Annual Letter

Maxine:  As I review my memories, this year sped by. It started with our Christmas Adventure!  On December 23, Sugar Hill was hit with a horrific rain, sleet & wind storm.  Trees and power lines came down, roads were impassable, part of Harman’s roof peeled away and the power was out.  Brenda and I moved to Cliff & Pauline’s home because they have a house generator.  Cliff and Brenda kept the store’s portable generator going and filled the woodstove at my house to keep water pipes from freezing.  Power returned to the town over the next few days but most of us didn’t have power for Christmas Day.

I was glad to get home where I feed a variety of birds including cardinals.  In June, a young bear peered in the window at us but we must be scary because he never returned.

Folks made a fuss for my 90th birthday.  I received over 100 cards and had several parties. We had a family birthday BBQ and my grandsons even brought girlfriends to meet me.  On my birthday, Cliff drove me in the 1939 Fire Truck to a town birthday party where friends and family were waiting to greet me.

In August, we had our first Gray family gathering since covid with all my siblings and sister-in-law (Madeline, John, Flora and Hilda) along with some of the following generations.  My niece is already planning the next reunion!

I missed fall foliage because I spent almost 4 weeks recuperating from a fractured hip. I’m home now and waiting to stuff these letters into envelopes.  Here’s news on my kids:

Son Bob &  his wife, Patty: Bob continues to process computer data.  Patty struggles to decide when to start retirement after 48 years at her bank.  They enjoyed short trips including weekend visits to me, spending time with their grandchildren and their annual trip to the ocean.     
Son Steve & his wife, Nancy
: Steve and Nancy balance lives of work, family, friends, sports and relaxation. Victoria is a busy accountant.  Logan continues his electrical training.  Jake is searching for a data job while being a tech recruiter. Will is a freelance sports writer in Pittsburgh and Tommy is a high school junior, just now finishing another soccer season.

Cliff:  Twice a month, I deliver Harman’s wholesale orders to NH businesses, such as Seven Birches Winery and Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant Store.  I also maintain Harman’s grounds, mowing grass or shoveling snow. During busy shipping days, Carl and I will pack your orders.  This year I became a certified EMR as part of our Fire Dept’s first responders team.  Pauline was at Harman’s cash register during busy lupine, foliage and holiday weekends.  This holiday season, she’ll also help gift wrap.  We both went to some Red Sox games, but our presence didn’t help them win.  We enjoyed our trip to Florida especially because we missed the frigid weather that came in as we flew out.  It was in the minus 20’s with a windchill making it feel like the minus 40’s!

Brenda:  I was here for that frigid weather and have never been that cold in my entire life!  In April, I had my rotator cuff repaired.  During healing, my employees made sure I didn’t overdo it and my physical therapy friends made sure I did exercises!  I was only able to take care of a small container garden, but Apple Hill Farm sent us garden-fresh vegetables to enjoy.  They sent up enough so that I made garden relish and Bread & Butter pickles. The timing was perfect because we were down to our last jar of relish!

Harman’s News:

This year we were open 7 days a week from Memorial Day to mid-October.  We were very thankful for the extra hours our team gave so that many of you could stop by.  In November & December, we dedicate Tuesday & Wednesday for mail-order and shipping, so the store will be closed to customers on those days.  We are also closed on Sundays.

Our costs increased for products, utilities and wages; but we try to offer you the lowest price that we can.  Our Cheddar went up over 30% and we absorbed some of that. UPS ground rates increased but air rates went down, which is a plus for our distant customers.
We have a few new products: White Mt Scene and Cat-shaped cutting boards. Wozz just came out with Winter Spiced Fruits & Honey Confit, which I know will be delicious on a holiday ham! Visit our Webstore for more items, including our holiday candy:  Ribbon Candy, Reindeer Chocolate and Marshmallow Toppers.

Carl packing cheese in priority mail boxes.

Employee News:  Our holiday crew of Beverly, Carl, Cliff, Colleen, Elaine, Harper, Jen, Jill, Kathy, Nancy, Pauline, Wanda, and Brenda were stretched thin last year as on some days only 4 of us were working.  All of the crew, with the exception of Brenda, are part-time and fit their hours at Harman’s around their own busy schedules.  Between mid-November and mid-January, the crew cut and wrapped over 8,000 pounds of Cheddar and packed and shipped over 2,220 packages! Holiday cookies and Carl’s crock-pot lunches kept the team’s energy up!

