Fall in New Hampshire means fairs, foliage – and getting out to one of the state's 300-odd apple orchards to pick your own. Elaine Starkey is out at Butternut Farm in Farmington, with her sons and grandkids, to do just that.
"They usually have donuts, but we got here a little late."
'Pick Your Own Apples' now means not just picking the fruit, but also hay rides, corn mazes, petting animals, And enjoying other seasonal products, like cider, pies, and yes, donuts.
Increasing demand for local food has led farmers to seek capital: funds with which to start or grow their businesses. In most industries, an increase in demand from consumers spells profits, so banks and other lenders will pull out their checkbooks. But farming is a little different. In New England, farmers aren’t actually likely to make much money. This isn’t new: farmers have always relied on farm credit co-ops and the federal government for loans to grow their businesses.
With almost 60 farmers markets across the state, demand for local food is growing. But local farmers still struggle to make a profit growing local food. In fact, about three quarters of all farms in New Hampshire gross less than $10,000 from sales each year. Seacoast Reporter Emily Corwin takes an in-depth look at New Hampshire's agriculture community in her five-part series, Growing Pains.
Representatives from the US Food and Drug Administration are traveling around the country this summer speaking with farmers about the Food Safety Modernization Act – which is the biggest reform of food safety laws the country has seen in more than 70 years.
The FDA held a public hearing on their proposed rules at Dartmouth College. The farmers we met there are very concerned about the consequences the proposed rules could have on New England agriculture.
Detroit’s declaration of bankruptcy this summer opened up the floodgates for stories of its decline. Documentary films, photo essays, and articles reveal a once-proud American city, home to world’s highest-paid workers and a strong middle class, as a shell of its former self. Some residents are finding hope among the abandoned neighborhoods, crumbling municipal buildings, and rusting car factories that made the motor city hum.
In the mid-1800s the United States was home to more than fifteen thousand varieties of apple - two thousand in New England alone. That diversity was pretty much wiped out by the growth of industrial agriculture and today, only a few varieties remain…at least in the supermarket. John Bunker , a man known as the apple whisperer, is on a quest to find, save and preserve long lost types of apples.
According to the USDA, Americans are producing and eating more locally-raised food every year. But the market for local meat has trailed behind the market for local produce. Until recently, reasoning has been that there’s a shortage of local slaughterhouses. But as three slaughterhouses open their doors in NH this year, industry-wide studies show that more slaughterhouses may not be the answer, after all.
An agricultural art dating from the Neolithic period shares a glass with the robotics of the future. Since the first evidence of grapevine cultivation for wine about 7000 years ago, viticulture has developed a degree of automation…still, wine-makers depend on human hands and eyes to thoroughly -- and tediously -- inspect their crop for quality and yield. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University are developing an automated grape-counting system that will help lighten that load and lead to the production of better wine. Sara Reardon is a staff writer and reporter for New Scientist who covered the machines that could change the future of winemaking.
With almost 60 farmers markets across the state, demand for local food is growing. But local farmers still struggle to make a profit growing local food. In fact, about three quarters of all farms in New Hampshire gross less than $10,000 from sales each year.
This is the first installment in our summer business series investigating how a changing market place is affecting New Hampshire farmers.
This week some NHPR staffers got their first weekly share of veggies from a nearby CSA – which stands for community supported agriculture.
The idea is that consumers buy a share of the year’s crops in advance – that gives them a weekly supply of produce, while farmers get a more stable income stream than what they might have selling just through farmers markets or farmstands.
Congress is in the midst of renewing this giant legislation, after missing its first deadline to do so. And New Hampshire farmers are keeping an eye on this process, they want assurances a final measure won’t just favor big agribusiness, but also, the smaller farms prevalent in our region. We’ll find out the bill might include and what’s at stake for the Granite State.