Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Middle Branch Farm: Looking Forward to the Summer Harvest

by Shawn Menard, Co-op Produce Manager

Located in New Boston, Middle Branch Farm has been in the Noonan family since 2000. Since its founding in the mid-1700s, this land has raised nearly every kind of fresh food possible in the Northeast: dairy, eggs, poultry, apples, cider, vegetables, and maple syrup. Today, the certified organic farm primarily grows vegetables to supply its CSA shares and a few wholesale accounts, including the Co-op.

The land is sustainably managed to ensure the fields will continue to yield high-quality produce for many generations to come without having a negative impact on the ecosystem.

Like a Co-op, owner Roger Noonan and his family believe in the “triple bottom line” approach to running a business (let’s not forget that farms are businesses, too!). This means their focus is divided equally among maximizing profit, preserving the environment, and ensuring social wellness – or “people, planet, profit” for short.

Noonan’s advocacy for sustainable agriculture and environmental preservation is apparent by the dozens of leadership hats he wears: President of the New England Farmers Union, President of the New Hampshire Association of Conservation Districts, and a member of the Government Affairs Committee for NH Farm Bureau, to name a few. Middle Branch Farm also grows a significant amount of food for the New Hampshire Food Bank. This collaboration allows the farm to remain connected to the community and give back to those that make up our population.

In an effort to create deeper relationships with our farmers and increase the local produce on our shelves, this year the Co-op has been working even more closely with Middle Branch Farm to provide our customers with farm-fresh produce. The season is off to a bit of a late start due to the cold winter, but Noonan is optimistic.

“Just as long as we get some sun and showers, our vegetable seedlings should wake up and pop out of the soil,” he says.

You can expect to see plenty of zucchini, summer squash, peppers, and cucumbers during the summer. Heading into the late summer and fall, we are excited to see broccoli, cauliflower, melons, and fingerling potatoes. Winter squash and pie pumpkins will round out the season.

You can learn more about the family operated, certified-organic farm by checking out Middle Branch Farm is still offering CSA shares for this season, and of course you can also stop by the Co-op this summer to pick out some of the farm’s delicious vegetables in our produce department.