At this New Hampshire “Farm of Distinction”, early season begins with a large selection of perennials, hanging baskets, annuals, and vegetable plants. As the growing season progresses, the stand moves into berries and homegrown vegetables. A barnyard of young animals and a beehive entertains visitors. The on-site bakery offers freshly-baked breads, pies, cookies, and assorted pastries. As the season moves into fall, there are pumpkins, winter squashes, and a corn maze to explore!
By Helen Brody (September 11, 2013)
One look at www.beansandgreensfarm.com will tell you that Beans & Greens farm owners Andy and Martina Howe know how to move a farm from the past into the present and on into the future.
As for the past, it was 1986 when they discovered that selling milk and hay as a dairy farm was a good life, but found it difficult to raise a growing family on what they were making just wasn’t going to cut it so, they sold their herd with the idea of going into the business of selling replacement heifers.
By then Martina, very pregnant, found the vigors of the farm limited her contributions to sitting by the roadside selling sweet corn while Andy chopped field corn. And then, more reality struck; Andy was kept busier picking sweet corn to restock Martina’s supply, and says Martina, “Our minds immediately began churning with plans for a vegetable farm stand operation.” Selling Christmas trees the following December brought them in enough money to build a small greenhouse to grow their first seedlings, and they were on their way to becoming vegetable farmers.
“We attended every one of the summer “twilight farm meetings” held by Co-operative Extension experts on neighboring farms to glean information on growing vegetables and flowers. “Kinda funny,” thinks back Martina, “Andy used to ask me questions because I had some experience with my little home garden, and now he’s in charge of raising all our wonderful homegrown vegetables and our cattle, chicken, and turkeys.” Meanwhile, Martina put her singular skills to work managing the retail end which includes a large store, deli, bakery, and greenhouse.
With hard work and imagination and an obvious inclination to risk new things, success for the Howes has bred more success. Nor have they settled for that old killer of dreams, the status quo. In fact, not a year has passed without Martina and Andy springing increasingly inventive ideas for making their farm a destination point for the whole family to visit, to learn about farming, and to buy their fresh products.
By no means are the Howes the first to till their soil, however. The land on which Beans & Greens sets has been farmed actively since the 1700s by other Yankee farmers, and houses the only remaining barn of the original Ebenezer Smith farm who, with his brother, petitioned to create their town of Gilford. Today, with 370 acres farmed, and with a profound appreciation for its history, the couple have seen to it that conservation easements preserve it for farming and forestry forever.
Of several barns that the Howes own, the largest one was built in 1878, and after it was designated an historic structure in 1999, they were allowed to move their store into that venerable old structure. “In that year,” still speaking with a tone of disbelief in her voice, Martina says “we closed the old store in October for the season and tore it down, then tore down a greenhouse and fully rebuilt the old barn with a timber frame addition for a vegetable prep area, coolers, bakery, and a new gutter connected greenhouse – all in one winter!” By Memorial Day they were ready for a grand opening. Nor has the dust settled over the last decade on Beans & Greens. Martina and Andy enlarged the store with an addition, put in another three irrigation ponds, and then, in 2010, built a pavilion for events and picnicking.
Each year, the farm begins its season with a large selection of perennials, hanging basket, annuals and vegetable plants. As the growing season progresses, pick your own strawberries becomes a popular outing. Meanwhile, homegrown vegetables fill the store.
Recently, Martina and Andy have added their own chickens, pastured beef and pork to their retail efforts. Their Healthy Harvest Subscription (CSA =Community Supported Agriculture ) is a specially designed CSA program that allows customers to select their own items and quantities as they need them instead of a “pre-box” system. The CSA helps them finance the farm during spring planting season. The farm also produces fresh produce in the winter months now and offers a Winter CSA as well. The Farm Deli & Bakery offer visitors selections of hot and cold sandwiches, salads, cookies, bars, pies and breads to take home or enjoy on the premises. The Pavilion is set up with picnic tables for daytime use and to host evening BBQ/musical events throughout the season.
Fortunately none of the Howe children are truly settled. Isaac skippers a schooner, Katrina is pursuing her interest in International Biathlon competitions, and Alex is making use of his Eco Agriculture major while training as a world level Nordic skier in Vermont. But don t bet against one, or even the whole caboodle from coming back to their roots, to this 1998 New Hampshire Farm of Distinction. There is most assuredly work a-plenty for the whole family on Beans & Greens Farm.
Beans & Greens Farm
Andrew and Martina Howe
245 Intervale Rd.
Gilford, NH 03249
Farmstand, CSA & public events
By Helen Brody (December 31, 2008)
At this New Hampshire “Farm of Distinction”, early season begins with a large selection of perennials, hanging baskets, annuals and vegetable plants. As the growing season progresses, the stand moves into berries and homegrown vegetables. A barnyard of young animals and a beehive entertains visitors and an on-site bakery offers fresh baked breads, pies, cookies, and assorted pastries. As the season moves into fall, there are mums, a corn maze, pumpkins,and winter squashes.
Beans & Greens Farmstand
Andrew & Martina Howe
245 Intervale Road
Gilford, NH 03259
point of sale: seasonal farmstand