The Heritage Hall of Fame
Trying to grapple with all of the details around Local Food Security can be pretty tough. There are so many websites, so many directions possible. Indeed, often the information seems so copious as to be overwhelming. Heritage? Local? Organic? Heirloom? Where should one start? How does one begin making truly powerful food decisions for one's self and one's family?
Well, step one is FARM VISIBILITY. Absolutely nothing is more important. No gimick, no line, no guarantee can trump pure and simple visibility. As we say, "seeing is believing." Farm Visibility means that you can go to a farm and see its operation. Details are explained to you in detail, and you are helped to understand thoroughly the whole process surrounding your food. "Wait!", you say. "That takes time." Our answer is, "Yes!", but it is our only truth. By seeing a farm firsthand, you are then equipped to make a clear decision about whether or not you want its products to grace your table. What you want and what your neighbor wants may be two entirely different things. By knowing your farmers, you are able to play an important role in shaping your local food economy.
The only true way for us to move beyond this threat is for us to embrace decisively, passionately, with deep interest, and holy enthusiasm our heritage food supplies, before they slip from our grasp forever. With every springtime, they are weaker from neglect. As we excuse ourselves from our communal responsibility and explain away our need of them, our heritage farm animals and plants disappear into a fog of uselessness and sterility. Soon, very soon, they will be no more. We must not allow this to occur. We must arise and assume the challenges of time, learning, and money. They loom before us under the banner of self-determination and reveal hard decisions for ourselves and those we love, those who will follow. Yet, we can do this. We must do this.
It is essential that we breed and propagate heritage farm animals and plants. Breeding and propagating are the key. They close the gap. They bring it all home. They separate us more definitively from the industrial. When we breed and propagate heritage food in New Hampshire, we create a food supply for ourselves and our children that is safe and sustainable. It is healthy and local and, most of all, visible. Food in New Hampshire, from New Hampshire, is, for our part, the beginning of food peace.
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur (MOON-doos, voolt day-CHEE-pee, ER-go day-chee-pee-Ah-toor), the world wants to be deceived, thus it is deceived. So says Varro, an ancient Roman agricultural historian. Industrial food factories have hidden from view the procedures of animal husbandry, allowing us to pretend that the civilized need not see. In reality, this has allowed them to deviate amazingly, with deep immorality, from the tried and true production models that have served us for centuries. Our inability to see their procedures has enabled them to develop monstruous methods and horrid, ersatz products. With bite over bite, we consume their poisons: fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, antibiotics, growth hormones, synthetic ferilizers, warped genes, and ballooned bodies. Our children are obese. The women we love are developing horrible cancers. Our throats, intestines and bowels are rotting. Our energy levels plummet. Our sugar levels sore. Diabetes gains ground daily. Their so-called farms are devastating our natural world. Not only are they destroying us, but they are destroying our Earth. They are forcing our true farm animals into oblivion. They are destroying the sacred balance of our soils. They are tearing apart the genetics of our fruits and vegetables. We know. We all know. We have known for a long time. Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur. Still, somehow we are awakening.
To that end, we move to maintain here a list of those farms who would take the daring leap into heritage food. This list will allow you to know which farms in the area are not only raising, but breeding and propagating, heritage food. Slowly, we will see a whole network emerge of heritage food sources, whose presence and products will be our blessing and livelihood.
Please notify us of any regional farms who actively breed heritage farm animals for market, such that we can add them to this resource.
Yellow House Farm. Robert Gibson and Joseph Marquette. 541 route 202, Barrington, NH, 03825. (603) 335-6131. Yellow House Farm breeds: White Dorking Chickens, an ancient Roman breed; White Houdan Chickens, a breed from the French Renaissance, and Rose Comb Ancona Chickens, a foundational central Italian breed. Black Muscovy ducks, a breed of duck domesticated by the Incas. Narragansett turkeys, New England's own. American Buff geese, one of three breeds of geese developed in America. Pearl guineas, with us since the time of the ancient Greeks. Check out the Yellow House Farm Conservation Initiative.
Outlaw Farm. Patricia Ford. 36 Old Milton Road, Rochester NH 03868. (603) 817-0257. Outlaw farm breeds pure-bred Hereford cattle, a well-known heritage breed, originating in Hereford, England. Their farm is a true boon to sustainable beef in southern New Hampshire.
Sunnyfield Farm. 197 Greenfield Road, Petersborough, NH 03458. (603) 924-4436. www.sunnyfieldfarm.org. Sunnyfield farm offers meat from Milking Devon and traditional Jerseys. The Milking Devon is an excellent old breed. What a treat. They also offer traditional veal, a wonderful heritage product. This is the veal your Nonna used to know, not the shameful industrial product. This is natural and delicious. NB: Traditional veal is a by-product of any good dairy farm. NH, as a strong dairy state, could produce much delicious and nutritiously guilt-free veal for our sustainable kitchens--Buon Appetito!
LAMB AND MUTTON:
Riverslea Farm. Jeff and Liz Conrad. 362 North River Road, Epping, NH, 03042. (603) 679-2629. www.riversleafarm.com. Riverslea supports a veritable network of breeding.
Sunnyfield Farm. 197 Greenfield Road, Petersborough, NH 03458. (603) 924-4436. www.sunnyfieldfarm.org. Sunnyfield farm raises Icelandic Sheep. They are a tough and sustainable landrace breed, whose presence in NH is greatly appreciated. They're not quite as large as some of the commoner commerical breeds, but they more than make up for it in foraging independence and sheer tenaciousness.
Riverslea Farm. Jeff and Liz Conrad. 362 North River Road, Epping, NH, 03042. (603) 679-2629. www.riversleafarm.com. Riverslea raises Boer goats, a South African meat goat. Riverslea supports a veritable network of breeding. RABBIT: PORK:
Riverslea Farm. Jeff and Liz Conrad. 362 North River Road, Epping, NH, 03042. (603) 679-2629. www.riversleafarm.com. Riverslea raises Boer goats, a South African meat goat. Riverslea supports a veritable network of breeding.