Sue Rysanek

Sadly, we had another passing this year.  Sue Rysanek lived next door to Harman’s until her move to Nevada in 2018.  From 2009 to 2018, she was a big part of Harman’s (and Sugar Hill).  If she saw a bus or too many cars, she would come right over to help us. She hosted our employee elf parties, hosted brochure stuffing parties and if Brenda was working too much, she would send over a meal or snack.  She was a special lady.


This Holiday Season: We gift wrap our items and include gift cards (or your cards) to give a personal touch to every package.  You may order via the webstore, by e-mail, in person or by phone.  By phone, please call and leave your number then we will call you back to take the order.  Our ordering deadlines:
November 26th for delivery during Hanukkah

                       December 7th for delivery before Christmas

                       December 10th for delivery before New Year’s Eve

If you miss a deadline, we try to get your order out as soon as we can. We post our order processing progress on our website in the Shipping Update section.  You can check how close we are to your order by your order number or by the date you placed your order.

Newsletter and Annual Letter:  There are 3 ways to receive this letter and notification of our spring sale, which is when we will offer 5-year and 10-year aged Cheddar.

By E-Mail: Sign up at the bottom of the www.harmanscheese.com page.
By Mail Post: Contact us by phone, mail, or e-mail to stay on the mailing list.
Posted on our Website: View in the “Our Story” and “Current Newsletter” sections

We wish you a Happy Holiday Season and also the time to enjoy it! 

– Maxine, Brenda and Cliff Aldrich

Order by November 22nd
Receive a FREE pound of Harman’s Cheddar.
We will add the gift cheese to the order you specify.
Limit: 1 per customer
No coupon code needed.

November 2022

Maxine:  Dear Friends, time still moves quickly. I keep my hand in the happenings at Harman’s by stuffing envelopes and stamping postcards from the comfort of my home. This spring, I switched from jigsaw to word puzzles, but the jigsaw puzzle table is set up with a difficult puzzle of my college, waiting for me.  It’s a puzzle of a black & white photo, so the pieces all look similar.   I fed a variety of birds, Cardinals, Hummingbirds, Finches, Woodpeckers and a squirrel or two.  The bears starting looking in our windows, so we stopped feeding all but the hummingbirds.

Brenda and Cliff drove me to Vermont for my June birthday and all my siblings were finally together for a visit. There are 5 of us now . . . the oldest is my sister-in-law, Hilda at 95; then me, my sister Madeline, my brother John, and my sister Flora.  I took my annual ride with Cliff in the Fire Truck for Franconia’s Old Home Day Parade.  In September; Cliff, Brenda and my college friend Jackie, went with me to Lyndon State College’s homecoming.  The Manor Vail Society honored me (and my friend Betty) by placing a plaque in the college museum to thank us for our dedication to the museum and recording its inventory.

Thankfully, we were able to enjoy family visits this year. We are looking forward to a full family gathering at Christmas. Here are some of my family’s highlights and then Cliff & Brenda add their updates to this letter.

 

Bob & Patty

Son Bob & Patty: Bob’s work processed Covid data for New York State.  Patty reached an amazing milestone, working 47 years for the same bank.  When the COVID restrictions eased up, they enjoyed spring bus tip to Boston to tour downtown, visit the aquarium and sample the cuisine of the North End.  This year, they opted to enjoy what New York State has to offer.  They visited western NY, the Finger Lakes region, and the state parks at Watkins-Glen and Letchworth.   They make time for their grandchildren.  Bella and Alissa are in high school and enjoy track.  Their brother, Weston is in 2nd grade and has an electric bike that keeps him going.  Their other grandson, Nolan in in 3rd grade and this fall, played baseball.

Son Steve & Nancy: Steve has been at Granite State Development Corporation, a non-profit lender, 28 years; and he’s my youngest child!  His wife, Nancy is busy keeping up with the family but finds time for 5:30 am outdoor workouts, 2 times a week (all year round).  Victoria started a new accounting job in Boston.  Logan will be starting electrical training at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in early 2023.   Jake is a Tech recruiter while taking Data courses and still is working remotely.  Will moved to Ohio this spring to be a MLB sportswriter for the Cincinnati Reds.  Youngest son, Tommy is in 10th grade and just finished his soccer season and soon will start basketball.

Cliff’s delivery to The Common Man Company Store included a visit with Bear.

