December 18, 2009

winter and optimism

It used to be that winter was the time of year where we hunkered down with steaming mugs perusing seed catalogs and planning for the spring. It was a time to get part time jobs and generally rest our work-weary bones for next season. Then we started talking about "winter" markets. At the time it seemed a longshot: people barely came to our later markets in October, why would they want to come to a market in December? So we grew some extra winter squash, figuring that if it didn't sell, at least we'd have plenty of calories to keep us (not to mention friends and family) well fed in case of sudden apocalypse. That was two years ago. The overwhelming success of that first market and the ones that followed has shaped the way we approach farming. Come to find: we're not alone. We just attended the New England Vegetable and Fruit growers' conference. It was awesome to talk to growers out in Vermont and Maine and hear how to grow more food in the winter. It's really happening, and it's totally exciting! For us as well as many farmers, it's drastically changed what being a farmer entails during the cold months: from washing potatoes on the "warm" days to pulling carrots out of the snow, to pulling the van up the frozen barn ramp with the tractor to get ready for yet another market. Which, by the way is this Saturday in Rollinsford. The fun doesn't stop. Next year at this time we hope to be cutting greens out of our (soon to be constructed) unheated hoophouse. Suddenly we are becoming busy. Not that we mind. Shorter days mean there's still plenty of time to come inside and find that steaming mug. As I write this, I am glancing at a disheveled stack of seed catalogs awaiting my perusal. I think to myself, "next year will be better." Some things about farmers never change.
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December 9, 2009

farmer's markets (and our awesome farm crew) in the news

Bridget and Kate harvesting arugula.  Photo from
Check out this article about Seacoast Eat Local's Winter Farmers' Markets with a nice little highlight about our farm in Sunday's Portsmouth Herald.

Don't forget...this Saturday we will be at the new Exeter High School from 10-2 and if you haven't make it to the markets yet, check out this fun video of last weeks' market...
Seacoast Eat Local Winter Farmers' Market, Dec 5, 2009 from Seacoast Eat Local on Vimeo.

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Winter farmers markets growing on Seacoast |

Winter farmers markets growing on Seacoast |

December 4, 2009

delicious greens and other treats...

Tomorrow will be the second of our Winter Farmers' Markets held at the Wentworth greenhouses in Rollinsford. It's been such a mild autumn, and our delicious arugula is still thriving! This outdoor planting will only be around until the snow flies, so now's the time to snag some. We will also have potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and turnips. Other vendors will be bringing seafood, freshly roasted coffee (my personal favorite) yogurt, meats, and more. You name it!!! We had an amazing turnout last time. Everyone loved the new space, and there was nothing but happy faces! See you tomorrow!

November 18, 2009

Thanksgiving Farmers' Market

This Saturday will be the first in a whole bunch of indoor winter markets this year hosted by Seacoast Eat local.  The market will be from 10-2 at the Wentworth Greenhouses* in Rollinsford.  Seacoast Eat Local started up just over two years ago with three markets, now they are up to eleven, all in bigger spaces.   And there are farmers' markets sprouting up all over the place.  It is exiting to see all the people who have been turning out for these events.  They are always surprised at how much food there is!  Plus fine music and fun activities for kids of all ages.  We have been putting a lot of work into our winter crops.  Potatoes, turnips, carrots, and this year...parsnips!  The root cellar is stocked, and we aren't done yet - we're still pullin' carrots!  We also plan on having greens until snow.  

But that's just our contribution; there will be almost 50 vendors at this Saturday's market!  That adds up to even more veggies, plus meats, dairy, and baked goodies.  Oh, yes, and also locally caught fish and seafood.  Farmer's and producers have been ramping up for these winter events, and working to meet consumers' demand for more fresh food all year round.  As we have said before about our summer markets: "we're like the freaking grocery store!"  It is so exiting to live in this area where so many things grow and thrive, even during the cold months.  It's something to be immensely grateful for.  Is our system perfect?  No.  We would love to have more growers and food producers.  Also, we want to have more people come to the table, and know that it is harder than ever to afford high quality food, but believe that everyone should have access to it.  Fortunately at our markets we will have some folks coming to donate produce to local food pantries.  We are making great strides in making local FRESH food available, while keeping it sustainable both economically and environmentally.   It's a tough balance, we move forward- 

let us give thanks, and let's eat!

*Wentworth Greenhouses, 141 Rollins Rd, Rollinsford, NH
1 mile past Red's Shoe Barn on the Rollinsford/Dover border
for more information visit Seacoast Eat Local's Winter Farmers' Market page

October 23, 2009

cold roots, warm hands

We are delighted at our newest piece of equipment: a barrel root washer! Just in time for cold weather, we've got it put together. It makes quick work of washing veggies like turnips, carrots, even potatoes. In the end it will save time, water, and (more importantly) our FINGERS while washing up prior to those cold winter markets. It's like magic: roots go in dirty and come out sparkly-clean and ready for cold-storage in the root cellar.  Here is Bridget inspecting the first run of scarlet turnips in the washer (note dry, toasty-warm fingers!) 

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September 21, 2009

onion harvest

On the eve of the fall equinox, one thing is for sure as we begin to close down the season: we've got onions. Lots of 'em. With more than a little help from Kate and Bridget (our intrepid farm crew) we've just brought what will be the most onions we've ever grown! It's very exciting to see all that work really pay off.

Whew! Now we can focus our attention on getting in the rest of the potatoes, fall carrots, turnips, and maybe even some beets & beans!

August 3, 2009

magazine articles, rain, and growth on the farm...

It's August....and the harvest is finally in full swing! The rain has slowed things down a bit, but summer squash, cucumbers, beets, carrots, potatoes, and plenty more have finally kicked into full gear. Even peppers and eggplant are beginning to happen, much to our delight. There have been cases of late blight reported in the state, which is disconcerting to say the least. Late blight is the same disease that caused the Irish potato famine, and although it's not dangerous to humans, it can totally wipe out a crop of tomatoes or potatoes. While our plants are showing signs of stress from all the water, none have tested positive for late blight, so we are remaining cautiously optimistic. If the plants stay healthy, we should have tomatoes coming in before the month is out. We are at least a week or two behind schedule thanks to this weather pattern that seems to have us in it's grip. Rain every other day, means the fields are too wet to get the tractor in, but we are getting the fall crops seeded and planted still, though it's slow going.
Big News! We've been featured in New Hampshire Magazine for our work with the Chef's Collaborative NH grow out program. The article is entitled "Josh and the Beanstalk." Catchy. Check it out here.

May 14, 2009

potato planting

We got all of the potatoes (that's right ALL of them) in the ground with the help of a 1930's era potato planter we borrowed from a neighboring farm. It wasn't quite as nifty as this video, but you get the idea. It wasn't no work, but we had some fun, for sure. The best feeling is that of all all those 'taters in the ground!

pulling up the discs

cutting seed potatoes with a seed cutter

April 23, 2009

they grow up so fast

April is showering us with some fine weather. It looks like we have some good sunny days ahead, so who can complain? We've been busy getting seedlings going. We needed room in the greenhouse for warm-weather loving crops like peppers and tomatoes, so the onions had to get moved outside. They don't seem to mind it, and we have extra cover to throw on them if it gets too cold at night. Whew. It is certainly THAT time!

Meanwhile out in the field things are beginning to come up too. Here's a peek at the spinach:

Planting the peas back in March

...perky little peas popping up!

March 3, 2009

Spring is in the seriously.

If you are living in New Hampshire, or just about anywhere in the Northeast, it might be difficult for you to imagine that spring is, in fact, just around the corner. Old man winter is putting up a pretty good fight, but believe me, it is a battle he won't win. He never does. The seasons just keep coming, and there's no stopping spring's immanent arrival.
So, we figured we best be getting ready. We've got beets, lettuce, and a mini-field of onion sprouts going in the greenhouse. Soon we'll be starting herbs, and tomatoes, and oh yeah, more beets and lettuce!
We just sold the last of the carrots and turnips, (of course we kept a few pounds for ourselves!) but there is still a good amount of potatoes in the root cellar for sale. Everything down there still looks and tastes wonderful! Next year, (I should say THIS year) I hope to have more food down there for restaurants and Winter Markets. I will say, it's been a funny balancing act between marketing Winter produce and planning spring crops...kind of like living in both the past and the future at the same time, but it's all a learning process, and it's been great. We are definitely happy with how well our storage went- and of course, next year we plan do it all even bigger and better.
So stay tuned!