I’m guessing that this will come as no surprise to many, but this will be my last season at Potter Hill Farm.
My long-time friend, Dave Viola, and I are leasing a new farm in Northwood, NH. Dave is the guy responsible for the sausages that we’ve been selling. We’re calling the new place Short Creek Farm, and our mission is to raise pastured pork, grassfed beef, and heirloom vegetables in order to create delicious, distinctive foods that reflect season and are instilled with a sense of place. We’ll use the best quality home-grown ingredients to make the best meat and vegetable products, all with an eye towards ecology, community, and culture.
It’s hard for me to think of leaving Potter Hill, but Short Creek is an incredible opportunity. The farm itself is much larger – about 200 acres – and it is in a great location between Concord and Portsmouth. The land is protected by a Conservation Easement and abuts another 2000 acres of conserved land. In fact, the farm itself is part of the Northwood Area Land Management Collaborative (NALMC), a group of property owners and stakeholders who work together “to connect with each other and to the land through an appreciation of the natural world.” At Short Creek, we’ll work to make sure that Good Farming fits right in, and that people can appreciate agriculture as a part of the broader ecological community, where human culture and and nature come together most intimately.
Though all of our animals are still currently grazing at Potter Hill, the transition to Short Creek Farm is actually starting right away. Our Grassfed Beef CSA and Pastured Pork CSA will be sold under the Short Creek name this year. You’ll also see some new labels on our sausages as soon as we sell our current inventory.
The good news (well, more good news, I suppose) is that Potter Hill Farm will continue to exist even after I move to NH at the end of the year. Many of you have already met Paul Grady at pickups or at the Grafton Farmers Market. At the end of the season, Paul will be taking the reins at Potter Hill, and then it will officially be Farmer Paul for 2016. Things may not look exactly the same, but I am truly looking forward to what Paul has planned for the farm. (HINT: cluck cluck!) Dave and I also look forward to working with Paul to make Short Creek Farm products available in Grafton.
When I landed here in Grafton almost 5 years ago, it was a bit shocking. I had most recently been living in a 12’x12′ cabin on a farm in a little hill town in the Pioneer Valley. All of a sudden I was trying to navigate the world’s most insane traffic pattern around the Common. I wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to settle in. But I did. It will be hard to leave the farm itself, as I’ve come to know each field and each season by their distinct character. But it will be hardest to leave the people here. The neighbors who welcomed me warmly, and all of my loyal customers – some of whom have been with me since the very first bunch of radishes. Friends who welcomed me with generosity into their home and their lives. Who helped me out of tight spots time after time, who listened to my rants, and who took the time to teach. Thank you all for your friendship, and for your patronage, and for gracing your table with Potter Hill produce for the last several years.
But this is not good-bye, not yet. I’ll be here for the rest of the season, and it’s shaping up to be a great one. If only the weather would cooperate grumble grumble (now it’s a proper PHF newsletter).
See you soon.
P.S. Here’s today’s gratuitous pig video…