Cliff:  I continue to handle our 40lb cheese blocks from our rented refrigeration to the store.  The store’s walk-in cooler holds about 10 tons but we order and sell 15-16 tons a year.  Thirty five years at UPS still comes in handy because I deliver the wholesale orders to NH businesses, such as The Common Man Company Store and the Apple Hill Farm Stand.  I pack your orders during the holiday season or whenever needed. Active in our local volunteer Fire Department and enjoy looking after our refurbished 1939 #2 Fire Truck.  Maybe you have seen it parked on the museum lawn across from Harman’s. Pauline continues to help in the retail store and especially enjoys the busy Lupine and Foliage seasons.  A real challenge!  She’s always available to taste-test new products or find a new product for the store.  We enjoyed a few Red Sox games, beach get-a-ways and a long awaited trip to The Big E Fair. We’re looking forward to our trip to Florida this winter.

Brenda:  It seems that my life revolved around the store, physical therapy and doctors’ appointments and I’m reasonably healthy!!  I have a torn rotator cuff, so the employees watch me like a hawk.  I did one wholesale trip and Cliff had warned folks to not let me lift the boxes! Surgery will be this winter.  Cliff helped plant our garden.  We had a bumper crop of peas, but the rest went to weeds.  I had a container garden for cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant. We ate well but no canning or pickle-making this year.

 

Harman’s News:  Staffing continues to be the biggest challenge for small businesses. Thankfully in February, we had the staff to open 4 days a week and in June, opened 7 days a week. It was good to see so many customers who hadn’t visited in a while.

Supply disruption and price increases continue, often without any advance notice.  Some products may sell out quickly, so please order early.  We take each day as it comes.

Genuine Local is baking Cheese Balls, again, and we should have plenty. For those of you who like heat, we now stock the popular Sugar Bob’s Maple Srirachas.

Our webstore lists more products, including handmade items. Linda Lomasney’s woven baskets are perfect for the NH Breakfast gift.  If Carl has time in his workshop, we will offer his wood-turned pens, pizza cutters and cheese knives.

Photo: Carol wrapping cheese with Carl.

Employee News:  We had a large holiday crew last year with Bev, Carl, Cliff, Colleen, Elaine, Elijah, Harper, Jen, Jill, Kathy, Nancy, Monica, Pauline, Tess, Webb and me (Brenda).  Everyone wasn’t available for the whole season, but we still managed to have at least 5 of us working on most days.  It was the first holiday season for half the crew, who were a bit overwhelmed at how busy we were.  We cut and wrapped over 9,000 lbs of Cheddar and shipped out over 2,200 packages during the holidays.

On a sadder note, we lost Carol Young last year, right before the holidays.  She started working here over 40 years ago, when the Harmans owned the store. We miss her and her holiday sweaters! Her granddaughter, Shelby, worked here this summer.

This Holiday Season
To avoid shipping delays, our small crew appreciates your early orders.  We gift wrap our items and include gift cards (or your cards) for the personal touch to every package.

Ordering Deadlines:
     November 14th for delivery before Thanksgiving
     November 28th for delivery during Hanukkah
     December 5th for delivery before Christmas
     December 12th for delivery before New Year’s Eve
If you miss a deadline, we do our best to get the order out as soon as we can.

Newsletter and Brochure Update:  With the high costs of postage and printing, we are paring down our mailing list for this annual letter and the spring postcard. We are offering 3 ways to receive this letter and the notification of our spring sale.

By E-Mail: Sign up at the bottom of the www.harmanscheese.com page.
By Mail Post: Contact us by phone, mail, or e-mail to stay on the mailing list.
Posted on our Website: For those of you who wish to keep mailboxes a bit emptier.

We wish you a Happy Holiday Season and May 2023 be a Year of Hope for us all.
                                                                                                                            – Maxine, Brenda and Cliff Aldrich

Order by November 18th
Receive a FREE pound of Harman’s Cheddar.
We will add the cheese to your package.
Limit: 1 per customer.
No coupon code needed.

October 6, 2010 video of the Sugar Hill Fire Department Honor Guard & Processional for former Fire Chief, Albert A. Aldrich with other local Fire Departments. Music: “Will the Circle be Unbroken” performed at the Memorial Service by Paul Amey, Samantha Fixter Amey, Tom Bishop, John MacIver, and Gary Young.

