Tag Archives: Grass Fed Beef

Opening Day at Wilson’s Farm

Rhubarb comes early at Wilson Farm!
Rhubarb comes early at Wilson Farm!

The growing season is just getting under way here in southern New Hampshire.  It’s Mother’s Day weekend, halfway through May. A time for fiddleheads and asparagus …and eggs and meat.  Maybe you’ll find some early greens from the hothouses.  Maybe some farms still have some root veggies from cold storage.  In a couple of weeks, we should see spring peas and some greenhouse tomatoes, new carrots and onions.

Opening Day at Wilson Farm
Opening Day at Wilson Farm

Wilson Farm Stand in Litchfield, NH opened for the season today, so I took a drive down the old Charles Bancroft Highway (Rte. 3A), a two-lane road surrounded by farmland – some productive, some fading.  I was glad to see one small patch of clearcut near the center of town that appeared to be not for another instant neighborhood, but rather for more farmland!  I’ll be checking back to see if that’s true.

Wilson Farm's fresh cut asparagus in Litchfield.
Wilson Farm’s fresh cut asparagus in Litchfield.

You have to search, especially this time of year, and if they don’t purposely label something as “our own”, you can bet it was imported from parts unknown.  Asparagus they had, and I picked some up. Mom loves asparagus.  They also had rhubarb and fresh basil.  Packaged fresh Brussels sprouts were in the cooler along with their own eggs.  Wilson Farm honey is tucked in the corner.  These were the only items I could find that were labeled as coming from their own farm.  Pretty much what I expected.

Grow your own with Wilson's own field grown strawberry and rhubarb plants!
Grow your own with Wilson’s own field grown strawberry and rhubarb plants!

Wilson Farm has a larger operation in Lexington, MA, where they are also importers and wholesale distributers of produce.  There are all kinds of fresh produce at the stand – corn, tomatoes, peppers, citrus, onions, potatoes, etc., and they could be coming from anywhere.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s not a supermarket in the whole town of Litchfield, as far as I know.  Just be aware that if you want local, you still need to hunt.  And know that as the season goes on, the imported veggies will be replaced by produce from the field right behind the barn you’re standing in.

Maine's Squire Mountain tub cheese available at Wilson Farm in Litchfield.
Maine’s Squire Mountain tub cheese available at Wilson Farm in Litchfield.

A couple of other locally-produced items you’ll find are milk from Dracut, MA’s Shaw Farm and Tub Cheese from Standish, Maine’s Squire Mountain.  That cheese looked amazing.  I think I’m going to take another trip just to get some.

There are a couple of other farms open to the public on the Highway.  Just further north is Steve Normanton’s farm, where they sell grass fed beef and pasture-raised chicken and pork, as well as organic eggs and produce.  The farm store is open on Tuesday afternoons and Saturdays til 1PM, so I was too late to go in.  Further north still is McQuesten Farm – so busy when I swung by, there was no place to park!  They sell their own grown flowers, as well as produce and have a petting zoo of farm animals.

The fields behind Wilson Farm stand in Litchfield are just starting to come to life.
The fields behind Wilson Farm stand in Litchfield are just starting to come to life.
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The Salem, NH Farmer’s Market — In Winter

Not many people realize that farmer’s markets exist in the winter, but they do.  They are few and far-between, and some don’t operate every week, but you should be able to find a couple within a reasonable distance from your home, if your home is in southern New Hampshire.  You can find a partial list of New Hampshire winter markets here.  Remarkably, what’s missing from that list is the Salem, NH Farmer’s Market, an excellent market that is slightly off the beaten path and hosted at the Lake Street Garden Center. Tucked away within a residential neighborhood, Lake Street is a surprisingly large center that lends outdoor space to the market in the summer and generously lends greenhouse space to the market in winter.

