Apply to the Stonewall Farm School Today!

Stonewall Farm School 

Many rewards come out of farming. Some would like to change professions. Others do it out of love for the land or a commitment to linking farms and communities.

This is where the Stonewall Farm School can help. The Stonewall Farm School entails a year-long program in our organic dairy or garden, giving interested folks the practical farming skills and business background to explore a career in farming. We emphasize hard work, critical thinking, and  appropriate technology for small farms.

Students will operate our micro-pasteurizer, hydroponic fodder system, Cool-bot refrigeration, and maple sugaring equipment on our year-round farm.

Stonewall Farm School’s year-long program starts in the fall. Tuition includes housing, a food stipend, and the potential to be a paid intern in the summer season. Applications continue to be reviewed on a rolling basis.

To Apply: 

Feel free to download our Stonewall Farm School (SFS) Application Binder. If you prefer a hard copy or have other questions about the Farm School, you can e-mail Joshua Cline at jcline@stonewallfarm.org or call him at 603-357-7278 ext. 107.

2013 Stonewall Farm Hand Mali Jay!

2013 Stonewall Farm Hand Mali Jay!

Maple Sugarin’

 

“In contemplating the present opening prospects in human affairs, I am led to expect that a material part of the general happiness which heaven seems to have prepared for mankind will be derived from the manufacture and general use of Maple Sugar.”

Letter to Thomas Jefferson from Benjamin Rush, August 19, 1791

 Thanks to the discovery of maple sugar by Native Americans, the sweetness and flavor of maple sugar won over European settlers as early as the 1600s.

 “In this month (February, 1756) we began to make sugar … In the sugar tree they (Native Americans) cut a notch, sloping down, and at the end of the notch stuck in a tomahawk; in the place where they stuck (it) they drove a long chip. In order to carry the water out from the tree, and under this they set their vessels to receive it.”

James Smith, An Account of Remarkable Occurences

during Captivity with the Indians. 1755-1759

 It was an important part of on-farm sugar production in 18th century New England. It played a symbolic and economic role in the Civil War, as it was made by farmers in the north as opposed to cane sugar made by slaves in the south.

“The cane sugar is the result of the forced labor of the most wretched slaves, toiling under the cruel lash of a cutting whip. While the maple sugar is made by those who are happy and free.”

William Drown, Compendium of Agriculture, 1824

 Sugaring season, especially when the first batch of sugar was made, became a time when young men and women could meet each other at the sugar house. There would be sugar tasting, socializing, music and dancing.

 “It is pleasant to visit these sugar orchards, drink sap, lap maple molasses and make love. Let the Vermont ladies beware, for in such places they may fall in love … the delicious saccharine qualities of maple molasses, presented to the swelling lips of a beautiful lass by the hand of a smiling swain, has a wonderfully softening effect upon the head.”

Gleason’s Pictorial, 1852

 Eventually, maple sugar was replaced by cane and beet sugar. Maple sugar and syrup morphed into boutique items.

In 2013, 3.2 million gallons of maple syrup were produced – 124,000 of those gallons (about 4%) in New Hampshire. As it takes over 40 gallons of maple sap boiled down to create 1 gallon of syrup, it means moving and boiling 20,000 tons of sap a year, just in New Hampshire. In contrast, the US produced 8.9 million tons of cane and beet sugar in 2013.

In celebration of sugaring time, on Saturday March 22nd, we will be hosting the 15th Annual Horse-Drawn Sap Gathering Contest. The public is invited to watch teams of draft horses compete to gather sap on a timed race course. The sugar house will be open for tours. Children can try the two man saw, lifting the old-fashioned kettle off the fire pit, and see how a small-scale evaporator works. Food and maple sundaes will also be available.  Admission is $5/person, with children ages 6 and under free.

For school children, the farm offers maple sugaring programs during the sap season, generally in March. See our website for details at: www.stonewallfarm.org/Programs/School

To learn more about our programs call us at 603.357.7278 or visit our website at: www.stonewallfarm.org.

15th Annual Horse-Drawn Sap Gathering Contest, March 22nd 2014!

Horse-Drawn Sap Gathering at Stonewall Farm

Photo Courtesy of Jeffrey Newcomer

Mondays at Wild Roots!

