Photography by Carrie Turner
Words by Beth Richards and Jennifer Bakos
Our Monthly Makers series isn't just about people in New England who make 'things', but those who create them as well. Beth Richards and Carrie Turner are the co-founders of the subscription meal kit Local Baskit.
I was wandering the Bedford, New Hampshire Farmers' Market when I saw Beth's table set up. I honestly was drawn in by the photography and then wanted to know more as I approached. Like other meal kit services, you choose your meals and how big you want your kit to be to accommodate your household. What was great about this was that ingredients were sourced from my own state! It was so nice to see a kit that I knew would be supporting my community of farmers and business owners and that was deeply rooted in community support.
Beth gave me some insight on the background of Local Baskit and how it all came to be:
"I trace my love of farm fresh ingredients straight back to my great grandmother’s market basket, the one she carried to the Central Market in Lancaster, PA, each week, filling it to the brim with greens, fruits, and farm fresh eggs. (And the one in the pictures on the homepage of the website.) When my family moved to Iowa, Nanny’s cherished basket came with us. My parents discovered a love of organic gardening, and I fondly remember spending many hours with them weeding and tending the plants. Even as a picky eater, I savored the fresh beans, corn, and lettuces picked straight from our garden. Nanny’s basket became a carryall, tied to my bicycle handlebars so my sister and I could peddle our extra bounty to friends in our neighborhood. Fast forward to today, and Nanny's basket has been holding cooking magazines and favorite cookbooks in my home in New Hampshire. Her basket brought me back to my roots, my love of cooking and searching for new recipe to share and back to the happiness I felt being in the garden outside with my Dad and that I feel every day when we gather as a family around our dinner table.
I researched the meal kit concept for more than a year, knowing that there had to be a way for our local farms and food artisans to tap into this growing market trend. I started small and slowly last summer but quickly outgrew a shared space and opened our own Concord Marketplace in March, adding craft beer and wine sales as well as an expanding food specialty space."
"Local Baskit's core value is being Loyal to Local at every turn. Local ingredients, attending local farmers markets, supporting local food artisans and NH craft breweries and more. We hope our Marketplace space will become a community center space for wellness workshops, kids food crafts, kitchen skills classes and more - all with that local vibe. There are other special aspects of Local Baskit that demonstrate our community and local values: a member of our team is from The Moore Center in Manchester and we are proud to create an opportunity for people touched with development and intellectual disabilities as well as providing a number of our recycled packaging items to arts and STEM programs for reuse in a variety of ways. "
"Ah, New England. I was drawn here more than twenty five years ago visiting my best friend and her family who hailed from Maine. She and I were nannies Philadelphia at the time and escaped the summer heat with several memorable road trips where I experienced my first lobster, swam in swimming holes and hiked in the Whites. Then when she became ill, there were many special times spent at her parents cabin in New Hampshire and downeast in Maine. After she passed away it didn't take long for my husband and me to settle and start our family in New England. "
"So many New Hampshire food artisans and farm professionals have been very open and supportive from the beginning. When I was starting my initial outreach and wasn't quite sure where this was going to lead I received terrific counsel from Larry Pletcher, John Moulton and others. It was that spirit of cooperation at the start that was a key indicator of the potential for a local meal kit service. I can't always do all my ideas right away but I welcome working with others as we look to expand our local product offering in the Marketplace, create new programs and meal kit products and grow our farm partnerships, particularly in the seacoast area.
My favorite part of the business is talking with clients about the meal they created at home. What is the Julia Child quote? People who love to eat are always the best people? Or something like that? And that is what I find, our customers and partners are really the best people: they are loyal to local, are so supportive and open with feedback which helps us grow and create a great small business here at home. Yep, I am super lucky and pinch myself everyday that I can dream big, work hard and surround myself with good people that love food."
If you're interested in learning more about Local Baskit head to their website https://localbaskit.com
Check out their weekly subscriptions or pop into their new storefront for a pickup meal or to shop for some great local New Hampshire products! Also see what events are going on in the near future! https://shop.localbaskit.com