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Life on the Farm
Posted 4/10/2015 7:50am by The Webb Family.

Greetings from Harding Hill Farm, 

The sap has been flowing, we have been boiling, and the maple syrup tally is growing. Mother Nature also had her say with warm spring-like temps last weekend followed by a couple inches of snow on the ground Thursday morning. The joys of New England weather!

As much as we love maple season, its getting to be time for a little sleep and maybe some spring skiing. With warmer temps on the way, join us for our last open sugarhouse and boil on Saturday, April 11th from 11am - 4pm. See below for details. 


Maple Season Update!

We have been full steam ahead (literally) as we made syrup every day this week. We made well over 100 gallons of maple syrup since last Friday, which brings us to over 320 gallons.

Last Sunday our grade changed to a Dark, Robust/Grade B. We do have plastic jugs in various sizes available for the Dark fans. However, the syrup lightened up to a beautiful Amber to almost Golden this week. Mother Nature is definitely messing with us. 

If you haven't looked at the weather forecast for the next week, spring is on its way. We expect to have our last good sap runs into the weekend, and warmth should end it as temperatures hit 60 during the day and above freezing at night. It has been an unpredictable season for all, but a great one shared with family and many new and old friends. Join us for our final open sugarhouse this Saturday!


Final Open Sugarhouse of the Maple Season

Please join us at the sugarhouse to enjoy the last sweet smells of maple season on Saturday, April 11th from 11am till 4pm.

*Featuring*        Sugarhouse Tours 
                             Fresh Maple Syrup Samples
                             Maple Cookies while they last
                             Maple Syrup & Grass Fed Beef Available
                             Maple Cream & Maple Sugar also Available

Reminder - Our Sugarhouse is located at 131 Route 103 in Sunapee, just below the Wendell Vet Clinic. It is not located at the main farm on Stagecoach road. 


Our Grass Fed Beef is in Demand

Our beef sales at the sugarhouse have been a huge success. As a result, we have limited supply left. Here is a list of what we will have on hand for our last open house of the season.

Hamburger - only 2 lbs left!
Sweet Italian Beef Sausage 
Stew Meat
Chuck, Top Round, and Rib Roasts
Short Ribs and Spare Ribs
Rib Steaks
Steak Tips - limited supply
Shoulder Steak aka London Broil
Chuck Steaks
Pet Bones

Contact us if you would like a price list or to reserve an order for pickup.


Do your Trees need some TLC?

Tyler is a certified arborist, and he offers free consultations for your tree care needs. If your trees need pruning, removal, cabling or fertilization, he will come out to your property and provide a quote. Please contact by email or phone to schedule a visit.  


It looks like our last weekly update to close out the maple season will be next week. After that, look for monthly updates or special event emails.

Thank you again for your support!

- The Webb Family 


~Harding Hill Farm~
524 Stagecoach Road
Sunapee, NH 03782
Phone: 603-863-6493
Email: hardinghillfarmnh@gmail.com
Visit: www.hardinghillfarmnh.com

Posted 4/1/2015 6:32pm by The Webb Family.

The New Hampshire Maple Weekend is a great spring tradition in our family. We love sharing what we love with so many people. It brings the locals out of hibernation to enjoy the sweet smell of steam from the evaporator, but it also brings out tourists visiting for the weekend. Some people may have never seen the process behind maple syrup... and we love to share why the pure stuff is so much better. We usually even see a few people still in their ski boots straight off the slopes of Mount Sunapee... and we did see that again this year! We truly appreciate the hundreds of people that stop in to see us each spring. 

This year, we offered our usual tours and fresh syrup samples. We also had Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream's Maple Cream ice cream on hand to serve with hot syrup on top. Kelly baked some maple cookies and offered numerous maple and grass fed beef recipes too. 

