Farm Profiles June 2020

Beech Hill Farm & Ice Cream Barn, Contoocook, NH

Beech Hill Farm & Ice Cream Barn, Contoocook, NH

For eighteen years Beech Hill Ice Cream Barn has been a magnet for both area residents and tourists who want to purchase NH made goods, plants and unique garden decorations, farm-raised meats, and ice cream. Nine generations of the Kimball family have worked the land at Beech Hill Farm which was originally granted to Aaron Kimball by the King of England in 1771. On Memorial Day 2015, as they sat on a glider shaded by a 200 year old shag bark hickory in front of the 1800 farmhouse, Donna and Bob Kimball spoke of their five decades of life at Beech Hill.

Address: 107 Beech Hill Rd,
Hopkinton, NH 03229
Phone: +1 (603) 223-0828

Windy Ridge Orchard, North Haverhill, NH

Windy Ridge Orchard, North Haverhill, NH

At Windy Ridge Orchard in North Haverhill, farming is truly a family affair. Dick and Ann Fabrizio purchased the farm in 1967 and transformed it from a small dairy operation to an apple orchard, which has grown considerably in size and scope over the past five decades. The Fabrizios had off the farm jobs while building the orchard and raising their five children. Today as retirees, Dick and Ann run Windy Ridge full-time. Pick your own blueberries and 18 varieties of apples in the fall. Enjoy homemade food at the Cider House Cafe from July 1st onward. Cut your own Christmas tree during the winter.

Address: 1775 Benton Rd,
North Haverhill, NH 03774
Phone: +1 (603) 787-6377

Tarrnation Flower Farm, Sugar Hill, NH

Tarrnation Flower Farm, Sugar Hill, NH

Many a driver has slowed the car while passing the quaint Tarrnation Flower Farm in Sugar Hill, mesmerized by the immaculate layout and precise beauty of the landscape. An old oak tree towers over the red barn, neat rows of perennials curve away from the quiet road, perfectly shaped crab apple trees border the lawn, annuals grow in straight lines alongside vegetables, and the stone pathway to the small house at the farm is interspersed with bright pansies. Buy blooms direct online or in person through the farm stand and flower CSA. The Tarrnation Flower Farm Studio creates wedding arrangements using the most lucious, romantic and freshly cut blossoms to make your day unforgettable.

Address: 96 Streeter Pond Rd,
Sugar Hill, NH 03586
Phone: +1 (603) 823-5369

 

The Rocks Estate, Bethlehem, NH

The Rocks Estate, Bethlehem, NH

The Rocks Estate in Bethlehem is pushing the “Buy Local” movement beyond the traditional farm fare of vegetables, meat, and dairy. The main crop at The Rocks is Christmas trees, which are both locally grown and farm fresh, but The Rocks also provides agri- and eco-tourism opportunities, along with year-round educational programs in its capacity as the North Country Conservation and Education Center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

Address: 4 Christmas Lane,
Bethlehem, NH 03574
Phone: +1 (603) 444-6228

Apple Hill Farm, Concord, NH

Apple Hill Farm, Concord, NH

Over 20 years ago Diane and Chuck Souther started Apple Hill Farm from unproductive open space within sight of the state capitol in Concord. Today they have a substantial planting of 45 different varieties of apples planted on the hillside overlooking their farm stand and berry patch. Twenty different flavors of peaches and a small number of plum trees fill out their orchards. Pick your own strawberries are their first summer berry crop, followed by blueberries, raspberries, and black black currants. Vegetables grown on the farm complement their berries at farmers markets

Address: 580 Mountain Rd,
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: +1 (603) 224-8862


LaValley Farms, Suncook, NH

LaValley Farms, Suncook, NH

Chris and Danielle LaValley worked on Blake Farms in Pembroke as teenagers. In 2006, they purchased the property – it was then that reality struck; there is a difference between working on a farm and owning a farm. Where to begin? Chris took on the responsibility of learning the science and methodology of farming so he could manage the fields. Danielle, began as cashier. As demand for their fresh products increased, she became the bookkeeper and manager for their retail farmstands in Hooksett and Manchester. Today the LaValleys in addition to the original farmland in Pembroke, but also farm in Allenstown and Hooksett to provide enough product for their increasing number of retail customers. Premium produce, grass-fed beef, honey, ice cream, milk, pork, salsa, homemade pies and more are for sale at the Hooksett Farmstand. You can find freshly harvested veggies all summer long and pumpkins in the fall.