Salem Farmer's Market sign in the snow on Lake Street
Salem Farmer’s Market sign in the snow on Lake Street

A lot of hard work goes into making this market a success, including regular recipe features on WMUR television and social media activity.  No cash? A few venders take credit cards, but you can also purchase tokens at the information desk with credit cards or SNAP cards.  Sometimes there’s music.  Sometimes there’s face painting. Sometimes there’s cooking demos.

Because it’s winter, you will find more meat than produce – and there was a good selection to be had this Sunday.  I believe all the meat was sold frozen and this is the common way meat is sold at farmer’s markets.

Brookford Farm had an amazing display of milk and cheese products, including raw milk, buttermilk, yogurt, kefir, quark, cheddar, brie, blue and feta. Market customers were exchanging empty glass bottles for new filled bottles of milk, keeping the vendor busy ducking out of the greenhouse to his refrigerated truck filled with goodies.  They were the only vendor selling dairy, but equally as popular was their grass fed beef products and pasture raised pork and chicken, including maple bacon.  Ground beef sold for $10.00 a pound and sausage sold for $12.00 a pound.

A selection of cheeses available from Brookford Farm
A selection of cheeses available from Brookford Farm
A listing of available pork offerings from Brookford Farm
A listing of available pork offerings from Brookford Farm

But that’s not all.  They also had a small selection of root vegetables and bags of flour milled from their own wheat, grown GMO-free on their farm in Canterbury, NH — One of the very few growers of wheat in New England!

Hurd Farm, from Hampton, NH, raises grass-fed beef, all-natural, pasture-fed chicken and turkey and all-natural heritage breed pork.  They were offering several cuts of beef, pork chops and sausage and whole turkeys and chickens.  Italian sausage sold for $9.99 a pound and Ground Beef sold at $6.99 a pound.  You can find Hurd Farm at several farmer’s markets in Rockingham County and also at the farm on Wednesdays and Fridays, where you will also find fresh eggs and maybe some laying hens for purchase!

The Hurd Farm team at the Salem Market
The Hurd Farm team at the Salem Market

Miner Family Farm, from Merrimack, NH, had the only offering of lamb at the market.  They also sold cuts of beef, pork and chicken, plus chicken and duck eggs, along with their own branded selection of dried herbs and spices. Ground beef sold for $7.00 a pound and Italian sausage sold for $6.50 a pound.

The price board for the Vernon Family Farm
The price board for the Vernon Family Farm

If you want chicken, Vernon Family Farm has it in all forms – whole birds, butchered, sausage, stock & soup and even organ meat.  Sausage sold for $10 a pound.  Their Cornish-cross birds are pasture raised with additional organic grain feed on the farm in Newfields, NH.  They also sell Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms!

The only vendor this past Sunday with an extensive collection of produce was Arrowhead Farm from Newburyport, MA.  Besides cold storage staples like potatoes and onions, Arrowhead featured a variety of greens and herbs freshly grown in their solar greenhouses.  Arrowhead also uses the Salem Farmer’s Market for some of its CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pickups, and it has one of the larger selection of CSA options I have seen in the area, so that is worth checking out.

The Arrowhead Farm booth, bursting with produce
The Arrowhead Farm booth, bursting with produce

A wild blueberry distributor had a booth.  Representing eight family farms in Maine, including Wild Wescogus Berries in Addison, Orcutt Farm in Steuben, and Dan-a-Dew Wild Blueberry Farm in Blue Hill, he was selling 17oz containers of individually quick frozen berries for $9.99. Wild blueberries are smaller than cultivated blueberries but contain twice the antioxidants.  And they are delicious.

Delicious Wild Maine Blueberries!!
Delicious Wild Maine Blueberries!!

Dried herbs, herbal Teas, and infused honey and oil were available from Wilton, NH’s Bee Fields Farm.  Anderson’s Mini-Maples from Deerfield, NH provided the necessary maple syrup products.

