From farm to grill
Where to find locally raised meat
By Linda A. Thompson-Odum firstname.lastname@example.org
Looking for meat to put on the grill? Why not try some of the locally raised variety?
There are many New Hampshire farmers who produce beef, pork, chicken, lamb and even elk. And most of these farmers take care to ensure that their livestock are well cared for and humanely treated. Here are three examples to consider, all of which sell their meat directly from the farm.
On the drive up the hill to Miles Smith Farm in Loudon, visitors will spot large, shaggy cows in the fields. They are the Scottish Highlander cattle that Carole Soule and Bruce Dawson specifically chose to raise on their 32 acres.
“Highlanders are well suited to New Hampshire’s climate,” Soule said. These cattle thrive outdoors in all types of weather. “If you put up a barn, they wouldn’t go in.”
The couple actually started with sheep, but some disappeared at night thanks to the local coyotes. So they switched to the Highlanders. “They are bred hearty and will fight off predators,” Soule said.
Miles Smith Farm (named after the original 1850s-era owner who is buried on the property) also sells Angus beef that is raised by another farmer since Soule and Dawson do not have the room for them. All of the beef is free of growth hormones and antibiotics. They are primarily grass-fed, with brewer’s yeast silage added to their diet. Soule also sees to it that when their time comes they are humanely processed.
“It is important to have New Hampshire-grown beef available to help keep the state’s farms going,” Soule said. “I really didn’t eat beef until I started eating what I raised myself. It is so much better-tasting than what you find in the supermarket. So good that I wanted to share it.”
Miles Smith Farm, 56 Whitehouse Road, Loudon, 783-5159, www.milessmithfarm.com, has a farm store that is open Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 4:30 to 9 p.m.; and Wednesday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Their meat can also be found at A Market in Manchester, the Concord Co-op, and Longhaul Farm in Holderness (starting in June).
Jennifer Lamper and Raymond Simard of Twist of Fate Farm in Dunbarton never planned to sell their home-grown meats to the public. But fate intervened.
“It started with some chickens that we raised for eggs, and turkeys,” Lamper said. “Friends would come over and ask if they could buy one from us. The next year we added pigs and cows. Friends would offer to buy one if we would raise it for them. It all happened by accident. We did it for us, but everyone wanted some, too.”
The couple have farmed for eight years. They now also offer lamb and rabbit. All their animals are raised on non-medicated grains and hormone-free.
“We raise them humanely. They all have names … well, maybe except the hogs. We have about 40 of them,” she said.
The owners of Twist of Fate Farm Market, 1220 Black Brook Road in Dunbarton, 774-5150, www.twistoffatefarm.com, not only sells their own meat, but also other New Hampshire products, such as ice cream, maple syrup, goat cheese, coffee, soda and dog treats. The market is open Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The just- opened Heavenly Fodder on Elm Street in Manchester uses the farm’s meats in some dishes, and sells it to the public.
To shake things up at a cookout, pay a visit to Yankee Farmer’s Market in Warner.
“When you come up you will see a bunch of buffalo,” said owner Brian Farmer (yes, that’s his name). The farm store also carries locally grown venison and elk, plus ostrich from Massachusetts. “I haven’t found any local farmer brave enough to raise ostrich on a large scale,” Farmer said.
Farmer always wanted to do some type of farming. He came from a family of landowners, but they were all tradespeople — machinists, truck drivers and carpenters. A friend rasied buffalo and wanted to get out of the business, so Farmer decided to give it a try. He worked as an engineer while he and his wife, Keira, built the farm business.
At any time, the farm has a buffalo herd of between 50 and 100. The buffalo graze in the pasture and enjoy the occasional treat, such as apples and pumpkins in the fall. “They love pumpkins. It is funny to watch them. They knock them around a bit and then finally push them into the ground and eat the slimy seeds out of the middle. Then they eat the crunchy outside,” Farmer said.
Buffalo meat tastes simular to beef, but it is much healthier — low in fat (even lower than white-meat chicken) and high in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which help to lower cholesterol. Farmer said he doesn’t taste much of a difference when he goes from beef to buffalo, but when he goes back to beef he can taste the fat.
The Yankee Farmer’s Market sells many cuts of buffalo, as well as hot dogs, sausage, summer sausage and jerky. Located at 360 Route 103 East in Warner, 456-2833, www.yankeefarmersmarket.com, the farm store is open Monday, Tuesday, Thrusday, and Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Satuday and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Farmer will ship orders from the Web site, and customers can find the products at stores such as A Market in Manchester and the Concord Co-op. The products are also served at the Red Arrow Diner in Manchester.
To find other livestock farms throughout the state, go to www.nh.gov/agric, and click on the link for the New Hampshire Livestock Directory.