 

We had a whole crew helping out during maple weekend, including most of the Webb Family (Van, Robin, Tyler, Kelly, Sam, and Sawyer), Clark, Heather, and Jeremy. A huge thank you goes our to our friends and family who helped either by keeping the sap boiling, advertising our open house, or simply supporting what we do. 

photo credit - Donna Therrien

The weekend started off with temperatures in the 20s on Saturday with a couple inches of snow accumulating, and it ended with beautiful sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 30s on Sunday. We never get two good days in a row during maple weekend, that's for sure! While the sap did not run much over the weekend, we were able to save enough from Friday to do a slow boil all weekend. 

 

Once again thank you to all our supporters and customers! We cannot continue to do what we do without you. As we enter April, the maple season in some ways has just started this year. The weather this week has moderated into a great above freezing day/below freezing night cycle, and we are making a lot of syrup! We will be open again Easter weekend, April 4-5 from 10am till 4pm. Hope to see you there!


photo credit - Max Webb

Posted 3/22/2015 7:01pm by The Webb Family.

This morning was cold... and we had to let some things thaw slightly before getting started in the sugar house. We don't always have the time and the means to take our customers out to see our 12 acres of sugarbush. So we took the opportunity. 

A family travelled from North Carolina specifically to see the process behind maple syrup. Their relatives from Saratoga, NY joined them on a very cold and windy Sunday morning to tour our sugarbush. 

 

We walked the loop while Tyler explained our setup with tubing and vacuum lines. We also looked at the different age groups of maples we have and the challenges to sustaining a sugarbush into the future. We discussed invasive plants, the deer population, and other issues that may impact the regeneration of sugar maples.  

After a walk in the woods, they helped us get started for an afternoon boil in the sugarhouse. We put them to work firing the evaporator, setting up the press to filter fresh syrup, and of course doing some tasting (or should I say quality control) of the product. 

Thank you to Wolfgang, Christine, and the Barker's for a fun visit!

Posted 3/20/2015 7:10am by The Webb Family.

Things have changed quite a bit over the years in the Maple Syrup making business. The introduction of permanent tubing, vacuum lines, and reverse osmosis has allowed production to be a lot more efficient.

Our sugar house is old, circa at least the 1920s. We love its historic charm. We have updated it over the years with a new roof, new flooring, new stainless equipment, and reverse osmosis, but the shell remains the same. It actually is being supported by cables!

Check out this comparison... a forty year difference.

 

Those of you that stopped by the sugar house on our first open weekend may have noticed another change... two labels on our syrup containers. Maple Syrup Producers in the US and Canada pushed for a more uniform grading system, and they also wanted more of a flavor description that is easy for customers to understand. 

The state of NH approved the new grading system and the NH Department of Agriculture, Markets, and Foods was busy developing the specific rules in 2014. We now have until January 1, 2016 to implement the new system on our labels. We decided to start this year by labeling with both the old and new systems. We will stick to that until we run out of the old labels. 

Fortunately, the NH Dept of Ag also developed a great poster to describe the new system versus the old system. We hope to have a copy of it in the sugar house by maple weekend.

Posted 3/2/2015 5:31pm by The Webb Family.

It has been a long and cold winter to say the least. The days are getting longer and the sunshine feels a little warmer. Sugaring season is just around the corner. We are tapped out in our sugarbush, just waiting for Mother Nature to cooperate!

Every year, usually in late February, we start looking for the change in the weather.  We are looking for warm, sunny days with cold, below freezing nights.  These warm days, about 40 degrees, unthaw the trees enough to allow sap to flow up into the crowns of the trees.  This sap flow is the start of the growing season for a tree, and the sap contains the minerals and nutrients needed to give the tree energy to make leaves.

We try to be ready for these days well in advance so we don’t miss any of these “runs.” A run is when the days are warm, and the sap is flowing in the trees.  A run is any gatherable amount of sap, usually a minimum of 250 gallons, that we can then boil down to make syrup. 

Our preparations for the season can take some time, depending on how Mother Nature has treated us over the winter. We check to make sure that our tubing is stretched tight from tree to tree.  We take the time to get all of the fallen limbs off the tubing and repair any damage that may have been done by squirrels during the year. Those critters love to get some remaining sweetness out of the tubing.