Video compiled by Lorna Colquhoun

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

 

Dear Friends,

The years seem to go faster, the older you get!  I’m not sure where time goes and what I do with it.  I have not worked much at the store this year.  I did puzzles and finished a challenging Cathedral Window puzzle, seven months after I started it.  I have another tough one still on the table, that I started in March of vintage Kellogg cereal boxes.   Lately, I have been enjoying reading books more than puzzling.

Covid put a halt to my community activities as it has for many of you.  Now the phone or computer links me to my family, doctors, church, and even bone builder exercise groups.  Covid certainly put its mark on this year. While many public events were cancelled; we created others, like graduation parades and I even had a drive-by birthday celebration.

Health-wise, it has been a tough year.  In December, I shocked my doctors by having strep throat. According to the doctors, you don’t get strep at my age.  After I recovered, I resumed physical therapy for balance and to work my new knee but Covid stopped PT.  In July, I fell and fractured my hip, thankfully the bones mended quickly without surgery. My leg still bothers me but I walk, exercise and ride my stationary bike.  In January, Brenda had eye surgery for a macular hole.  After surgery, Brenda had to spend 2 weeks flat on her stomach with only 15 minute breaks, and the next 2 weeks flat on her stomach for at least 4 hours a day and all night.  Thankfully, my niece, Wanda, came from Nebraska to live with us during Brenda’s recovery.

Family News: Sadly, this year; I lost two sisters-in-law, Irene Gray & Doris Gray.  My oldes t brother, Bob Gray, and his wife, Hilda, are doing well; still living on their own at age 93 and married for 73 years. My grandsons, Tommy and Will, experienced remote learning as Covid closed Oyster River School & West Virginia University. Their sister, Victoria, was working in the UK during England’s Covid lock-down.  My son, Cliff, retired this year after 35 years with UPS.  In his first week of retirement, he was running errands for Harman’s and for me as well as organizing our 7-ton Cheddar delivery!

Wildlife: The wildlife actually liked this crazy, covid year, with less traffic you saw more wildlife all day long.  We had various birds, turkeys, hummingbirds, a hawk, porcupines, coydogs (coyotes), deer and bear.  A bit too much wildlife for Brenda.   Our local bear raided the bird feeders and hummingbird feeders during the day, so I had to stop feeding the birds.  With no bird feeders to raid, he discovered ice cream.  He destroyed the locked ice cream freezer on Harman’s front porch.  The next night, he returned and broke a 2nd story window to enter the store.  He tried a few things but discarded them until he found the ice cream; he licked the wrappers so clean you would of thought they hadn’t been used.  After ice cream, he poked a claw in a maple syrup jug, making a sticky mess all over the store before he left.  On the 3rd day, he watched as Fish & Game set up a trap which Brenda made sure had ice cream in it.  Later that evening while Brenda was still at the store, he walked right into the trap for his ice cream fix.

Our Garden:  Weather and wildlife took a toll on Brenda’s garden.  Our last big snow (over 6 inches) was on May 9th and our first big snow (over 6 inches) was October 17th. It’s a short growing season and this year it was also dry.  The peas, carrots, lettuce, and onions didn’t grow.  The wildlife got all the corn except for 4 ears.  The new local bear checked the garden often, although I think the porcupine ate most of the corn.  We had plenty of cucumbers, cabbage, beans, tomatoes and way too many yellow summer squash.  Brenda made pickles & relish, canned beans, and put up plenty of tomato sauce.

Harman’s News:  This was our 65th year and we redefined ourselves.  In March, we teamed with local businesses to provide grocery services to local customers. Polly’s Pancake Parlor made bread & baked goods, Apple Hill provided farm fresh vegetables & fruits, local meat producers, dairy distributors, and a small grocery store joined in.  It kept small businesses going and helped customers that were quarantining.  It didn’t stop there, customers rounded up their payments.  We used those extra funds to help food pantries, pre-schools, other small businesses, Iowa farmers after the devastating storms and to feed Afghan families when there was no work due to Covid.  In August, the Executive Council of NH recognized the Grocery Box Project with a letter of thanks.

During this year, we had to balance our obligations to mail-order and in-house customers so we reduced store hours so that we had dedicated days for shipping and dedicated days to having the store open for customers.   It’s been a learning curve and we are still developing it. We also built a curbside webstore so when you order by mail-order, please make sure you are in the correct webstore.  You’ll find a few missing products this year due to Covid but we have also added a few new products.

