Here’s the beef

There’s no denying that quality seed, sunshine and ample rainfall make for good farming. Those who raise cows for milk or for beef also might agree that most bulls are mean, ornery critters.

The sentiments were reinforced by Stephen "Steve" Taylor, a Plainfield farmer and the commissioner of New Hampshire’s agriculture department for 25 years. He retired in 2007.

Now, Taylor focuses on public speaking and the Taylor Brothers Farm, founded in 1970. It is named for the three sons of Taylor and his wife, Gretchen. Sixty cows, Holsteins and Milking Shorthorns, prolific milk producers, reside there.

Taylor talked about the state’s dairy heritage at a lecture hosted by the Friends of the Merrimack Library and the New Hampshire Humanities Council at the Merrimack Library on June 9. The event was led by librarians Fran Keenan and Jennifer Greene during National Dairy Month.

"Bulls are miserable, dangerous critters," Taylor said, commenting on some of the challenges of animal husbandry.

A mature bull can top around 3,000 pounds. Bulls range from minis of 400 pounds to massive bad boys worth big bucks. One named Fabio, cited in Guinness World Records, fetched a sum of $198,324 at a 2012 auction. Cows artificially inseminated are spared some intense advances.

Merrimack’s Don Miner and wife Karyn, owners of Miner Family Farm, 82 Peaslee Road, maintain a herd of Herefords and Dexters. Two bulls, kept elsewhere until needed, await the call. The couple is proud of the farm’s beef, plus the pork, lamb, chicken and eggs produced with pure feed and no additives.

"You have to watch out for the bulls," Don said. "I’m the alpha male around here, but there’s one bull that doesn’t like me. Don’t ever turn your back on a bull."

He said the demand is high for his rib-eye steaks, filet mignon and burgers. Miner also sells chicken and other products at the Salem NH Farmers Market (salemnhfarmersmarket.org), the Fresh Chicks Outdoor Market in Peterborough (Facebook: Fresh-Chicks-Local-Outdoor-Market Market) and at the Merrimack Farmers Market (Facebook: Merrimack-Farmers-Market).

"I want to know what I’m eating and where it comes from," Don said. "People appreciate what they’re getting."

New Hampshire farmers continue a legacy that began with early settlers who grappled with the Granite State’s extreme temperatures and dense forests. The transport by ship in 1634 of a Guernsey from Denmark took 80-90 days, Taylor said. One did not buy a cow on eBay.

Hollis farmer William "Bill" Hall Jr., owner of Hall Farm, 54 Dow Road, said his father bought an operational dairy farm of around 225 cows in 1969. Today, the Hollis farm is devoted more to raising hay, corn and cows, crossbred Angus and Holstein breeds. A small herd is tended by Hall’s son, Colby, 11, who wants to be a farmer.

Hall’s stepson, Adam Pitarys, and Hollis resident Justine Glover share farm duties at Adam’s nearby farm, Sucker Brook Farm (Facebook: sbfhollisnh). They bring Sucker Brook’s produce, eggs and pasture-raised chicken to the Merrimack Farmers Market, held 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, at Vault Motor Storage, 526 Daniel Webster Hwy.

"The cows are raised on grass and corn silage," Hall said. "No additives. They’re Angus and Holsteins, crossbred."

Taylor said the burning of trees in the early days to clear pasture lands provided potash, a good fertilizer made from tree ash. Manure, milk, cheese, fat, protein, butter and the sale of herd animals were economy boosters. The era of the family cow ebbed as inventions including the mowing machine and the cream separator enabled large-scale production.

Taylor said that by 1900, dairy was big in New Hampshire. The state had 52 creameries to accommodate around 129,000 head of cows. Milk was transported at 146 rail stations. The dairy industry dwindled after World War II. It also took a hit when pizza became popular, for the spicy dish was paired with fizzy drinks, not milk.

Bedford’s Stephen "Steve" Blais, owner of Joppa Hill Farm, 453 Joppa Hill Road, carries on the third generation of a farming tradition. It began in the ’70s with his late grandfather, "Pepe." The farm now nurtures 17 Herefords. Some, castrated males called steers, young females called heifers and their calves are "more like pets," Blais said.

