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Home » Belknap County (Center Harbor/Laconia/Sanbornton Region), Farm Profiles, Meredith

Snow Dragon Mountain, Meredith, NH

By Helen Brody

Climbing up through lovely pines, maples, and beeches to an elevation of 1200 feet, a visitor arrives at the summit.  In the clearing lies Snow Dragon Mountain Farm with its breathtaking 360-degree views of Lake Winnipesauke and most of the northern New Hampshire mountains, including Mt. Washington.

Snow Dragon Mountain, named for its jagged top ridge that indeed has an eerie resemblance to the back of a dragon, was recently placed on the National Geographical Survey’s official New Hampshire map. The development of the mountain’s off-grid vegetable and herb farm, begun in 2003, is the work of Donna and Albert Ducharme.                                                                                                                              

Believing that sustainable agriculture and sustainable energy sources are intertwined, the couple designed all buildings on the property to be solar powered and used only sustainable products in their construction. Wind power is in the offing as well.  There are three homes on the mountain along with three greenhouses.  Five people, with off-farm jobs for supplementary support, live and work on the farm, and all are true believers in the couple’s mission to farm in a way that insures the well-being of the generations to follow.

“We have a to-do list that goes out five years,” said Donna, speaking at the 2012 Women in Agriculture Conference held at the New Hampshire Farm & Forest Exposition. “New farmers must make a three-year commitment when establishing a farm business because it takes at least that long for it to become a viable source of income.  For that reason,” she advised attendees, “start-up farmers must have a supplemental income.”

Of the 212 acres that the couple own, 14 are under cultivation, free of pesticides and other contaminants. All of their crops are certified organic. Because of their remote location on the mountain top, the honey from their 10 hives comes only from plantings on their own property—clover, buckwheat, and basswood—and is the only certified organic honey farmed in the state.

In order for this mountain top community to provide for themselves as well as a winter CSA, they must grow a number of diverse crops­­: lettuces, spinach, and asparagus are grown in the spring; in the summer, their crops include, among others, squashes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, kale, and herbs; and in the winter, they grow storage vegetables and beans—garlic, onions, beets, and potatoes, for example. Kidney, navy, and soy beans, which they let dry on the vine before picking, are the protein sources for this primarily vegetarian couple.

In the spring, the seedlings that the farm sells from its stand and at farmers’ markets are begun in one-inch soil blocks with their own organic soil mixture. When they have fully germinated, the seedlings are “plopped” into a two-inch cell block. Because they are not initially removed from the one-inch cell, the fragile roots remain undisturbed. The seedlings are eventually sold in four- to-six inch pots. In 2012, the farm produced 20,000 seedlings.

Once a year the couple opens their doors to the public for Albert to display the virtues and practicality of the solar and wind systems. “We want to show people that we, too, can take a hot shower and have a dishwasher, clothes washer, etc.”

Albert, as one of eight children in a family that grew all their own food, has taken the self-sufficiency of his early years many steps further. His family should be proud.

Snow Dragon Mountain Farm                                                                          
Donna and Albert Ducharme
18 New Road
Meredith, NH 03253

Retail: (sell direct to customer)

Farmstand:(at the farm)
compost & seedlings, vegetables, herbs & honey

Farmers” markets:
Sanbornton Historical Society Farmers Market, Sanbornton, NH

Wholesale: (bulk sales to markets,restaurants,and stores)

Concord Cooperative Market, Concord, NH
Local Eatery Restaurant, Laconia, NH
Agway, Belmont, NH
New Hampton School in New Hampton

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Published on: October 3, 2012 Last modified on: May 12, 2016

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