Archive for January, 2010

news from Yellow House Farm: chicken schools and time to order chicks!

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

In Yellow House Farm’s latest email newsletter:

The Yellow House Farm seminar Homesteading Heritage Poultry is designed to give you a complete introduction to the various aspects of stewarding poultry for the homestead.  The class is divided into four sections, each designed to provide a thorough base in the targeted subject matter.  The term “poultry” refers to chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guinea fowl.  Homesteading Heritage Poultry focuses specifically on the needs of heritage chickens, although much of what is discussed is pertinent to the farming of other sorts of fowl.  It is not geared to matters concerning the production of factory layers and broilers.  Our goal is to present the best of traditional methodologies in the light of modern poultry science to build an understanding of the kinds of practices that lead to invigorating and environmentally friendly farming, based in respectful stewardship.  See the website for a full description and registration information >

Classes are held at Yellow House Farm.  Spring 2010 seminars are one-day intensives held on Saturdays from 9:00am-4:00pm, seven dates are offered.  The cost of the Homesteading Heritage Poultry seminar is $45.00.  Pre-registration is required.

Dates for Homesteading Heritage Poultry: 3/6, 3/20, 4/3, 4/17, 5/1, 5/15, and 5/29.  We recommend early registration as each date is limited to 10 participants.

If you would like to be part of this wonderful local movement to become a steward of heritage poultry both for their protection and betterment and for the establishment and promotion of our local food security, consider attending one of our seminars.  Here’s the link.
Chicks! Chicks! Chicks!  It’s hard to have chicken and eggs without ’em.  We are beginning to take orders for 2010 hatchlings.  We shall again be offering hatchlings in Anconas and Dorkings.  Anconas are primarily egg-layers, while cockerels are also tasty fryers and fricassee birds.  Dorkings are excellent heritage meat birds with respectable egg production.  Both are steeped in history.  We expect hatchlings to book up early.  So follow this link to learn more and get that order in to that we might serve you best.  Remember, in the name of fairness, that orders are filled on a “first come, first served” basis.  Here’s the link.

Hollis, NH seeking farmers

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

From the market bulletin:

The Hollis Agricultural Commission is compiling a list of farmers who may be interested in leasing Town-owned land known as “Woodmont Orchard – West” (approximately 180 acres) in part or in entirety, for a term of up to 25 years, beginning no later than 2011. The lease(s) will be awarded through a bidding process, and considerable discression will be given to successful bidders, as long as the use complies with conditions of an existing agricultural easement. Contact

NH Farmers + Growers: free opportunity to be listed in new NH Dept of Ag publication

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

Fill out the survey to be included:

A message from  Gail McWIlliam Jellie, Director of the Division of Agricultural Development for NH:

This year the Department of Agriculture and NH Division of Travel and Tourism are partnering to create two consumer resource maps: New Hampshire Agriculture Resource Map and New Hampshire Garden Trails Map.

About these maps:
New Hampshire Agriculture Resource Map: goal is to consolidate a variety of published booklets (Farmers’ Market Directory, Pick Your Own, etc) into one comprehensive map/brochure that will include, but not limited to, resources such as Farms, Farmstands, Farmers’ Markets, Pick your Own, Orchards, Dairies, Wineries, etc.

New Hampshire Garden Trails Map: goal is to promote garden, floral and other horticultural activities such as educational workshops and classes, tours, demonstration gardens, etc., as well as sources of NH grown plant products and to create a “trail” of these opportunities that interested parties may follow throughout the state or regions of the state. All New Hampshire businesses or organizations that offer such activities are invited to sign up.

Each map will be created and printed separately – but both will consist of a comprehensive map, divided into New Hampshire regions, with listing all of the state’s agricultural and garden resources including contact and other relevant information for each business listing.

Maps will be distributed via NH Welcome Centers, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, Agriculture Fairs, NH Made partnership, and other avenues TBD.
We are very excited to create this map on behalf of the agriculture industry and we need your help to get started. If you would like your business to be a part of New Hampshire’s Agriculture Resource Map and/or the Garden Trails Map, please join us by providing your information for your listings. This is a free listing! Our goal is to print the map by the end of March, so please send in your completed form by Monday February 15, 2010. Information received after that date may not be able to be included.

