NH Ag in the Classroom's Newsletter
Fall Harvest Time
In This Issue
Apple Picking Time
The Bookshelf
Teachers Take Note
Talking Turkey
Quick Links to Lessons


NOVEMBER 19, 2010 

Annual "NH Grazing Feast"
Join us for an evening of live music, NH Wine & Cheese tasting,
 locally grown, deliciously prepared harvest foods,
and a silent auction, to raise funds for our programs.

You will graze throughout the vineyard's beautiful dining facility, eating a variety of NH foods at each spot and getting a chance to meet the farmer who has grown or produced your evening's food.

 Tickets may be purchased by calling our office at 603-224-1934.

To see more of the vineyard location, log onto

A group of turkeys is called a "rafter."

A nest full of turkey eggs is called a "clutch."

The male turkey is called a "tom." The female is called a "hen."

Only tom turkeys gobble. Hens make a clucking sound.

The red fleshy thing that hangs from a turkey's neck is called a "snood."

Only Toms have the long tassel like hair hanging from the lower neck. It is called his beard and is an easy way particularly in wild turkeys to tell the boys from the girls.

Only Toms fan their tails out, showing off.

Each Thanksgiving about 675 million pounds of turkey are consumed in the US. Americans consume an average of 18 pounds of turkey meat per capita each year.

Turkeys are raised extensively because of the excellent quality of their meat and eggs.

Turkeys have 3,500 feathers at maturity.

Sesame Street's Big Bird costume is made of turkey feathers.

Turkeys were first domesticated by the Aztecs in Mexico. Fossils show turkeys roamed Texas 2.5 million years ago.

Early European explorers took turkeys from the New World to Europe in the 16th Century.

In Europe the species became established as farmstead fowl.

In the 17th Century, English colonists brought turkeys back to the New World, introducing European-bred types to eastern North America.

When Europeans first encountered a turkey in the Americas, they incorrectly identified them as a type of peacock, known as a "turkey fowl" in Europe because it came from the exotic East. At that time Europeans associated anything from the east with the Ottoman Empire and often gave it the name of Turkey, the seat of the Ottoman Empire. They also assumed it was a turkey fowl because they thought they were in Asia.

The US is the world's largest turkey producer and largest exporter of turkey products. While exports are a major part of the US turkey market, people in the US also eat more turkey than people in other countries-13.6 pounds per person in 2007.

The top five turkey-producing states in 2007 were Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas, Virginia and Mississippi.

While Americans prefer the white meat of turkeys, most of the rest of the world prefers the dark meat.

Before modern transportation, farmers in the British Isles put leather shoes on turkeys and walked them to market.

Turkeys are fed mainly a balanced diet of corn and soybean meal mixed with a supplement of vitamins and minerals. On average it takes 84 pounds of feed to raise a 30-pound tom turkey. A hen usually grows 16 weeks and weighs 8-16 pounds when processed. A tom takes about 19 weeks to get to a market weight of 24 pounds. Large toms (24-40 pounds) are a few weeks older.

Early in our history turkeys were kept on small farms not just for their meat but also because they ate large numbers of insects and so were a great source of pest control.

Turkeys are sometimes difficult to raise because they are very curious and tend to get their heads caught in fences. They must be taught to eat from special feeders and waterers, just like other baby animals.

Turkey skins are tanned and used to make items like cowboy boots, belts and other accessories.

The ballroom dance known as the Turkey Trot was named for the short, jerky steps a turkey makes.
Poinsettias and Christmas Trees

Speaking of Poinsettias--

You are invited to attend an OPEN HOUSE at UNH!