Wild Roots is now offering three 8 week  sessions that run on Mondays from 8:30-11:30 (a shortened schedule that  includes snack, but not lunch).  The sessions are as follows: Session I: Sept. 16th – Nov. 4th;  Session II: Jan. 27th – March 24th, and;  Session III: March 31st – May 19th.  The cost is $175/session.  Space is quite limited!

These Mondays will run very similar to what we are doing currently at Wild Roots, but we will not venture as far from  the building (so we can better address potty training/diapering). Those registered for these sessions will depart at 11:30 am, which allows  them time to enjoy lunch and naps at home.   Please e-mail  llowe@stonewallfarm.org or call Liza Lowe (603)-852-2908 for more  information or to enroll.

For more information, feel free to review the Monday Registration Form and Mondays Enrollment Contract documents attached. We look forward to seeing you all here!

Wild Roots Nature School at Stonewall Farm Now Open!

Are you looking for a nature-based program which allows your child to follow the seasons and benefit the most through hands-on experiential education and farm activities during the school year?

The Wild Roots Nature School at Stonewall Farm is now open, welcoming children ages 3-5 and with its child care license now in hand. The schedule will be Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 8:30 am-12:30 pm during the school year.
For more information, feel free to e-mail educator Liza Lowe at llowe@stonewallfarm.org; or call Stonewall Farm at 603-357-7278; or check out the Wild Roots Nature School Guide. You can also access key paperwork for Wild Roots Nature School via our Parent Handbook, Registration Form, Health Assessment Form, and Enrollment Contract links. We look forward to working with you soon!
Wild Roots Nature School

Wild Roots Nature School

Calling All Future Farmers to Stonewall Farm School!

Whether it be out of passion for making a fresh professional move, out of love for the land to manage soils and waters in an environmentally conscious way, or out of commitment to bridging our “foodscapes” with surrounding communities, many rewards come out of farming.

Of course, you also face the inevitable +12-hour work days, constant manure and soil on your clothes, and the long-term process of realizing the fruits of your labors. Yet, as recent U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics have revealed, with the median age of the American farmer being 57 years old, we need young farmers and we need them soon!

This is where we at Stonewall Farm can step in to lead the education of future farmers. We own over 120 acres of land and over 30 Holstein and Brown Swiss cattle in a certified organic dairy. We manage three acres of produce which drives a year-round CSA, as well as a maple stand which produces Grade A and B maple syrup. We have been an active farm landscape for over 250 years in our corner of southwestern New Hampshire. If anyone is in a position to launch a school centered around holistic and practical education on community-based agriculture, then Stonewall Farm School proves to be in the best position possible.

The Stonewall Farm School will be a year-long program in our organic dairy or garden, giving interested folks the practical farming skills and business background to explore a career in farming. We emphasize hard work, critical thinking, and  appropriate technology for small farms. Students will operate our micro-pasteurizer, hydroponic fodder system, Cool-bot refrigeration, and maple sugaring equipment on our year-round farm.

Stonewall Farm School’s year-long program starts in the fall. Tuition includes housing, a food stipend, and the potential to be a paid intern in the summer season. We are accepting registrations on a rolling basis through November 15th.

If you’ve ever given serious thought to a farming lifestyle, or just want to learn skills to make a difference in how your community, family, and friends eat, consider signing up for the Stonewall Farm School. You’ll get dirty, but you’ll also get fulfilled.

For more information on Stonewall Farm School, you can e-mail Joshua Cline at jcline@stonewallfarm.org or call him at 603-357-7278 ext. 107.

Stonewall Farmscape Stonewall Farmscape

2013-2014 Tapline Guide for Stonewall Farm School Programs Has Arrived!

Stonewall Farm strives to be a valuable resource to area schools while also meeting their educational mission of connecting people to the land and the role of local agriculture in their lives.  Our Tapline Guide offers just the school program options your class and your children deserve. The program listing contains information on the New Hampshire State Standards that each program covers.  We are always willing to discuss how we can adapt or adjust our programs to meet the needs of local teachers.  If you have any questions, or desire a custom program based on a topic you don’t see available, please call our program director Hannah Fleischmann at (603)-357-7278.

