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!

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.

grange
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. 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

albert-bert-aldrich-1929-2010
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