The Gala Poinsettia Tree & Greenhouse
Open House

 December 2-4
For more information, 
 David Goodnow
at 862-2061

          Welcome teachers and Agriculture in the Classroom friends to our October newsletter.  Can you see appapple textles and not think of an apple for the teacher, A is for apple, or an apple a day...?  Apple picking excursions have always been traditional in our family, but this year is the first time I can remember needing to call local orchards to find out if there is actually fruit to pick. Late spring frosts caused heavy damages in various parts of New Hampshire, yet many trees put out more buds anyway which produced apples way up higher, in some cases too high for u-pick operations to risk letting the public pick. Nevertheless, there are plenty of orchards open  for fall fun and frolic that results in fragrant kitchens and healthy treats.  We invite you to call or write us for materials to sweeten up your autumn days by integrating apple facts and stories into your math, science, history and literature lessons.
          An old Yankee farmer taught me an ages old symbiotic practice that supposedly ensured better health for apples, sheep and humans.  Orchard keepers used to spray a pesticide on the trees to fight various bugs, and shepherds dosed their sheep with another form of the same substance to battle internal parasites. Some Yankees found that by pasturing sheep in the orchards to clean up the drops, the sheep and the trees were both healthier without having to dose the sheep.   Since we began on our present farm 4 years ago, the sheep have helped us clear the land and we have discovered ancient apple trees along with blueberry bushes. We do not use that pesticide, but each year my apples have increased in size and quality as my sheep have thrived on the fruit from the June drops until late in the year.  And our stewardship job is mainly protecting the trees from being chewed. What an amazing world in which we live.
          As we continue to create a new and stronger face on our granite state program of Ag in the Classroom, I would like to share some of my goals. I hope to build a network of partners throughout our state in all areas that are involved with gaining a better understanding of how we all work together to have a healthy place and happy lives. For starters I am looking for a liaison person in every elementary school and every home school group.  I hope to gain an AITC coordinator in every county like Deb Robie in Grafton County (She is paid through the Grafton County Farm Bureau, but there could be other ways of doing that). I believe we can hold at least one School to Farm event in every county. We have had 4 in 2010 so far - that is almost half already!   Please contact us about becoming a partner and /or organizing a School to Farm day.
          The office is being covered with temporary help until we hire a new State Coordinator. We have over 20 applications, and will be accepting more for a few days after you receive this.
          Please join us at our fundraising event at Zorvino's on November 19th and/ or contribute something for our silent auction.
          This month we are grateful to our board member Kris Mossey for our feature article. We are here to help you add some beneficial zest into your teaching, so think of us as you chomp into that next fresh tangy apple.
                                           Jozi Best, President

P.S.  Did you know...Mac is my apple. I eat an apple every day and I pine when I cannot get a mac.  It used to be the greatest hardship of living and working seasons in the midwest where there were months without seeing a mac.      


pumpkin October is the time of the year when many people in NH visit their local apple orchard to pick their own apples.  At our family's apple orchard we are very busy this time of the year. We are vendors at a local farmers market, sell apples, pumpkins and squash at our farm stand and open our orchard to the public for pick your own apples. In late September and October schools in our area bring students on field trips to our orchard to pick apples and learn about farming in New Hampshire. Many apple growers in New Hampshire host school groups during the apple picking season. This creates an important connection between farms and schools in our state.

At a recent field trip, a teacher at one of our area schools told me that what she and the children liked best about visiting our orchard was hearing the story about our family's farm. I always greet the children by telling them about how my grandfather and his brother decided to be apple growers in the 1940's. They purchased our apple orchard in Milford where we still care for and pick apples from those same trees. We take a walk to another orchard on our property that my father planted when I was in high school and some newly planted  trees that  are beginning to bear fruit.

Children ask quite a lot of questions about apples.  They also tell me about what their favorite variety of apple is. I always hope  they  say  "McIntosh".  Many of the children already know that the correct way to pick an apple is to just give it a little twist! The school groups that visit our farm have a great time in the orchard. It is an experience that they will remember. The children of today will be the consumers of tomorrow.

I hope that you, your family and your school will take the time to go apple picking at your local farm this October.

Kris Mossey
Apple Grower
McLeod Bros. Orchards
Milford, NH

ag magApple Ag Mag
The Apple Ag Mag is a 4 page multidisciplinary magazine for grades 3-5. It contains information about apple production, history, growth, myth, and varieties. The Ag Mag also includes classroom activities such as make an Apple Life Cycle Chain, and experiments such as Sugar vs. Starch. On the back page it explores apple related careers. Order here.

