Lunch with Swift

Roaming southern New Hampshire's Monadnock Region and beyond — visiting unique places and tasting the local flavor..

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Hillside Springs Farm, Westmoreland, NH

I haven’t posted a Lunch with Swift episode for a while.  Why?  Lately, I have been doing a pretty good job of breaking the habit of going to convenience stores.  Earlier in the summer, Beth and I focused our attention on paring down, and following a challenge called the “Whole 30.”  It provided a good platform to reset the way we think about what we eat.  In doing so, we have gotten way better about using leftovers and not getting so much quick food.

But it’s time to lay down another track.

Consistant with this theme,  I am doing some work for a Community Supported Agriculture (csa) over in Westmoreland called Hillsidesprings Farm.   This one is unique because the farmers are committed to using horses to do the labor instead of tractors.    They go so far as to use horse drawn sickle hay mowers and a hay loader to pick up the loose hay.  It didn’t occur to me until I was standing in the barn doors looking at the hay loft piled high with the beautiful loose hay brimming to the roof what this really meant.  The horse power is what it’s all about and hay is the fuel.  The ultimate in carbon neutrality.

Frank said there were only a few people left in NH who do hay this way and I bet Hillside Farm is the only CSA that is making a go of it using only horsepower cut hay from their own property to power horses that do the work on the farm.  

This is a beautiful thing both philosophically and visually.  The hay  barn is draped with several varieties of grapes ripening.  Apples are getting fat. 
As we passed by the tomato house, the inside was red with the tint of ripe tomatoes.   Frank handed me one and said “that’s a Paul Robson.”  Then he went on to tell me about the famous opera singer who, because of discrimination moved to Russia.   He spoke 7 languages and was a renown horticulturist as well.   As we walked on,  I ate the tomato.    It felt like a gift.   And he was the custodian of a lineage that  produced the stunning tomato whose juice was running down my front.