Jane and Shawna

Employee News:  It’s been a tough year. The holiday crew last year included Allie, Bev, Carl, Carol, Chelsea, Colleen, Dawn, Jane, Kathy, Kelly, Shawna with Brenda & Valerie in the office. Chelsea was here for just for a few weeks as she was preparing to take her PT exam (which she passed).  Early in 2020, Jane was diagnosed with a brain tumor and her daughter, Shawna, left Harman’s to be with her mom. Sadly Jane passed in June.  Shawna decided to pursue nursing and will earn her LNA this month.  In March, Valerie left to be with her Mom full-time.   Covid has impacted our team as many of us are high risk or live with high risk family.  Kelly, Kathy and Allie kept us going through tough times.  Carl & Colleen stepped in when those 3 needed to step away or reduce hours.  We are building a new team for this holiday season.  Carl is thrilled that he isn’t the only male in the building as Brendan is here now and Cliff is around occasionally.

We want to thank so many of you that have supported Harman’s and our team through this year with your business, kind words, and general encouragement. You have made the days much easier for all of us.

During this holiday season, we will do our best to give you the best customer service that we are able to.  We will gift wrap our items and include gift cards. If you ordered last year, we have a record of your order with all the addresses. We will have a smaller team this season as we want to keep everyone safe, so it may take us longer to fill your orders. Please order by December 6 for Christmas delivery.  Order by Nov. 24 (Tuesday), for a free gift.

Maxine Aldrich (and Brenda, too) 

All of us at Harman’s do wish you a Safe, Healthy & Joyful Holiday Season
with wishes for a Better Year in 2021

Order by November 24nd to receive a Free Pound of Harman’s Cheddar*
*Limit One per Customer, must be included in existing order, not shipped separately.

Dear Friends,

Another busy year is ending. I work less at the store and spend more time at home doing puzzles.  Brenda estimates that I completed over 50 puzzles since last November.

Christmas Day: I completed the Zen Wooden Lupine Puzzle.  It was a challenge.

A uniquely shaped puzzle.

The summer puzzle that is still in the works.

Besides puzzles, I’m active in the Grange and still do the dictionary project.  I take dictionaries to 3rd graders in the Lafayette and Bethlehem schools.  Other grange members deliver them in Bath, Lisbon and Landaff. The Willing Workers Association and my college’s Vail Museum also get some of my volunteer time.  I am part of a Bone Builders group and we do a bit more than exercise.

This summer, I had a knee replacement, went to Rehab, and had physical therapy.  I’m working to improve my balance and use of the knee but it has curtailed some of my activities this year.

2018 Family Christmas. Back row – Grandson Jake, Grandson Logan, daughter-in-law Nancy, Grandson Will, daughter-in-law Patty, son Bob, Son Steve. Front Row – daughter Brenda, myself, grandson Tommy, son Cliff, daughter-in-law Pauline

Family News: This year my grandson, Jake, graduated from Plymouth State University with a business degree.  My grandchildren are growing up and the youngest, Tommy, is now in the 7th grade.

Sadly; my youngest brother, Melvin Gray, and my sister-in-law, Edith Aldrich, passed away this year.  Edith was town clerk for Sugar Hill for 35 years and one of our town’s original officers in 1962.

Edith with her grand-daughter.

My Siblings: Older brother Bob, myself, Madeline, Melvin, Flora and my younger brother John is missing from this photo. I was one of 11 siblings.

Richard’s daughter, Linda, and myself at Polly’s Pancake Parlor

 

This spring, Polly’s Pancake Parlor put on display the WWII 10th Mt Division skis and ski boots that belonged to my husband’s brother, Richard.  Richard wasn’t that tall but his skis are.

Our museum had a quilt exhibit this year that included an antique signature quilt with a block signed by my husband’s great-grandmother, Ada Harding Aldrich.  The museum also exhibited quilts made by my daughter Brenda and niece Barbara to show that the Aldrich family still quilts.

 

Special Events: The ladies of the town’s Willing Workers Society surprised me by renaming their High School Scholarship in my honor, The Maxine Aldrich Education Merit Award.  We gave out three awards this year and I was able to present them.

In July, I was the Grand Marshall of the Old Home Day parade in Franconia.  My son, Cliff, drove me in Sugar Hill’s antique fire truck until the truck overheated.  Men in the crowd pushed us past the reviewing stand but we had to sit out the rest of the parade.

