The birds are chirping, the beach is calling and the sun is out, which means that summer is finally here. To help celebrate this season of extended daylight, rising temperatures, and delicious local produce, meat and flowers, we’re continuing a series of “Meet Your Local Farm” profiles to introduce you to some of the farms around New Hampshire and the men and women behind them.
For our latest profile, meet Nicole Vernon, one of the owners of Vernon Family Farm in Newfields, where you’ll find a wide variety of non-GMO, pastured chicken and a variety of other grass-fed and pasteurized meats, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, sauces and spices. Read on to learn all about the farm, farm store and their family history.
Tell us about the history of your farm.
Nicole: “Vernon Family Farm celebrates seven years in business in Newfields this summer. Located on 33 conserved acres along the Piscassic River and Rte. 87, our family and our crew love being able to provide an easier way to eat local year-round while also inviting our customers to experience life on the farm. We are a 1st generation farm with a lot of passion and love for what we do.”
What makes your farm special or different?
Nicole: “We are a pastured livestock farm with a specialized focus on pastured poultry. We raise 20,000 pastured non-GMO chickens during our season from April to November. We also have a farm store on our property that is open daily, year-round. We want to make local food as convenient and accessible as possible. Our store is stocked with a variety of goods from more than 30 other local farms and small businesses. Our store carries a wide variety of grass-fed and pasture raised meats, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, dry goods and more. Another piece of our farm/our business that makes us special or different is our focus on community and connection to land/food. We host live music events that feature our chicken and other local food. We enjoy sharing our farm with our community.”
What’s the story behind the name of your farm?
Nicole: “We are the Vernons, and our whole family and crew make up an integral and important part of this farm. Our parents and extended family, although not physically working the farm, still make up an important part of our farm’s identity. Our children participate in farm activities with us as well.”
What are you best known for?
Nicole: “Chicken! Fried Chicken! Rotisserie Chicken! Chicken is the name of our game, we raise chickens on pasture and they are tasty!”
Tell us about the most memorable day you’ve had working on the farm.
Nicole: “There are so many memorable days at the farm with family and crew. There isn’t just one experience that pops out as the most memorable, but we’ve had some pretty wonderful experiences together like lambing, chick day, sold out events, Fried Chicken drive thru’s and more. Some specific highlights that are exciting and worth mentioning are when Dave Matthews and his band ate our chicken after they toured and played in Manchester and feasted on VFF chicken and other local goods from our store. We were also on the show Moveable Feast with host Alex Thompoulos and guest chef Dave Vargas.”
Tell us about what you have been up to this season. Do you have any new milestones, products, events, or anything exciting planned?
Nicole: “We aren’t short on ideas! We are constantly thinking about what we can do to get more folks to the farm to experience what real chicken and local food is like. Supporting Vernon Family Farm means supporting many other local businesses as well. We collaborate with lots of other businesses to help mutually spread the word about one another. We’ve partnered with photographers for Wildflower Meadow portrait photography, the Daily Haul for pre-ordered Seafood Saturday pickups, a local bike company for farm gravel rides, off farm events with BBQ chicken/fried chicken and more.”
What keeps you passionate about doing what you do?
Nicole: “Our community and our supporters keep us passionate about doing what we do. Our children keep us passionate about doing what we do. Farming is difficult but incredibly rewarding. We are very thankful and grateful for a community that supports us by visiting us at the farmers markets and at the farm store, buying local food, attending our events, etc.”
What can people expect to find at your farmstand or farm store this year?
Nicole: “You can find a complete list of grocery items you’d need or want to shop for the week at our farm store. We are especially excited about our Vernon Kitchen Value added products like chicken pot pie, rotisserie chicken, chicken soup, variety of bone broths and more. We are also excited to have chicken tenders on our menu of pastured, non-GMO chicken cuts — a new product this 2021 season!”
Will people be able to find you at any farmers markets this year? If so, which one/ones?
Nicole: “Yes! We are at the Portsmouth and Canterbury farmers markets.”
How can people best support you right now?
Nicole: “There are several ways to support Vernon Family Farm. We encourage our customers to shop with us at the farm store and visit the farmers markets we are currently attending (Portsmouth and Canterbury). Our flexible debit style CSA (community supported agriculture) program, aka a farm share, is another fantastic way to support our farm and our business. Virtually, people can support us by following us on social media (Facebook and Instagram) and resharing our content. We are tremendously grateful for word of mouth, so many of our customers refer new customers to the farm and it’s an authentic example of how teamwork makes the dream work and how it truly takes a community to make amazing things happen.”