Now, more than ever.
Thinking spring suddenly holds much more weight than fresh air, strong doses of sunshine, happy bursts of color from a smudge of purple crocus or a cluster of vibrant daffodils. Who would have imagined setting our clocks ahead this year would mean “springing forward” to drastic changes in our daily lives—some by choice, some because of government mandates—all to try to prevent the spread of a virus?
On the positive side, many of us are suddenly blessed with plenty of time to clean up around the house and get the yard ready for serious outdoor enjoyment: gardens, fires, kids playing, and soaking up warm rays of vitamin D. However, many of us have become temporarily unemployed; holed up at home when we need to be at work, wishing we could spend this time gathered with friends over a meal, wanting to be out and about participating in our favorite local events. Instead, we are finding businesses closed, races canceled, shelves emptied at the grocery store. We worry when somebody coughs and are off-kilter at times with the general displacement of our familiar lives.
In this time of struggle and uncertainty for so many of us, I can’t help but think about food. It has been a little more stressful to get out and simply acquire the ingredients to make a nutritious meal. Dear friends, in this plentiful Mt. Washington Valley, with so many farms and farm stands, farmers markets, and neighbors with chickens, one solution seems crystal clear. Now, more than ever, this is the time to support our local farms.
Through shopping at farmers’ markets and local food hubs, you can avoid crowds while feeling certain your food has been handled safely, and with care. No need to worry how far your food has traveled, how many hands it has passed through, or if the shelves will be stocked when you head out for groceries.
Now, more than ever, these are the people we can depend on to continue to come through for us with safe, reliable sources of food. Our farmers are our neighbors, and they need our support.
Our local farmers are stepping up and adapting to the changing food climate, offering safe and clean alternative methods for you to obtain healthy food. Buying directly from the farmers themselves, you can ask them questions to put your mind at ease, while helping to boost our struggling local economy. Today, that means so much more than it ever has! If you have a favorite farm, check their website (see our list on the farm page!) to see what they have come up with to accommodate the changing times. You can put your faith in our community growers to provide the nourishment your family needs to stay healthy. Now, more than ever, these are the people we can depend on to continue to come through for us with safe, reliable sources of food. Our farmers are our neighbors, and they need our support. Remember to include your trusted neighbors down the road selling their eggs or garden surplus. This time of year, many winter farmers’ markets are taking a break until May, but you can still purchase meats, eggs, bread, dairy products, maple syrup, honey, and early-season produce, such as spinach, root veggies, asparagus, and greens, directly from the farms!
As I sit here writing this, I know most folks are planning on keeping their farm stores open—embracing new policies in favor of social distancing. Handfuls of creative solutions have been born of this challenge! Many farms and market vendors are now asking that you preorder online and pick up at their store or the farmers’ market. A few local farms are getting creative with readily assembled meat packages intended to last a month or so, curbside pickup; some more laid back, with a “pull-up-and-honk-your-horn” shopping method.
We can commit to that further for the greater good of our community. Why not take a drive to a nice outdoor market? Food is a necessity—you have every right to do so. Make food shopping something you look forward to again.
Pre-packaged vegetables with streamlined pricing to skip the picking through and weighing process. All are intended to limit the handling of merchandise. Investing in the growing season is also an option—you can order your summer CSA full or half share right now, buy market shares, and order gift cards. I have recently placed my CSA order, and I must confess, I am feeling more at ease knowing I will have an abundance of seasonal organic produce coming to me weekly throughout this summer and into fall—direct from the hands of a local farmer! One notable farmer’s market effort is being made by the New Hampshire Mushroom Company in Tamworth. In an effort to keep good food available during the market lull in-between seasons, they are hosting a pop-up market every Wednesday and Saturday beginning March 21, from 1 to 7 p.m. outside in their parking lot! In an effort to support other local farmers and growers, offer supplies to the community in a calm environment, and keep the community safe, there are no vendor fees and no restrooms available. This low-key tailgate-style event will be closely monitored to ensure the gathering is following appropriate social distancing procedures, as well as taking all recommended safety precautions. For more information, check out their website for updates at www.nhmushrooms.com, or to become a vendor,
Collectively we have put so much effort and resolve into retreating for the greater good. We can commit to that further for the greater good of our community. Why not take a drive to a nice outdoor market? Food is a necessity—you have every right to do so. Make food shopping something you look forward to again. Say hello to your neighbors from a safe distance, pick up some good eats, feel good, and smile while doing it. Now, more than ever, food is medicine. Food can heal our bodies, food can heal our hearts, and food can heal our community. We can do our best to embrace this period of quiet—becoming more thoughtful, more subtly action-oriented, more open to the world right in front of our eyes. Supporting your local farmers and your local economy is what we need right now. Let the world know you appreciate the passion and hard work of your local farmers—embrace and spread camaraderie among your friends and neighbors! We can take control in these challenging times. Now, more than ever, food is something we can choose to be more deliberate about.
We are all in this together.
A small sample of the many offerings from local farms. Be sure to call ahead for updates!
White Gates Farm
White Gates Farm in Tamworth is offering curbside pickup of beef, pork, or chicken packages loaded with enough meat to get your family through a month or so. You can also stuff your freezer for a much longer period of time with a much bigger combo package. Simply order and pay online at whitegates-farm.com and you will be contacted to arrange a curbside pickup time. All packages come with a dozen eggs!
Sherman Farm in East Conway is offering curbside pickup. Their system is simple: call ahead, or just honk your horn and someone will be out to help you. shermanfarmnh.com
Pork Hill Farm
Pork Hill Farm is still offering their spring and summer CSA, with three pickup locations each Tuesday throughout the season, in Ossipee, Conway village, and North Conway village. Beginning June 16 this year with the fall share running to October 13, you can easily pull up their website, porkhillfarm.com, order and pay online, choose your pick-up location, and wait for the season to begin!
Patch Farm in Denmark, Maine (for those of you on the Fryeburg side of Conway) is planning on keeping their farm store open with a sign on their coolers reading,
“For convenience in the time of social distancing, all farm veggies and eggs are $5! We have pre-weighed our root vegetables and upped the weight of our greens to reflect the price point.”
You are now able to pre-order online and pick it up at the store or the Farmers’ Market. Grab a tasty morsel of their forest-raised pork while you are there! Also offering CSA full and half shares and market shares! www.patchfarm.me
Bridgton Farmers' Market
Bridgton Farmers’ Market is practicing good social distancing with their market still operating through spring–just outdoors! Vendors are pre-packing all their goods instead of having everyone dig through bins doing the pick-and-choose, with the majority requiring that you pre-order and pay online for pickup on market day. For order forms, go to facebook.com/BridgtonFarmersMarket .
Tamworth Farmers' Market
Tamworth Farmers’ Market is planning on a regularly scheduled opening for summer in mid-May. For more information and a list of vendors, visit tamworthfarmersmarket.org.
Greater Gorham Farmers' Market
Greater Gorham Farmers’ Market is scheduled to open for summer on Saturday, May 2. Determined to provide fresh food to the local community, they will be offering hand-sanitizing stations and an option for customers to call ahead with orders, limited handling of merchandise, with all vendors practicing recommended safety implementations and social distancing.
Catch this article in the Spring 2020 edition of Mt Washington Valley Vibe!