Address: 1801 Hooksett Rd,
Hooksett, NH 03106
Phone: +1 (603) 485-3541

Farm Profiles May 2020

Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm, Contoocook, NH

Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm, Contoocook NH

Along the banks of the Contoocook River sits the family-run, community-loved Contoocook Creamery at Bohanan Farm. Bohanan Farm has been a thriving farm since the turn of the 20th century. Established by Lester Bohanan, the farm has been in his family for generations, with his great-granddaughter Heather and her husband, Jamie Robinson, its current owners. Bohanan Farm is home to 230 milk cows that produce 38,000 8 oz. servings every day. Buy premium cheese and glass-bottled milk that are crafted with care.

Address: 945 Penacook Rd,
Hopkinton, NH 03229
Phone: +1 (603) 717-5873

Huntoon Farm, Danbury, NH

Huntoon Farm, Danbury, NH

Huntoon Farm in Danbury, NH is a 6-generation family farm that raises beef, pork, chicken, and turkey with an on-site kitchen that makes bakery sweets and other freshly prepared items. Phil and Donna are excited about the expansion of their line of meat products as they like having a range – beef, pork, chicken, and turkey. “I don’t think we’ll go into rabbits,” Donna says, with a laugh, “but there’s definitely a call for lamb, which appeals to me because it was historically part of the farm.” The couple is always weighing questions about the future against the farm’s past.

Address: 46 Huntoon Rd,
Danbury, NH 03230
Phone: +1 (603) 768-5579

Inheritance Farm, Chichester, NH

Inheritance Farm, Chichester NH

Inheritance Farm Permaculture located in Chichester offers permaculture & sustainability education, creating a welcoming learning environment for sustainability and permaculture in New Hampshire. In the summer of 2015, Inheritance Farm hosted the 3rd Annual New Hampshire Permaculture Day, an event previously held at D Acres of New Hampshire. This event included tours and forty classes, and the theme was “Emerging Permaculture.” Their classes included how to establish a permaculture farm, how to make rocket mass heaters, how to gather wild edibles, and how to make a bench by hand. They invited guests to share their knowledge about permaculture for some of the classes.

Address: 112 Pleasant St,
Chichester, NH 03258
Phone: +1 (603) 717-1818

Ragged View Farm, Andover, NH

Ragged View Farm, Andover NH

Ragged View Farm in Andover is a farm that raises pigs, cows and produces homemade maple syrup from the local maple trees. Growing up working on his uncle’s farm, Mark Cowdrey is no amateur when it comes to farming. Originally working as a carpenter, he began becoming more invested in his small, at-home farm when jobs began to grow scarce. With hard work and dedication, Mark took on the challenge of turning his 18 acres of land into the farm he had always dreamed of. Ragged View Farm is open by appointment with maple syrup, pork and grass-fed beef for sale, along with horse-drawn sleigh rides in the winter.

Address: 111 Bradley Lake Rd,
Andover, NH 03216
Phone: +1 (603) 724-7511

Harding Hill Farm, Sunapee, NH

Harding Hill Farm, Sunapee NH

Harding Hill Farm in Sunapee is a 3rd generation family farm that provides sustainable forest management services and raises as small herd of grass-fed beef cattle. You can also find maple syrup and firewood for sale. Founded by Richard H. Webb in 1948, the farm includes a large white farm-house, a red barn with a cupola and solar panels, and spacious fields surrounded by forest. Richard purchased the property with the intent to run a bed and breakfast near the Mt. Sunapee ski area which opened in the same year.

Address: 524 Stagecoach Rd,
Sunapee, NH 03782
Phone: +1 603-742-8495


Lewis Farm, Concord, NH

Lewis Farm, Concord, NH

Lewis Farm, less that 3 miles away from Concord center is sustainable family owned and operated farm with a CSA & Farm Stand, dedicated to supporting the local Concord community. In 1992, early in Harry Lewis’s farming career, he decided to raise flowers. “I had 650 hanging baskets that year,” he says, “but it was such a cold, wet spring and summer, no one was buying flowers. I sold only one!” The heartbreak he felt way back then still carries in his voice. “I couldn’t compete with big box stores that sold flowers for half the price. After that, I began raising vegetables. People have to eat.”

Address: 192 Silk Farm Rd,
Concord, NH 03301
Phone: +1 (603) 228-6230

Learn About Organic Agriculture

Learn the basics of organic agriculture from soil preparation, fertilization and plant maintenance. We overview the methods most common in organic farming.

Organic agriculture is the practice of growing crops using only organic ingredients, from the fertilizer that provides nutrients to plants to the foliar spray used to prevent pests. USDA organic regulations restrict the use of conventional farming practices such as using pesticides and synthetic fertilizers.

