New Hampshire Home July-August 2023 - 59

GARDEN Rx
started with canola as an oilseed crop,
but the deer ate most of it, so they turned
to sunflowers, which have been a big success.
They also grow asparagus, squash,
and specialty pumpkins, and make
lots of hay. They have an egg CSA, and
attend farmers markets in Portsmouth,
Exeter, and Salem. Three days a week in
the summer they host Community Roots
Farm Camp, where kids can connect with
nature while learning about animals and
gardening.
In 2016, their sunflower oil won a presYou
can't help but smile when standing amid the blooming sunflowers! Over the years the Irelan family-
Pete, Becky, daughter Ruby, and Becky's mother, Leanne-have been great farm friends, employees, and
volunteers at Coppal House Farm.
tigious Good Food Award. John travelled
to San Francisco to receive the prize and
give the oilseed category's acceptance
speech. However, he was remembered by
most of the attendees as the horse guy.
While you are at the farm, be sure to visit
the impressive draft horses: Twiggy, Ice,
Wyatt, and Charlie.
Enjoy strolling through the acres of tall
blossoming sunflowers and check out
the one-acre display garden featuring
many types of ornamental sunflowers you
might want to grow in your own garden.
The family-friendly festival also includes
an artisan crafts fair, food vendors, musicians,
and mini-events such as storytime
and kids' crafts, photos with the horses,
touch a tractor, and vintage car and truck
day. Cut sunflowers and oil are available
to purchase at the farmstand.
Make plans to return later in the season
for their popular corn maze. " This is
when we tell people to go get lost! " John
says with a laugh.
Many local food vendors and artisans are part of Coppal House Farm's festival.
their own lamb, pork, and free-range
eggs at the farmstand. Nothing goes to
waste here. The high-protein sunflower
meal left over after the oil has been
extracted is fed to the animals, and the
stalks are tilled back into the soil. They
grow 20 acres of corn along with grains
such as wheat, oats, and barley that are
fed to the sheep. They also have a landshare
agreement with nearby Flag Hill
Distillery and Winery to grow some of the
56 New Hampshire Home | July / August 2023
rye and corn crops for their whiskey. John
finds that crop rotation is important to
the farm's sustainability. " The more we
rotate, the fewer inputs we need to add, "
he explains. They own 78 acres and farm
about 300 rented acres as well.
" Farming is a way of life, but it is also
a business, " says John. " Land won't stay
open if farmers can't make a living. " To
keep their farm viable, they have tried a
lot of different crops over the years. They
Sunflowers Come to Concord
Greg Pollock and Amber Brouillette of
Sunfox Farm have been growing sunflowers
and holding their festival on 10 acres
of rented land in Canterbury for the past
four years, but now have moved to Concord.
They have a long-term lease on 57
acres of river bottom land behind the post
office on Loudon Road where they will
be growing 20 acres of sunflowers. This
will double their production of oil. Even
though the flowers face east when they
blossom, you should be able to see the
plants as you go whizzing by on Rte. 93,
PHOTOS BY PERFECT PHOTOS

New Hampshire Home July-August 2023

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