New Hampshire Hillsborough County (Nashua/Manchester Region)
Lull Farm isn’t exactly a rural, Sunday afternoon drive destination.
Seven days a week, visitors pass a shopping center and several fields before parking in the car-dotted lot off of Route 130 in Hollis. They emerge beneath some massive willow trees before entering a bustling, bursting-at-the-seams food market.
Before even getting in the door, shoppers weave between boxes of 70 different heirloom tomato varieties. Inside, rows of produce lead to the bakery, cheese counter, cut flower display and shelves of local value-added products – all the fruits of “Farmer Dave” Orde’s labor.
“We’ve diversified,” he said.
Lea, with soil under her fingernails and hands stained pink from strawberries, said, “Farming is a seven-day-a-week job for everyone in the family.” They start their greenhouses the last week in January, growing annuals, potted perennials, vegetables, and herbs. The farmstand, nursery, and ice cream stand are open from the end of April through the end of October.
With the help of a co-worker and some pigs with appetites, a garden was rooted out and cleared into three acres of fertile land. Tom Mitchell, a Milford (NH) High School biology teacher, began the creation of Ledge Top Farm. Tom recalls, “When I started planting rhubarb back in 1975, I hit ledge within six inches. It seemed all digging projects hit ledge, so being at the top of a hill, the name came together.” Tucked away in the woods of Wilton, New Hampshire, Tom found his unexpected calling. Ledge Top Farm operates under an organic version of the Golden Rule because Tom “wouldn’t want to eat food that has chemicals,” and, therefore, refuses to sell such crops to his community.
One has to admire the courage of Melissa and Max Blindow, they have invested in a long-term venture. “You seed Benedikt Dairy their photovegetables in the spring, harvest and sell in the summer, and are hopefully able to relax for a couple months in the winter. But with a dairy there is an expensive infrastructure of buildings, animals, equipment, and supplies that must be purchased and then, of course, a market musts be developed and built on” says Max. Good fortune came their way as not only did they find a welcoming neighborhood
“Honey, I just want to grow pumpkins and make syrup,” says Dave Richards in the sugarhouse of his Grant Family Pond View Farm in Weare. “But Dave,” responds wife Kate, who handles the business and marketing side of things “we must take time to pay the bills.” But, during the spring and fall, this exuberant red head who is in love with his syrup and pumpkins, wants only to be in the woods tapping trees and boiling syrup or later in the spring planting pumpkins in the field.
Is there a more forlorn vision than that of man of the earth being confined to a desk? Not if you happened to be Donald K. McLeod, graduate of the University of New Hampshire in Animal Husbandry back in 1927. On impulse, or perhaps desperation, Donald left that desk in 1946, bought a farm in Milford, and planted two orchards, one for apples and a smaller one for peaches. With his brother Kenneth, who joined him after serving in the Navy, they developed a lucrative wholesale apple business with controlled storage.