Harvest Year  by Cris Peterson
(Best for ages 5-9)
Cris Peterson captures the concept that every single month food is being harvested somewhere in the United States with colorful and dramatic photos by Alvin Upitis. This book Harvest Yearis a collaboration of clear and concise text and a map of harvest locations across the country. With an array of
photographs that capture the colorful fields and orchards and a variety of workers and machines and children sampling foods from the year's harvest. While not every state is included, 27 states representing every region of the country are included, from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska to Florida.

Harvest Time  by Jerry Cipriano
(Best for ages 4-7)
This is an early reader book with short statement sentences in a large font. While the content is minimal this would be a very good book for a teacher to use to begin to teach reading for content. The content and pictures could be used to begin to teach about the life cycle and seasonsHarvest Time
in science. What is particularly nice about this book is that the photographs and text depict how the fruit, vegetables or grain are grown, show the plant as it is either growing or ripe, describe and the harvest process. The photographs enhance the text and depict modern agriculture including apples being picked from dwarf trees.

apples by gail gibbons 
Apples by Gail Gibbons
(Best for ages 5-8)
From blossom to pollination to picking, this beautifully illustrated book details how apples grow, their various parts, and the different varieties. This book also includes instructions on how to plant and care for an apple tree.
Apples Here! by Will Hubbell
(Best for ages 5-8)
From blossom to pollination to picking, this beautifully illustrated book details how apples grow, their various parts, and some of the different varieties. The rhyming text takes the reader on a year-long journey from winter with a young girl and her grandfather to spring with a boy and girl to summer where three children enjoy the orchard and watch apples develop through fall where two boys enjoy the harvest and fresh-from-the-tree apples. Another girl buys apples at a farm market and uses them to make a pie and others include apples in celebrations. The final page is
of a deer also enjoying the apples. The book also includes a detailed description of the apple production process, varieties, history and uses.
Hooray for Orchards! by Bobbie Kalman
(Best for ages 7-12)
This book provides a nice overview of orchards and fruit production of many types. It begins with a description of various types of fruit and which of those fruits are produced in orchards. Images depict modern dwarf varieties of apples, grafting, flowering and pollination, pruning, spraying. Harvesting and processing. The book concludes with a
short glossary and recipe for apple crisp. This book is a well written and illustrated source of information.
How Do Apples Grow by Betsy Maestro
(Best for ages 5-10)
This well-illustrated book detailing apple production can be bhowdoapplesgrowused in a unit teaching about seasons, pollination, parts of the flower, honey production or just apples. It does an excellent job depicting the total process from dormancy through apple harvest. A credible illustration of apple
harvest depicts dwarf apple trees which are the modern image of an orchard and seen in very few books of this type.

Turkeys on the Farm  by Mari C. SchuhbTurkeyson Farm
(Best for Ages 4-7)
This book introduces the reader to turkeys on the farm. It shows the different parts of the turkey as well as the difference between a tom and a hen. The book explains that turkeys are raised for their meat and shows how farmers feed and take care of the turkeys.
TEACHERS...Did you know about this?

Applications for the 2011 White-Reinhardt mini-grants and teacher scholarships are available at the Ag Foundation's website. You can review the 2010 winners under the "What We Support" section.

The Mini-Grant Program funds projects that will increase agricultural literacy. County and state Farm Bureaus may apply for grants of up to $500 for classroom education programs for grades K-12 to initiate new programs or expand existing programs to additional grade levels or new subject areas. Grants are available on a competitive basis.

The National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference Educator Scholarship program is to provide travel expense funds to educators employed by a school system to attend the national conference (read about the national conference here) and then use the information gained to expand their outreach to students regarding food, fiber and fuel. Educators employed by a school system and working in grades k-12 who have demonstrated involvement in agricultural literacy programs are eligible to apply.

Specific guidelines and deadlines for the application process can be found on each application, but all applications must be signed by a state Farm Bureau contact and postmarked to the Foundation by November 1, 2010.

The White-Reinhardt Fund for Education is a special project of the Ag Foundation in cooperation with the AFB Women's Leadership Committee. It was established to honor two former chairs of that committee, Berta White and Linda Reinhardt, who were leaders in the national effort to improve agricultural literacy.