The next step is to start tapping. This step usually takes about three to five days. This depends on how deep the snow is and how much time we can put towards it. If conditions are just right, we can drill about 40-50 taps an hour. We use an 18V drill to tap at a depth of only about 1.5 to 2 inches into the tree. Then we insert the spout and “tap” it with a hammer until it is seated snugly into the tree. If you pound the spout too far into the tree, there is a chance to split the hole. That split would cause the sap to leak out around the spout, losing this precious liquid. We like to avoid that at all costs!

We always debate on when the best time is to start tapping. The timing truly is a guessing game and changes every year. This year, Tyler started tapping our trees on February 22nd and finished up on March 2nd. All 1,300 taps on around 12 acres are ready for mother nature to get the sap flowing.

  

Our first run is always exciting. The warm days will feel great after a cold winter, especially this year. We also get to spend a lot of time in the woods chasing leaks in the tubing. It’s fun running around on snowshoes to watch sap flow through the tubing. It's also a great exercise plan for us and our one year old labrador retriever.

Then, a few hours later, we will be making steam and waiting for our first sweet taste of maple syrup for the season. Stay tuned for updates as the weather turns...

A big Thanks to Paul Howe Photography for some great photos. We even made the front page of the Eagle Times!

Posted 2/2/2015 5:55pm by The Webb Family.

Greetings from everyone at Harding Hill Farm,

We hope the winter weather is treating everyone fairly! It’s always fun to enjoy the winter trails in Webb Forest on our off time, whether it is skiing, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or walking with the dogs. We certainly hope to be a bit more on task with monthly updates in the future, and you can expect the potential for brief weekly updates during maple sugaring season. 


Grass Fed Beef Update...

We recently picked up about 1,000 pounds of beef from our butcher! We have all cuts available in our freezers. Please contact us by email to request a Winter 2015 price list or to place an order. We will set up a convenient time for you to pick up your order at the farm.

Winter Warmer Package - a great way to buy our meat this time of year for a discounted price! The package includes 6 pounds of hamburger, 3 pounds of stew meat, and your choice of roast for a total price of $65.

IT’S BACK! For those of you that have tried our delicious beef sausage, we have our sweet Italian sausage available! We also have limited quantities of our NEW mildly hot Italian sausage. 


An Update from the Woods...

The cold January allowed sufficient frozen ground to work effectively in the woods on our current timber harvest in Wilmot, NH. With February upon us, it is crunch time for logging. Believe it or not, warm temperatures and mud are right around the corner.

Our timber harvest site this winter is a wood lot Van and Tyler cut 11 years ago, and we are back again to do another thinning. This wood lot has a lot of mature hemlock and pine which we are removing to allow more light and space for the younger trees to come in.  It has been a fun harvest so far, and we hope to finish up the project by mid-March.

For more on our winter project, visit our website for the recent blog post – www.hardinghillfarmnh.com/blog/a-walk-in-the-woods


 Maple Season is Coming...

Mild temperatures in December allowed us to prepare our sugar orchard for the upcoming maple sugaring season. It was time to replace the drop lines in our orchard. 

The drop line is the piece of our tubing system that goes from the conducting pipeline to each individual tree. It also contains the spout which is inserted into the hole that we drill into the tree when we tap. We replace the drop lines every three to five years to keep our system fresh and clean. Research has proven that, even though we clean the tubing every year after the season, drop replacement every few years helps to maintain an optimal sap yield.

Check the website for a blog post coming soon!

With spring around the corner, we are watching the long range forecast diligently to predict when to start tapping for sugaring season. We will send out updates as the season gets closer. We hope to be boiling by March 1st!


March is Maple Month in New Hampshire!

We will be participating in the NH Maple Month this year, which is sponsored by the NH Maple Producers’ Association. Weather permitting, we will be open every weekend in March and the first weekend in April. Weekend events include tours along with samples of our hot, fresh maple syrup.

NH Maple Weekend on March 28th and 29th - mark your calendars to join us for this annual celebration. We will provide more details as this event approaches.

NEW this year - Along with our maple syrup, we will also have HHF grass fed beef for sale at the sugarhouse when we are open.


