August Farm of the Month: Herban Living Farm

Herban Living Farm
242 General Miller Highway
Temple, NH 03084

Throughout August, New Hampshire will celebrate NH Eat Local Month 2009. One of four themes promoted by this important event is “food preservation.” For those interested in learning how to enjoy that hard-earned harvest, well into our cold New England winter, on August 18th Lisa Beaudoin, owner of Herban Living Farm-and its fledgling Environmental Education Center (in its second year)-will present a workshop titled “Preparing the Harvest: What to do with it all?”

Beaudoin will cover simple techniques to store food, such as pickling, freezing, and more. What does she hope participants will leave with?  “I want them to be inspired that they’ll have the tools to put some food away for the winter. If people know how to make tomato sauce, or homemade pickles…or freeze — an easy way of food storage — with this knowledge there’s less food coming from long distances,” she says, adding,  “…eating food as close to home as possible is the most nutrient-dense and earth-friendly.  I’ve always known it to be economical.”

Befitting her whole philosophy of raising local, organic food, supporting sustainability, and giving back to the land and community, Beaudoin emphasizes an additional event (September 20th and Oct.18th) titled “Out Standing in their Field.” With each event — a collaboration between the Center and chef Mike Webb from Peterborough’s Pearl Restaurant — guests literally dine in her farm field. The fundraiser/food celebration includes a meal of chickens raised on the farm, plus other items either grown on the farm or from other local farms and the moving sound of local music.

Proceeds from the meal cover free events, as well as the farm’s food donation program.   This year, Herban Living Farm will donate approximately 10 to 15 percent of its produce to a Peterborough non-profit that serves families at risk. “A lot of people don’t know how to cook these densely nutritious foods,” Beaudoin says. “This past spring, families involved with the non-profit came to the farm with their children to experience the planting process, while getting to know where their food comes from. In the fall, the same families return to harvest some food and prepare it in a way that’s tasty. Parents are empowered…more aware.”

Herban Living Farm also operates a B&B, an organic CSA (now in its 6th season), a new-this-year farmstand (all local foods), and, available this October, fresh pasture-raised organic chicken.

Beaudoin says ten years ago, “bio-regional” was the catch-phrase, when eating local was not a popular food trend. “But now, the campaign for eating local has taken off,” she says. “And that’s fantastic! People are asking, what is the ecological footprint of what I’m eating?”  Learning to preserve our local bounty is an exciting and economical extension of growing or buying fresh, nutritious local foods.

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