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Maxine’s 2020 Annual Letter

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.

 

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2019: Maxine’s Annual Letter

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.

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.

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 televisionClick 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 Creation: Wild 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.

Allie Butterfield

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!

 

 

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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!

Posted on

November 2017: Maxine’s Annual Letter

Dear Friends,

We are approaching the end of another year. As I get older, time passes faster.  I work a bit less at the store so I have more time for puzzles.  This year I have completed 23 puzzles that range from 500 to 1500 pieces (and I gave up on one).  Some are finished in a day or two, but it took 3 months to complete this 1500 piece lupine puzzle that my sister gave me. Sometimes, I only found one piece a day so I did a few other puzzles at the same time. My friends, Alice & Amy, do puzzles, so we share them.  Family and friends give us puzzles.  On a trip to Apple Hill Farm, Brenda brought back several puzzles from them for the collection!  We haven’t run out, yet.

Besides puzzles, I’m active in the Grange and their Dictionary Project, Sugar Hill’s Willing Workers, and my college’s Vail Museum. I didn’t see as many theatre shows as last year, but I did see Hair Spray & Annie. Brenda took in a few more of the area’s shows.

I had a bit of excitement in March. My car caught fire between Polly’s Pancake Parlor and Harman’s Cheese.  It was losing power and just crawling up the hill.  My angel, Rick Ball, was following me up the road.  He saw the fire under the car and came to my rescue. He even saved the groceries in the back seat!  The car was a total loss as the engine completely burned.

In April, Brenda and I went to Texas to visit friends and my cousin Eva.  We toured the Hill Country back roads looking for Bluebonnets. Bluebonnets look like miniature Sugar Hill Lupines.  Here are some photos to compare the height.  Not everything is bigger in Texas!  We enjoyed our visit to  LBJ’s Ranch. We visited a few museums; including the sobering WWII Museum of the PacificTheatre.  My brother-in-law was a POW in Japan and never talked of it.   We also had a quick tour of Houston, visited the Alamo and made a stop at Buc-ee’s.  I also experienced my first tornado warning during the trip

Our annual delivery of 28,050 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar (14 tons) arrived while my son, Cliff, was on vacation from UPS.   He made the front page of our state newspaper. He was ok with the photo in Friday’s paper as it was small . . . but it was a teaser for the article in the Sunday paper. Sunday’s was much larger!  Click here for a link to the article

Our family got together to celebrate my grandson Will’s high school graduation. Will is a now a freshman at West Virginia University.  His brothers, Jake and Logan, are at NH colleges and Tommy is in 5th grade.  His sister, Victoria, is a CPA in Boston.

This summer, Brenda had a meeting in upstate New York that was close to my son’s home. I joined her to visit Bob & Patty and the family. I visited Thatcher State Park for a breath-taking panoramic view of the Hudson-Mohawk Valley, the Adirondacks, and Vermont’s Green Mountains

We joined my husband’s brother Richard (center), who served with the 10th Mt Division in WWII, at special events honoring those unique men and their contribution to the world. There is a memorial in Landaff (just a few miles from us) and another memorial at the top of Mt. Washington. Richard is in the light-colored jacket, front & center.

Brenda had a busy year, too. She took a last minute trip to North Carolina to view the eclipse with friends then to Florida for the IFYE (International 4-H Youth Exchange) conference. She was shocked twice this year when Butch & Char (Minnesota) and then Eldon & Elaine (Montana) showed up with no advance warning. She hadn’t seen them in years. She would like to remind friends that phones in Sugar Hill do work! She was also surprised when our local Rotary Club presented her with the Paul Harris Award for her community and global service. Here’s a link to that article.

Brenda had a garden but in July, it was flooded when the road washed away (over 4 inches of rain in one hour). Sugar Hill had several roads destroyed. Then we had almost no rain for 2 months. We had plenty of peppers, tomatoes, and corn but only one zucchini (in September). We canned & froze quite a bit. The raspberries were picked and are in the freezer waiting to be turned into jam.

Harman’s News: Harman’s had a make-over. It started in June, by replacing the 1918 clapboards and today the electrician is here, so it is still in process. We have had ladders, lumber, paint buckets, cement, carpenters, painters, plumbers and electricians around for months but we think the final result is worth it.

Our Mail Order: Unfortunately, we had to raise the shipping fees due to rising costs but we were able to keep most other prices the same. Our brochure now includes Fox Country Smokehouse Smoked Cheeses. The Smoked Gouda and Smoked Pepper Jack are the most popular. We added Apple Hill’s Strawberry and Raspberry Jams along with Moxie BBQ sauce. Check out our web-store for more products that you won’t want to miss: Burke Mt Confectionery Truffles and Süss Sweets Carümels.

