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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

More local food options

New Hampshire always has been a tough state to farm in. When western lands opened up, NH was quickly depopulated. Farmers were pretty quick to leave bitter winters, and thin rocky soil behind.

In spite of that, local food is back. The next town over has a new farmers' market that's doing well. I had no idea there were as many local producers as there are. It reminds me somewhat of what markets might have been like in Medieval times. There's plenty of veggies, locally raised meats, raw milk, eggs, and that sort of thing. There are bakers and food venders. There's even live musical entertainment. I connect with people I know and meet new people too. The only problem is getting there early enough to beat out the little old ladies who clean out all the best stuff as soon the place opens.

A farm in my town is reopening it's farm stand. The stand had been open for decades, but the price of corn feed for dairy cows forced him to put all his fields into corn. This year, he's put some land back into veggies. Hired a local young man to run the farm stand. The guy was able to quit his summer job 25 miles away for local work at the farm. He's excited. I'm excited by being able to get produce in my town again. Sure, I've a garden, but my growing space is very limited.

Three years ago when the farm stand closed, I put in an emergency potato garden using straw bales. While I planted potatoes again this year, I'm hoping to be able to buy more at the local farm. Potatoes store well and are a source of cheap nutrition. Always felt better with a few hundred pounds of spuds stored in my mud room. This past year I've been reduced to buying potatoes at the local grocery store in 5 and 10 # bags. That's no way to buy potatoes. The way to buy them is from the farm in 50# bags and load up the back of the truck.

As a state, NH doesn't supply all that much of its own food. Vermont and Maine do better. However, I think my county is doing better than the state average. As more farmers' markets take off, local growers will have a chance to make a decent income. Local people will have more food security. It's a win win situation for everyone -except big factory agriculture.

-Sixbears

3 comments:

  1. I am surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of farm land, and we don't have a farmer's market. It's all factory farm monoculture. Heh, they even got their own monsanto "research" facility out that way...

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  2. Got any tips on how to store those spuds? We tried putting them in the basement, thinking it was cooler down there, but as soon as it got warm they sprouted.

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  3. Mayberry, that's the sad truth in much of the big farming areas. Many farmers don't even have a kitchen garden for their own use.

    Christa, they store fine in my mud room. It stays cooler than the rest of the house, but doesn't freeze in the winter. There will always be some sprouting come spring. Organic potatoes have not be treated with chemicals that prevent sprouting. On the bright side, you can always plant them in your own garden. Potatoes that have been treated might not sprout much, but you can't plant them in the spring either. Sometimes they grow, but often they don't. Did an experiment last year to see how many regular store potatoes would grow. Only got a couple viable plants out of about 7 pounds of potatoes.

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