Part of what makes the spring and summer season so amazing in New England, is the opportunity to enjoy freshly picked, straight off the farm produce. After a long winter, a bushel of fresh strawberries or farm-fresh tomatoes are well deserved.
Farming in the Mt. Washington Valley, NH has so much history. Over the years that history has evolved into true culinary experiences that focus on restaurants collaborating with local farms; distilling handcrafted gin and vodka made with Maine potatoes; and farm stands with vegetables that have been picked just 20 feet from the farm stand’s doors.
1) Make the MWV Farmer’s Market a regular Tuesday outing! Happening every Tuesday, from 4:00-7:00pm, adjacent to the North Conway Community Center, the vibe of this market is high! With the sun shining down on you, listen to live music as you make your way to each vendor. Farmers, cheesemakers, bakers, bread-makers, and more all convene on each Tuesday to bring the most colorful and freshest assortment of vegetables, fruit, honey, cheese, and more.
Grab a bag of kettle corn, a quart-sized jug of homemade lemonade, a slice of pizza and homemade cookie from each of the stands and make a picnic of it in the park. There is no better way to indulge in summer than by taking in the simple pleasures that a true farmer’s market brings to all who frequent it.
The MWV Farmer’s Market is ongoing until October 5th, and after Labor Day its hours shift to 3:00pm to 6:00pm to accommodate the change in daylight hours. In order to ensure that the Market is accessible to all community members, SNAP tokens will be available to families and individuals receiving these benefits, and we will be participating in the Granite State Market Match.
2) Weston’s Farm Stand with locations in Fryeburg, Maine and North Conway, NH, is a staple in Mt. Washington Valley. Leading the way in organic farming practices and creating community around its farm, Weston’s is a must-stop for those looking for an authentic farm, and farm-fresh vegetables.
Its original location in Fryeburg, Maine overlooks the Saco River. There you’ll find freshly picked vegetables from the farm, and from its partner vendors, baked goods such as pies, breads and cookies, handcrafted coffee and beer, cheeses, and local meat. Its Fryeburg location also has a gift shop where you can find New England themed decor and books.
Weston’s also has a location on West Side Road. This stand is open-air and offers a sampling of what you would find at it’s Fryeburg location. On a daily basis it stocks this stand with vegetables, baked goods, preserves and local meats.
3) Thompson House Eatery is another farm stand in the valley whose farmers are passionate about sharing farm fresh food with the valley. A hybrid of an award-winning restaurant, farm stand and farm, Thompson House Eatery offers an experience unlike any other.
As a restaurant it is member of the Good Food 100 program, which highlights sustainability within restaurants. Certain expectations a restaurant has to live up to in order to become a member include having a clear trace on where and how the vendors it works with source their food, having to prove that as owners of the restaurant they provide livable benefits and wages to their employees, along with other merits.
We could write novels on how exquisite the culinary experience is at this restaurant, but instead, we encourage you to read its menu and start dreaming about what you order when you sit down to dine there. Just make sure you plan ahead, as reservations are helpful in getting a seat!
With plans to expand its farm into a fully functioning farm stand that will also sell beer, wine and prepped meals, Thompson House Eatery’s current stand features a variety of vegetables picked that day! The farm is adjacent to the restaurant, and you can see gardeners working in it during the day; picking vegetables that are likely to end up on your plate if you join them for dinner that evening.
CSA’s are also available through Thompson House Eatery. One special thing to note is that Thompson House Eatery hosts a “Dinner in T.H.E Farm, where you’ll enjoy a multi-plated dinner prepared by renowned chefs from all over the country in its farm fields, every summer. Tickets typically sell out in advance, so you’ll want to make sure you get on its waitlist so you can grab admission when it comes along for 2022.
4) The Local Grocer and Table and Tonic Cafe are another great example of those in Mt. Washington Valley that are committed to sharing farm fresh vegetables and food with the public. Another hybrid of a restaurant and farm, The Local Grocer (TLG) acts as an all-encompassing grocery store and gift shop that also features vegetables grown on the owners large scale Mountain Flower Farm, right up the road from TLG.
Table and Tonic Cafe is the breakfast and lunch spot where you can order dishes that utilize the produce from Mountain Flower Farm, and shine a spotlight on the recipes that owners Russ and Heather have been perfecting over the span of 20-years. Sit-in or take-out lunch at Table and Tonic is a real treat and a perfect way to start or end any outdoor adventure. Grab-and-go meals are also available.
5) Many restaurants throughout the valley are committed to using the freshest and most local ingredients when possible as well. Restaurants such as Max’s at Snowvillage Inn, Stone Mountain Arts Center, The Oxford House, Wicked Fresh Burgers, White Mountain Cider Co., and more are just a sampling of the restaurants and chefs dedicated to making fresh and delicious food.
6) Veno’s Specialty Foods and Meats, while not a true sit-down restaurant is a market where you can grab freshly made dinners, specialty meats and cheeses, dressings, sides, and more. It’s a market that features gourmet-to-go meals and butcher shop that is committed to working with local farms. Their products can be traced to farms from around the region, and the owners hold high standards for any product they bring into their store. Veno’s is a great option for families that are camping, or hosting a party for dinner.
7) While it’s not a farm that is open to the public, Green Thumb Farms, definitely produces items that the public loves! A prime potato farm in Fryeburg, Maine, Green Thumb Farms provides what could be considered Maine gold in the form of potatoes to local restaurants and grocery stores. It’s also the main provider of potatoes for the Cold River distillery, which makes vodka and gin out of its farm fresh potatoes. You can find handcrafted cocktails throughout Mt. Washington Valley shaken, stirred and served with this craft alcohol!
8) Cathedral Ledge Distillery is another distillery that’s serving up organic vodka and gin, and sharing its goods with restaurants throughout Mt. Washington Valley. Located right outside of North Conway Village, you can enjoy tastings in its post-and-beam barn, and take some of your favorite spirits home with you.
For complete trip planning resources and information, visit www.visitmwv.com or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.