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195 Meaderboro Road, Farmington, NH 03835
Butternut Farm, Farmington, NH
Butternut Farm’s namesake stands tall and proud behind the farmstand, its leaves fluttering in the gentle breeze. Named after the tree, not the vegetable, Butternut Farm has been transformed from its prior use as a dairy farm into 25 acres of productive fruit trees.
This was a relatively young fruit farm when Giff Burnap and his wife, Mae, purchased it in 2005. The previous owners of the former dairy farm began to implement the “pick your own” fruit model in the late 1980s. Since acquiring the farm, the Burnaps have almost doubled its size and have also added cherries to their extensive list of produce. Their selection of fresh, seasonally available fruit includes blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, plums, apples, and pumpkins.
Sitting atop a gentle slope, Butternut Farm is a great example of an old New England farm. A beautiful yellow farmhouse and big barn are located near the entrance. The farmstand and the fruit orchards that extend in all directions are adjacent to the parking area. Not only is one greeted by this pastoral scene, but the resident peacock and peahen, Henry and Autumn, will offer their own greetings as well.
Giff explains that his goal is to create an enjoyable experience for all customers, and it is evident not only in the carefully tended landscape, but also in the way he interacts with each person who arrives. Smiles, waves, and quick hellos are exchanged as people pass by on their way to pick fruit, pause for a moment at a picnic table, or stop to choose a little wagon to hold precious cargo such as children or freshly picked fruit.
Offering the public the opportunity to pick their own food at its source is a way to engage people in agriculture, nature, and the farm itself. While most certainly enjoy the “fruits of their labor,” others simply want to participate in the act of harvesting and being outdoors. Regardless of the reason, making that personal connection to the land is an important aspect of Butternut Farm.
Of course, fresh, delicious fruit does not magically appear each season. There is a lot of behind the scenes work involved in producing quality fruit and a beautifully maintained landscape. Giff’s background in horticulture and agronomy, and Mae’s education in communication, are put to use throughout the year. Designing good signage to point customers in the direction of the ripest fruit available, pruning, netting trees to keep birds away, and weeding are only a fraction of the farm and crop load management practices that are needed to sustainably and successfully protect their valuable assets.
As for sustainability, Butternut Farm incorporates as many sustainable practices as possible, including crop rotation and soil enrichment. Future plans include the possibility of solar and/or wind power options, as well as updating the farm kitchen building to allow for more onsite production for goods such as their apple cider. Butternut Farm currently sells its own apple cider, and although it is produced and packaged locally, it is done offsite.
While the community enjoys and supports Butternut Farm, the farm also enjoys giving back to the community. Pie sales support local scholarships, and excess fruit is offered free of charge to food pantries to help those in need.
The fruit season runs from about mid-June to October, but offers a variety of different crops during what seems like an all too short period of time. In addition to picking fresh fruit, items such as jams, honey, and beverages can be purchased at Butternut’s onsite farmstand. It is recommended to call ahead for the most current picking conditions so you know what is available before you arrive.
Butternut Farm can also be found on Facebook and Instagram, so check them out!
Giff and Mae Burnap
195 Meaderboro Road
Farmington, NH 03835
Retail: On site farmstand
Tammy Cloutier is an Environmental Studies PhD Candidate at Antioch University New England. She enjoys writing, loves purchasing locally produced foods, and is excited about the opportunity to be able to combine both for NHFN!
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