MONADNOCK BERRIES

From the Issue: 
July/August 2011
Its berry picking time again!  Here at the Home Farm  on West Hill we have been busy all spring getting the berries ready for harvest.  Mother Nature has been a hard boss this year and has kept us guessing about the weather and the crop right up until the last minute.  The cold winter, right after the summer drought, has caused stress in all fruiting plants and trees this season.  Times like these it takes an experienced grower like Anthony to make sure we get the best harvest we can.  He pruned with care, along with our son Oliver, to make sure damaged wood was removed.  In some fields extra fertilizer was needed, and the crop is not as bountiful as we would like it to be and yet oh those pesky weeds don’t seem to mind the crazy weather one bit.

The raspberries will be ready first and there is really good news with them, as brambles enjoyed the wet cool spring - the crop is heavy and lush.  We will be picking at the home farm, Monadnock Berries, and the Watkins farm again this year.  I would like to mention the passing of our dear friend “Skins” Watkins with whom we shared the farm these past few years, he will be greatly missed.  The new residents at the Watkins farm are Skins’ granddaughters, Katharine, Lucy, and Lucy’s husband, Anthony, and two children.  We ask PYO customers to watch out for the children playing when arriving at the Watkins Farm.

Red Currants, Gooseberries and Blackcurrants will be ready shortly after the Raspberries and are found only at the home farm for pick your own.  Blueberries will be ready to pick by the second week of July and will be available through September.  Long time residents of Troy already know to look for the signs around the common to know when the fruit is ready for picking and those new to town should just follow the signs up the hill and check us out.  We are open every day 8 ‘til 6 all summer and 9 to 5 into the fall.

The home farm has seen some changes this year.  We have hosted several weddings on the lawn under the pagoda with the beautiful Mountain View as a backdrop.  The simplest was a couple who arrived on a motorbike, got a license that morning, and were married at sunset.  The most elaborate with over 100 guests, live music, and a tent on the lawn.  Please ask us if you are interested in having your wedding here.  Another change is that we now have all our new greenhouses up and growing.  The first house is filled with tomatoes, the second has fall raspberries, the third ever bearing strawberries and the fourth blackberries.  This project has taken three years to complete and we hope that the greenhouses will extend the fruit season well into the fall.

The last but not least is that we now attend 10 farmers markets a week with our produce.  You can find us at Keene Tuesday as well as at Westford MA, Wednesday.  Merrimack, Thursday, Cheshire Medical Center, Rindge, and Chelmsford MA, Friday Groton and Burlington MA, Saturday Keene, Sunday Acton MA.  When you go to market please say Hi to our staff who work hard and enjoy what they do.  If you don’t have time to dash up the hill to the home farm, you can get all our produce as well as other farm grown products at the retail Farm Stand and Garden Center located right on Route 12 in town.  Open Tuesday - Sunday 10 ‘til 6. Call 242 6417 for info and picking conditions.

Remember; be healthy, live longer, eat berries!