Jenni Haynes, Crazy H Farm, Claremont, NH
Expect a warm welcome when you drive into the Haynes family Crazy H farmstead in Claremont, NH. There’s an enthusiastic greeting committee composed of Stella the pot-bellied pig and her wiggly brood, two happy Labrador retrievers, Zuzu, the Dachshund, and assorted terriers. In the surrounding barns and fields, many more delightful characters wait to make your acquaintance, but none more delightful than the young lady farmer of the Crazy H.
Jenni Haynes’ bright eyes and rosy cheeks radiate a joy for farm living and pride in her upbringing. At 26, she is the middle of five children, all home-schooled by parents Peter and Shari Haynes, owners and operators of the 36-acre Crazy H Farm, who rescued its hillsides in a 1998 auction. Jenni happily returned to the farm 12 years ago.
“My parents wanted to raise their family on a farm, and they encouraged each of their children to focus on one hobby that interested us. When we were little, we each had our own strawberry and raspberry rows and competed to see who could produce and market the most. My dad, who grew up on a local dairy farm, encouraged a healthy sense of competition between us, so we learned to work hard.”
While three of her siblings left the farm for other pursuits, Jenni came home after college to work the land with her parents as well as teach flute and piano at the Claremont Music Academy. A sister works with the horses, and their father, Peter, employed at a local bank, is looking forward to being a full-time farmer upon retirement.
“I like working with my dad,” says Jenni. “We work well together. Over the years, as our family grew, our farm spread out a lot, so we are currently trimming it back to a more efficient design with a goal of full-time farming.”
Jenni’s focus is raising plants. In spring, her hoop greenhouse explodes with an impressive variety of flower and vegetable seedlings, eventually headed to local farmers’ markets. She plans to add another greenhouse to meet increasing demands from three weekly farmers’ markets where she sells annuals and perennials, vegetables, and her own line of pickles, jams, and jellies made from Crazy H produce. She hopes that increased signage will bring more people to the farm to purchase plants and also enjoy trail rides, birthday parties, and petting zoos. Their growing pick-your-own- blueberries business boasts 1,200 bushes and now features an early variety resistant to blight. Additional projects include managing the newly expanded apple orchards.
The Crazy H is a veritable crazy quilt. Free-range cattle graze in lower pastures, and horses munch feed in a dusty paddock. A small herd of milk cattle wander the hilly pasture, and a noisy army of ducks patrols the pond. In the barn, visitors can expect affectionate nudges from Steve the draft horse and the dairy goats Jenni raises. “Our animals are for pleasure. We love them, and we love it when people come up to our farm to enjoy them.”
As for her future in farming, Jenni is optimistic. “I get a sense of satisfaction as a woman who farms. I really don’t think there is much difference between men and women farmers, except that being a woman may help sales!” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
The Crazy H is a bio-dynamic farm in which life interconnects: the horses are used for haying and logging, their manure plus pine shavings make the compost used for mulching blueberries. Everything is done “the old-fashioned way” without pesticides, antibiotics, or hormones. At the Crazy H, it’s a cage-free world. While Jenni has traveled to Europe and Africa, it is clear that her preferred universe remains planet Crazy H.
Crazy H Farm
Peter and Shari Haynes and Family
50 Canter Place
Claremont, NH 03755
Seasonal fruits and vegetables
Pick-Your-Own blueberries/ July and August
Jenni’s Jams and Jellies
Annuals, perennials, shrubs, and hanging baskets
Grass-fed beef (whole/halves/quarters)
Raw milk and soft cheeses
Horse stables and stalls to lease, riding lessons, trail rides, pony rides, carriage rides for events
Martha Esersky Lorden is a food writer, culinary historian, and cookbook reviewer for Publishers Weekly. She teaches classes in food history for Osher@Dartmouth and the Hanover Co-op and owns Kitchen D’Or, a personal cooking service.
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