A group of Nobles students and faculty kicked off the summer with the New Hampshire Farm/Food Systems Trip, examining how small food systems function. The purpose of this trip is to connect young people with food production and distribution, to teach them about sustainable farming and agriculture and give them a glimpse into a food system that is not “either/or” (organic or not) but rather, “both/and.” The following reflection is from two students, Chase (rising Class III/sophomore) and Kylee (rising Class II/junior), while they were in N.H.
Today was our first day doing hard farm work at Stonewall Farm. We spent the whole morning weeding the cabbage patch. It proved to be an arduous task as the whole ground was covered in rye grass. With much dirt all over ourselves we washed up and joined Luca Paris for a taping of his cooking show. We arrived in time to see Luca finish his segment making gazpacho with a local beekeeper. They made a cantaloupe-based gazpacho using local ingredients including yogurt from Stonewall farm and the local beekeeper’s honey. After they finished taping we got to eat the delicious, spicy canteloupe gazpacho. Much to our surprise all of the ingredients went very well together. After filling ourselves with gazpacho we proceeded to film our episode of Luca’s show. Chase and Ally were the special guests while the rest of the group was the live audience. Luca enjoyed making fun of Chase’s Elmo shirt. They made chicken saltimbocca, a statler chicken breast in a delicious mushroom, prosciutto, shallots, marsala wine, sage, and “a little bit” of butter.
Accompanying this were lemon and rosemary pan roasted potato slices, a healthier play on potato chips, and a parsnip and carrot “pasta” which was delicious thinly sliced parsnips and carrots with lemon juice and olive oil. After the show was over we devoured the two servings of food. As one student put it ,“It was the Hunger Games on a plate.” After devouring the food we went for a sweet treat and learned how Walpole Creamery makes their all natural ice cream. We got to sample the Mocha Chip ice cream, which they were making while we were there. Then, we took a trip up to Alyson’s Orchards. Homer, the orchard manager, gave us a tour of the 45 acre orchards, which include peach and apple trees, and also a variety of other fruits and vegetables. We were informed that not long ago, in May, there was a hailstorm that destroyed many of the apple trees. Some of the hail was so large and strong that it actually put holes through the tough, young apples. Because of the destruction of the storm, Homer said that the he and his team were going to have to find another way to make it through the picking season, with so many customers coming through during the fall to pick apples. Homer gave us a tour of the acreage, which, in most areas, overlooks Vermont across the Connecticut River. We even got to see his nearly 200 -year old oak tree that is slowly decaying due to the lightning that struck last year. With the addition of the oak tree, Homer also showed us his elm tree that is currently the oldest in Cheshire County.
He explained to us that, in his orchards, 150 different kinds of apples are grown, and there are nearly 7,000 different kinds of apples throughout the world. Alyson’s Orchards, surprisingly is not only famous for apple picking, but also for the events, especially weddings, that they host. There are multiple spots throughout the land that overlook beautiful scenery, in which the ceremonies are held and pictures can be taken for the bride and groom. There is also lodging at the Orchards, including a tiny cabin, overlooking a private, little pond. As a group, we were all so fascinated by the care that Homer put into his orchard; one even added that, “it is as if the trees are his children.”
Ally and Alasdair whipped up a great dinner for us all: chicken, mushroom casserole, creamy mashed potatoes and a field green salad!
The gluten-free brownies were a great end to a great day!