Employee News: In February, Dawn joined us fulltime and has made a huge difference. Allie is at Plymouth State University and works part-time. Shawna is a senior at Lisbon High School but works afterschool and weekends. Pauline has returned to Harman’s part-time while Kelly left us for full-time work.  Sadly; past employee, Roxanne Busch (photo), lost her battle to cancer. Many of you remember her love for Temple University and for almost every sport.

Last year our Holiday Elves included Carl, Kelly, Carol, Beverly, Sue, Kathy, Lorie, and Shawna with Brenda and Valerie in the office. To round out the crew, Polly’s Pancake Parlor shared Sarah, Shanon, Danielle, Stacey, and Samantha with us.  Pauline was our basket-maker while Allie, Dawn, Rick, Madeline, Vincent and Phil ran errands, worked weekends &  nights to make sure everything got done. I filled in where ever I was needed.

During last year’s holiday season; we shipped 2,518 packages, cut and wrapped over 8,200 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar, and processed 1,100 orders. On December 9th, we cut and gift-wrapped over 400 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar and sent out 140 packages.

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.  When choosing a delivery time for your package, please 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!

Posted on

Nov. 2016: Maxine’s Annual Holiday Letter with Photos

ribbon-cutting
1981: Maxine & Bert Aldrich

Hello Everyone,

cropped-photo
NH House Representative Brad Bailey with Maxine, Cliff, Bob, & Brenda Aldrich

This has been another busy year for our store and for the Aldrich family.  This year was the 35th year of our ownership of Harman’s Cheese. The Harman’s owned it from 1955 to 1980 and we took ownership in 1981.  Back in May 1981, we had a ribbon-cutting.  We decided to duplicate that event on May 7th of this year with an open house.  Just like in 1981, the ladies of the Sugar Hill Willing Workers provided refreshments and a Sugar Hill Selectman spoke to start the day. Our favorite little band, Uncommon Folk, provided music for a festive atmosphere.  We saved a 10-year aged Harman’s Cheddar just for that day and it disappeared quickly.  We were presented with a NH Senate Resolution, a NH House of Representatives Declaration, and a Governor Councilor’s Citation recognizing our milestone of 35 years.  The icing on the cake was that  that the editors of Yankee Magazine honored us with  “Best Cheese & Crackers” in New Hampshire as part of their Best of New England issue.

This past ypuzzleear’s winter didn’t have much snow so not as much skiing for the family. I used the time to complete a few puzzles including one from my trip to the Grand Canyon.  That puzzle ice-castlefit nicely on the coffee table and with a piece of acrylic covering it: it is now a part of my home decor.  In February, a small group from Harman’s went to the Ice Castle in Lincoln, NH.  It is quite a feat to build this structure out of ice with lighting, fountains and even a slide.  Brenda managed a weekend trip to Florida to be with friends who worked with her in Afghanistan.  I also enjoyed watching the squirrel gymnastics at my bird feeders, so the winter passed quickly.

2016-tennessee-007In April, Brenda & I took a trip to Nashville. We spent a day at Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage.  Amazing parallels of his presidency with today’s politics and we really enjoyed the day there.  We also visited the Americanrooster-crop Picker’s store, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and went to a Grand Ole Opry Show  at the Ryman Theatre.  We went to Franklin for Civil War history.  We also had a lovely dinner with Seija and Annelli, friends of Brenda’s from her years in Afghanistan.  Upon returning home to NH, I found a huge rooster waiting for me.  A welcome home from my neighbors, I told them it crows quite loudly in the morning.

mom-bob-2Later in April, I walked the 5 mile Ammoonosuc Amble with my son, Bob. My friend, Harriet Taylor, and I both received medals for finishing in the “over 80” female group. We have been the only 2 in our age group for a few years and take turns on who will be first each year.

This summer, Brenda and I attended nine live theatre shows at the Weathervane Theatre, Jean’s Playhouse, and Opera North.  There were lots of good choices this year that included On Golden Pond, Mamma Mia, Driving Miss Daisy, Evita and more.

relish-2016We had a dry year in New Hampshire, so Brenda’s garden didn’t produce as much but we had plenty of cucumbers to pickle and made several batches of relish. Our beagle, Molly, enjoyed being i397900_4689633720141_1764286071_n1n the garden. This summer, after one last visit to the garden and one last chicken treat; her vet scratched Molly behind the ears and gently put her to sleep on our back porch. We still miss her as she was part of our lives for over 16 years.

