Vernon Family Farm | Thriving Pasture, Thriving Community
If you’ve followed me for a while, you probably have heard of Vernon Family Farm. Not only am I an avid supporter of their mission, but I love being able to photograph clients on this picturesque, working farm.
This amazing farm is run by Nicole and Jeremiah Vernon, along with their adorable kids. Nicole was gracious enough to allow me to interview her for my blog, and I’m so excited to share that with you below. I have a special partnership with Vernon Family Farm and am so proud of all they’ve accomplished over the last ten years. If you’re local to Newfields, NH, I highly recommend you stop by the farm.
Here is my interview with Nicole! Some responses were edited for clarity.
Can You Share Your Business Name, What You Do and Where You’re Located?
My name is Nicole Vernon and I am co-owner of Vernon Family Farm which is a family farm that
was started by my husband Jeremiah and me approximately a decade ago, 8 years ago to be exact. We are located in Newfields, New Hampshire. We are a pastured livestock farm that focuses on non-GMO pasture-raised chickens.
As we continue to grow, we are diversifying and raising different crops and animals on pasture. For example, we are expanding our sheep operation and raising beef cattle. We are also in the beginning stages of growing some veggies again—garlic this year! Our niche is non-GMO pasture-raised chicken. We have a farm store on the property, what used to be an old blacksmith shop, that my husband renovated and restored to its current state. We are open daily, year-round. Our goal is to make local food as easy and accessible to the public as possible. That’s one of the main reasons we are open every day of the week so people can shop the way they are in the habit of shopping.
What is the Mission and Vision of Vernon Family Farm?
Our mission statement is a two-part mission statement: thriving pasture, thriving community. First, there’s “thriving pasture”—we aim to preserve open space while improving the environmental health of our pastures. We try to do that in harmony with our farm’s needs. If the pasture is in good health, the land will provide, and if the land can provide, the community will thrive. In part, a thriving community is attainable when there is understanding, transparency, and appreciation between the consumer and the farming community.
We encourage people to directly interact with local food, know your farmer, shop and connect with the people responsible for your food. In our opinion, the two ideas are so incredibly interconnected.
Do You Have Some Popular Items at The Farm Store?
Chicken! Vernon Family Farm has really created a name for itself regarding chicken. We saw an opportunity when we first started working at the farmer’s markets. We noticed that chicken, for being the number one consumed protein in the United States, just wasn’t available the way it needed to be. No one had chicken cuts, boneless breasts, drumsticks, or wings. You know, the cuts of chicken you purchase at a grocery store? Nobody had these popular cuts we love and have all the time in our freezers. Jeremiah wanted to do chicken the way people wanted chicken. By doing so, we also made sure we maximized what was raised and continued to use the whole/entire animal—not letting anything go to waste.
When you walk into our store and come to our farm events, chicken is the most popular item both on the menu at Vernon Kitchen and in The Farm Store. Boneless breast and tenders are super popular and we also have value-added products made by our sister
company Vernon Kitchen. The value-added products that are popular are our varieties of broth, chicken pot pie, soup, rotisserie chicken mac and cheese, and rotisserie chicken. We have all the cuts of chicken available. We also have feet, organ meat like liver, heart, necks, and once in a while have bones available to purchase. Besides the feathers and beaks, we use the entire animal.
Most people know us as a pasture live-stock farm and chicken is number one on the list. Other meat tends to be next, beef, pork, lamb, bison, elk, etc. We like to offer a one-stop shop for locals. We work with 30-40 other local vendors and small farmers in our area. We don’t grow every single item in our farm store, but we do work with an incredible network of farmers and growers that allow us to be so diverse in our offerings. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. It’s a team effort.
Do You Have Any Signature Events?
We have a concert music series that begins at the end of May and goes through October. Our events feature our chicken on the menu and live music at The Farm. It’s an opportunity for people to connect to local food in a way that is maybe more comfortable for them? Our events are inviting and are a wonderful way to get new people to The Farm. You get to see the animals roaming in the pasture, and you get to interact with the local community in a way you might not have at a typical venue. Plus, you get the sights, sounds, and smells of a local farm. We market it as a truly authentic experience.
Our events focus on local food (every chicken dish is made with our chicken) and local, live music in an outdoor setting. We have our fried chicken events which are our signature events that happen on the 2nd Saturday of the month and the 4th Friday of the month. Another really fun event we have is an event that happens in October called Fire and Ice. It’s a Vernon Family Farm tradition. We have a fire spinner that comes and does a fire show in addition to live music and good wholesome local eats. Courtney, our fire spinner, has been coming to the farm for years to perform. The “ice” portion of this event was when we used to make farm-inspired popsicles, super popular but currently on pause. We do hope to bring those back. It’s really an event geared toward kids but all are welcome and everyone has a blast.
Can You Share About the Wildflower Sessions?
Jennie is a friend and also a photographer who first approached us about photographing her clients with the signature hale bales in the background. People love getting their pictures in a field with the sunset and with hay bales behind them. She invites a lot of new customers to the farm that wouldn’t have known who Vernon is and it’s a win/win situation on many levels.
About two years ago, we received a wonderful grant to install a half-acre wildflower meadow with the purpose of encouraging pollinators and naive pollinizers. The blooms start in early May and last all throughout our event season through the end of October. Every month the wildflower meadow changes because there are new flowers in bloom.
Jennie has really cultivated this beautiful awareness of this space through her photography and photo sessions. Jarrod Fowler helped us install this wildflower meadow. He is an expert in this field. He is a pollinator conservationist and entomologist who was instrumental in the architectural design, installation, and cooperative maintenance of the wildflower meadow.
How Can Readers Support Vernon Family Farm Farm?
If readers are local, they can come shop at Vernon Family Farm located at 301 Piscassic Road
Newfields, NH 03856. Maybe look at your grocery list and see what you can buy at The Farm versus the grocery store. Additionally, if readers aren’t local, they can share our content online. We are on Instagram and Facebook.
Family Photography at Vernon Family Farm
Honestly, I’m always excited when my clients have their session at Vernon Family Farm! It’s a beautiful location with lots to offer, plus, I love getting to show my clients around. Not only can you schedule your family photography session with me at Vernon Family Farm, but I offer limited Wildflower Sessions every year. Click here to see the next Wildflower session date.
Finally, the best way to stay in touch when the next Wildflower session is by joining my email community here.