Moulton Farm Grows, Bakes
By Tom Long / Fiddlehead Contributing Editor
Lakes Region locavores have it made at Moulton Farm in Meredith.
Wooden shelves and baskets overflow with fresh produce, baked goods, jams and jellies, all grown, baked and preserved on the premises.
On a recent afternoon, a constant stream of cars arrived and departed at the 126-year-old farm off the Whittier Highway (Route 25). Shoppers studied tomatoes, corn and other produce in the sunlight, weighed summer squash in their hands, sniffed clutches of basil, pinched bread and perused shelves filled with jars of mint jelly, salsa and pickles made in the farm kitchen. There were racks of shelves filled with pies, breads, rolls, cookies, muffins and granola made there, too.
“We have three kinds of customers,” said farm owner John Moulton. “Some come for two weeks out of the year when they are on vacation, some are seasonal and others come all the time.”
A soft-spoken man in a John Deere ball cap, shorts and maroon golf shirt, Moulton oversees a staff of 45 employees in the fields, farm stand and kitchen.
“My great grandfather started the farm in 1891. It was originally a dairy farm,” said Moulton. “But my father began growing produce to put my brother and me through college. I started out by selling pumpkins from the back of a truck parked on the side of the road.”
After graduating from the University of New Hampshire, Moulton taught at Pinkerton Academy in Derry for 17 years, traveling back and forth every day from Meredith.
“I loved it,” he said. “I even loved the (one-hour-and-15-minute) commute.” But he eventually decided to return to farming.
Outside, the smell of freshly cooked baked goods fills the air around the Cider Bellies Doughnuts stand, where racks of the baked goods await the hungry. A pile of pizza boxes sits under a canopy where a handful of young men and women are having lunch.
Across the street, a 19th-century farmhouse on the edge of a flower-filled field looks like a three-dimensional pastoral painting. There’s also a white pavilion where Moulton’s farm-to-table dinners are held. The Ossipee hills in the distance provide an exotic backdrop.
Also in the compound is a handful of greenhouses and a multi-acre corn maze with 10- and 12-feet tall stalks that will open this month. And, of course, there is a CSA.
The farm kitchen also makes meals-to-go, such as stuffed shrimp, quinoa and edamame salad with grilled shrimp, meat pies and a variety of quiches.
If the workers at the 130-year-old farm do not grow it, bake it or bottle it, they know where to find it and bring it to their shelves. There is a selection of dairy products from New Hampshire farms, Deano’s Pasta and frozen buffalo steaks from Yankee Farmer in Warner. There is a tank filled with pick-‘em-yourself live lobsters at Sal’s Seafood display where also swordfish, oysters and haddock lay on beds of ice.
“Seafood direct from the Boston Fish pier” says the sign.
A handful of shoppers stood in front of the display angling for a nice piece of fish. Everyone seemed to know the fishmongers’ names.
“I’ve been here for 10 years,” said Janice Bramante, a perpetually smiling presence behind the counter, who, on this day, treated all Moulton employees to pizza for lunch.
Not unusual according to Moulton.
“We’re very much a team. We’re very much a family.”
Great Pumpkin Drop Weekend will be held at the farm on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22 and 23, this year. The event is a farm tradition at which a tarp containing about a half-ton of pumpkins will be hoisted by a crane and dropped onto a field.
Festivities begin on Saturday with a performance by Tricky Dick the magician, Halloween stories read by Miss Karen from the Meredith Public Library and music by the father-son duo of Ben and Steve Kelley. On Sunday, Steve Roberts, a science teacher at Inter-Lakes Middle School will explode pumpkins. There also will be music by Janet and Phil Sanguedolce of the Sweetbloods and, of course, the pumpkin drop at 4 p.m.
On both days, there will be free tractor rides to the farm’s pumpkin patch, the corn maze will be open and there will be a number of other activities.