Blais also specializes in growing, mowing and transporting hay. Customers can expect around 20,000 bales of the feed in a good season. He has chickens, ducks and sheep. A loud and feisty donkey protects the sheep better than any guard dog.

"Animals are smarter than people," Blais said. "They know exactly what they need and what they want. It’s how I start the day. Feed the animals."

Here’s the beef

There’s no denying that quality seed, sunshine and ample rainfall make for good farming. Those who raise cows for milk or for beef also might agree that most bulls are mean, ornery critters.

The sentiments were reinforced by Stephen "Steve" Taylor, a Plainfield farmer and the commissioner of New Hampshire’s agriculture department for 25 years. He retired in 2007.

Now, Taylor focuses on public speaking and the Taylor Brothers Farm, founded in 1970. It is named for the three sons of Taylor and his wife, Gretchen. Sixty cows, Holsteins and Milking Shorthorns, prolific milk producers, reside there.

Taylor talked about the state’s dairy heritage at a lecture hosted by the Friends of the Merrimack Library and the New Hampshire Humanities Council at the Merrimack Library on June 9. The event was led by librarians Fran Keenan and Jennifer Greene during National Dairy Month.

"Bulls are miserable, dangerous critters," Taylor said, commenting on some of the challenges of animal husbandry.

A mature bull can top around 3,000 pounds. Bulls range from minis of 400 pounds to massive bad boys worth big bucks. One named Fabio, cited in Guinness World Records, fetched a sum of $198,324 at a 2012 auction. Cows artificially inseminated are spared some intense advances.

Merrimack’s Don Miner and wife Karyn, owners of Miner Family Farm, 82 Peaslee Road, maintain a herd of Herefords and Dexters. Two bulls, kept elsewhere until needed, await the call. The couple is proud of the farm’s beef, plus the pork, lamb, chicken and eggs produced with pure feed and no additives.

"You have to watch out for the bulls," Don said. "I’m the alpha male around here, but there’s one bull that doesn’t like me. Don’t ever turn your back on a bull."

He said the demand is high for his rib-eye steaks, filet mignon and burgers. Miner also sells chicken and other products at the Salem NH Farmers Market (salemnhfarmers
market.org), the Fresh Chicks Outdoor Market in Peterborough (Facebook: Fresh-Chicks-Local-Outdoor-Market Market) and at the Merrimack Farmers Market (Facebook: Merrimack-Farmers-Market).

"I want to know what I’m eating and where it comes from," Don said. "People appreciate what they’re getting."

New Hampshire farmers continue a legacy that began with early settlers who grappled with the Granite State’s extreme temperatures and dense forests. The transport by ship in 1634 of a Guernsey from Denmark took 80-90 days, Taylor said. One did not buy a cow on eBay.

Hollis farmer William "Bill" Hall Jr., owner of Hall Farm, 54 Dow Road, said his father bought an operational dairy farm of around 225 cows in 1969. Today, the Hollis farm is devoted more to raising hay, corn and cows, crossbred Angus and Holstein breeds. A small herd is tended by Hall’s son, Colby, 11, who wants to be a farmer.

Hall’s stepson, Adam Pitarys, and Hollis resident Justine Glover share farm duties at Adam’s nearby farm, Sucker Brook Farm (Facebook: sbfhollisnh). They bring Sucker Brook’s produce, eggs and pasture-raised chicken to the Merrimack Farmers Market, held 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, at Vault Motor Storage, 526 Daniel Webster Hwy.

"The cows are raised on grass and corn silage," Hall said. "No additives. They’re Angus and Holsteins, crossbred."

Taylor said the burning of trees in the early days to clear pasture lands provided potash, a good fertilizer made from tree ash. Manure, milk, cheese, fat, protein, butter and the sale of herd animals were economy boosters. The era of the family cow ebbed as inventions including the mowing machine and the cream separator enabled large-scale production.

