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 year’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 fit 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.
In 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 American 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.
Later 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.
We 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 in 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.
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 still 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.
Each 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 team 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.