Just over the Massachusetts border and minutes from route 95 in Kensington, New Hampshire sits The Farm at Eastman’s Corner. The grand front porch, lined with flowers ushers you into a magical farm store with an amazing selection of locally grown and produced products. New England made specialty foods, local meats, dairy, fruits and vegetables are regularly delivered from over 90 farms and merchants in the area.
Not only can you shop, you can also order a delicious selection of homemade sandwiches, salads and baked good for both breakfast and lunch. How about trying a BLT made on freshly-baked Focaccia with White Cedar bacon and green house lettuce and tomatoes? What about dessert? You can finish it off with a slice of Apple Streusel Pie chock full of local apples and a hint of cinnamon or select another sweet treat.
Not Your Average Farm Store
Upstairs, Angela’s Cafe allows you to enjoy your food at tables or on comfy couches in the center of the room. Or, on a lovely day, you can enjoy fresh air while eating on the big old farm porch.
More than just a farm store, The Farm at Eastman’s Corner offers events, classes, children’s programs and donates 100% of profit and 5% of sales to support Sawyer Park – a local gathering place for residents of the community.
Annual events include the Art and Soul show featuring local New England artists and musicians, The Autumn Harvest Festival, The Autumn Harvest Dinner and a plethora of events during summer season.
Not only is this a great place for you to meet and have fun, The Farm at Eastman’s Corner is committed to sustainability and is working toward a net zero energy goal.
The Interview: Sue Small, General Manager
Can you tell us a little bit about the farm itself? For example, what do you grow?
The Farm has 10 high tunnel greenhouses and one field. We grow various greens including kale, lettuce, and chard year round. Among some of the produce we offer seasonally, we have tomatoes, ginger, peppers, turmeric, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, herbs and more. Our market isn’t just a produce stand however; we sell a variety of locally made products, from raw milk, honey, prepared meals, beer and wine, to cleaning supplies, soap, and lotion. We also offer classes and events. We just had 2,500 people at our Annual Summer Block Party, and we’re beginning to plan our Harvest Fest now.
How do you go about deciding what products to include in your store?
We look for quality items that are produced locally. We might come across something at a Farmer’s Market that we love, or hear about something from a customer that would be a good fit. Our customers have come to expect to find products they can trust that they might not be able to find anywhere else, and so we try to keep that in mind. Local Farmers are happy to have somewhere to sell their products year round.
The Farm has large commercial kitchens. How are they used?
We have two commercial kitchens across the street at the Kensington Food Barn. Karimah of Karimah’s Kitchen uses one of them for the production of all of her Lebanese cuisine. At the moment we use the other to make our own prepared foods, baked goods and for catering. In the future this space could be used for cooking classes.
Tell us about the large, prominent sculpture in the front of your store. It’s quite unique.
Our sculpture of a life-sized draft horse, Black Hawk, has become something of a landmark. South Dakota sculptor John Lopez created Blackhawk by welding scraps of metal that would otherwise be trash. It’s a beautiful piece, you can find something new every time you look at it. It’s fun to watch people discover the hub caps and knives and forks make up different parts of the sculpture.
Someone mentioned that The Farm is part of a larger nonprofit organization. Can you shed some light on The Farm’s relationship with the organization?
The Lewis Family Foundation supports us. Their goal is our goal; to improve and strengthen the community. The Kensington area needed a place where local vendors could sell their products, and a place that consumers could choose to shop locally.
Tell us a bit about your background. What led you to become the manager?
I have always been happiest when surrounded by food, friends and family. The Farm allows me to be around all of those. This job ties all of my previous jobs together; I started as a nanny, and I’ve worked in food service for many years owned my own restaurant, managed a gourmet market, been a Regional Executive Chef for a large food service company and now I’m here. I love getting to introduce people to new things, and to see customers get excited by what is happening here at the Farm.
It’s clear you care about your customers. How do you see your relationship to the community?
We like to give back to the community, so whether people shop here, come to our classes and events, or just come to enjoy the space, visiting the Farm supports our goal. We give people the option to choose local, to know who they are supporting and where their food comes from.
What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?
Making sure we have the right combination of products to keep people excited about coming back and having the right balance of local to conventional products. Our goal is at least 90% local, using some non-local products to fill in the shoulder seasons, especially for produce.
We have items delivered directly from three NH dairies offering milk, cream, yogurt, cheeses, butter and other delicious products. The Farm has a new and growing prepared food selection that includes entrees, side dishes, pastries and breads. We really do listen to the community, and try to make the Farm an easy and convenient place to find fresh, local and wholesome foods. Best of all we have great offerings year round!
As you can see, The Farm at Eastman’s Corner has a great deal to offer and their commitment to local food is impressive. Next time you’re in the area, be sure to stop by.
The Farm at Eastman’s Corner
267 South Road
Kensington, NH 03833
We have some great ideas sprouting up so watch this space for more delicious finds.