March 27 The Putnam Farm

As many saw in the Saturday edition of the Valley News, we just signed a purchase and sales agreement with the Putnam heirs of Cornish, NH to buy their family farm.

This didn’t come as a  surprise to those who know us. We have been pursuing land acquisition for several years. Of all the land that we currently till, 25% is leased on an annual basis. That made for uncertainty about our future, at least in terms of growing food crops. Additionally, after 36 years of strawberry growing, we were seeing issues related to pathogen build-up in the soils. Nothing a good long term rotation won’t cure. We looked at several land possibilities, both on our own and in concert with the Upper Valley Land Trust.  Some sites were too far away, some sites had marginal soils.  In two cases people told us that although they loved our product and coming to our stand,  they  just didn’t want to have us in their field of vision while we were working.

The total scope of the  purchase of the Putnam Farm and the challenges it presents are much larger than we were originally looking for.  After many weeks of discussion we came to an agreement that although it might be a stretch for us initially, we could be grateful we did so at some time in the near future.  The soils at the Putnam Farm are the best in the northeast, and we have access to the Connecticut River for irrigation. And it doesn’t hurt that you can look up from hoeing lettuce and have the  most panoramic view in the Upper Valley of Mt. Ascutney.

We are a bit overwhelmed at this point, but none the less we are excited about the possibilities the acquisition of the Putnam homestead will bring to the future of the greater family at Edgewater Farm.  It is a big undertaking  both financially and from a management standpoint, and we are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that we are up to the task of handling both.  There have been several folks  in the area who have called to congratulate us.  My response now to them is to save the congratulations for ten years or so. It will be more appropriate then if we can pull this off successfully.

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