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2021: Our Annual Letter
01 Nov 2021
Maxine: Dear Friends, November 2021
Another year has sped by. In last year’s letter, I wrote about working on a vintage Kellogg’s® cereal box puzzle. I gave up on it; too little fun for the work; but my son, Cliff, finished it for me. I have a mystery puzzle on the table now; it holds clues to solve a murder mystery.
I didn’t work at Harman’s this past year, but I stuffed your envelopes and stamped postcards for the mailings. I do that on a table at home.
This past year gatherings & events were canceled; but Sugar Hill’s 128th annual Christmas party was held! It was a drive-by visit with Santa & his elves. All town children under twelve received a gift and the older crowd, like me, received a nice bag of delicious goodies.
Our family didn’t gather for Christmas but Cliff & Pauline made and delivered a beautiful Christmas Dinner for Brenda and me, complete with beautiful Christmas napkins! We had a few smaller family gatherings this year and more visits by phone.
Our spring daffodils were beautiful and the autumn colors were amazing, time went fast between the two. In July, the “Old Home Day” Parade was held in Franconia after being canceled the year before. I rode with Cliff in Sugar Hill’s 1939 Fire Truck, a tradition for over 20 years. I feed a variety of birds and had a pair of cardinals all summer. The bears stayed away but we had destructive squirrels. Cliff and Brenda trapped over 20 and released some as far as 20 miles away. We finally found scented granules to keep them away. Brenda planted a garden but with her health restrictions, it became a jungle. Some veggies grew in the weeds so we were able to make garden relish. Dawn, Lynne, Diane & Chuck shared from their gardens to keep us supplied with fresh vegetables (and fruit). Our raspberries produced enough for snacking and for jam making.
My grandson, Will, graduated from West Virginia University and is now a sports journalist in Wyoming. Sadly, this year; we lost my brother, Bob Gray at age 93.
Cliff: I kept busy in my first year of retirement. I handled our larger than normal cheese deliveries, packed a lot of your packages and delivered our Cheddar to other small stores in New Hampshire. Pauline also packed packages and helped out in the retail store. I mow a few local lawns and am active in our local Fire Department. Best thing about retirement was that Pauline and I went to a few Red Sox games at Fenway Park.
Brenda: Harman’s annual two week closure became two months. Unexpectedly, I needed a new aortic heart valve through open-heart surgery. Recovery was slow but I’m better than I have been in years. Days later, a friend received a heart valve with the same surgeon, through a leg artery. She was home the next day. Life isn’t fair! My cataract had to wait until August but now I have better sight, too. In the 1980s, I worked in Afghanistan so I had a few rough days as friends navigated evacuation and other friends face an unknown future. Afghanistan was my home for years, so this has been hard.
Harman’s News: Due to our small staff, we were only open 3 to 4 days a week this year, thankfully our customers still came. This autumn, our great crew put in overtime so we could be open every day for “leaf-peeping” season. The fall foliage was beautiful.
This year has had a few bumps. The Great Lakes Cheese Company is no longer able to store our cheese for 2 years, so we scrambled to find refrigerated storage for 28 tons of Cheese (at a reasonable cost). Thankfully friends in nearby Landaff had a refrigerated walk-in available for our 2020 and 2021 Cheddar. Our own walk-in is full with our 2019 Cheddar along with those special blocks of Cheddar that we age a few extra years.
Supply disruption, staffing shortages and price increases are taking a toll on several businesses that we work with. Genuine Local is unable to bake our Cheese Balls. J&M Foods stopped making Cheddar-Pecan Biscuits. Butternut Mt Farm discontinued their sugarless Fruit Spreads. Sugarbush Farm no longer offers Sage Cheddar but we picked up Crowley’s Sage Cheese as a substitute. Cabot Cheese will stop making Hot Habanero Cheese soon and that will end Fox Country Smokehouse’s Smoked Habanero. But as small, local businesses we are working together to do the best we can each day.
The Lupine & Autumn Celebrations were canceled, but we hosted a few artisans on weekends. We met Denis Desjardins of Vermont who does beautiful woodworking. We asked him to make our Cheese Mouse Boards, you will love his workmanship.
Employee News: Allie started working at Harmans in 2013 (age 15) and this year her other part-time job became full-time. We miss her but love that she is working in her desired field of media. Last holiday season, we only had 4 to 6 people working each day instead of our normal 8 to 12 people. Allie, Bev, Brendan, Carl, Cliff, Colleen, Emily, Kathy, Katie, Pauline, Patrick, and I did our best but we couldn’t keep up with your orders even with friends stopping to help. By Dec 1st, we had more holiday orders than we had in any other year. A smaller crew with more orders combined with shipping delays, meant many of you received your orders in January. We appreciate those of you who encouraged us through those long, tough days. By the end of the season, our crew had cut and wrapped over 9,000 lbs of Harman’s Cheddar and shipped out over 2,900 packages. We are planning & preparing for this season, but we lose Colleen in December as she goes to be with her daughter for the birth of Colleen’s first granddaughter.
The forecast for this holiday season predicts shipping delays and supply shortages.
Our crew is still small each day (some can only give us a few hours each week), so we appreciate early orders. We will try our best with every order. We gift wrap our items and include gift cards (or your personal cards) for the personal touch to every package. Please your order by November 11th for Hanukkah delivery and by November 29th for Christmas delivery.
We hope that you will be able to celebrate the holidays this year with family and friends.
We are looking forward to hearing your news from this past year.
Maxine, Brenda and Cliff Aldrich
All of us at Harman’s wish you a Healthy & Blessed Holiday Season with wishes for Joy in 2022
November SPECIAL: 6-year Aged Harman’s or 6-year Aged McCadam’s Cheddar
$16.95 per pound, Order must be shipped before Thanksgiving.
Limit 2 pounds total per Customer, Limited Amount Available