By Helen Brody (January 15, 2014)
As are all New Hampshire farmers, Hillside Springs Farm & CSA Farm owners Frank Hunter and Kim Peavey are committed to providing the very best products to their community. In the spring of 2014, Hillside Springs will be celebrating its 13th year of providing the Cheshire County region with a 24-week harvest season of a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet red peppers, and apple cider.
Three acres of produce, along with woods, pasture, hay fields, pond, and small wetlands, make up the seventy-five acre “hill farm” property in Westmoreland. The farm is named after the several springs which supply the hand dug well that services both the hundred year old farmhouse, the horse barn, and the modern-day hoophouses, as well as feeding the pond that irrigates the gardens.
From the beginning, the couple has farmed biodynamically in their effort to create a diversified and balanced farm ecosystem. Biodynamic farming encourages good soil health and fertility through nutrients that the farm itself produces year round. The method renounces the use of chemical herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers, instead relying on cover cropping, crop rotation, row cover, and plant and mineral based deterrents to pest and disease.
Farming with draft horses is also an integral part of the farm’s picture. Black Percheron horses Betsey and Ben, and Belgian horses Molly and Moon plow, disc, and cultivate the fields with the farmers. The horses also help with haying and gathering firewood. “We farm with horses,” says Frank, “because they are easier on the soil; they promote the cycle of a self-sustaining farm; they provide manure for the compost and . . . because we like them.”
Transplanted from a central New York State dairy farm and the Philadelphia suburbs, Kim and Frank have a strong interest in connecting the rural past with today’s small-scale sustainable farming. As Kim comments, “Combining the old time draft horse methods with the newer CSA model is a way to glean wisdom from the farmers who came before us, and, we hope, to benefit the farmers who come after us.”
Hillside Springs Farm Frank Hunter and Kim Peavey 32 Comerford Road PO Box 233 Westermoreland, NH 603-399-7288
Retail Sales: CSA only