Farm Profiles November 2019

Beaver Pond Farm, Newport, NH

Beaver Pond Farm, Newport, NH

A “National Bicentennial Farm,” as it was chopped out of virgin woodland in 1780, now has a thriving maple sugaring business with 2,500 taps for New Hampshire graded syrup beginning in March. During the summer their crops include a pick your own raspberry patch and blueberries and vegetables at the stand. Fall is pumpkin and apple season and in December there are wreaths made from their own brush and trees grown on the farm. Also, other local products available.

Address: 50 McDonough Road & 1047, John Stark Hwy,
Newport, NH 03773
Phone: +1 (603) 543-1107

Fuller’s Sugarhouse, Lancaster, NH

Fuller’s Sugarhouse, Lancaster, NH

Sugaring comes early in a person’s life, if it is going to come at all. For Dave Fuller, he was a young teen when he was introduced to the mystery of tapping the sugar maple for its sweet sap. Now, sugaring is what he does. He taps the trees; he boils the syrup, and packages it. No mystery here; sugaring and the business of maple syrup is his full time passion.

In January, Dave and his son, James, begin repairing their snow buried tubing for the coming season. Because the earliest sap is usually the sweetest, they want to be ready and sap appears in mysterious ways; one never knows when the daytime temperature will climb high enough for the sap to begin flowing. Forty degrees is about the temperature they are looking for. In the North Country, it can be as early as late February. The family taps over 9,500 maple trees in the Lancaster area and boils down over 160,000 gallons of maple sap to produce over 4,000 gallons of maple syrup. End of the season syrup is dark and is considered commercial grade. Mrs. Fuller, who makes the maple candy and sugar and runs the family store in Lancaster prefers it for cooking because of its intense sweetness and flavor.

Address: 267 Main St,
Lancaster, NH 03584
Phone: +1 (877) 788-2719

Tomapo Farm, Lebanon, NH

Tomapo Farm, Lebanon, NH

Take a quick peek into the Tomapo Farm brochure and you’ll learn that the folks who tend to things on Storrs Hill “have been bringing you pure New Hampshire maple and other Yankee ingenuity,” since 1769. The farm on Storrs Hill Road dates back well over 200 years under one family. The U.S Department of Agriculture has recognized it as one of the few bicentennial farms in the country. Tomapo Farm offers Retail firewood for sale & retail and wholesale maple syrup products including syrup, candy, cream and sugar.

Address: 110 Storrs Hill Rd,
Lebanon, NH 03766
Phone: +1 (603) 448-1145

Bailey Farm, Lyme, NH

Bailey Farm, Lyme, NH

It’s November and a time when packs of coyotes roam the fields at night near where 1000 Thanksgiving White Holland turkeys are housed on the Bailey Farm in Lyme, NH. “Don’t worry about waking me,” says Dan Bailey who owns the farm with his wife Millie. “I can’t sleep anyway.” After all, one coyote much less a pack, could wipe out the flock that he has been nurturing for six months, feeding his birds an expensive mixture of ground soybean and corn with a few squash added to the yard to peck at. Arriving soon was a friend with some traps. Dan was just as emphatic about importance of exercise for his turkeys; lots of walking around in the fresh air adds to  the health of the birds, and lends to the flavor that his buyers crave.

Address: 294 Dartmouth College Hwy,
Lyme, NH 03768
Phone: +1 (603) 795-4528

Riverslea Farm, Epping, NH

Riverslea Farm, Epping, NH

“In 1991 when we bought a 200 year old farm in disrepair, we did not have a plan, we just thought it would be a nice place to live and fix up,” says Jeff Conrad who, with his wife Liz owns Riverslea Farm in Epping, NH.  The Conrads’ early renovations, however, began to take on a life of their own. After turning their old farm house into a comfortable and infinitely livable home, they went to work on their barns to start on what would become the Riverslea Farm. Now, the family farm raises sheep and goats for selling meat, skins and wool. High quality washable sheepskins and wool products are for sale at the farm shop and by mail.

Address:  362 N River Rd,
Epping, NH 03042
Phone: +1 (603) 679-2629

Farm Profiles October 2019

Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls, NH

Applecrest Farm Orchards, Hampton Falls, NH

Applecrest Farm Orchards is the oldest and largest apple orchard in the state of New Hampshire, as well as the oldest continuously operated apple orchard in the United States, since 1913 . An “Apple Train” ran the weekly route from Boston to the rolling orchards of Applecrest Farm. Nowadays, this year-round apple orchard grows over 40 varieties of apples, peaches, berries, sweet corn, pumpkins, summer vegetables. Also find all-natural apple cider, made-from-scratch confectioneries, and a range of locally produced farm goods.

Address: 133 Exeter Rd,
Hampton Falls, NH 03844
Phone: +1 (603) 926-3721

Appleview Orchard, Pittsfield, NH

Appleview Orchard, Pittsfield, NH

Appleview Orchard is a kid-friendly, hilltop apple orchard located just a few minutes off of the highway in Pittsfield, NH. Walk through the scenic farm and pick your own apples from classic and heirloom varieties. While you’re there, look through an assortment of local treats and other gifts at their Country Gift Shoppe. Enjoy freshly picked apples, gourmet ice cream, homemade apple crisp, waffles, cones, brownies and more. Seasonal hayrides on the weekends and group tours on weekdays.

Address: 1266 Upper City Rd,
Pittsfield, NH 03263
Phone: +1 (603) 435-3553

Riverview Farm, Plainfield, NH

Riverview Farm, Plainfield, NH

The 44-acre Riverview Farm is home to over 1,600 apple trees, hundreds of blueberry, fall raspberry and currant bushes, pumpkins, corn and cut-your-own flowers. A picnic area and barn store, with products from their own and neighboring farms, add to the visitor’s experience. The family’s friendly dogs may greet you. And nowadays you can see bald eagles, geese, and many other birds fly over the river. The farm has a corn maze for wandering, hayrides as another way to reach the orchards and enjoy the scenery. Safe and comfortable for every member of the family, the entire farm is handicap accessible for your convenience.

Address: 141 River Rd,
Plainfield, NH 03781
Phone: +1 (603) 298-8519

McClary Hill Farm, Epsom, NH

McClary Hill Farm, Epsom, NH

Early American history and modern times merge at McClary Hill Farm in Epsom. Dave Stewart’s 18th-century farmhouse sits on a hill named for the first Scots-Irish family to settle in the area. Dave, manages his own 138-acre farm with a focus on balanced animal and vegetable production. See the fresh, organically-raised meats, dairy, poultry, eggs, honey that the farm has to offer. McClary Hill Farm encompasses an old barn, an animal barn, greenhouses, fields, gardens, and home of the new Blasty Bough Brewing Company with live music, too.

Address: 3 Griffin Rd,
Epsom, NH 03234
Phone: +1 (603) 738-4717

Manning Hill Farm, Winchester, NH

Manning Hill Farm, Winchester, NH

With the purchase of an 1874 farm house and 126 acres of land in 2005, Sarah and Sam became a welcome addition to New Hampshire’s hardworking first generation farmers. The couple decided that their primary focus would be to produce good quality milk. It was a big decision to start milking cows from scratch. To set themselves apart from the rest of the dairy industry, they decided on milking and breeding the rarely seen heritage Dutch Belted dairy cows (not to be confused with Belted Galloway beef cattle). Dutch Belted are known for producing premium quality naturally homogenized milk. With only 200 registered in the U.S, the breed also offered the couple the opportunity to begin a breeding up program and make a contribution to farm animal preservation. Come taste the premium milk for yourself. The farm also offers fresh eggs, maple syrup, grass-fed beef, pork and chicken for sale.

Address: 79 Old Manning Hill Rd,
Winchester, NH 03470
Phone: +1 (603) 239-4397


Farnum Hill Ciders at Poverty Lane Orchards, Lebanon, NH

Farnum Hill Ciders at Poverty Lane Orchards, Lebanon, NH

Farnum Hill cider is a “true” cider – an alcoholic beverage fermented from apples, exactly as a wine is fermented from grapes. Their ciders are 6.5 -7.5% alcohol, tend toward the dry, sharp, and fruity and come from true cider apples of English, French, and American origin. Owners Steve Wood and Louisa Spencer are setting a trend for the return of cider’s pre-Prohibition glory. To quote Steve , “Johnny Appleseed planted the frontier for cider, after all – “Mom and apple pie” came later, blotting out certain enjoyable truths from the national memory.”

Address: 98 Poverty Ln,
Lebanon, NH 03766
Phone: +1 (603) 448-1511

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.