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From bacon to garlic to gourmet chocolates, there’s a lot to like about N.H. goods

There is popcorn, and then there is PopZup — big, crunchy, fresh, flavor-filled popcorn! The family-owned business, located in Dover, N.H., produces a non-GMO and gluten-free product using popcorn kernels, butter, and cheese from local farms.
There is popcorn, and then there is PopZup — big, crunchy, fresh, flavor-filled popcorn! The family-owned business, located in Dover, N.H., produces a non-GMO and gluten-free product using popcorn kernels, butter, and cheese from local farms.PopZup

The Live Free or Die state is also the Live Free and Create state. The entrepreneurial spirit thrives in the Granite State, which has long been known for its independent soul. (Did you know that New Hampshire was first state to declare its independence from England?) Hundreds of small businesses throughout the state, born from an idea and a passion, provide one-of-a-kind services and products. And during this COVID-19 pandemic crisis, they could sure use your support with online orders. Here are seven of our favorites. You’ll find more at www.nhmade.com.

North Country Smokehouse

Oh, bacon how we love thee. And, after trying the North Country Smokehouse’s applewood variety, we’re ruined. No surprise that it was voted The Best Bacon in America by Food & Wine and America’s Top 10 Best Bacons by Men’s Journal. It’s not cheap — one pound will set you back $19 — but if you’re eating bacon, you might as well splurge for the best.

The business goes back three generations, when Abraham Satzow, an old-world butcher, sold meat from a horse-drawn wooden cart to his New Hampshire neighbors. Today, his grandson Michael Satzow uses the same, traditional techniques and curing recipes for his top-selling bacon, sausages, and other meats, in a new state-of-the-art facility in Claremont, N.H. 603-542-8323, www.ncsmokehouse.com

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Backyard Garlic

“It is a blast!” says co-owner Rebecca Hennessy of this Portsmouth-based enterprise. “A hard, tricky, small food business blast.”

Hennessy met Margaret Witham on an ultimate Frisbee field, became friends, helped their kids set up an elementary school garden, met “The Garlic Guy” (Don Womack who owns Lindon Garlic Farm in Gilmanton, N.H.) and planted their first garlic seed in 2015. In 2016, they started Backyard Garlic. Today, they work with four local garlic farmers to keep up with demand for their delicious, robust dehydrated garlic, a blend made from seven to 10 varieties grown each year. It comes in a 1.5-ounce tabletop grinder ($12, refills $10), that we guarantee will find a permanent place on your table. 603-498-9416, www.backyardgarlic.farm

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Frye’s Measure Mill

This water-powered mill in Wilton, N.H., recently listed on the National Register of Historic Places, once produced some of the country’s oldest woodenware. Today, it still offers meticulously crafted round and oval pantry boxes, measures, and piggins using much of the original machinery.

They also offer authentically reproduced and historically documented Shaker boxes, originally used as standard units of measure for business and barter. They’re simple and beautiful, made from native maple, hand-bent around wooden shaping molds, and fastened with copper tacks. The smallest size, a three-inch round Colonial box, costs $29. 603-654-6581, www.fryesmeasuremill.com

PopZup Popcorn

There is popcorn, and then there is PopZup — big, crunchy, fresh, flavor-filled popcorn! We picked up our first popper and bag of kernels at a local farmers’ market, and haven’t thought of buying any other popcorn since. It’s become one of our favorite snacks.

The family-owned business, located in Dover, N.H., produces a non-GMO and gluten-free product using popcorn kernels, butter and cheese from local farms. Here’s how it works: you purchase the specially-crafted, all-natural PopZup Popper, designed to vent steam, resulting in crunchier popcorn ($15). It’s good for 12 uses, and comes with 12 bags of kernels, the equivalent of about 30 quarts of popcorn. Traditionalists can drizzle with butter and salt; others can experiment with the company’s line-up of all-natural seasonings ($6.25 for a 3.5-ounce jar), including blends such as the Sweet Sriracha Chili, Applewood Smoked Maple and Salted Caramel. If that sounds like too much of a commitment, you can purchase PopZup Hand Popped & Seasoned Popcorn ($15 for a 3-bag assortment). 978-502-1737, www.popzup.com

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Bug Baffler

Spring is coming and we can’t wait to get outside (keeping our social distance from others, of course). But bugs know nothing about social distancing. No-see-ums, bees, ticks, mosquitoes! You could lather up with natural bug-repellent remedies that offer limited protection, or douse yourself in DEET. Or, check out this lineup of chemical-free, insect-protective clothing. The patented, fine mesh garments, including hooded shirts ($39) pants ($32), head nets ($9.99) and ankle guards ($10) provide an impenetrable wall between you and the nasty, biting critters. There are kid sizes, and garments for your pets, too. 800-662-8411, www.bugbaffler.com

Dancing Lion in Manchester, N.H., is considered one of the finest chocolatiers in the world. Why not treat yourself to a small box of some of its finest?
Dancing Lion in Manchester, N.H., is considered one of the finest chocolatiers in the world. Why not treat yourself to a small box of some of its finest?John W. Hession/Dancing Lion

Dancing Lion

Master chocolatier Richard Tango-Lowy works with the rarest chocolate to create one-of-a-kind pieces, that look as exquisite and they taste. This Manchester-based chocolatier is considered one of the finest in the world. During these stressful times, why not treat yourself to a small box of bonbons, containing five of Tango-Lowy’s recent creations ($25)? Or, order a limited-edition egg, that is so pretty you won’t want to ruin it, but you will ($45 for a four-inch egg).

Currently, the small company is offering survival chocolate, creating a special chocolate each week and shipping it for free, anywhere in the United States. 603-625-4043, www.dancinglion.us/cacao

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Your furry family members will love these dog treats made from spent beer grains, full of proteins and vitamins.
Your furry family members will love these dog treats made from spent beer grains, full of proteins and vitamins.Gunther's Goodies

Gunther’s Goodies

No, your dog won’t get drunk, but your furry family members will love these dog treats made from spent beer grains. Why spent grains (which contain no alcohol)? They’re full of proteins and vitamins. This one-woman operation in Manchester was created when owner Amy Rybczyk wanted a healthier treat for her beloved Great Dane, Gunther, and her home-brewing husband needed to get rid of his spent grains. Voila! Two problems solved. The healthy treats are made in small batches and come in four flavors: peanut butter biscuits (4-ounce for $6), blueberry biscuits (4-ounce for $6), applesauce pretzel rods ($6), and carrot and pumpkin goodies (3.5-ounce for $6). www.gunthersgoodies.com


Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at bairwright@gmail.com