Tina and her husband, Erick, established the farm about 30 years ago, with the name originating from a dog kennel that Erick’s father once owned. Little did they know that the purchase of a herd of Angus cattle from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) would provide the foundation for Pinewoods Yankee Farm, now selling flowers year-round along with grass fed beef, hay, and compost at the farm by order and appointment.
Lee, New Hampshire 03861
By Tammy Cloutier (May 31, 2016)
Tina Fottler Sawtelle’s energy and enthusiasm are contagious as she explains the diverse offerings of Pinewoods Yankee Farm.
What began with a herd of cattle has expanded to include not only meat products, but also small and large hay bales, compost (pick up or delivery), vegetables, and local field-grown cut flowers and floral arrangements. The approximately 100 head of cattle—Belted Galloways, Belted Galloway crosses, and Angus crosses—are 100% grass fed and hormone and antibiotic free. This also means that there is no grain finishing. Although it takes longer to finish cattle without grain, the results appear to be worth the effort, as many of their long-time customers will attest. While various cuts of meat are available, the cattle themselves can also be purchased as breeding stock.
Tina and her husband, Erick, established the farm about 30 years ago, with the name originating from a dog kennel that Erick’s father once owned. Little did they know that the purchase of a herd of Angus cattle from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) would provide the foundation for Pinewoods Yankee Farm. Selling seasonal cut flowers unexpectedly evolved into a year-round floral business, Tina Fottler Sawtelle Floral Designs. Using gorgeous field-grown flowers, Tina creates bouquets and designs for weddings and other events. Although she uses locally grown flowers as often as possible, the all too brief New England growing season requires Tina to bring in flowers from other growers to supplement her own.
Pinewoods Yankee Farm, which is located about five miles from UNH, consists of 45 acres, but their holdings encompass a few hundred acres that support both crops and feed for the cattle. It is no small task to manage multiple assets in different locations, but with the range of beef and crop knowledge and experience that both Tina and Erick possess, they make it appear easy.
Avid promoters and supporters of local agriculture and community, Tina and Erick are actively involved with multiple committees and organizations, and they enjoy participating in local events such as annual pig roasts. One can feel the sense of community and personal touch of Pinewoods Yankee Farm as they stand behind their philosophy of supporting families by offering affordable local agricultural options. Retail provides the majority of their business, but they also participate in beef-to- institution programs where local schools such as UNH include local food options as part of their meal plans.
As with many industries, farming has evolved over generations, and Tina raised an important question of who will replace today’s farmers? Small-scale operations that provide fresh, local food are vital to many communities, but is there sufficient interest from the next generation to sustain this livelihood? In the case of Pinewoods Yankee Farm, the answer is yes! Erick and Tina’s daughter and son-in- law have invested in their own farm in Vermont.
Aside from the full-time and year-round responsibilities of managing the farm, Tina is pursuing a master’s degree in marketing. She will use her skills and knowledge to further promote and support the agricultural and floral industries. While many customers are familiar with the end products offered by farms and florists, Tina wants to educate the public about the “full circle,” so they can gain a true understanding of what is involved in the process of getting a flower or vegetable from seed to table.
There is never a dull moment under the market tent at the farm, or at the farm in general. Meat orders are packaged and ready for pick-up, vegetables are on display, and floral arrangement orders are placed. Pinewoods Yankee Farm products can also be found at the Lee and Newmarket farmers’ markets. Can’t make it to the farm or farmers’ markets, but still want to brighten your day? Check out Tina’s Color Your Life with Flowers Facebook page for a burst of color and inspiration!
Pinewoods Yankee Farm
Erick and Tina Fottler Sawtelle
93 North River Road
Lee, NH 03861
603-234-7908 (flowers/beef) 603-234-7907 (compost)
Retail: Seasonal market tent at farm
Farmers Markets: Lee and Newmarket
Tammy Cloutier is an Environmental Studies PhD Candidate at Antioch University New England. She enjoys writing, loves purchasing locally produced foods, and is excited about the opportunity to be able to combine both for NHFN!