 Remember to "Like" us on Facebook or visit our website to get all the latest updates. 

That's all for now. As always, contact us with any questions.

Thank you again for your interest!

~Kelly


 ~Harding Hill Farm~

524 Stagecoach Road
Sunapee, NH 03782
Phone: 603-863-6493
Email: hardinghillfarmnh@gmail.com
Visit: www.hardinghillfarmnh.com

Posted 1/12/2015 3:01pm by The Webb Family.

Season's Greetings to all!

We made it through another busy holiday season at Harding Hill Farm. After some set backs with unseasonably warm/wet weather in December, we are now "full steam ahead" on our winter forestry projects. The recent cold weather has created frozen ground which lets us be more productive with less impact. The only downside... when the overnight temp is 15 below zero, equipment is not as cooperative as we would like it to be!

We often log on our own property, since we manage around 3,000 acres of our own forest land. When the opportunity arises, we are hired by a landowner or forester to harvest additional land. 

Our 2014-2015 winter project is an 85 acre property in Wilmot, NH. We are logging the property for Meadowsend Timberland (the forester) and the Thompson Family (the owner). 

Big logs and a shot of our log loader and skidder

 

Every forestry project has a goal... the goals may vary to include wildlife enhancement, removal of valuable timber, view creation, encouragement of desirable species, and more. The goal of this project is to provide openings and thinning to encourage the growth of white pine and yellow birch. 

Before and After Photos at this site

    

Some of the marked timber is very unique! We are cutting a mixture of pine logs, pine biomass, hemlock logs and pulp, hardwood logs, and various logs for use as firewood. It is some of the tallest timber we have ever cut. One white pine tree was 128 feet tall and 44 inches wide at the base. This tree created five 16 foot logs, one 12 foot log, and a piece of softwood pulp. That is a total volume of 1,975 board feet! 

Tyler scaling a log...

    

The Thompson project has been a lot of fun for Van and Tyler, especially because they cut this lot 11 years ago when the Thompson's built their house. At the time, the Thompson's were looking for unique wide pine planks for their floor. We are excited to be part of another project on this great property. 

Here is a comparison from 2003 to 2014:

 

Posted 12/5/2014 11:55am by Kelly Webb.

Holiday Open Sugar House - Sat. December 6th 

Come join us at our Sugar House at 131 Route 103 in Sunapee. We will be having an open house to celebrate the holiday season. The whole family will be there to show off our sugaring operation and offer hot samples of maple syrup. We will also have sample grass fed burger sliders, beef stew, and beef sausage to offer. A variety of products will be available for sale, including maple syrup in plastic or glass bottles, maple candy, and our own grass fed beef. We hope to see you there!

Posted 11/29/2014 9:43am by Kelly Webb.
Hi all, 

Well we certainly got our share of early season snow! On Thanksgiving Eve, we received around a foot of snow on the farm. We were fortunate enough to only lose power for a couple hours. So other than an early thanksgiving morning of plowing, it didn't affect us too much. 
 
    
 
As many of you may know, we have sponsored the Lake Sunapee Turkey Trot 5k for many years now. The turkey trot starts and ends in the Lake Sunapee harbor, and it is usually a great crowd of locals and visitors. Runners receive a maple syrup nip at registration, and the winners receive some nice maple syrup prizes in our glass maple leaf bottles. Our whole family usually participates either by running, walking, or cheering everyone on. 

A little snow didn't stop the town crew from doing an excellent job on clearing the Burkehaven loop this year, and the turkey trot went off like normal. We enjoyed visiting with everyone. The turkey trot (or turkey snow shuffle this year) has become a great Thanksgiving tradition to burn off a few calories before a nice farm feast. Here are a few pictures to share...
 
  
 
  
 
Posted 11/23/2014 11:00am by Kelly Webb.

We are very excited to launch our new website! We hope you enjoy our farm blog, news, and updates. Our goal is to share all we can about our farm and forest lands. Please contact us or join our mailing list to learn more.

Thank you for supporting our family business!

~ The Webb Family ~