To help pay for college, Brian Farmer made extra money flipping buffalo burgers for his cousin at fair concession stands. Needing extra help, he hired a very attractive college pal who happened to be a co-ed name Keira and a year later they were married. After graduating from college they followed their respective career paths, Brian in engineering and Keira, marketing. Forever etched in their taste buds, however, was the flavor of those buffalo burgers.
Expect a warm welcome when you drive into the Haynes family Crazy H farmstead in Claremont, NH. There’s an enthusiastic greeting committee composed of Stella the pot-bellied pig and her wiggly brood, two happy Labrador retrievers, Zuzu, the Dachshund, and assorted terriers. In the surrounding barns and fields, many more delightful characters wait to make your acquaintance, but none more delightful than the young lady farmer of the Crazy H.
Sheila Fabrizio grew up happily immersed in the agricultural life. Her father worked for the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, both parents ran the family’s Windy Ridge Orchard outside their career jobs, and all five Fabrizio kids were involved in 4-H. But it was her journey to a far-away country that made her realize she wanted to come home to the orchard life.
“I certainly didn’t go off to college thinking I would have a career in agriculture,” says Sheila. “Probably the seed was planted when I was a kid, but it was really when I was in the Peace Corps in Senegal that I realized this is where I wanted to be.”
In 1956, Forrest Bunten learned of a farm for sale while reading the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture’s “Weekly Market Bulletin.” Without missing a beat, he drove immediately from Concord to Orford, met a realtor, looked around the outside of the farmhouse, and decided it was big enough for the family of five children and one more to come.
Chris and Danielle LaValley worked on Blake Farms in Pembroke as teenagers. In 2006, they purchased the property – it was then that reality struck; there is a difference between working on a farm and owning a farm. Where to begin? Chris took on the responsibility of learning the science and methodology of farming so he could manage the fields. Danielle, began as cashier. As demand for their fresh products increased, she became the bookkeeper and manager for their retail farmstands in Hooksett and Manchester. Today the LaValleys in addition to the original farmland in Pembroke, but also farm in Allenstown and Hooksett to provide enough product for their increasing number of retail customers.
“When it comes to agriculture in NH, we are like an underdeveloped country.” So says Dorn Cox who is currently making a concerted effort to push farming squarely into the 21st century by building what he refers to as a “biological system” for his farm; it is a most singular system and very much a family enterprise. By successfully integrating the disciplines of plant biology and environmental engineering, Dorn is working to tighten the carbon cycle while also reducing production costs, and limiting off farm purchases which will make the farm more self sufficient.
Bob Bower and Jennifer Ohler own and maintain Kearsarge Gore Farm in Warner, New Hampshire with the help of their children, Sam, and Abby. The farm’s name originates from its location in a gore – a thin triangular piece of land – between two towns. The family bought the farm in 1981.
The farm occupies 477 acres of land on one side of Kearsarge Mountain. Seven acres are used to grow certified organic produce, 20 acres are in pasture, and 450 acres are woodland. Kearsarge Gore earned organic certification in 1988 and was one of the first certified organic farms in the area
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Interactive Map of Featured Farms
View a map of the farms featured on the New Hampshire Farms Network website.