Looking for a different kind of adventure this summer? What says summer better than returning home with fond memories of your northern New Hampshire vacation, along with a bounty of yummy, just-off-the-vine tomatoes, ears of freshly picked corn, crisp lettuces, a couple of juicy watermelons, eggs laid that morning, humanely raised beef, pork and lamb, and sweet maple syrup?
The expanding trend of ecotourism is alive and well throughout the region with farmers markets, farm stands, and farms themselves enticing visitors to include these destinations on their itinerary when making their weekend or vacation plans.
The owners and staff at Meadowstone Farm in Bethlehem, love to share all the ins and outs of the operation with visitors. The farm produces an incredible variety of fruits and vegetables, along with pork, eggs, chicken, goat cheese, seedlings, and even compost. Meadowstone also has PYO blueberries, from mid July-mid August, and flowers (swoon, swoon!), from mid July-mid September. Meadowstone’s farmstand is open year round from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
One of the best of its kind, the Littleton Farmers’ Market is located in downtown Littleton, right on the banks of the Ammonoosuc River and the town’s famous covered bridge. Grassy areas, trees and the burbling river make this an ideal spot even on the hottest day to browse the stalls offering everything from locally grown fruits and veggies, pasture-raised pork, beef, and chicken, goat cheeses, breads, gluten-free goodies, maple products, prepared foods, and lots and lots of wonderful crafts, from jewelry to wood products to homespun wool! Different musical groups each week add to the market’s festive flair. Open Sundays from June to October, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Kids — and their parents — will enjoy the free farm tour at Apple Haven Farm in West Stewartstown. Tour the lush gardens and learn what it takes to grow certified organic vegetables, herbs and a variety of fruits including (of course!) apples. Because of its location — the farm is just a hop, skip and a jump to Canada — the farm employs heated greenhouses and high tunnels to bring its produce to harvest and extend the growing season. Apple Haven also sells its products at North Country Marketplace on Main Street in Colebrook.
Cite Ecologique of NH Ecovillage in Colebrook, is a creative learning center with a focus on sustainability. The community welcomes visitors from May through October to experience life on a large working farm and participate in a variety of workshops. The organic farm is set on 315 acres surrounded by mountains and forests. Outstanding gardens, greenhouses, a chicken coop, 500 logs of shiitake, solar installations, a sugar shack and trails lend themselves to many opportunities to learn what a sustainable future might look like. Seminars and weekend workshops are designed to give participants practical skills for building more balanced lives.
“As Local As It Gets” is the slogan of CJEJ Farm / The MeatHouse in Columbia, a family farm that specializes in locally grown, quality meats. Visit The MeatHouse farm store to purchase the farm’s own eggs, beef, pork, chicken, turkey and goat. This farm uses crop rotation and grows its own grain to reduce feed costs, increase yield and improve its soil, and the owners are happy to answer visitors’ questions about their lively operation. The farm sells its products at farmers markets in Gorham, Bethlehem, and Lancaster, and also offers custom processing and deer processing.
The country store at the family-owned Fuller’s Sugarhouse in Lancaster, is a must stop destination. The shelves are stocked with pure New Hampshire maple syrup in all its forms. Fuller’s award-winning syrup is packaged in beautiful glass bottles or the more traditional jugs, and their maple candy, maple cream (butter), and maple sugar are all made-on-the-premises — a sweet treat any time of year! Can’t make it into the store? Fuller’s ships its products worldwide.
Dazzling views of the majestic White Mountains, rolling fields studded with row upon row of future Christmas trees, and a well-maintained trail system perfect for short strolls or longer hikes are reason enough to visit the historic Rocks Estate in Bethlehem, but did you know that the 1,400 acre property is the conservation and education center for the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests? Dozens of programs and experiential tours are offered throughout the year. Visitors can learn about the conservation of wildlife habitats and the plants and animals found on and around the property, how the Christmas trees are grown, and how maple syrup is made. Many visitors plan a trip to The Rocks in the fall to choose their holiday tree — cut your own or choose from a selection of just cut trees. On March weekends, The Rocks hosts its popular NH Maple Experience, with tours, tastings and more. From June 1 through Columbus Day, consider a self-guided tour of the New Hampshire Maple Experience museum that includes a video demonstration of maple sugaring and a fascinating display of maple sugaring tools and artifacts. The Rocks’ delicious New Hampshire maple syrup and other maple products, as well as Christmas trees and wreaths, can also be ordered directly from the online store.
The Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa in Whitefield, has catered to guests since the end of the Civil War when it was a working farm. Now, more than 150 years later, the resort holds fast to its agricultural roots with an orchard, greenhouse, gardens, and farm animals. Guest can get up close and personal to the farm animals at the Mountain View Farm, where fiber collected from the farm’s flock of sheep is spun into Mountain View Farm Blend yarn, which also includes fiber from the farm’s Angora goats, alpacas, llamas and Angora rabbits. Resort activities include year-round Meet the Farmer educational tours where guests can meet the farmer and the farm’s animals, and Bird (ducks and chickens) and Bunny Talks, which focus on the needs and care of these animals. Seasonally, guests are invited to help make cider on the Resort’s own cider press or learn how maple syrup is made, including tastings. Guests can learn a new craft by taking a needle or wet felting class at the fiber studio, using fibers from the farm’s animals and take home a wonderful souvenir of their visit.