This year, we will be featuring “Farm Animals,” “Wetland Wildlife,” “Farm to Table,” “Ice Harvesting, “Maple Sugarin’,” and more programs.

To access our Tapline Guide with information on the programs we offer for the 2013-2014 school year, please click here.

We look forward to seeing you and your class here at Stonewall Farm soon!


Open House for the Wild Roots Nature School!

Do you want a creative, experiential school alternative for your toddler in the Keene area this school year?

Wild Roots Nature School will be opening its doors as one such venue right here at Stonewall Farm on Wednesday September 4th!

To introduce the Wild Roots Nature School to the greater community, Wild Roots educator and founder Liza Lowe will be hosting an “Open House & Information Session” for interested parents  and community members on Wednesday August 28th here at Stonewall Farm from 5:00-7:00 pm.

For more information on this event, feel free to browse the Wild Roots Open House & Information Session flyer and we look forward to helping educate your children here at Stonewall Farm!

 

Wild Roots Nature School

Wild Roots Nature School

Bike for Bovines Race & Expanding Community Partnerships at the Farm

This past Sunday (July 14th), we at Stonewall Farm hosted what feels like an ever-growing annual tradition with the Bike for Bovines Race & Ice Cream Day. With over 100 racers participating and dozens more of spectators, supporters, and other curious community members, we’re realizing how much stronger we are with diversifying our offerings. Not only in food with our ice cream and yogurt being made at times on a weekly basis, but also in people coming to us for original recreational experiences.

Where else can you bike miles across rolling cobbles and marshlands, and then grab a farm-made serving (or two) of maple ice cream?!

However, another lesson we continue to learn and to put into daily practice would be the crucial role of community partnerships. Largely thanks to collaborating with Root 66 Race Series were we able to make the Bike for Bovines Race as much of a mutualistic, excitingly driven event. Then, there is the New England Mountain Bike Association which helped chart and craft our 2013 Trail Map and Brochure which encompasses all of our landmarks and trails, but also informs visitors on the dynamism of our farm as a wedding venue, as a sustainable source for local, heirloom vegetables, and much more. Furthermore, we could not carry out the work performed on our Volunteer Days at the Farm or the local vendors which highlight our foodstuffs and in turn attract more visitors(!) They include but are certainly not limited to Liberty Mutual, Keene State College-Upward Bound, Monadnock Food Co-op, Walpole Mountain View Winery, and many more.

If you have experienced the taste of our ice cream or yogurt after a long summer day; or if your child cannot stop telling stories about their summer camp week here at Stonewall; or if you attended a wedding ceremony and/or reception on our grounds during a crisp fall evening; or if you have snowshoed or even taken a sleigh ride across our wintry landscapes; or sampled late spring strawberries from our CSA, then you know the value of Stonewall Farm to Keene and to local food in general.

As a nonprofit, we are constantly seeking financial support to maintain (if not grow) on our active teaching farm model and experiences we offer. Some of the most meaningful support we can receive comes from our annual memberships, wherein you can become a “Steward” at different membership rates and know that you’re helping make Stonewall Farm, Stonewall Strong. While there are more than a few incentives and related discounts for our foodstuffs, our maple syrup, and more, we are grateful just to know that you care enough about Stonewall and enter into your own partnership with us. For more information, you can visit our Support Stonewall Farm page.

Help us to keep on course and thank you!

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Photo Courtesy of Our Events Intern, Katie Copeland, July 14th, 2013

You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream That Supports Farm Education!

“If you feel stressed, give yourself a break. Eat some ice cream and other sweets…Why? Because ‘stressed’  spelled backwards is ‘desserts.'”

-Anonymous

When asked on our Facebook page two weeks ago about favorite things about the summer people liked most,we had more than a few replies return answering, “Ice Cream!”

 Granted, we have only been making ice cream for the last year, and perhaps people felt like shouting out favorite memories of their past summers. Yet, for some serious reflection and to pay sincere homage to something that truly makes “summer” summer, we should talk about the delicacy that is ice cream. It also might help to put in context the sheer demand of ice cream in our imagination and on our taste buds.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, over 1.53 billion gallons of ice cream were produced nationally in 2011 and in turn generating over $10 billion in sales the year before, according to analytics group, MarketLine. Interestingly, the three most in-demand flavors of ice cream in 2012 were vanilla, mint chocolate chip,  and cookies and cream, according to the International Dairy Foods Association. Historically, there are multiple takes on how what we now know as ice cream came to be. While ancient Greek and Roman texts suggest a blending of snow and ice flavored with honey and myriad fruit juices favored by royal elite families, what we now know as a cold, cream-based dessert (i.e. ice cream) likely originated in Italy and England simultaneously by the 16th century. Contemporary texts mention a “cream ice” served at the table of King Charles I of England in the 17th century, as well as a Sicilian Italian recipe made at a Parisian cafe that involved blending butter, milk, eggs, and cream. It wouldn’t be until 1744 when we have historical proof of ice cream served in what is now the United States in Maryland. Even first President George Washington made time and money for spending over $200 in ice cream purchases (i.e. Thousands of dollars modern equivalent) during the summer of 1790 and owning “two pewter ice cream pots” for special occasions. Until the 19th century, ice cream like many other sweets were downright luxuries, due to the sheer price per volume of cane sugar and intense energy costs to keep ice cream cool. However, when insulated ice houses were devised and spread in construction, ice cream morphed from royal richness to popular eats with the additional innovations of mechanical refrigeration, homogenizing, and related technologies throughout the 1800’s and into the early 20th century. Only then could the still-strong impression of ice cream sodas and soda fountains proliferate on many American Main Streets by the 1920’s-1930’s. Even as early as 1946 after World War II finished and many service members returned Stateside, the level of ice cream consumption surged 20 quarts per person on average(!)

So, you still might be wondering, “How does Stonewall Farm craft their ice cream?” Well, as any well-researched ice cream manual or textbook, including the one we use here most frequently Robert T. Marshall’s and crew’s Ice Cream (6th Edition), there is a mind-boggling balance of chemistry, physics, and tech savvy which shapes the whole “make to scale” process. To be cost-effective we utilize ice cream mix from Massachusetts-based HP Hood. Their mix contains cream, milk, emulsifiers (ingredients which disperse milkfat in ice cream,) stabilizers (ingredients which prevent the texture of getting too crystalline, chunky, or icy), and sugar. The mixes we receive come homogenized and pasteurized. Homogenizing ensures that milkfat is pulsed and shaken with enough force to reduce the particle sizes of milkfat in the cream. Meanwhile, pasteurizing ensures that harmful bacteria strains and other contagions are treated out of the cream and milk we use.

Also, for those who are more nutritionally minded, our HP Hood mix we use contains 14 percent fat. Federal minimum standards for ice cream production lie at 10 percent fat, which often is employed for “light” and “soft-serve” ice cream. On the other end of the spectrum, super premium ice cream (such as Walpole Creamery) contains 16 percent fat. Never that ice cream was intended to be the most nutritious dairy product, but it arguably ranks as the tastiest and here at Stonewall, we like to think ice cream plays a crucial role in the summer dairy trifecta of aged cheddar cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.

Speaking of the role of ice cream, Stonewall Farm is hosting its Annual Bike for Bovines Bike Race & Ice Cream Day this Sunday July 14th, from 9 am-3 pm! Whether you choose to take part in the two race courses or cheer and watch on, we can guarantee a generous supply of ice cream flavors with our chocolate, maple, vanilla, and newly-renamed version of our vanilla chocolate chip flavors. The new name for the former vanilla chocolate chip will be announced on Sunday as well, so you don’t want to miss which name we picked from the many creative names submitted at our past June Ice Cream Social!

Also, just for the sake of curiosity and trivia, we thought you might like to know that we as Americans consume on average 48 pints of ice cream per person per year, the most of any country!

Much thanks to the International Dairy Foods Association, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the New Hampshire Agricultural Market Bulletin, New Hampshire (NH) Agriculture in the Classroom, and especially our Farm Staff here at Stonewall for revealing the art and science behind ice cream goodness.

We look forward to seeing your summer ice cream photos on Facebook and hopefully see you at the Farm on Sunday for our Bike for Bovines Race & Ice Cream Day!

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Stonewall Farm Ice Cream Profiles, Photo Courtesy of Matthew Young