 

Later this month, the Franconia Notch Regional Chamber of Commerce is presenting me with the Northern Star Award to recognize my contribution to business and tourism in our area.

Wildlife: We had lots: turkeys, birds, bear and deer.  I had an owl visitor that sat on my porch railing and in my apple tree for 3 days. Neighbors stopped by to admire him. We had so many birds that we fed them all summer.  Not only that, but we had to get my bird books out to identify them.  Our squirrel-proof bird feeders also proved bear-proof, so the bear scattered Brenda’s garden tools around.

One morning, there was a ruckus in our chimney.  Brenda cautiously investigated with her camera as it was hissing like a snake.  It was a Merganser Duck with a needle-like beak.  The duck was probably warming itself on the chimney and fell, the chimney is now capped!  The police removed a very angry, hissing duck.  Lots of duct tape was put on the carrying box as that beak was being wielded like a sword.  The incident went viral when our police chief wrote a facebook post about the capture & release that spread to newspapers and even to the television.  Click on the previous links to see the posts and tv spot.

Our Garden:  Brenda got the garden in very, very late. We grew enough to make our pickles and relishes but other vegetables didn’t grow well.  We had our first and last picking of corn on September 18th due to frost. The raspberries did well so we will have jam.

Visitors:  Brenda had several visits from colleagues she worked with when she was overseas.  Some stayed for hours and a few for days.  Unfortunately some of her friends don’t give advance notice so she misses them (hint!).  Karen, Ruth and Joan from the UK came to visit.  They wanted to see the lupine and wildlife.  In three days they saw bear, moose, turkeys and more.  Most of our visitors join us at Polly’s Pancake Parlor.  Karen, Ruth & Joan wanted the same meal they had on their last visit which was 29 years ago, so then we had to go back the next day to try something new.

Harman’s News:  This year, we divided our delivery of 28,585 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar (14 tons) into 2 deliveries in June and October.  We couldn’t do this without friends who help with the unload, even in the rain!  Their willingness to do this enables us to use part of our cooler to extra-age some of our Cheddar.   In March 2020, we will offer 5-year Aged Cheddar and a very limited amount of 10-year Aged Cheddar.  Watch for the postcard to come to your mailbox!

Sunny June Delivery

Rainy October Delivery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New products:  The customers of Rick LeBlanc’s family catering business urged him to offer his  Maple BBQ and Maple Bacon BBQ to the public. Now we bring this superb BBQ sauce to you! New Hampshire’s Little Acre Balsamic Fig Mustard has returned and is as delicious as ever, try it on a slice of Harman’s Cheddar!   Check out our web-store for more products including a limited offer of a new Wozz Kitchen CreationWild Blueberry Maple Walnut Compote, delicious on your meats or paired with Harman’s Cheddar.  And Apple Hill Farm has made a limited supply of the Christmas Jam they made a few years ago to help me out when I couldn’t make jam for the ladies Christmas Sale in town.  It’s a delicious mixture of cranberries and strawberries.

Employee News:  Allie graduated from Plymouth State University, summa cum laude.  She is working in media but still works Saturdays for us.  Shawna now works with the Franconia Notch Park, but also comes in to help.  We enjoyed having Steve work with us this summer, now he has returned to teaching.  Kim, one of our maple producers (Old Man Maple) joined us and it is great to have her maple expertise.  Kelly rejoined our team and brought along her sister-in-law, Colleen.  Dawn is here most weekends and many of our Holiday crew fill in during the year as needed.

 

Last year our Holiday crew included Allie, Bev, Carl, Carol Y, Dawn, Don, Donna, Jane, Kathy, Pauline and Shawna with Brenda and Valerie in the office.  They worked weekdays, weekends, nights and ran errands to get it all done on time.  I wasn’t able to be up at the store fulltime but I did put in as many hours as I could.  Mid-November through mid-January, our crew shipped 2,410 packages, cut and wrapped over 7,880 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar and processed 1,798 orders. On December 18th, our crew cut and gift-wrapped over 280 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar and still sent out 271 packages.  Here’s a few photos from our holiday season.

 

 

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. If you ordered last year, we have a record of your order with all the addresses.

For Delivery by Christmas, please order before December 11 as it takes us a few days to process and insert your order into our shipping queue.  Please order early and allow extra days for inevitable winter storms and power outage delays.   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 wish you a
Joyous Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!