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Home » Farm Women

Kris Mossey, McLeod Bros. Orchards, Milford, NH

By Helen Brody (September 24, 2012)

When Donald W. McLeod died in 1991, he left his seven acre apple orchard to his wife, Valerie, and two daughters, Kris and Becky. Valerie takes care of the books and works beside Kris everyday as together they share in the  belief that they share in the stewardship of their family’s land.  The in-laws and Becky work full-time off the farm, and although they still perform many vital farm tasks, it is on Kris and her mother’s shoulders that the majority of the hands-on farm work and management fall. And with the growth of the farm, Kris’s commitment to promoting the state’s agricultural activities has grown as well.

To say that her day is a full one would be a whopping understatement. She is currently the president of the New Hampshire Farmers’ Market Association, the Milford Farmers’ Market co-ordinator, vice-president of the Bedford Farmers’ Market, is on the board of New Hampshire Made and of New Hampshire Agriculture in the Classroom.

The impetus for Kris’s full slate was the decision of the McLeod women to move away from the wholesale apple production of her father and grandfather and begin establishing a farm with a greater diversity of crops. “We no longer have controlled air storage apples and we did it mostly because of the global market,” she says, “that was supplying crisp fruit year around.” The McCleods initiated the changeover by planting fall vegetables, a greater variety of apple trees, and replacing a small peach orchard with new trees. Now they have extended their growing season to include summer vegetables such as edible peapods, lettuces, different varieties of tomatoes and late summer raspberries. With these new varieties of apples, “the more varieties the better,” in the  fall, and the summer vegetables, McLeod Bros. Orchards can keep a booth well supplied at the Milford and Bedford farmers’ markets for the season. Kris has even begun a fall CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).                                                                                                                  

It is the farmers’ markets where Kris’s engaging personality and enthusiasm for her farm shines. “Farming can be a lonely business,” she says “and it is enjoyable going to farmers’ markets and talking about what you do. It is there that customers get to know the farmers on a very personal level.” She tries to coax her farmers’ market buyers to come to the farm “but it really is a different customer base at the farm,” then she adds, “the market does kindle a spark, however, because often customers will make their way to pick apples at the farm with the entire family in tow.”

The McLeod Bros. Orchards farm stand opens Labor Day weekend with winter squash, popcorn, pumpkins, cut flowers, gourds, and over ten varieties of apples that you can buy at the stand or, if  inclined, you can wade into the orchard  and pick your own.

Kris Mossey
McLeod Bros. Orchards
North River Rd.
Milford, NH
603-673-3544
www.McLeodorchards.com
(for NH Farms profile of the orchards see http://www.newhampshirefarms.net/farm-profiles/hillsborough-county/mcleod-bros-orchards.html

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