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129 Lane Road Laconia, NH 03246
Home » Belknap County (Center Harbor/Laconia/Sanbornton Region), Farm Profiles

Minglewood Farm, Laconia, NH

By Hannah Bolstridge, Plymouth State University, Class of 2014

1-sunflowersTucked away in Laconia, New Hampshire is a 17-acre property owned by Karen and Tom Barker. One-tenth of an acre is now occupied by Minglewood Farm- a highly productive “nano farm” appropriately named after the Grateful Dead song “New Minglewood Blues” due to the diversity of hard and soft wood forests surrounding the property. Though the farm itself may be small in size, the techniques and care put into each garden largely influence the sustainability and health of the surrounding forests and ecosystems.

Upon purchasing the property in 1984, it was hard to envision the area of overgrown brush and worn down structures would someday become home to lush beds of herbs, fruitful vegetable harvests, talkative chickens, and blossoming flower gardens. After removing the old structures, Karen and Tom got to work researching and implementing various permaculture techniques to make the small farm produce the highest yield. Books, seminars, and trial-and-error helped the Barkers achieve their goals of producing enough to sustain themselves and their daughter, and to contribute to local farmers markets and co-ops.

When touring multiple permaculture zones within the farm, it is apparent that Karen is aware of her placement of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers without having to use a traditional row-by-row structure for each crop. Each bed is busy with companion plants to encourage growth and healthy pollination. The busyness of each zone gives Minglewood a type of whimsical charm. Zone 1- the closest to the home- consists of herbs, onions, flowers, and plenty of happy, buzzing bees. Further outward, there are larger rows of greens, tomatoes, squash, and chickens. The zone furthest from the house remains unseeded, used as a buffer between the gardens and the tree-line. Karen and Tom keep maps and guides of the property for reminders as to where they planted the last blueberry shrub or bean plant. Every inch of usable space is utilized to create a farm that has a palpable energy and livelihood.3-Cabbages & Kale

The farmers choose not to be certified organic due to the time it would take to keep the rigorous records required to achieve and maintain certification. Both farmers have jobs other than managing Minglewood; Karen works at Laconia Village Bakery and Tom as an eco-friendly ornamental gardener. While not certified organic their farm is “open to anyone for inspection at any time”. For the time being, the nano-farm offers produce, eggs, and chickens within the season but are considering hoop houses to extend their opportunity for a longer harvest season.

Minglewood Farm products can be found at the Laconia Main Street Outdoor Market, through the Full Basket Co-op, a group of four local farms which offer a wide variety of products to their customers. Weekly newsletters and updates for pre-ordering are sent directly to customers for other sales.

Minglewood Farm                                                                                                                                  2-garden
Karen & Tom Barker
129 Lane Road
Laconia, NH 03246
(603) 528-8560
(Full Basket Co-Op mailing list sign up within website)

Farmers Market:
Laconia, NH
Thursdays, June 5 – September 25
3pm – 7pm, September hours 3pm – 6pm
Main Street Parking Lot


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Published on: August 5, 2014 Last modified on: May 3, 2016

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