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Grange Exhibit Gatekeeper

I am still active in the community. I am secretary for the Willing Workers, was on the Chamber of Commerce board (my term just ended) and am active in the Bath Grange. This year the Franconia Heritage Museum had an exhibit on the Grange that I was able to assist a bit with (Exhibit will be up in 2017, too). I am awardstill working in the Vail Museum at Lyndon State College.  This year at Lyndon State College’s homecoming, my friend Betty and I were given the Loyalty Award.  Brenda went with me and my son, Bob, and his wife, Patty, surprised me by being there to see me receive the award. 

helicopterEach year, Harman’s Cheese & Country Store hosts an Autumn Celebration. This event has an open-air market with concerts, speakers, and activities. Brenda organizes it and this year we had helicopter rides.  I went up with my friend, Ilja (who came from Florida). White Mountains Helicopter gave us wonderful ride over Sugar Hill and the autumn colors were great!  I think everyone should go up in a helicopter and I thank the folk at White Mountains Helicopter for giving me this photo to remember the trip by.

There was more that happened this year in our family and in the store, but if I tried to write it all, it wouldn’t fit in this letter.

Harman’s Employee News: Allie Butterfield and Marianne Hansalik graduated from Profile high school in June.  Marianne is at the University of Florida in Gainesville and Allie is at NH’s Plymouth State University.  Allie continues to work in the store on the weekends.  Shawna Schofield and Branden Blowey worked for us this summer.  Branden is  currently at Mount Ida College in Massachussets and Shawna is a junior at Lisbon High School.  She is working for us on Saturdays.  Recently, Kelly Burke returned to work with us again and Kathy Jablonski decided that retirement can include a few hours at Harman’s.  Polly’s Pancake Parlor’s winter hours lets Sarah, Danielle, Shanon and Stacey help us out over the holiday season.

The big news at Harman’s this year, besides the 35th anniversary, is that we rebuilt the Website, as you might of noticed since you are currently on the new site.

We have added a few new products to the webstore.  Last year’s response to the Blake Hill Marmalade encouraged us to add Classic Orange and Orange & Bourbon Marmalades.  I asked and they did it! Apple Hill Farm is now making a Sweet Pepper Jelly using their own apples as sweetener, it’s delicious on  Harman’s cheese.   For your sweet tooth, we have NH-Made Chocolate Rocks, available in both milk and dark chocolate. If you visit our webstore, you will find an assortment of Smoked Cheeses from Fox Country Smokehouse.

At the start of the 2015 Holiday season, Valerie’s husband, Carl joined our holiday team. Even with Polly’s Pancake Parlor being open year round, Sarah and Shanon found time for us as well as working for Polly’s.  Shanon’s daughter, Danielle, joined our crew, too.  The rest of the 271-christmas-packagesteam included Carol, Beverly, Sue, Valerie, Marianne, Allie, Lorie, Amanda, and Dawn   Ann, Rick, Pauline, Madeline, Vincent and Phil also help with errands, basket making and night or weekend cutting & wrapping.  Brenda processed orders and I filled in where needed. Over the holidays, we shipped 2,529 packages and sold over 8,900 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar.  On our busiest day: December 5th, we cut and gift-wrapped over 840 pounds of Harman’s Cheddar.

We enjoy hearing from you by mail, phone, e-mail, or in person when you visit. During the holidays we gift wrap our items and include gift cards. If you ordered last year, we will have a record of your order with your recipients’ addresses.

For Delivery by Christmas, please order before December 12 as it takes us a few days to process and insert your order into our shipping queue.  When choosing a delivery time for your package, please 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. 

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May 2016: Celebrating 35 Years of Aldrich Ownership

Aldrich family receives a declaration from the New Hampshire House of Representatives. (LtoR) Brad Bailey, Clifton Aldrich, Maxine Aldrich, William Robert "Bob"' Aldrich, Brenda Aldrich
Aldrich family receives a declaration from the New Hampshire House of Representatives. (LtoR) Brad Bailey, Clifton Aldrich, Maxine Aldrich, William Robert “Bob”‘ Aldrich, Brenda Aldrich

 

 

 

In May, the Aldrich Family celebrated 35 years of owning Harman’s Cheese.  We are so happy to be still carrying on the traditions that John & Kate Harman started back in 1955.  Thanks to all of you that joined us for the celebration.

 

 

 

 

 

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2012: Unloading the World’s Greatest Cheddar, with a little help from their friends

unloading-harmans-cheese

Harman’s Cheese & Country Store ships its “World’s Greatest Cheddar Cheese” to customers around the country and, sometimes, across the globe. A whopping 13 tons of Harman’s really aged cheddar leaves the store each year, either through customers who visit the small, red clapboard house tucked along Main Street or through mail order sales. We are grateful to the friends and neighbors that help with the annual unloading of the cheese.  Meghan McPhaul describes the experience here.

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2010: Sugar Hill Fire Department Processional for Albert Aldrich

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Albert “Bert” Aldrich, 1929-2010

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here to see the 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 Samantha Fixter Amey, Tom Bishop, John MacIver, and Gary Young. Video compiled by Lorna Colquhoun

Bert's dog Molly in the fire truck
Bert’s dog Molly in the fire truck