Food For Thought
Cold frame - a transparent roofed enclosure, built low to the ground, used to protect plants from excessive cold or wet. A mini greenhouse.
Greenhouse - a structure made of glass or clear plastic used for growing plants, usually with auxiliary heat and mechanical controls for heat and humidity
High tunnel - a structure covered with clear plastic; originally referred to a structure without auxiliary heat or ventilation, now high tunnels may have this
Hoop house - a structure made by bending metal hoops or pipes in a semi-circle shape to provide the roof, covered with plastic.
Horticulture - an intensive subset of agriculture that includes the science, business and art of growing and marketing fruits, vegetables, flowers and ornamental plants.
Ornamental Horticulture - the largest segment (financially) of any agricultural commodity in NH, includes over 1100 greenhouse and nursery plant production and landscape construction operations. Valued at $381 million as of 2005.
Season extension - providing a structure or management techniques that enable a plant to be grown earlier or later in the season than it would normally be grown.
NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food:
www.agriculture.nh.gov - Get the NH Garden Guide, a map and listing of garden centers, nurseries, events and learning opportunities.
NH Plant Growers Association:
- a professional association for growers. Website provides lists of botanical gardens, careers opportunities and scholarships for horticultural students.
NH State Florists Association:
- promoting flowers via educational programs for consumers and those involved in the floral industry.
D. S. Cole Growers, Loudon:
- a leading provider of vegetative annual plants.
Ledgewood Farm, Moultonborough:
- source of high tunnels and greenhouse frames, information about greenhouses.
Moulton Farms, Meredith:
- vegetable farm, farmstand, bakery, garden center, corn maze, school field trips and more.
Suroweic Farm, Sanbornton:
- farmstand, PYO apples and pumpkins, CSA, vendor at winter farmers' markets.
Van Berkum Nursery, Deerfield
- wholesale nursery with 800 variesties of perennials, and groundcovers. Specializes in native plants.
March 10-11: NH Science Teachers Conference - Keene, NH Join us for a workshop on school gardens.
March 19: National Ag Day
11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Ag Day Celebration at the State House in Concord.
Participate in the Ag Literature Program. Contact us to get materials.
"Cows and Communities: How the Lowly Bovine Has Nurtured NH through Four Centuries", by Steve Taylor.
All programs start at 7:00 pm and are open to teachers, parents and community members. Admission is free.
April 1: Weare Town Hall
April 3: Prescott Farm EE Center, Laconia
April 30: Nottingham School
These programs are funded by the NH Humanities Council www.nhhc.org
April 10: NH Environmental Educators Conference,
June 25-28: National Ag in the Classroom Conference,
On-line registration is open: www.agclassroom.org/conference2013
NH Ag in the Classroom
Ruth Smith, Statewide Coordinator
295 Sheep Davis Road
Concord, NH 03301
Deb Robie, Grafton County Coordinator
March is the time when many people start thinking about spring, even though consistently warm weather is still at least 4-6 weeks away. But when you are aware of the cycles of life, as farmers are, there are a lot of new beginnings that remind us that spring isn't just about dates on the calendar. Births are occurring on sheep farms and eggs are hatching in poultry houses, seedlings are sprouting in greenhouses and hoop houses (more on that later), the sap is flowing in the maple trees and the days are much longer than they were in December.
A season of new beginnings is also an exciting time to be launching a new project. For the first time, NHAITC has partnered with the NH Humanities Council (www.nhhc.org) to broaden the scope of our Agriculture Literature Program. In addition to bringing the Mini Milk Maids on the Mooove book into schools around the state and helping students learn about dairy farming, there will be an opportunity for adults to gain knowledge about the historic and current role of dairy farms in New Hampshire.
Steve Taylor, dairy farmer, former NH Commissioner of Agriculture and humanities scholar has developed a number of programs about the history and impact of agriculture in the Granite State. He will be delivering his program "Cows and Communities: How the Lowly Bovine has Nurtured NH through Four Centuries" in three different communities during the month of April (see the calendar listing for dates and locations). These programs are free and open to teachers, parents and community members who want to learn about the important role dairy farms play in the NH agricultural sector. Adult learning, paired with programs in the local schools is designed to encourage community conversations about the importance of farms. The three communities that were chosen as host sites have active dairy farms within their town boundaries, or in a neighboring town. Local farmers will be on hand to contribute their own perspective.
We are grateful to the NH Humanities Council for the funding that will enable us to conduct these programs and look forward to linking the communities, farms and schools through these programs. Contact us if you have questions or need more information. We hope to see you at one of these events.
