’s still November, but we already have over 500 packages scheduled for shipping and cyber Monday isn’t even here yet (normally we manage between 150 to 200 packages a day).  When choosing a delivery time for your package, please allow extra days for inevitable winter storms and power outage delays.   Even for Thanksgiving, we had some weather delays so winter has come in with wind, ice, sleet, and snow already!

But there is still plenty of time to order, let us take the hassle out of your holiday season; sit back and shop from the comfort of your home or office.

                                                                                                                                                                                                           Maxine Aldrich (and Brenda, too)


All of us at Harman’s  want to wish you a

Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!