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Apr 19, 2018







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Summer Farmers Markets
 
• AMHERST at the Amherst Village Common, on Church St., Thursdays, from 3 to 6 p.m., through Sept. 26. Visit amherstmarket.com.
 
• ATKINSON at 1 Kip Cam Road, Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through Oct. 12. Visit atkinsonfarmersmarket.org.
 
• BEDFORD at the parking lot at St. Elizabeth Seton Parish (190 Meeting House Road), on Tuesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m., runs through Oct. 18. Visit bedfordfarmersmarket.org.
 
• CANTERBURY at the Elkins Public Library on Center Road on Wednesdays, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., through Oct. 3. Visit ccfma.net.
 
• CONCORD on Capitol Street downtown on Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays at the Steeplegate Mall parking lot from 3 to 7 p.m., through Oct. 26. Visit concordfarmersmarket.com.
 
• CONTOOCOOK at the Contoocook Train Depot, 896 Main St., Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon, through Oct. Visit harvesttomarket.com.
 
• DEERFIELD at 10 Church St., Fridays, from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., through Sept. Go to farmersmarket.deerfield-nh.us.
 
• DERRY at Town Hall (14 Manning St.) on Wednesdays, from 3 to 7 p.m. through Sept. 25. Visit derry-nh.org.
 
• DOVER at the Dover Chamber of Commerce (Central and Sixth streets) on Wednesdays, from 2:15 to 6 p.m., through Oct. 9. Visit seacoastgrowers.org.
 
• DURHAM at 15 Newmarket Road on Mondays from 2:15 to 6 p.m. Visit seacoastgrowers.org.
 
• EPPING at 23 Main St., Fridays, from 3 to 6 p.m. through Sept. Visit eppingfarmersmarket.com.
 
• EXETER at Swasey Park on Thursdays, 2:15-6 p.m., through Oct. 25. Visit seacoastgrowers.org.
 
• FRANKLIN at Franklin Regional Hospital (15 Aiken Ave.), Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. Visit lrgh.org.
 
• HENNIKER at Community Park (57 Main St.), Thursdays, from 4 to 7 p.m., through Oct. Visit henniker.org.
 
• HILLSBOROUGH at Butler Park, corner of Main and Central Streets, Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to noon. Go to hillsboroughpride.org.
 
• HOOKSETT at White Birch Brewing (1339 Hooksett Road), Wednesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m. Visit hooksettfarmersmarket.com.
 
• HOPKINTON at Beech Hill Creamery (107 Beech Hill Road), on Wednesdays, from 4 to 7 p.m.
 
• LACONIA at Laconia City Hall parking lot Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, through Oct.. Visit laconiafarmersmarket.com.
 
• LACONIA Main Street Outdoor Marketplace, in the Municipal Parking lot between Main and Pleasant Streets. Thursdays, from 3 to 7 p.m., through Sept. 
 
• MANCHESTER on Concord Street next to Victory Park on Thursdays, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Visit manchesternhfarmersmarket.com.
 
• MERRIMACK at the Commons Shopping Center (515 Daniel Webster Highway), Wednesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m., through Sept.
 
• MILFORD at Granite Town Plaza, Route 101A, Elm Street, on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Go to milfordnhfarmersmarket.com.
 
• MOODY POND at 3 George Moody Road, Weare, on Fridays, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Visit moodypondmarketplace.com.
 
• NASHUA on Main Street Bridge on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Oct. 13. Visit downtownnashua.org.
 
• NEW DURHAM next to the Post Office, off Depot Road, Saturdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Visit newdurhamfarmersmarket.com.
 
• NORTHWOOD at the intersection of routes 202 and 9 on Thursdays, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Visit northwoodfarmersmarket.blogspot.com.
 
• NOTTINGHHAM the Blaisdell Memorial Library lawn on second Sundays. Call 679-5392 or email nottinghamfarmersmarket@gmail.com.
 
• PENACOOK at Rolfe Homestead (11 Penacook St.) on Mondays, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., through Oct..
 
• PORTSMOUTH in the City Hall lot on Junkins Avenue on Saturdays, from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., May 4 through Nov. 3. Visit seacoastgrowers.org.
 
• RAYMOND at the Riverbend Market Place (64 Freetown Road), Tuesdays, from 3 to 6:30 p.m., through Sept. Visit raymondareanews.com.
 
• SALEM at Lake Garden Center (37 Lake St.) on Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Oct. 20. Visit salemnhfarmersmarket.com.
 
• TILTON at the Tanger Outlet Center (120 Laconia Road), Fridays, from 3 to 7 p.m.,  through Sept. Go to tiltonfarmersmarket.com.
 
• WARNER MainStreet Warner Evening Farmers Market, at the Jim Mitchell Community Park on Main Street, Tuesdays, from 3 to 6 p.m. 
 
• WARNER at Town Hall (5 E. Main St.), Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., through Oct. 
 
• WEARE at the Gazebo on Route 77/114, next to Weare Middle School (16 E Road, Weare) Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m., through Oct. 18. 
 
Local Farms and Farm Stands
 
• Apple Hill Farm 580 Mountain Road, Concord, 224-8862, applehillfarmnh.com, Pick-your-own raspberries, golden raspberries, blueberries and blackcurrants Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, and Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. 
 
• Appleview Orchard 1266 Upper City Road, Pittsfield, 435-3553, applevieworchard.com, pick-your-own raspberries, open daily from noon to 9 p.m. 
 
• Beans & Greens Farm 245 Intervale Road, Gilford, 293-2853, beansandgreensfarm.com, open daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
• Beech Hill Farm 107 Beech Hill Road, Hopkinton, 223-0828, beechhillfarm.com, open daily 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
 
• Berry Good Farm 234 Parker Road, Goffstown, 497-8138, Visit them on Facebook, pick-your-own blueberries, open July and August. 
 
• Blueberry Gardens Organic 40 Ingalls Road, Pittsfield, 435-7218, blueberrygardensorganic.com, pick-your-own blueberries, open from 5 to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. 
 
• Blue Moon Berry Farm 195 Waldrom Hill Road, Warner, 410-9577, bluemoonnh.com, pick-your-own blueberries, open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays. 
 
• Brookdale Fruit Farm 41 Broad St., Hollis, 465-2240, brookdalefarms.com, open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pick-your-own raspberries, blueberries, cherries and black raspberries.
 
• Butternut Farm 483 Federal Hill Road, Milford, 673-2963, butternutfarmmilford.com, open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
• Carter Hill Orchard 73 Carter Hill Road, Concord, 225-2625, carterhillapples.com, pick-your-own blueberries, raspberries and peaches, open Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, until Friday, July 26, when the farm will be open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
 
• Common Earth Farms 64 Jenkins Road, Bedford, 647-1500, iine.us/common-earth-farms, open daily 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
• Dimond Hill Farm 314 Hopkinton Road, Concord, 224-0602, dimondhillfarm.com, open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
• Durocher Farm 157 Charles Bancroft Highway Route 3A, Litchfield, 867-5926, pickyourownberries.com, pick-your-own blueberries, open daily 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. 
 
• Elwood Orchard 54 Elwood Road, Londonderry, 434-6017, elwoodorchards.com, open daily 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pick-your-own raspberries. 
 
• Fairhaven Farm 743 Hopkinton Road, Hopkinton, 224-0214, fairhavenfarm.net, pick-your-own blueberries, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
 
• Hackleboro Orchards 61 Orchard Road, Canterbury, 783-4248, hackleboroorchards.com, open mid-Aug. to Thanksgiving, daily 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and farm stand on Route 4 in Boscawen, open late July to Thanksgiving, noon to 6 p.m. on weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Pick-your-own blueberries. 
 
• Hague Berry Farm Epsom Traffic Circle, Epsom, and 614 Province Road, Barnstead, 340-5792, hagueberryfarm.com, open daily 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
• Hi-berry Farm 338 Curtis Farm Road, Wilton, 654-9819, pick-your-own blueberries, open 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays and Fridays; 9 a.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays. 
 
• Inkwell Farm 106 Hedding Road, Epping, 734-2117, inkwellfarm.com, pick-your-own blueberries, open most days 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
 
• J & F Farms 124 Chester Road, Derry, 437-0535, jandffarms.net, open weekdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and weekends, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
• LaValley Farms 1801 Hooksett Road, 485-3541, lavalleyfarms.com, open Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mobile Cart in Manchester is located at 2180 Candia Road, open Mondays through Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
• Lull Farm LLC Route 130, Hollis, 465-7079, and Route 13, Milford, 673-3119, lullfarmllc.com, open daily 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries.
 
• Lyon Berry Farm 986 Route 129, Loudon, 435-7640, pick-your-own blueberries.
 
• Maple Ridge Farm 416 Bumfagon Road, Loudon, 267-8188, open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 
 
• The Mellen Patch 39 Merril Road, Hillsboro, 464-3706, pick-your-own blueberries, open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 
 
• McQuesten Farm 334 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield, 424-9268, open Mondays through Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
• Oliver Merrill & Sons Farm 569 Mammoth Road, Londonderry, 622-6636, open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
 
• Peters’ Farm 1 Cross St., Salem, petersfarmnh.com, open daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
• Pustizzi Fruit Farm 148 Corn Hill Road, Boscawen, 796-6040, pustizzifruitfarm.com, open Thursdays and Fridays, 2 to 6 p.m., and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries. 
 
• The Ranch House Farm 361 Baptist Hill Road, Canterbury, 267-7551, pick-your-own raspberries and blueberries, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. 
 
• Red Manse Farm 5 Pittsfield Road, Loudon Center, 435-9943, redmansefarm.com, open Thursday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
 
• Rosaly’s Garden 65 Elm Hill Road, Peterborough, 924-7772, rosalysgarden.com, open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pick-your-own raspberries and blueberries. 
 
• Rossview Farm 84 District #5 Road, Concord, 228-4872, pick-your-own blueberries, call for times. 
 
• Russell Certified Organic 289 Maple St., Contoocook, 344-6913, russellcertifiedorganic.com, pick-your-own blueberries and raspberries, open daily at 8 a.m. 
 
• Smith Farm 131 Kimball Hill Road, Hudson, 881-8210, smithfarmhudson.com, open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays and holidays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
• Spring Ledge Farm 37 Main St., New London, 526-6253, springledgefarm.com, open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sundays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
 
• Sunnycrest Farm 59 High Range Road, Londonderry, 432-7753, sunnycrestfarmnh.com, open daily 9 to 6 p.m. Pick-your-own cherries, blueberries, raspberries, peaches, grapes.
 
• Trombly Gardens 150 North River Road, Milford, 673-0647, tromblygardens.com, open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
 
• Wilson Farm 144 Charles Bancroft Highway, Litchfield, 882-5551, wilsonfarm.com/nh_store.html, open daily 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
 
• Work Song Farm 124 Beech Hill Road, Hopkinton, 219-0297, worksongfarm.com, open daily from 10 a.m. to dark; closed on Tuesdays. 
 
Raspberry whip
Eleanor Whittemore, whose family owns the Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis, fondly remembered her grandmother making a raspberry whip—a simple concoction, but an arduous one for Whittemore’s grandmother who didn’t have an electric mixer to put it together. (Whittemore’s grandmother used a fork to beat the ingredients.)
 
The recipe calls for combining one egg white, one cup of sugar and one cup of raspberries. Beat the ingredients together until stiff and then top a yellow cake or an angel food cake with the mixture. 
 
“It’s not really a frosting,” Whittemore said, adding it can be made with strawberries and blueberries as well, but Whittemore prefers the raspberries. “It’s the only recipe I carry in my head.” 
 
Raspberry and Blueberry Pie
Recipe courtesy Brookdale Fruit Farm. 
2-3 cups blueberries
2 cups raspberries
2/3 cup sugar (less if blueberries and raspberries are very sweet)
1/3 cup flour
Pinch of cinnamon
1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon butter
2 9-inch unbaked pie shells
 
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix blueberries, raspberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon and lemon juice. Spoon berry mixture into bottom of pie shell and dot with butter. Cover with top pie shell, preferably a lattice top. If it’s a solid top pie shell, make slits for steam vents. Bake for about 40 minutes or until crust is golden brown and juices start to bubble. Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Store in the fridge.
 




Farm Fresh
Your guide to local farms, markets and farm stands

07/18/13
By Hippo Staff news@hippopress.com



7/18/2013
 
Summer is the season of fresh produce. Maybe you’ve been to your local farmers market and walked away with a canvas bag full of fruits and veggies — but did you really take advantage of everything the farmers market has to offer? Buying local is the thing to do these days, and vendors are taking advantage of that mindset — which means you can benefit from the vast amounts of original items being sold, from non-food items like organic soap to unique foods like garlic scapes. The Hippo is your source for tips on how to shop a farmers market, what’s trending and which produce is in season in the next few months. 
 
The Hippo also talked to local farmers who sell their goods right at their farms or at farm stands so customers don’t have to wait for a weekly market. And for those DIY kind of people, there’s always the pick-your-own option if you’re looking for fruit with a side of fun. 
 
Breaking tradition
New trends at farmers markets
 
You may be surprised by what’s available at your local farmers market. 
 
“We’re evolving as farmers markets, and in any business you have to kind of jazz things up sometimes,” said Kristine Mossey, president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association. “You can’t have the same thing all the time. It gets kind of boring.”
 
Lately, Mossey said, local farmers markets have been adding unique items and produce to their product list and have been incorporating activities to see and do. 
 
“A lot of markets offer music or some type of entertainment,” she said. “Some offer things for kids to do, like face painting. A lot of them have food demos at the market, where a lot of farmers themselves offer free sampling. They offer tastings of jams and jellies.”
 
Mossey said the new items are arising as a result of farmers markets turning to their communities for feedback on what to sell at the markets. 
 
She said many local artists, bakers and businesses are beginning to get more involved.
 
“I’m seeing a lot of dog treats and dog biscuits,” she said. “There is a lot of creativity with what is being offered. [At the Bedford Farmers Market] we have baklava, a vendor called C’est La Vie — they make food with a French flair to it. They make dessert crepes that are pre-made.”
 
Farmers markets have begun incorporating new and diverse products into their market repertoire as a way to hold the interests of frequent customers and to inspire new visitors, Mossey said. 
 
“It’s just attracting,” she said. “It’s getting someone’s interest, and you might get a new customer that way. It perks someone’s interest, and that person decides to go to the market, and that’s the idea behind it: to retain customers, to make it worthwhile to go, to keep it interesting and fun, and maybe you’re gonna reach out to someone else who will get some fruits and veggies and other products while they’re there, as well.”
 
Mossey said an interesting item she has been seeing at markets this year is garlic scape.
 
“It’s when garlic is immature, but you can use the green part at the top,” she said. “You can harvest the scapes and you chop it off and it’s delicious. It’s good to put in your dishes, anything you would use garlic in. Pasta, stir fry, tomato sauce, in your pesto....”
 
You can get beer or wine at the Concord Farmers Market, or agriculture-themed books or cards. At the Amherst Farmers Market you can find lacto-fermented pickles and wild-foraged mushrooms and fruit. A vendor at the Salem market sells vegan baked goods.
 
The availability of items like these is the result of a growing public awareness of farmers markets in general, Mossey said. She said the diverse products add a sense of variety to the traditional market products. 
 
“You just don’t know what you’re going to find,” she said. “These entrepreneurs have a passion for making a certain product, and people have the opportunity to try something made in New Hampshire that’s a fabulous product.”
 
Another way markets have expanded their audience is through music, Mossey said. 
 
“It can be anything. Quite often, it’s live music,” she said. “Sometimes it’s just instrumental. You’ll see a whole range; it’s all over the place. I think it depends on the community. Sometimes the community might have some musicians that they’re aware of and they come and play because it’s someone that they know. It’s kind of word of mouth.”
 
Entertainment has been something that more markets are beginning to offer for their customers, Mossey said.
 
“I think there are markets that are making a concerted effort to have something planned once a week or at least once a month,” she said. “They’re really trying to set up a calendar.  They’re trying to have something as an event, whether it be a musician, a kids’ activity, raffle or food activity. All those things get planned out. It’s something that becomes part of the web of the community as a community event.”
 
According to Mossey, it is the non-traditional items and activities that are putting the markets on the map.
 
“I certainly think farmers markets are becoming known for having unique items,” she said. “You gotta have summer squash and zucchini, of course, but it’s something that keeps markets successful and keeps people coming back.” 
 
 
 
How to pick your produce
Here's a hint: talk to a farmer
 
New Hampshire loves farmers markets. Just look at the numbers: more than 70 summer markets are part of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association, while the state as a whole is home to more than 100, according to Charlie Reid, president of the Manchester Farmer’s Market. 
 
We talked to a couple of farmers and regular customers about how to make the most of these New Hampshire markets. Here’s what they had to say.
 
What should you bring? And when should you go?
 
Kristine Mossey,  president of the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association and farmer who sells at the Bedford Farmers Market, advises shoppers to bring along a canvas (or other type of) shopping bag. If you’re contemplating buying meat or fresh fish, it’s a good idea to bring some sort of freezer pack, too.
 
You should also try to ensure that you have cash on hand.
 
“It’s nice to bring cash because I would say that a good percent of farmers still just take cash or check,” Mossey said. “Some farms are beginning to take cards. … Salem, for instance, has a central terminal that takes credit cards and SNAP [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] cards.”
 
You can find out which markets take what at nhfma.org or on a specific market’s Facebook page. These are also good places to look to pinpoint which markets have what.
 
“A lot of markets are using Facebook,” Mossey said. “They’ll also post the vendors along with what products they have. … I find that websites tend to be more of a static thing, but Facebook will have more updates.”
 
With a finite number of items available at any given market, customers looking for the biggest and best variety should plan to get there when the market opens. 
 
“By arriving early, you’ll have a great assortment to choose from,” Mossey said. “You’ll see the most abundant array of produce and items.” 
 
For those limited-time, popular or scarcer items (strawberries and blueberries, for instance, particularly at the end of their seasons), it’s especially important to arrive early.
 
Can you bargain shop?
 
Bartering while shopping at farmers markets is a no-no. Even at the end of the day, you’re probably going to find the same prices that you were at the beginning; your choices will just be slimmer. It’s possible to snag a better deal at the end of the day, Mossey said, but not likely.
 
“I always try to keep prices the same. That doesn’t mean that if I have one small bunch of lettuce left at the end that I won’t try to get rid of it, but for the most part, I try to keep it at the same price,” Mossey said.
 
If you’re looking to strike a deal, buying in bulk might be a better bet. 
 
“If you want to buy something in a larger quantity — apples, for instance, if you’re making apple sauce — you might be able to buy in a bigger quantity for a smaller price,” Mossey said. “If you’re going to buy something in a half bushel, it will be less than if you were to buy it for a pound.” 
 
She noted that pricing is up to the farmer, and he or she may need forewarning if you plan to buy in bulk.
 
How do you choose?
 
Jane Lang, organizer of the Salem Farmer’s Market, says to always shake the hand of the farmer when you shop, and more importantly, ask questions. Do you use pesticides to grow this? Are your chickens free range? What do you feed your animals? How should I cook this?
 
“I think it’s important to ask these questions,” Lang said in a phone interview. 
 
Most of the time, these farmers are picking the produce from their fields early that morning, and they’re ready to be cooked and eaten — you don’t need to conduct the same inspection that you might in a grocery store whose produce might sit on the shelf for days at a time. (Some farmers, Reid said, might allow you to sample their product beforehand.)
 
While it’s a good idea to know when certain fruits and vegetables are in season (check out our calendar for specifics), some farmers utilize greenhouses that extend the season for fruits and vegetables. 
 
The most important thing to do while shopping, according to Mossey, is to keep an open mind. 
 
Farmers encourage shoppers to buy whatever is in season to ensure that they have the freshest produce possible.
 
“Be flexible,” Mossey said. “You may not be aware of what’s available. Go in with that sense of adventure.” 
 
Easy access to farm fresh
Get your produce at the farm or on the road
 
For over 20 years, LaValley Farms has been selling produce on the side of Route 3 in Hooksett. In addition to the permanent farm stand, LaValley has been visiting local farmers markets and recently added a mobile farm stand cart on Candia Road, in Manchester, just off the Massabesic traffic circle.
 
“We’re trying it all out,” Danielle LaValley of LaValley Farms said. “The thing we like about the farm stand is that it’s open every day.”
 
There are benefits to all three methods, LaValley said. The Hooksett farm stand has coolers, and they can always restock, which the mobile cart doesn’t have, but farmers markets and the cart allow for more accessibility and exposure.
 
LaValley started the mobile farm stand cart because it was too far for some customers to drive out to Hooksett. Nicole Richardson works at the farm stand cart and recognizes the regulars.
 
“There are people that waited all year for us to come back,” Richardson said. “When we go into produce, that’s when we get a lot of customers, especially in corn season.”
Wilson Farm in Litchfield resembles a small supermarket more than a roadside farm stand. It carries a large selection of condiments, ice cream, milk and cheese and has an onsite bakery alongside the produce.
 
“We offer our own farm fresh produce as well as other produce from different areas of the country,” farm stand manager Cathy Lemire said. “We also have a farm stand in Lexington, Mass. They grow crops that don’t require as much space.”
Wilson Farm has 500 acres of farmland in New Hampshire, with a large variety of seasonal produce, from strawberries and blueberries to beets and green beans, five different types of lettuce, and butter and sugar corn that’s picked several times a day.
 
“When shopping at a farm stand you’re pretty much guaranteed farm fresh produce,” Lemire said. “With the farm stand and having the acreage that we have, we can offer so much more produce.”
 
Maple Ridge Farm has its own farm stand in the parking lot at the Everett Arena in Concord, where manager Diane Brown said people appreciate having a convenient place to stop.
 
“We’ve been doing it for 12 years,” Brown said. “We have loyal and local customers that expect to see us there. They enjoy the fact that they can get fresh vegetables and they don’t have to wait for the farmers market.”
 
For added convenience, the stand now accepts credit cards. 
 
Ripe, plump and juicy
Pick your own fruit and get exactly what you want
 
When you pick your own berries, you make the call. You decide if a berry is ripe enough. You decide if a berry is ready for a pie, a batch of jam or your mouth. 
 
“It’s a freshness thing,” said Diane Souther, who owns the Apple Hill Farm in Concord with her husband, Chuck. “It’s always fresher when you pick your own right off the vines.” 
 
Raspberries and blueberries are ripe for picking at Apple Hill now, and the farm will also have golden raspberries and black currants, which are too pungent to eat raw, but which produce beautiful sauces and juices when cooked.  
 
If you’re looking to pick your own strawberries, you’re probably too late this year. But, fields of blueberries and raspberries await. 
 
Milford resident Ami Tagye and her three children braved the heat July 15 at the Brookdale Fruit Farm in Hollis.
 
“My kids like the blueberries and my husband likes the cherries, and I just eat whatever’s leftover,” said Tagye, who takes the kids to pick berries a couple times a year. “It’s a pretty inexpensive way to spend a few hours with the kids. And [the fruit lasts] a lot longer than what you’d get at the grocery store.”
 
At Brookdale, cherries, blueberries and raspberries are ready for your baskets. As of last week, the blackberries weren’t quite ready yet, said Eleanor Whittemore, whose family has operated the farm for four generations. While apples are probably the single most popular item to pick, Whittemore said blueberries are a big draw as well. 
 
“It’s just getting out and being out in the yard,” Whittemore said. “I think they like getting outside, feeling mother earth under your feet. ... Some people just like getting out and being where it’s quiet.”
 
At Brookdale, the cherry orchard, which features sweet cherries right now, provides a nice view as well. 
 
Wayne Elwood, owner of Elwood Orchards in Londonderry, said his farm experienced a great strawberry season, compared to last year. Raspberries should be available at Elwood Orchards for another couple weeks or so. Elwood planted fall raspberries as well — they’ll be ready for picking next year. Later this summer, the farm will feature pick-your-own vegetable options, along with apple picking in the fall.
 
“We’ve switched over to more pick-your-own and away from commercial,” Elwood said. “I think they like to come out to the country and they enjoy the experience of it. ... They can pick what they want.”
 
Everybody’s different when it comes to picking. Elwood said he’ll see people leave with baskets of strawberries weighing 20 pounds, or he’ll see people with just a pound. 
 
“They’ll save money and they’ll get the experience,” Elwood said. 
 
Souther said picking is a recreational pastime these days. 
 
“It used to be a way to get berries for the winter, and a lot of people still do that,” Souther said. “But I think a lot of it is just something to do with the family. It’s more about fun.”
 
“Some just like learning what it’s all about,” Whittemore said. “I think some people feel more comfortable picking themselves and knowing where they’re coming from.”
 
Whittemore sees the popularity of picking-your-own rising, blueberries in particular, especially since studies began hailing the health benefits of blueberries in recent years. 
 
People make a day out of it berry picking. A parenting group meets at the Apple Hill Farm one day per week. They pick for an hour or so and they they spread out a blanket and have a picnic, Souther said. 
 
Pick-your-own operations expect pickers to taste a berry here or there, but Whittemore said Brookdale has had some problems with people eating their way through the fields. 
 
“We do lose quite a few berries that way,” Whittemore said. 
 
“There’s a difference between sampling and eating lunch,” Souther said. “To clear your guilt, there is a box you can throw change in, if you feel you ate a pound or so.”
 
Souther suggests that before you go picking, call the farm to ensure berries are ripe for picking. 
 
Back on track
Crops are on schedule after a strange 2012
 
Last year, a warm, early spring accelerated the growing calendar so much that many New Hampshire residents were picking apples long before the crisp fall air settled in. 
 
While the Granite State has seen its share of high temperatures so far this summer, it has also seen plenty of rain. Becky Sideman, a sustainable horticulture specialist for the UNH Cooperative Extension, said that so far, the weather has not caused any alarming problems for local farmers, but if such weather patterns continue, there may be some cause for concern.
 
“Greatly fluctuating temperatures, very hot and very wet weather is stressful for crops,” Sideman said. “It’s possible some crops have experienced some stress, but there hasn’t been any widespread big concern.”
 
There was some minor concern during strawberry picking season in late June and early July. Gail McWilliam Jellie, the director of the Department of Agriculture’s Division of Agricultural Development, said that while the crop production did not suffer, many farmers found fewer people paying them visits. She said strawberries are a popular pick-your-own product at farms, and with the almost daily rain and high temps and humidity during that time, fewer people ventured out to the fields.
 
For consumers traveling around New Hampshire this summer, McWilliam Jellie said it’s important to keep in mind that the entire state does not experience the same weather. Just because something may not be available in southern New Hampshire does not mean the crop isn’t flourishing elsewhere.
 
Sideman said that because of last year’s accelerated harvest schedule, consumers found it challenging to track down the produce they wanted because they weren’t sure when it would be available. Though the start of this season saw a slight delay in production because of the rain, it should follow a more familiar schedule as the season progresses.
 
“Wet weather favors diseases like fungi and bacteria, but particularly fungal diseases,” Sideman said. “It’s something that growers have to pay attention to, but we’re not seeing tremendous problems.”
 





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