By Amy Hoffman
Who can resist fresh veggies? The Upper Valley has the most amazing opportunities to gather fresh fruit, veggies, flowers, and Christmas trees. Pooh Sprague of Edgewater Farm says this area can be called the “banana belt” because the Connecticut River keeps the Upper Valley clime warm and favorable for growing. All of the farms mentioned below have websites with the information you need to find them; and I know there are more farms that I have not mentioned in this article.
June – To pick strawberries you may travel to New London and Spring Ledge Farm or to Plainfield to Edgewater Farm, and see some of New Hampshire’s best views along the way.
July – Blueberry-picking season begins. Bartlett’s Blueberry Farm in Newport happens to be my favorite. Not only can you pick yummy blueberries, but the views are awesome too. Noda Blueberry Farm in Meriden and Riverview Farm in Plainfield also have late-season blueberries. For those who don’t wish to travel, Grantham has two spots: King Blossom Farm on Dunbar Hill Road and the Grantham Recreation Field, where it’s on-your-honor picking.
It is raspberry-picking season too. King Blossom Farm in Grantham, Poverty Lane in Lebanon, and Beaver Pond Farm in Newport have lots of raspberries to pick in July. Late season raspberries can be picked at Riverview Farm in Plainfield. At Riverview, we always pick raspberries and apples, and choose a pumpkin on the same day. You might be lucky and get a ride in a horse-drawn wagon up to the apples. Such fun!
Flowers can be picked by the bunch at Spring Ledge Farm in New London from July through frost.
Late summer into fall – Pumpkins and apples may be picked in many places, but my very favorite place is Riverview Farm. It is so family-friendly. Poverty Lane also has apples to pick and the views from the orchards are hard to forget. Locally in Grantham, King Blossom Farm has many apple varieties and, did I say, it is local!
Late November into December – You may cut your own Christmas trees at Noda Farm in Meriden, which advertises “Christmas trees with character,” or Nichols Christmas Trees in Lyme. There are many more Christmas tree farms – too many to list.
We are so fortunate to live where we are able to take advantage of each picking season.
There is another option where you don’t have to pick your own but still get the best the season has to offer. It’s called a CSA – community supported agriculture – and most folks choose to pay for the option before the season starts. It helps growers to plan for the upcoming season as well as offset the cost of seed orders. There are all kinds of CSA options.
Edgewater Farm delivers CSA boxes to our South Cove Activity Center every Wednesday for 16 weeks beginning June 19. Each box is stuffed with the latest and best. The farm also offers a CSA debit account that allows you to go to the Plainfield farm stand and choose what you want from a variety of fresh veggies, as well as milk products from McNamara Dairy. (You have to try the dairy’s chocolate milk. Yummy!)
Spring Ledge Farm in New London also offers a CSA option called “farm shares” in amounts of $100; it works like a debit card. Go to the farm stand starting in March and choose what you’d like. Also in March, Spring Ledge lettuce is truly yummy and not to be missed.
Try either CSA or PYO. Maybe your kids will no longer think that eggs and carrots only come from a grocery store.
Amy Hoffman is a frustrated farmer who likes to take advantage of local farming efforts.