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178 S. Mast Street, Goffstown, NH 03045
Devriendt Farm, Goffstown, NH
With the addition of their location at 47 Story Road in Goffstown, Devriendt Farm has truly become a farm for all four seasons. While the Devriendt family has owned the land on South Mast Street for more than 20 years, they acquired the land on Story Road in 2014 with an eye toward creating a pick-your-own strawberry field because, as Lea Devriendt said, “There was absolutely nothing around here like that.”
The family has long had support from the locals. When the land was put up for sale in 1995, a major car dealership tried to purchase it, but the town voted the bid down, knowing that the Devriendts planned to develop the land into a family farm. They employ several people from the community to work on their farm, including seasonal workers for the ice cream stand and produce season.
Dan grew up in the Tilton/Bristol area and moved to Goffstown in the late sixties. His father’s family owned a farm in Norwood, Massachusetts. Lea is a lifelong Goffstown resident and a first-generation farmer. Dan and Lea began with one greenhouse and farmstand and now own 153 acres, with 22 in production, and 12 greenhouses, with 5 powered by two wood-fired furnaces. They farm the land with their three adult children, twin sons Jesse and Jason and daughter Erica. Lea and Dan live in the white 1800s farm house on South Mast Street. When asked if they had done any restoration work, Lea laughed, “Oh god, yes,” although she said the work was mostly cosmetic. The building and surrounding yards are colorfully landscaped with the farm’s own plants and flowers. One of their sons lives on the Story Road property in the historic William Story Homestead house, which was built in 1797.
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. They offer seasonal vegetables from their farm, ice cream from Blake’s Ice Cream in Manchester, all natural beef from McDougall Farm, and homemade pies and jams made with in-season fruits. While they used to produce their own maple syrup—the maple leaf in their logo hints at their past—the maple syrup they currently sell comes from another local farm. They hope to get back to producing their own maple syrup in the future. June 10, 2016 kicked off the inaugural year for the pick-your-own strawberry field, and the June-bearing strawberries were all picked out by July 4th.
The farm is open into the fall, with winter squash, pumpkins, cornstalks, fall plantings, and mums, with eventual plans to include a corn maze and pick your own pumpkins. The farm closes from October 31 until the day after Thanksgiving each year, when it reopens for three weeks for Christmas tree sales. They sell out quickly of their 650-700 Balsam trees for the Christmas season, so customers have learned to shop early to get their perfect tree. While they grow Balsam, Fraser, and Scottish Pine trees, they mainly sell them as live trees during the greenhouse season.
The family is able to sell the majority of their products through the farmstand and nursery, so they do not have plans to expand into farmers’ markets or wholesale. They do some wholesaling of plants, mostly to landscapers, including a local college. Much of their land is still forested, and Dan has been working to excavate more land for farming. Lea says she doesn’t know what they would do without their tractors, including one with a rototiller recently purchased for use in the strawberry fields.
They practice integrated pest management with their strawberries, when possible, and have managed to avoid spraying their fields. Reducing their carbon footprint is important to them—it’s part of the reason they made the switch from oil to wood-burning heat for the greenhouses—and they recycle greenhouse pots and trays and use recyclable paper products at the ice cream stand.
The family does take some time off during the winter for relaxation, and they get up to the mountains to ski whenever they can. The kids skied competitively when they were younger. Lea said, “We are a family that not only works hard but also plays hard!”
Dan and Lea Devriendt and Family
178 S. Mast Street
Goffstown, NH 03045
Farmstand – Daily 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. April to October
Ice cream stand – Daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. April to October
Melissa Groves lived in New York City for nearly 20 years, while working in medical advertising as a writer. She moved to New Hampshire to complete her B.S. in Nutrition at the University of New Hampshire, where she is currently completing her Dietetic Internship. She lives in Portsmouth with her boyfriend and their four cats.
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