Gail McWIlliam Jellie, Director
Division of Agricultural Development
NH Dept. of Agriculture, Markets & Food

Fill out the survey to be included:

Get involved: Newburyport Transitions looking for local food “visionaries”

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

 If you live in/near Newburyport and want to get more involved in the local food scene, Transition Newburyport is looking for you! From their website:

Seeking “Local Food” Visionaries

Are you troubled by what you learned about our nation’s food system from Food, Inc., King Corn, The Future of Food, or The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and wonder what you can do about it?  Concerned about the dependence of our industrialized agricultural system on fossil fuels for fertilizers, pesticides, farm machinery, food processing, storage and transport in the face of climate change and fossil fuel depletion?
New Eden Collaborative member, Transition Newburyport is seeking individuals interested in working together to create a vision and a pathway to the food system of the future for our community, to tackle the question of how we can move toward a more sustainable, equitable, and resilient food system that will not only make us more self-reliant but will also serve to strengthen our local economy.

Our local food system includes all the growers, producers, processors, distributors, retailers, restaurants, school food programs, food pantries and every food consumer — in other words, everyone. What is more basic and central to our everyday lives than food?
We’ll be exploring questions such as: Where does our food come from? Could Newburyport feed itself? If not, why not, and what can we do to stimulate local food production? Does everyone who wants to grow food in our community have access to the land to do it?

If you are interested, please email us at We’ll be scheduling a get together in February to begin discussing these questions. The meeting will, of course, involve good local food as well as good company.

New Hampshire Farm + Forest Expo, Feb 5th and 6th!

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The New Hampshire Farm and Forest Expo is next weekend in Manchester, and it is a very inexpensive ($7) chance to see and learn more about agriculture in the state.

The schedule includes a variety of workshops, exhibits, and discussions for farmers, homesteaders/diy’ers, and local food activists including:

NH Farmers Market Association: Find out about NHFMA’s partnership with NH Made. Get updates from the WIC FMNP. Learn about selling products from your own kitchen with the “Homestead License”. NH Dairy Sanitation will be discussed in the afternoon and how to use Wireless Credit Card and EBT Processing Systems at your market.

The NH Coalition for Sustaining Agriculture Workshop Series – “Resources for Farmers”

What’s the Buzz on Honey Bees?

Rural Energy for America & Value-Added Producer Grant Programs

The Backyard Poultry Flock

A panel discussion called, Meeting the Demand for Local: Expanding the Market to Restaurants, Supermarkets and Schools

Intermediate Winemaking: Making Better Wines 

Backyard Maple Sugaring

Check out their website for a full list of what is going on, directions, and more!

Growing Community Supported Food

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Winter is CSA is sign-up season in New England, and Local Harvest is running a four-part series on all things CSA in their monthly newsletters. The first of the series appeared in their January newsletter, and reports some encouraging data regarding the growth of CSA’s, including a graphic and eye-opening video for the numerically-challenged among us (see below). Future newsletters will include articles on how to choose a CSA (February), what happens when CSAs go big (March) and how one farm’s members are creating an alternate economy within the CSA community (April).

Earlier this month we participated in a workshop about the future of CSA at the EcoFarm Conference in Pacific Grove, CA. Putting together our presentation gave us the opportunity to dig deep into our CSA database and pull out some numbers we found quite interesting. Like: the average sized CSA in the U.S. has 96 members, but the median is 47. If it’s been a while since statistics class, that means that half of all CSAs have more than 47 members, and half have fewer. There are a lot of small CSAs out there! What we notice from talking with a lot of CSA farmers is that many people start small with their CSA and then increase the number of shares they offer — sometimes quite rapidly — once their systems are in place and tested. From our vantage point, both the slow and careful start and the eventual growth are important elements of the economic viability of the model.

For those who like numbers, here are a few more. Of the 3,229 CSAs listed with LocalHarvest, we have ‘size’ data for 2766. Of those, 2,202 have 100 or fewer shareholders, another 504 offer 101 – 500 shares, and finally, 60 farms have more than 500 CSA members. Extrapolating from those numbers, we see that CSAs of 100 shareholders or less serve 25% of all CSA members in the country. Those in the 101 – 500 bracket serve 52% of CSA members, and large CSAs of 500 or more supply 23% of all subscribers.

