Thursday, November 29, 2012

Middle Branch Farm

by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator

The fields at Middle Branch Farm in New Boston have been continuously farmed since the 1700’s.  The farm has served over the decades as a dairy, apple orchard, vegeatble, poultry and meat farm.  The farm was in the possession of the Colburn family from its inception to the point where Roger Noonan bought it in 2000.  Noonan and his family continues in that tradition of a diversified sustainable family farm.  The 100 acres at Middle Branch include woodland, pastures and fertile fields.

Noonan has been farming organically at Middle Branch Farm for over ten years.  His farming philosophy and methodology was shaped in part by his time at Marlboro College in Vermont, which Roger has described as “full of farmer/back-to-the-land types.”  One of the books he read in college was, Plowman’s Folly by Edward Faulkner.  Noonan credits this book as a major factor to the style of farming he employs today.  The book, written in the mid nineteen- forties, outlined the missuse of soil by conventional plowing and soil management practices.  Noonan believes that building healthy soil is the most essential aspect to successful organic farming.

Roger has a much larger scale to his farm than most of the farmers we visited, with 40 acres in vegetable production alone.  That is an amazing amount of fields to contend with especially considering how much of the work needs to be done by hand!  He may even be the largest certified organic farmer in the state.

Roger (center) and Midle Branch Farm crew
The Co-op has been carrying Middle Branch vegetables since its beginnings.  This past Thanksgiving the Co-op sold over 600 lbs. of Middle Branch winter squash.

Roger has recently become politically active on the national  farm scene.  The Co-op works with him on national farm issues by sending action alerts to our members.  Most recently several action alerts were created and sent to Co-op members urging their support of the 2012 Farm Bill.  He is currently the  Vice-President of the New England Farmers Union where he fights for the rights of New England farmers and fisherman.

For more information about Middle Branch Farm click here 
For more information about the New England Farmer's Union click  here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Good Earth Farm

Dave in one of his four high tunnels
by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator

Dave Trumble has been a certified organic farmer since 1987.  His four greenhouses sit atop forested hills in Wear NH.  Because of the hilltop location the land is bathed in ample sunlight and receives a constant breeze.  All of Good Earth Farm's seedlings (vegetables, herbs and flowers) are started in the greenhouses in compost based potting soil.

As demand for local and organic food has exploded in recent years, Dave has diversified his business model.  More and more organic farmers are looking to Dave to supply them with their seedlings for the spring growing season, particularly those seedling that are difficult to start.  Dave now supplies at least 10 local organic and some beginning farmers with a diverse mix of seedlings.

Dave has sold to the Co-op for 20 years
According to Dave’s estimates, organic seedlings now account for roughly half of Good Earth Farm’s revenues.  The Co-op carries almost exclusively seedlings from Good Earth in the Spring.  I have used them in my home garden for several years and can attest that they are the best.

"Like a lot of things, the best and hardest parts of something spring from the same root. Farming is both a way of life and a job. Farming is right outside your door and is with you every day throughout the seasons. It is a real blessing to live on a farm and have such good work to do each and every day. The hardest part is treating farming like a job and applying a financial perspective to your work as well." (from Good Earth Farm website)
Yours truly holding an early June tomato

Dave also supplies vegetables to the Local Harvest CSA and to several small natural food stores.  At the Co-op his organic tomatoes are the first to arrive as they have had a big heads-start growing in the greenhouse.

For more information about Good Earth Farm click here
For more information about the Local Harvest CSA click here