Theresa’s Post: Bitter Cold

Theresa Walker is Seacoast Eat Local’s Vice-Chair and raises Romney and Merino sheep for fiber and breed stock at her Durham, NH farm, Great Bay Wool Works

We’re all eating a lot in January – livestock included.  Forecasts of arctic blasts and winter storm watches send many of us out to stock up on food and fuel.  As a shepherd, the needs of my flock during bad winter weather are no different than the needs of me and my family – access to shelter, fresh water and food.  And, like me, my sheep eat a lot more when it’s bitterly cold.

Follow the flock on Instagram @greatbaywoolworks

Our Durham, NH flock ate twice as much hay and grain per day during the cold blast that hit the region the last week of December through the first half of January.  That means my supply of feed, harvested and stored throughout last summer, may not be enough to get me through to late spring, when I can put the flock back out on pasture.  I’ve already started calling my “hay guys” to find out what they have stored.  Alas, not much, given the long, cool spring and dry late summer and fall we had last year.  Prices for hay are going to climb throughout the months ahead.

Some members of the flock, older brood ewes that are not pregnant, can get by with less.  But breeding rams, lambs still growing from last year, and pregnant ewes cannot.  Pregnant ewes, due to give birth in early February, can consume twice as much feed and three times as much water per day during the last month of their five month pregnancy, the most critical period for lamb development in utero.  Ensuring adequate food and fresh, unfrozen water becomes the highest priority.

Even on the coldest day in January, the flock is eager to get out of the barn, stretch their legs, watch the birds, eat the snow, and nibble on Christmas trees dropped off by neighbors.  Concerned folks will call to let me know the sheep are out, and I appreciate their interest in the flock’s welfare.  I let them know that the sheep can choose to go inside if they like, and that keeping the sheep cool on a hot and humid August day is harder than keeping them warm on a bitter January day.  Sheep are built for our New Hampshire winter weather, their wool coats prove it!

– Theresa Walker, Liberty Hall Farm/Great Bay Works, Durham, NH.  Follow the flock on Instagram @greatbaywoolworks

North Country Fruit & Vegetable Seminar and Trade Show

tomatoesWinter is just around the corner and so is the North Country Fruit and Vegetable Seminar and Trade show!

Registration is due in by this Tuesday, October 21.

This year’s event will be held on October 30th at the Mountain View Grand Resort. The daylong event will feature the always popular entomologist Alan Eaton who will focus on updates on North Country squash & sweet corn insect monitoring, and Spotted Wing Drosophila. This will be a great chance to get your insect questions answered.

Sustainable Horticulture Specialist Becky Sideman will be joining us again to share her results from a trial on overwintering onions, and a disease resistant variety trial on tomatoes.onion
New this year, Iago Hale, Assistant Professor of specialty crop improvement will be discussing his findings from hardy kiwi research. These kiwis aren’t what you find in the supermarket, but a favorite of gardening pioneers. We’ll also be facilitating a farmer to farmer exchange on growing crops for seed production.”
Lunch will be prepared by the Mountain View Grand and will feature a seasonal, local fare. Guests are encouraged to attend early and visit the trade show where a variety of agriculture vendors will be on hand.



To register visit:

See more here.

Workshop for farmers: Winter Vegetable Production and Sales

winter growingFor the past three years, Seacoast Eat Local has been partnering with the University of Massachusetts Extension, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, and Communities Involved in Sustaining Agriculture on a SARE grant around one of our favorite topics, winter vegetable production and sales. This upcoming workshop is an opportunity for all of us to share some of the results of this work with farmers as we all work hard to make it possible for everyone to eat locally all year long.

Growing Over to the Dark Side: Building a Successful Enterprise with Winter Vegetable Production and Sales

Thursday, March 6, 2014
9:30 am to 5:00 pm
Publick House, Sturbridge, MA
event flyer (.pdf)

The demand for winter vegetables has grown dramatically in the past five years, and farmers’ skills in growing and storing produce for winter sales has expanded with it. Everyone who builds a winter component into their farming enterprise has to adapt how they grow, wash, package, store, and move vegetables around to deal with conditions of the frozen and dark side of the calendar. Plus, they need to develop new marketing venues. In this program, experienced farmers and marketers will offer their insights, followed by plenty of time in each session for farmer to farmer discussion.

The agenda includes:

  • Systems for winter production and storage
  • Managing Products for Winter Markets 
  • Winter markets and marketing opportunities

Sign up for a free one-on-one “Ask the Expert” session!

Myrna Greenfield, owner of Good Egg Marketing, will be on hand during the day to hold mini “Ask the Expert” sessions to talk about your marketing challenges. Good Egg Marketing specializes in marketing for farms and food businesses.

Contact Lisa McKeag at 413-577-3976 or [email protected] to reserve one of these 15-minute one-on-one sessions to talk about your branding, marketing strategy, website, social media, or displays. Myrna will also be available for informal conversation during lunch. Bring your printed materials, a printout of your website home page, or your Facebook page. There’s limited availability, so sign up today!


Send registration form with payment to Lisa McKeag Ag. Engineering Bldg, 250 Natural Resources Rd., UMass, Amherst 01003 – 9295 or RSVP by February 27 to 413-577-3976 or [email protected] and pay at registration. Cost: $30 per person, $25 per person for 3 or more from same business.

Pre-Registration Deadline – February 27. Walk-ins welcome though space is limited.

More information is available on the Production and Marketing of Winter Vegetables website or by contacting Lisa McKeag, 413-577-3976 or [email protected] or Becky Sideman 603-862- 3203, [email protected]

Directions: Publick House, 277 Main St, Sturbridge, MA 01566. Near Exit 9 off I-84 just south of I-90, MA Turnpike.

This program is funded in part by Northeast SARE.

Winter Greens Field Day, March 26

Winter Greens Field Day: 
Highlighting Research at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station
Woodman Farm, 70 Spinney Lane, Durham, NH
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
3 – 5 pm

If you grow or plan to grow salad greens in fall, winter, or early spring, come and tour our winter salad greens research trials. Chat with us about what we’ve learned so far, and let us know what you’re doing.

See our ongoing trials comparing:
• Planting media & fertility
• Planting dates
• Several varieties and species

Graduate student Claire Collie, Greenhouse Specialist Brian Krug, and Vegetable & Berry Specialist Becky Sideman have teamed up to study how temperature and planting date impact rate of growth of greens crops. We’re growing on benches in minimally heated greenhouses, using organic production practices.

• Are winter salad greens a profitable crop for greenhouse producers that have unused space during fall and winter months?
• Does it make economic sense to provide supplemental heat when growing winter greens?
• Which species are most suitable for bench-top production?

Cost: Free. Registration requested so we know how many to plan for. To register, or if you require special accommodations in order to participate or have any questions, call Suzanne or Pat at 603-862-3200.

Our research is funded by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food Specialty Crop Block Grants Program, and by the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station.

Click here to view flyer >


Winter Gardening at Traip Academy Greenhouse, March 7

Winter Gardening at Traip Academy Greenhouse
With Maury Hepner, Master Gardener
Kittery Adult Education
Traip Academy, 12 Williams Ave, Kittery, ME
Thursday, March 7, 2013
7 – 8 pm
Fee: $8.

Traip Academy’s new greenhouse is a key element in the school’s design for experiential learning and sustainability. Come learn about the surprises, challenges and rewards of growing greens in the middle of winter at the new

Maury Hepner is a Master Gardener who taught high school math and science. In addition to a life-long interest in gardening, he raises bees and worms. Cameron DeFelice is Traip Academy freshman with a strong interest in gardening, sports and horses.

For more information:

Season Extension: Cold Frames & Hoop Houses, August 18

Season Extension: Cold Frames & Hoop Houses
Greater Seacoast Permaculture Group
Barrington, NH
Saturday, August 18, 2012
3 – 5:30pm

Join Dave Homa as we learn how to construct a hinged hoop house and a simple cold frame to get the growing season started or extended!

Workshop details:
We’ll start with an overview of the concepts and terminology. We’ll then talk about potential structures, orientation, plant & seed selection and the planting schedule.

The rest of the class – most of it – will be spent constructing a cold frame and a hoop house. Our goal is that you leave feeling like you can go home and make one (or more) for yourself!

David Homa is a long time member of Portland Maine Permaculture and the Resilience Hub. David resides in Otisfield, Maine and does permaculture design and implementation in Southern Maine. He also is an urban farmer and permaculture educator with the Urban Farm Fermentory. David leads workshops on season extension, sheetmulching, composting, fruit tree pruning, polycultures, and medicinal teas.

This is a 2 1/2 hour hands-on workshop, and we’ll be outside, so dress appropriately.

The cost for this skill-share is $10 – $25 sliding scale, payable at the workshop.

For more information:

Extend Your Growing Season, August 20

Extend Your Growing Season
2011 Garden Workshop Series
Massabesic Audubon Center, 26 Auburn Way, Auburn, NH
Saturday, August 20, 2011
9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

No more cabbages, no more cukes, no more bounty for the cooks! Summer is coming to an end, and winter will be here sooner than we wish! Learn how to stretch your growing season into late fall, and even winter, with a hands-on workshop sponsored by UNH Cooperative Extension and the Massabesic Audubon Center. Enthusiastic Gardeners and Gardening Families Welcome!

Workshops are $15 per family. To register, contact Ron Christie, UNH Cooperative Extension, Rockingham County office, at 603-679-5616 or [email protected] Because of limited space, registration is required.

Final Workshop of this Series—Saturday, Sept. 24: Closing Your Garden, Assessing Your Success, Planning for Next Year

For more information: workshop flyer >