Farm Profiles August 2020

Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH

Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH

While Stonewall Farm, as a nonprofit 120 acre educational center has existed for 20 years, its agricultural roots as a working farm reach back over 250 years to 1759. Successive families managed the fields, pastures, and woodlots through the Chase family, who owned and ran Stonewall Farm during most of the 20th century. They steadily grew a dairy presence which delivered fresh milk throughout Keene and nearby towns. In 1994 the Chase family transferred ownership to Michael Kidder who in turn partnered with other Keene community members to formally charter and secure all of the Stonewall Farm property under the current nonprofit agritourism organization.  Buy certified organic dairy and crops for sale at the retail store.

Address: 242 Chesterfield Rd,
Keene, NH 03431
Phone: +1 (603) 357-7278

Cheshire Garden, Winchester NH

Cheshire Garden, Winchester NH

Winchester’s Cheshire Garden began in 1986 when Patti Powers and her husband, Ralph Legrande, a former chef, purchased a barren piece of land on Burt Hill Road with the goal of transforming it into fertile organic beds and an orchard for the business. Today, Cheshire Garden’s preserves, mustards and vinegars are made from organically grown heirloom berries, fruits and herbs. Each jar and bottle is homegrown and handmade. Order on the website for worldwide shipping orcontact-free local pickup at the Tiny Farmstand.

Address: 277 Burt Hill Rd,
Winchester, NH 03470
Phone: +1 (603) 239-4173

Bly Farm, Wolfeboro, NH

Bly Farm, Wolfeboro, NH

“It’s a kind of one of those hidden gems on the side of a country road. Pick up some corn or fresh veggies from the farm stand and grab an ice cream. ” The “hidden gem” feeling is what Vince and Cynthia Blandini hope to convey in Wolfeboro NH, growing a large selection of annuals, hardy perennials, herbs, hanging baskets, starter plants, fruits, and seasonal vegetables. There are locally made jams, jellies, preserves, maple syrup, and honey. Also offered at the farm stand are Cynthia’s home baked pies, homemade chocolate chip cookies, and, most recently from Cynthia’s kitchen, blueberry muffins made with their own fresh picked blueberries.

Address: 620 Center St,
Wolfeboro, NH 03894
Phone: +1 (603) 569-1411

White Gates Farm, Tamworth, NH

White Gates Farm, Tamworth, NH

Thirty years ago the name White Gates Farm represented simply a stand of pine woods. To quote Heather Letarte, “when we say ‘we started from scratch in 1982,’ we mean scratch.”  Since then, single-handedly Heather and Hank Letarte, while working full-time off the farm, have built a house for their family and managed several small agricultural endeavors, such as pumpkin patches, Christmas trees, and a few animals. All the while they yearned to take the farm to ‘the next level.’ At White Gates Farm you can find natural beef, pork, chicken, fresh produce, wood fired pizza and more.

Address: 2153 Cleveland Hill Rd,
Tamworth, NH 03886
Phone: +1 (603) 662-7538


Work Song Farm, Hopkinton, NH

Work Song Farm, Hopkinton, NH

Work Song Farm is a certified organic farm that has a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program and also operates a summer farmstand that sells freshly picked vegetables each Saturday at the Contoocook summer farmer’s market and Wednesdays at the Hopkinton Farmers Market. For Abby and Dan, the best part of farming is the connection they have with their customers who come each week to pick up their CSA shares at the farmstand or visit the farmers market.

Address: 284 Beech Hill Rd,
Hopkinton, NH 03229
Phone: +1 (603) 219-0297

Farm Profiles July 2020

Beans and Greens Farm, Gilford, NH

Beans and Greens Farm, Gilford, NH

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 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!

Address: 245 Intervale Rd,
Gilford, NH 03249
Phone: +1 (603) 293-2853

Edgewater Farm, Plainfield NH

Edgewater Farm, Plainfield NH

A family owned farm located on the rich alluvial plains of the Connecticut River. Beginning with a strawberry crop in 1976, today, in 2008, Anne and Pooh Sprague with their two children Sarah and Ray as well as 24 year veteran Mike Harrington manage a farm of 170 acres with about 60 tillable acres on which they grow small fruits and vegetables. They have approximately 60,000 square feet of poly greenhouses in which they grow bedding plants and greenhouse vegetables. The Route 12A farmstand is the flagship of their farming activities, connected to a commercial kitchen with salads, pickles, ready to cook vegetarian dinners, simple baked goods and more. You can visit the farm in person, order online or sign up for their CSA programs.

Address: 246 NH-12A,
Plainfield, NH 03781, USA
Phone: +1 (603) 298-5764

Surowiec Farm, Sanbornton, NH

Surowiec Farm, Sanbornton, NH

The farm, a New Hampshire Farm of Distinction, has been in the Surowiec Family since 1917 when it was a poultry and dairy farm. Stephen and his mother established the apple orchard which opened for picking in 1976. The family has continued to diversify its crops to grow vegetables, strawberries, blueberries, cut flowers, as well as their apples. A view to the north and west provides an expansive backdrop to the farmstand. Buy fresh produce, dairy products, meats and other locally-made foods at the farm (roadside pickup available) or order online through their website.

Address: 53 Perley Hill Rd,
Sanbornton, NH 03269
Phone: +1 (603) 286-4069

D Acres of New Hampshire, Dorchester, NH

D Acres of New Hampshire, Dorchester, NH

Founded in 1997, D Acres is an organic farm and educational homestead located in Dorchester, NH. The mission of the organization is to function as an educational center that researches, applies, and teaches skill for sustainable living and small scale farming. D Acres offers locally grown and prepared foods for sale at local farmer’s markets, online through the Local Foods Plymouth initiative and on the farm’s website. The Hostel at D Acres has a range of sleeping accommodations.

Address: 218 Streeter Woods Rd,
Dorchester, NH 03266
Phone: +1 (603) 786-2366

Tracie’s Community Farm, Fitzwilliam, NH

Tracie’s Community Farm, Fitzwilliam, NH

Tracie’s Community Farm began in 2001 as a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm in Sullivan, NH. In fall, 2007 after nine years of growing vegetables in Sullivan, the farm moved to its permanent home in Fitzwilliam, New Hampshire on 33 acres of conservation land. Family and community helped to move perennials, greenhouses, supplies from Sullivan, and to build a barn from pine harvested and milled on the new site. Today, Tracie’s Community Farm’s CSA feeds 210 families in the Monadnock region, and provides produce to local restaurants. Find fresh produce, fruits, eggs, bread, honey, ice cream, maple syrup and more local goodies for sale at the farm stand. Sign up on the website for their seasonal CSA programs.

Address: 72 Jaffrey Rd,
Fitzwilliam, NH 03447
Phone: +1 (603) 994-4629


Van Berkum Nursery, Deerfield, NH

Van Berkum Nursery, Deerfield, NH

Peter and Leslie Van Berkum started their wholesale nursery in 1987, and today they specialize in native perennials with a line called “New England Woodlanders,” which includes strictly propagated plants native to the New England region. In addition to their Woodlander line, the Van Berkums grow over 600 varieties of perennials, both for sun and shade. Their business is primarily to the landscape trade but a growing business is to garden centers.

Address: 4 James Rd,
Deerfield, NH 03037
Phone: +1 (603) 463-7663

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.