Ruth Smith, Statewide Coordinator
NH Agriculture in the Classroom
It's Warm in There! The Role of NH Greenhouses
The ground may soften up as "mud season" arrives, but it will be a while until we can plant seeds and seedlings in the ground. However, there are plenty of farmers and growers who are nurturing plants for food and aesthetics at this time of year, thanks to structures we commonly call greenhouses.
According to Ed Person of Ledgewood Farm, the term "greenhouse" was first used in France back in the 1700's to describe glass structures that were used for growing plants. When sunlight comes through the glass it heats the air inside, but the warm air cannot escape. Thus the greenhouse creates a microclimate that can be more conducive to growing plants, especially if it is cold outside.
Today, the use of the term greenhouse is used to describe any structure that allows sun in and creates a controlled environment for growing plants. Some of these structures still use glass while others are covered with a thick plastic which can be removed seasonally depending on its use. See the vocabulary list for other terms that are used in this business.
To create the specialized climate some greenhouses or high tunnels are heated with more than just sunlight. Just like in our homes, growers may use propane, natural gas, fuel oil or wood to generate heat for these structures. Without artificial heat, a high tunnel is on average 20°F warmer than the outside temperature, though this can vary depending on management techniques. However additional heat can maintain a constant temperature of 70° or more depending on the needs of the plants.
In colder climates, this energy use can be quite substantial. Growers try to minimize expense and energy use with various techniques such as using blankets or row covers on the plants so the temperature doesn't have to be as warm or adding a layer of plastic even within a glass greenhouse. Several of the growers I spoke with took advantage of specialized grants to increase energy efficiency in their facilities. There are certifications offered to encourage growers to be more sustainable. D S. Cole was the first North American grower to be certified through the MSP program of the Sustainability Initiative because of their attention to energy and water use, as well as minimizing pesticides.
Electricity use can also be a major input into greenhouse structures. Most of them have some sort of ventilation system with fans or openings. Many of these are computer controlled and work automatically based on the internal temperature and humidity. However, with minimal mechanization, high tunnels can also be extremely useful.
NH Farms of Destinction
by Deb Robie
In February at the NH Farm and Forest Exposition there were four farms from New Hampshire recognized as Farms of Distinction. These are four newer farms but show the great diversity of farms we have here in our great state.
Cascade Brook Farm in North Sutton: Operated by Ed and Cindy Canane. After confirming that they were Yankees at heart, Ed and Cindy, came back home to NH following a decade living and working in Colorado. Ed was a rodeo team roper and Cindy had a career in the IT field. Both have now transitioned to work full time on their North Sutton farm, which consists of 178 acres-45 acres of pasture with another 36 being converted from forestland. The Cananes raise purebred Black Angus cattle on pasture. They also produce pasture-fed heritage pork. They sell their meats at area farmers' markets and restaurants throughout the year and freezer animals by order.
Green Bough Farm in North Haverhill: Operated by Justin and Carolyn Smith. Green Bough Farm produces Scottish Highlander cattle, Heritage hogs, and poultry and eggs. The first cattle were purchased in 2008 and pigs and chickens were added the following year. The Smiths follow a program of holistic planned grazing with an eye toward soil improvement and enhancing wildlife habitat. They also have extensive forestland on the property which is managed for wildlife and forest products. Meat is also sold by the side, whole, or boxed. Eggs are available year round at the self-serve "Egg Barn" on the farm and construction has just been completed on a new retail store in the barn.
No-View Farm in Wolfeboro: Operated by David and Lawreen Strauch. No-View Farm sits on 30 acres in the heart of the Lakes Region. The Strauchs purchased the property in 1985, which at the time, consisted of 20 acres of open and wooded land, a 1790 colonial house, and a one time inn and stage coach stop between Portsmouth and Conway. Twenty-five plus years of hard work have converted the property to the current livestock farm with added barns and expanded acreage. The Strauchs raise naturally grown turkeys for Thanksgiving, roaster chickens, pork and grass-fed beef. Products are sold at the farm and at area farmers' markets.
Picadilly Farm in Winchester: Operated by Bruce and Jenny Wooster. In 2006, under the Wooster's stewardship, Picadilly Farm began to transition from its former life as a dairy farm to a certified organic farm with emphasis on vegetables and fruits. The farm consists of about 70 acres of crop and forest land. The produce grown on the farm is sold through a CSA during the summer and fall to nearly 300 shareholders. The Woosters are partners in a multiple farm winter CSA offering a variety of late season and storage produce through December. The Woosters also have a small livestock operation that offers eggs to CSA members and lamb and pork every fall while it lasts.
Contact information for all of these farms can be found on the NH Department of Agriculture web site at www.agriculture.nh.gov. As you can see they would all be great field trip destinations or speakers at your schools. We are truly blessed with unique and beautiful farms here in New Hampshire.