Simple and Complex
At Sanborn Mills Farm, our approach to farming is both simple and complex. It’s simple in that we use draft animals and, as much as possible, non-fossil-fuel powered equipment to farm our hay, grains, vegetables, forest, and gardens. We practice regenerative farming methods such as using manure from our draft animals to fertilize our fields, seed saving, and crop rotation. It is complex in that we believe our farming should be a productive, non-invasive element of our local environment and ecology as well as contribute to the local economy and promote and help invigorate our local community. Sanborn Mills Farm is a working farm that produces hay, corn for milling, flax for linen-making, willows for basketry, and timber for sawmilling, as well as an assortment of vegetables, melons, and fruits. These crops are farmed with the assistance of draft animals. The Farm also raises hogs and chickens for pork and poultry meat.
We farm 20 acres of hay, harvesting twice a year, once in the late spring and once in the late summer. Our hay is baled and stored in the Grano Barn, and most of it is fed to our draft oxen and horses, though we do some hay by request.
We farm corn for milling into livestock feed and corn flour. A small amount is milled for a specialty corn whiskey distilled by Cold Garden Spirits in Canterbury, N.H. Our unmilled corn is also used for livestock feed.
Other Grains, Flax, and Willows
We grow 2 acres of flax and then process it using traditional methods into fibers for our linen-weaving classes. Our patch of willows is farmed and harvested for materials for our willow basket-making courses.
Vegetables, Melons, and Fruits
We raise vegetables in hoop houses as well as on open ground. Sanborn Mills Farm is dotted with older fruit trees, including heritage apples. We harvest our vegetables, melons, and fruits for our community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
Our hogs and chickens are raised in the open air and fed corn and other feeds that we grow ourselves. As we increase production and expand into beef, we will offer our meats, including processed meats such as bacon and sausage made from our pork, for sale through our community supported agriculture (CSA) program.
Sanborn Mills carries out selective logging in the extensive woods. Logs are sawn out to custom timbers and surrounding the farm using draft animal power. Logs are sewn out to custom timbers and boards using our historic water-powered sawmill. Currently, most of the wood harvested and sawn at the farm is being used in the renovation of the Sanborn Barn and other building projects that will support future educational programs. Pricing of custom sawn timbers is available upon request. Slabs from sawing out logs (roughly 3 feet in length) are free for the taking, with the exception of oak. A contribution toward the upkeep and maintenance of our farm is appreciated. Contact Farm Manager Ray Ramsey for details on pricing and availability of wood products.
“These farmers produce valuable goods, of course; but they also conserve soil, they conserve water, they conserve wildlife, they conserve open space, they conserve scenery.” -Wendell Berry