To put this in context, the total number of shares offered by our CSAs is about 390,000. That number represents one-half of one percent (0.5%) of all households in the U.S. That might not sound like a lot, but when we mapped out the growth curve, it was impressive! If the number of CSAs keeps growing at the same rate as CSAs have been joining our site over the last three years, by 2020, there will be over 18,000 CSAs in the U.S.

For even more fun, Guillermo animated the growth of CSAs in a little movie, which you can see here. Each green triangle represents one CSA farm, and the dates shown are drawn from data reported by the farmers themselves. It’s a neat little visual, and takes just 12 seconds of your life. To read full article >

Mark your calendars: Many CSA fairs are scheduled for February — Newburyport has one planned for Sunday, February 28th; on the same day, MOFGA will be sponsoring 12 fairs statewide in Maine; and Seacoast Eat Local will be hosting a CSA Day in conjunction with our Winter Farmer’s Market in Rollinsford, Saturday, February 27th. More details coming soon!

Nutrition Boot Camps 2010 with Tracey Miller

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

New classes from Tracy Miller:

Nutrition Boot Camp 2010

Designed for moms to help them understand the latest nutrition research, food myths and diets to see what foods and eating plan will work best for you family. You’ll also learn time-efficient tools for menu planning, food preparation and staying on a healthy eating plan and how to eat  locally, reasonably and seasonably!


Downtown Portsmouth Nutrition Boot Camp: Starts February 9nd (Tuesdays 7:30-9pm) Fee: $125
(Dates: February 9, 16, March 2,9)

South Berwick Nutrition Boot Camp: Starts March 3rd (Thursdays 7-8:30pm) Fee: $125
(Dates: March 4,11,18,25)

Boost Your Child’s Immune System!  Downtown Portsmouth, Thursday, February 11, 7:00 – 9:00 pm

Your child’s immune system is developing, so now is the time to build their resilience to help them avoid common childhood illnesses, like colds, flus, ear infections, and allergies.  Learn how the body protects itself against nasty colds and flus and the most important nutrients to help you boost your child’s immune system. We’ll try some new recipes including juice boosts, stocks and soups and other herbs which build your immune system.


For more details go to: or contact Tracey Miller at 603-380-1080 or


Instructor Tracey Miller is a health & wellness coach offering nutrition courses, wellness seminars and cooking classes for individuals, families, and businesses. In addition she is a health communication specialist and freelance writer and has worked with the World Bank, the Food Studies Institute and other organizations. She received her training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC. 

Thistleridge Farm taking pre-orders for chicks and incubator rentals

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Thistleridge Farm will hatch your chicks, or rent you an incubator so you can hatch your own! Call Sherri at the phone number listed below:


Sherri Towle

397 Tolend Road

Dover, NH 03820

phone: (603) 740-9332

email: thistleridgefarm @ yahoo . com

Kathleen Merrigan at UNH Friday, January 29!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

Kathleen Merrigan, U.S. deputy secretary of agriculture, will discuss the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Know your Farmer, Know your Food program at 10 a.m. Friday in DeMeritt Hall, Room 240, at the University of New Hampshire. The speech is free and open to the public.

The Know your Farmer, Know your Food initiative emphasizes the need to reconnect producers and consumers. The effort builds on the 2008 Farm Bill, which provides for increases and flexibility for USDA programs to promote local foods. Consumer demand for locally grown food in the United States is expected to rise from an estimated $4 billion in 2002 to as much as $7 billion by 2012.

Merrigan’s visit is part of a national tour of colleges and universities with the goal of engaging the next generation of farmers, ranchers and consumers in a national conversation on how to develop local and regional food systems to support small and mid-sized farms. Visit

2010 Seacoast Harvest update is underway!

Thursday, January 28th, 2010

You’ll be hearing a lot about Seacoast Harvest from us in the coming months. We update it every year to make sure it is the most accurate guide to the farms, farmers’ markets, farm stands, and CSA’s of Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties. A dozen volunteers, including three fantastic interns!, got together the other evening to strategize and plan for this project.

Farmers – our first efforts to help update your listings should be in your email inboxes right now if you were listed in Seacoast Harvest last year. Please respond as soon as you can! If you weren’t listed last year but meet the criteria to be listed this year, you can email for more information. Listings are free, and we give Seacoast Harvest out for free!

So how do we make it go with all this free-ness? Support from a wide range of community members, both individual donations and sponsorships.  If you’d like to learn more about sponsorship, email, or donate online via paypal: