By Corrie Hoyt, Paige Viens, Jenna Donahue, and Quang Nguyen, Colby-Sawyer College students (December 19, 2014)
Bob Bower and Jennifer Ohler own and maintain Kearsarge Gore Farm in Warner, New Hampshire with the help of their children, Sam, and Abby. The farm’s name originates from its location in a gore – a thin triangular piece of land – between two towns. The family bought the farm in 1981.
The farm occupies 477 acres of land on one side of Kearsarge Mountain. Seven acres are used to grow certified organic produce, 20 acres are in pasture, and 450 acres are woodland. Kearsarge Gore earned organic certification in 1988 and was one of the first certified organic farms in the area.
With a USDA grant, Bob and Jennifer were able to build two greenhouses. They use one greenhouse to grow their cold-hardy products like leafy salad greens, lettuce, arugula, mustard greens, and kale. This allows them to extend both ends of their season by a total of four weeks, giving them an advantage in the marketplace. The other greenhouse is used for summer crops like tomatoes and cucumbers. They grow primarily vegetables, including beans, beets, broccoli, chard, cauliflower, herbs, onions, eggplant, peppers, and potatoes, and some fruit, such as blueberries and watermelon.
In addition to a sheepdog who doesn’t necessarily help herd the sheep and a cat who loves to wander around, the farm’s livestock includes a herd of Devon cattle for meat, one working horse, seven pigs, and many sheep. The sheep are primarily for meat, although once in a while Kearsarge Gore sells wool. The farm also produces maple syrup. In the woods surrounding the farm, they have 2,000 taps which yield around 500 gallons.
Because of its distance from a main road, the farm doesn’t have a farm stand. Instead, Bob and Jennifer sell their products at different farmers’ markets, including the Concord Farmers’ Market (May to October, on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.), the Henniker Farmers’ Market (summer and winter, on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.), and the Warner Area Farmers Market (May to October, on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Kearsarge Gore farm offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares for their fresh fruits and vegetables for 18 weeks from mid-June to late October. More information is available on their website.
Unlike many small family farms, Kearsarge Gore is profitable enough to support Bob and Jennifer’s family. After expanding for the past couple years, they now plan to focus on improving operations.
Kearsarge Gore Farm
Bob Bower and Jennifer Ohler
173 Gore Road Warner, NH 03278.
Retail Concord Farmers’ Market, May to October on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Henniker Farmers’ Market, summer and winter on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Warner Area Farmers’, May to October on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The authors are students at Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH