Every Spring I take a stroll around the yard to get reacquainted with my gardens. I might clean up some trash that rolled into the front yard from the road, or attempt to tame the forsythia bursting all over the lawn- but this walk is meant to be quiet and observant, in order to enjoy the first signs of the season. I smile as I shuffle barefoot across the cool grass, the first of many intimate encounters with the natural world- digging, planting, squinting in the sun, foraging, tending, watering, and always savouring. This means to me that my favourite season- “Food Season”- is nearly upon us. Soon we will be plucking heavy tomatoes off of overgrown vines, discovering hidden zucchini, sautéing bouquets of kale, enjoying sun-ripened strawberries as they melt on our tongues like candy.
This year, it was a gloomy day. The rhubarb clearly didn’t mind, already bursting with leaves the size of my head. My fingers were freezing from scraping aside the cold black soil in order to sneak in a few sunflower seeds along the split rail fence. I scratch the leaves from last fall away from the neighbouring mint patch, unable to resist a deep inhale of the already potent smell, sweet and invigorating. Pinching a tender leaf to sample, I imagine how refreshing it will taste blended with ripe watermelon and ice cubes in July. With some effort, I locate the tiny nubs just popping up, of what will soon grow to tall purple-green stalks of asparagus. They taste best freshly snapped from the garden- covered in morning dew- crisp and juicy.
I am better at enjoying the garden than I am at gardening, which is why I feel lucky to live in a place with so many local farms and farmers’ markets. Already, the farm up the road is selling parsnips and Spring mix. There is so much benefit to buying fresh produce from your own community. It’s an experience to walk through local markets and poke around – say hello to the friends and neighbours you are supporting. Chit chat, ask questions, inquire about what will be ripe and ready next week- some farmers will even give you a deal if you buy in bulk. You can help preserve genetic diversity and support the local environment simply by trying a new food. Also, most organic and specialty items are more affordable at farmers’ markets.
Any way you slice it, snap it, or bite into it- there’s nothing better than local. Food Season is about getting outside, building community- enjoying more fresh and nutritious foods than our big box options can provide. Heading across my greening yard, I stumble over a protruding lump of earth, bringing my attention the maze of tunnels a small critter has created all over the lawn. This makes me smile, there’s room in the garden for all of us. After all…there are countless things that make local food special.
There are so many reasons to buy local. Not only is local flavor unmistakably remarkable, food that doesn’t travel as far is fresher. The Mt Washington Valley is home to many local markets, all selling farm-fresh produce, artisan goods and many other locally made items. Artists, bakers, cheese makers and more converge each week to provide the best in locally made products.
Check back early this summer for a review of local farms, markets and farm stands that help to make the Valley so unique!
ANTICIPATED FARMER’S MARKETS FOR 2017
NCFM is an association of persons having a common interest in agricultural-based products who have come together to promote that common interest and to establish and maintain the integrity of the local market. NCFM seeks to promote a sense of community in the Mt Washington Valley, as well as a community-based means of distribution and marketing for local agricultural products. Items sold at this market are produced locally!
Tamworth Farmers Market
The mission of the Tamworth Farmers Market is to increase the exchange of food and farm products in the region while encouraging new farmers and producers and help build community through a seasonal marketplace. The Tamworth Famer’s Market offers a year-round, vibrant food and farm economy. Visit the market every Saturday in Tamworth Village through the summer and every other Saturday during the rest of the year. Check the calendar for exact dates.
Lucy Brook Farm
The Lucy Farm is a family-operated farm who stand strongly behind their slogan,”Preserving the future by going back to the past”. They grow non-gmo, pesticide and herbicide-free vegetables and strawberries. Lucy farm also raise alpacas for fiber, pastured hens and broilers as well as pigs. Their animals are humanely raised and fed non-gmo grain from Green Mountain Feed.
Look for their farm stand on the western end of West Side Road near the Dianna’s Bath trailhead as well as local farmers markets.
3557 West Side Rd
North Conway, New Hampshire
White Gates Farm is an evolving small farm located on a tract of land in NH which the LeTarte Family purchased in 1982. Well over 30 years later, it has been almost single-handedly transformed into a breathtaking view of working fields and greenhouses. White Gate Farms produces the highest-quality beef, from a select breed of cattle, Blonde D’ Acquitaine and grows pastured-raised broiling chickens and pigs. Vegetable and herb varieties are carefully selected and lovingly grown with organic methods.
Home of “Wicked Good Food”, White Gates Farm is also home to “Edible Education”, a program which hosts family farm days, a day camp for kids, seminars, intern trainings, and other functions that teaches kids how to grow and eat healthy foods. You can find White Gate Farms at the Tamworth and North Conway Farmers Markets this summer.
Goshen Corner Farm
Goshen Corner Farm is a small farm in South Conway selling seasonal vegetables, Fryeburg Fair blue ribbon winning preserves and pickles, seedlings and herb plants, maple syrup, handmade items as well as maple syrup.
13 Gulf Rd
Center Conway, New Hampshire
2679 East Conway Rd, Center Conway, NH
Weston’s Farm Stand
48 River St., Fryeburg, ME
Grand View Farm Stand
Family-owned and operated, offering Swiss chard, mixed lettuce, kale, herbs, greens, and homemade jams—plus annuals and perennials. Loyalty cards available.
564 White Mountain Highway
(Route 16), Conway
Located near Levavitt’s Bakery
Lucy Brook Farm
Family-operated farm growing non-gmo, pesticide- and herbicide-free vegetables and strawberries. Animals are humanely raised and fed non-gmo grain. Lucy Brook Farm also raise alpacas for fiber, pastured hens and broilers, as well as pigs. Farm stand located on the western end of West Side Road near the Dianna’s Bath trailhead; as well, at local farmers’ markets.
3557 West Side Road, North Conway, NH
Home of Grammy Schartner jams, including award-winning strawberries! Honor system Jam Barn Goods made fresh on the farm are available year round, plus fresh strawberry picking available in June/July.
3181 West Side Road, North Conway, NH
The Sherman Farm Market is open year round, selling a wide array of farm-raised products, as well as many items produced in New England. In-season vegetables are available from April through November.
2679 East Conway Road, Center Conway, NH
The Farmstand offers a wide array of organically-grown produce, including lettuce, asparagus, kale, squashes of all kinds, tomatoes, cucumbers, garlic, onions, blueberries, and much more.
1118 Page Hill Road, Chocorua, NH
Weston’s Farm Stand
Located at a picturesque Fryeburg farm in a 110-year-old barn, the Fryeburg market offers all of the farm’s fresh produce in addition to meats, cheeses, wines, baked goods, and gifts from the surrounding region. Weston’s also operates an open-air roadside stand on scenic Westside Road in Conway from late June through Columbus Day.
48 River Street, Fryeburg, ME
635 West Side Road, Conway, NH
White Gates Farm
White Gates Farm is a family-operated farm that produces the highest-quality beef from Blonde D’ Acquitaine cattle, plus pastured-raised broiling chickens and pigs. Vegetable and herb varieties are carefully grown with organic methods. Honor-system farm stand in season.
2153 Cleveland Hill Road, Tamworth, NH
Good For You Health, LLC
Organic, raw, vegan chocolates handmade with delicious healthy flair! Sure, cacao is not local, but it is a superfood! I try to use local and seasonal berries, herbs, and spices to create unique flavors such as Triple Garden Mint, Chaga Infusion, Fresh Basil, Ginger Cacao Nibs, & fresh Raspberry. Others favorites include Maca Goji Berry, Cinnamon Carob, Spirulina, and the classic Peanut Butter Cup!
Visit this summer at the local farmers markets
The Local Grocer
A full-service natural foods market with a focus on local foods. Local grass fed meats, local milk and eggs, local and specialty cheeses, organic produce (bought locally when possible), bulk foods, healthy energy bars (no soy protein isolate here), dry goods, organic beer and wine, eco-friendly household products, all-natural body care, eco-gifts, gourmet foods and a whole aisle of gluten free goods! The Local Grocer staff is knowledgeable and friendly and offer personalized service to help folks shop for individual dietary needs.
3358 White Mountain Highway, North Conway, NH 03860