Emily’s Post: Meadow’s Mirth Farm

Josh Jennings is the founder of Meadow’s Mirth, a certified organic flower and vegetable farm located in Stratham, NH. Josh started Meadow’s Mirth on his own in 2006, and currently cultivates between seven and ten acres of land each year with two full-time employees. This farm sells its produce both retail at farmer’s markets as well as wholesale to restaurants, grocery stores, and other institutions. Meadow’s Mirth is best known for their carrots, which also happen to be Josh’s favorite food to grow. As he says, “I love the color, I love the taste. I love how something so beautiful can be just below the ground”.

Before 2005, Josh had never planted a seed. He studied history and philosophy in college, but decided not to continue with a career in education. After volunteering for a year at New Roots Farm in Newmarket, NH, he started his own farm. What Josh found most valuable was not in fact learning how to grow vegetables, but how to be a successful business owner. When speaking about this career, Josh said “farming is the whole thing. We are the design, manufacturer, and sales… the whole beginning to end.” In his experience, there is much more time spent developing business plans and other business-related tasks, as opposed to working in the field.

Josh is a huge proponent of cooperation between local farmers. As he said in his interview, “I think farming is so hard, we really need each other. And farming is one of those fields that historically inspires cooperation.” According to him, Three River Farmer’s Alliance was created through that attitude. Started in 2014, this is an alliance between three farms (Heron Pond, Meadow’s Mirth and Stout Oak) as well as many others in the area to pool their produce in order to sell it wholesale to restaurants and other institutions in large quantities. Essentially, these farmers have created a local food distribution system which allows them to work together with chefs, lowering individual costs significantly.

This relationship between farmers is not just professional… Josh acknowledged that some of his closest friends are also farmers. “We care a lot about each other, we help each other, sometimes as a shoulder to cry on,” he said. “Only farmers can really understand what farmers really do, the difficulty and exhaustion and stress. I value very much the market relationships that I have with the other farmers, the trading equipment, as well as being able to just share the stress and talk about things.”

Although admitting that this job was much more difficult than he expected it to be, Josh also identified many reasons why he loves what he does. Among these include his love for food, the community-oriented aspect of the job, and the true joy he gets from riding on his tractor (“I’m immediately five years old again!”). “I love the impact that I have been able to make on my community, changing food systems on the seacoast and hopefully making people healthier,” he said.

You can find Josh at the Portsmouth, Exeter, and Newburyport farmer’s markets every week. Thank you Josh!

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