Organically-grown food is considered premium and is often sold at  higher prices than non-organic food. The popularity of organically-grown vegetables, fruits and buds may continue to grow in the consumer market.

From afar, it’s easy to look at organic gardening with skepticism, as not all methods shared in books, databases and online line-up with each other, making organic agriculture seem disorganized.

However, within the scope of organic growing a few key practices are usually followed:

  • Soil testing, to analyze the nutrient profile of the soil used to grow plants in.
  • Soil preparation, by mixing soil mediums, tillage of the ground, or mulching and permaculture techniques.
  • The addition of organic matter into the soil, such as compost.
  • The application of animal manure, for providing plants with nitrogen and other nutrients.
  • Usage of mineral and bone powders as a source of nutrients.
  • Mulching with leaf litter, grass clippings or hay.
  • Crop inspection, removal of infected plants by hand or with natural alternatives to chemical pesticides/fungicides.

Soil Testing

Soil Testing

The soil in your garden or farm can be sent to a co-op for a small fee to analyze the nutrient content. This will help you better understand the right amendments to use when crop planning. There are various co-op extensions throughout the country that provide soil tests, where you can send in a sample of your own, like the UNH Cooperative Extension.

Soil Preparation

Tractor Tilling

Compacted soil makes it hard for developing roots to push through and expand, which in-turn leads to less available resources for the plant to use. Optimizing the consistency of the soil plays a major role in promoting fast and healthy roots. Soil is aerated by farmers usually by tilling, with some farmers and gardeners doing more niche techniques such as permaculture and layering of soil with compost.

The microbiology of soil can only survive in a small range deeper or shallower from it’s natural habitat in the soil. This means that disturbance of soil ends up destroying some natural microbial life contained. In best practice, tilling and excessive disturbance of the soil layers are to be avoided if possible, although the trade-off of compacted soil may be worse which leaves the farmer with an ultimatum.

Introducing Organic Matter into the Soil

compost

Compost is simply rotted organic matter. Adding compost to soil is good for soil structure, as the air contained helps to aerate the root zone around crops. Compost is also beneficial to the microbiology that lives within soils. As the compost decomposes, natural bacteria and fungi work to process the excess nutrients, while providing additional perks to plants such as mycorrhizal fungi, a natural fungus that helps plants absorb the mineral phosphorus and other nutrients in a sort of symbiotic relationship with the plant.

Organic matter such as compost, grass clipping and leaf litter can be incorporated into the soil. However consider withholding non-decomposed “woody” material such as wood chips, as a significant amount of nitrogen is needed which may be stolen from the plant.

The Application of Manure

chicken manure 3-2-2

Manure is used for crops as a natural form of nitrogen and other major, minor and micro-nutrients. Chicken manure is the most commonly used animal manure in agriculture that farmers buy or produce. Rated around a 3-2-2 NPK, chicken manure is a suitable growth fertilizer for a wide range of crops. Other animal manures used include pig manure, goat manure, cow manure and more.

Vermiculture or the use of worm castings in soil has shown to be very popular among organic gardeners and farmers. The nutrient profile of worm castings is made by what ingredients were used to feed the worms.

Usage of Mineral and Bone Powders

dolomite-lime

Mineral, rock and bone powders are used to alter the chemical composition of the soil, organically. Here are a few examples:

  • Dolomite lime is a common soil amendment used to naturally raise the pH of soil. A soil test will determine whether lime application is necessary for your area.
  • Bone meal is a high source of calcium, magnesium nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and other vital nutrients for plant growth.
  • Greensand, mined from glauconitic sandstone deposits in shallow sedimentary basins on the ocean floor, is a rich source of glauconite, high in iron, potassium and magnesium. (Thanks Erick)

Mulching

mulch

Mulch is used to cover the bare topsoil around a plant’s root-zone. A mulch helps to preserve water, as the sun’s rays make the plant perspire and lose moisture. Typically only a mulch of 1-5 inches is recommended, as thicker mulches may harbor pests and take away from the available nitrogen surrounding the plant. A thin-material mulch is preferred, such as high-nitrogen grass clippings.

Crop Inspection

crop inspection

Organically-grown crops are usually more prone to pest attack and disease than crops grown using chemical pesticides. This means manual inspection of plants should be done more frequently, to try and minimize the spread of such injuries.

Natural pesticide and fungicide options include a strong and spicy oils, chili pepper, peppermint, soap, and also “alive” microbial agents.