November 2023 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 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.