Finally, every farmer’s market that I visit have local vendors selling their own homemade small-batch foods, which may or may not be sourced from locally grown/raised products and this market is no exception.  This past Sunday you could pick up organic breads, pancake mixes, mustards, jams and jellies from The Fresh Plate of Amherst.  You need to act fast. There was only two loaves of bread left by the time I got there.

There was coffee from Salem, NH’s Farmhouse Roasters, chocolate from Salem’s KRM Chocolates  and cookies from Windham’s ‘Cuz it’s Good!

If you wanted lunch right there, you could grab some Puerto Rican from Kingston, NH’s El Camino or some Ukrainian from East Kingston’s Bucovina Cuisines.  Or snack on some organic baked beans from West Hopkinton’s Breakwind Farm (that’s right).

Tefteli and Pasta in Red Sauce by Bucovina Cuisines
Tefteli and Pasta in Red Sauce by Bucovina Cuisines

The Salem, NH Farmer’s Market is open every Sunday from 10-2, all year long.

Nashua gets a b.good and life couldn’t be better

The amazing Adopted Luke Burger with added Vermont Bacon and a refreshing Beet-Ginger Lemonade.

I had one of the best burgers in my life at b.good in Nashua.  The Adopted Luke is a messy delight of all natural beef from Maine, smoked Gouda, bbq sauce, sautéed onions and mushrooms.  I added Vermont bacon for more spectacularness.   Amazing.  And I don’t even like mushrooms!  I guess I do, now.

You can order the Adopted Luke as a beef burger (sourced from Pineland Farms Natural Meats), or as turkey burger, a vegan veggie burger or as an all-natural chicken sandwich.  There are five other equally delicious choices, including the seasonal Joanie with avocado, spicy slaw and sriracha.  They also have oven-finished fries, sautéed veggies and seasonal Butternut Squash Soup.  But that’s not all.  There is a great selection of salads and “kale & quinoa” bowls that are newer additions to the company’s menu and have become big hits.

I went into b.good with the idea that its focus is on local food, but that’s not exactly true.  The focus at b.good is on “real” food.  That means, for example, that when you want to have pumpkin milk shakes on the menu for Halloween, you’re not squirting pumpkin-flavored goop into your vanilla shake, you are sourcing out and roasting real pumpkin to make that shake.  The added bonus is that they try to source their food as locally as possible.  The pumpkin in that milkshake came from Lanni Orchards in Lunenburg, MA.

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b.good wants you to know where their locally-sourced food is from

There’s a large chalkboard with a map of New England displayed prominently on the wall, identifying exactly where their locally-sourced product comes from.  Unfortunately, nothing from New Hampshire, (except maybe the kale that they grow right outside their door in the non-winter) but the tomatoes are from Backyard Farms in Maine, potatoes are from Szawlowski Potato Farm in Mass, and butternut squash is from Marini Farm in Ipswich.   Other seasonal vegetables are from Dick’s Market Garden in Lunenburg, cheese from the well-known Cabot Creamery in Vermont and the amazing bacon is from Vermont Smoke and Cure.

A fresh, delicious and filling Local Apple and Bacon Kale and Quinoa bowl featuring bacon from Vermont, apples from Mass and kale maybe from one of b.good's own gardens.
A fresh, delicious and filling Local Apple and Bacon Kale and Quinoa bowl featuring bacon from Vermont, apples from Mass and kale maybe from one of b.good’s own gardens.

Of course, not everything is locally sourced.  We’re not told where the turkey or chicken comes from, and the avocados are surely not from around here.  It may be too much to expect of a growing franchise restaurant to be entirely locally sourced, but b.good spends a good deal of time trying to get the most without sacrificing quality and competitivity.   Down in Boston, where the franchise is based and there are six locations, they grow their own produce on the roofs of buildings.

b.good in Nashua has been open a few months.  It’s located on the South End of Nashua, at 219 Daniel Webster Highway, across from Best Buy and next to the new and popular Not Your Average Joe’s.  I am so glad they are here and I suggest you go and check them out.