By Sarah Ward, co-owner of Oasis Springs Farm
Sarah, who’s passion is in cooking and eating really good local food was looking for a hobby to keep Chris busy during those long, dark winter days of New Hampshire. Because of his engineering and technology background she suggested hydroponic planting and the seed of a farm was planted. After testing out some home grown crops and researching starting a business, the idea grew and produced what Oasis Springs Farms is today: a family run, local farm in Nashua whose mission is to provide fresh, healthy and local produce year round to our community.
This past year we expanded our growing space from one shipping container to two. This allows us to grow to a level to provide multiple restaurants and our weekly share members. Now we are working towards farm three!
One challenge we face is that there is never enough time! Even with a lot of automation working for us we still need human hours to seed, transplant, harvest, package and delivery what we grow. Then after farm work comes the paperwork. And we are open 24/7 all year round, so we have to plan out vacations and make sure we take time away. It’s a Labor of Love, but I Love the Labor!
Another challenge is distribution of produce. Growing it is one thing but then you have to figure out the best ways to sell it and how to get it there. There are pros and cons to all the ways to sell (CSA, Retail, Restaurants, etc). I think it is really important for farms to work together and I am so thankful for the chefs, restaurant owners and people in our community that understand and value the importance of what we do.
I like that NH Eat Local Month brings awareness to people about all the options there are to get local grown food. And I love that those options seem to expand every year! We live in a convenience based society, but if we take a little extra effort to support local farms and restaurants with our time and spending dollars we are rewarded with amazing food and a better community.
This blog post has been lightly edited by NH Eat Local Month for clarity and conciseness. Submit your own story here!