NH Harvest of the Month Kick-Off Event
Classrooms, Cafeterias and Communities
Wednesday, May 3, 4pm – 6pm
Stonewall Farm, Keene, NH
New Hampshire Harvest of the Month provides ready-to-go educational materials that can be utilized by classroom and home educators, food service professionals, farmers, families, and more! The website offers healthy recipes highlighting the monthly fruit or vegetable that can be adapted to fit the needs of both food service professionals as well as individuals and families.
Two Girls Farm is an organically-run, diversified homestead located on fifty-four acres of fields and woods in rural southwest New Hampshire. We engage in traditional New England agricultural activities, including animal husbandry, woodworking, maple sugaring, baking, vegetable-raising, and forestry. We run an apprenticeship program which provides an opportunity for an individual or couple to gain a diverse range of experience and skills.
Our hens are pasture raised in the hills of Acworth, NH. They have constant access to fresh food, water, and the outdoors where they eat grass, insects, and weeds from the garden.
I’m worried you won’t believe me when I tell you what the latest local food prospects are for Vermont.
While I’ve known that rice is technically possible to grow in Vermont for the past few years, I couldn’t have anticipated that we’d be able to offer it for sale here so soon – we’re hoping to have a small amount for sale this fall with much much more for sale next year.
But I’m getting ahead of the story.
A few years ago Linda and Takeshi Akaogi, who farm down in Westminster, realized that the climate of Vermont is very similar to the climate of northern Japan. Their hypothesis was that if rice could grow over there, it should also be possible to grow in Vermont. They got some research money, grew some test plots, and confirmed that rice seemed to grow very well here.
I had heard the Akaogi’s trials had gone well, but hadn’t heard much more about the project until we got a surprise call from Eric Andrews. Eric, who farms Boundbrook Farm and runs Good Companion Bakery in Vergennes, came up to meet with us yesterday. The plan he laid out before us to grow rice on a commercial scale made our jaws hit the ground.
Eric is developing a few acres of rice paddy this year with… get this… ducks! The ducks in the rice paddy help keep weeds at bay and provide a source of fertility for the plants.
At first I wondered if rice was a crop that would tax our soils and water and require more energy input to grow, but Eric soon convinced me otherwise. In fact many of the heavy clay soils of the Champlain Valley have been converted from wetlands and turning them to rice paddies is ecologically more sensible than growing any of the crops that don’t like wet feet. As Eric says, “If the Champlain Valley had been colonized by Asians and not by Anglo-Saxons, we would already have been growing this crop for a few hundred years.”
At the end of this season Eric hopes to be able to offer not only a few thousand pounds of rice, but also duck meat for sale. While he’s in the experimental phase this season, he hopes to be producing 16,000 pounds of rice next fall!
Eric’s story kept getting more and more amazing the longer he talked. He farms with horse power, currently growing wheat for his bakery. He built a ‘Savonius’ wind generator out of plywood and 2 by 4s to power his farm. And, in addition to the rice, his other project for the season is trialing growing sugar beets to make sugar and molasses (that’s a whole other story that I’ll have to pass along soon!).
I’m excited to work with Eric as the season progresses. I’ll keep you all posted!
Country Critters Farm, LLC is a small family farm that has been a part of Winchester for the past nine years, producing naturally raised meats. This April we were licensed by the State of New Hampshire to create our own unique farmstead goat cheeses from the milk of our goats.
We offer many different flavors of fresh chevre in a variety of sizes. In the near future we will be offering aged cheeses as well. All of our goat cheeses are made from our own goats’ milk. Currently our fifteen goats produce fifteen gallons of milk a day! Of the twenty plus kid goats that were born recently, eleven are does which we plan to add to our milking herd, with a goal of having thirty milking goats in the future. Our goats enjoy being out on pasture and guarded by their loyal companions, Rose, Emma and Ana, three Great Pyrenees dogs.
All of our cheeses are available for purchase at our farm and at many farmers markets and retailers of local products throughout the area. In addition to a small retail area at the farm (open daily 9am to 7pm), we will be at the following farmers’ markets; Saturday Gilbo Avenue in Keene, Bedford on Tuesday, Peterborough and Derry on alternating Wednesdays, Cheshire Medical Center every Thursday (alternating between Claremont and Amherst) and then on Fridays we will alternate between Weare and Newport. For updates on farm happenings follow our Facebook page, or feel free to email or give us a call.
No two cheeses are alike; each cheese is special to the area it is made in. We hope you stop by for a visit and try our cheese!
Country Critters Farm
240 Forest Lake Road
Winchester, NH 03470