Taylor said that by 1900, dairy was big in New Hampshire. The state had 52 creameries to accommodate around 129,000 head of cows. Milk was transported at 146 rail stations. The dairy industry dwindled after World War II. It also took a hit when pizza became popular, for the spicy dish was paired with fizzy drinks, not milk.

Bedford’s Stephen "Steve" Blais, owner of Joppa Hill Farm, 453 Joppa Hill Road, carries on the third generation of a farming tradition. It began in the ’70s with his late grandfather, "Pepe." The farm now nurtures 17 Herefords. Some, castrated males called steers, young females called heifers and their calves are "more like pets," Blais said.

Blais also specializes in growing, mowing and transporting hay. Customers can expect around 20,000 bales of the feed in a good season. He has chickens, ducks and sheep. A loud and feisty donkey protects the sheep better than any guard dog.

"Animals are smarter than people," Blais said. "They know exactly what they need and what they want. It’s how I start the day. Feed the animals."

Here’s the beef

There’s no denying that quality seed, sunshine and ample rainfall make for good farming. Those who raise cows for milk or for beef also might agree that most bulls are mean, ornery critters.

The sentiments were reinforced by Stephen "Steve" Taylor, a Plainfield farmer and the commissioner of New Hampshire’s agriculture department for 25 years. He retired in 2007.

Now, Taylor focuses on public speaking and the Taylor Brothers Farm, founded in 1970. It is named for the three sons of Taylor and his wife, Gretchen. Sixty cows, Holsteins and Milking Shorthorns, prolific milk producers, reside there.

Taylor talked about the state’s dairy heritage at a lecture hosted by the Friends of the Merrimack Library and the New Hampshire Humanities Council at the Merrimack Library on June 9. The event was led by librarians Fran Keenan and Jennifer Greene during National Dairy Month.

"Bulls are miserable, dangerous critters," Taylor said, commenting on some of the challenges of animal husbandry.

A mature bull can top around 3,000 pounds. Bulls range from minis of 400 pounds to massive bad boys worth big bucks. One named Fabio, cited in Guinness World Records, fetched a sum of $198,324 at a 2012 auction. Cows artificially inseminated are spared some intense advances.

Merrimack’s Don Miner and wife Karyn, owners of Miner Family Farm, 82 Peaslee Road, maintain a herd of Herefords and Dexters. Two bulls, kept elsewhere until needed, await the call. The couple is proud of the farm’s beef, plus the pork, lamb, chicken and eggs produced with pure feed and no additives.

"You have to watch out for the bulls," Don said. "I’m the alpha male around here, but there’s one bull that doesn’t like me. Don’t ever turn your back on a bull."

He said the demand is high for his rib-eye steaks, filet mignon and burgers. Miner also sells chicken and other products at the Salem NH Farmers Market (salemnhfarmersmarket.org), the Fresh Chicks Outdoor Market in Peterborough (Facebook: Fresh-Chicks-Local-Outdoor-Market Market) and at the Merrimack Farmers Market (Facebook: Merrimack-Farmers-Market).

"I want to know what I’m eating and where it comes from," Don said. "People appreciate what they’re getting."

New Hampshire farmers continue a legacy that began with early settlers who grappled with the Granite State’s extreme temperatures and dense forests. The transport by ship in 1634 of a Guernsey from Denmark took 80-90 days, Taylor said. One did not buy a cow on eBay.

Hollis farmer William "Bill" Hall Jr., owner of Hall Farm, 54 Dow Road, said his father bought an operational dairy farm of around 225 cows in 1969. Today, the Hollis farm is devoted more to raising hay, corn and cows, crossbred Angus and Holstein breeds. A small herd is tended by Hall’s son, Colby, 11, who wants to be a farmer.

Hall’s stepson, Adam Pitarys, and Hollis resident Justine Glover share farm duties at Adam’s nearby farm, Sucker Brook Farm (Facebook: sbfhollisnh). They bring Sucker Brook’s produce, eggs and pasture-raised chicken to the Merrimack Farmers Market, held 3-6 p.m., Wednesdays, at Vault Motor Storage, 526 Daniel Webster Hwy.

"The cows are raised on grass and corn silage," Hall said. "No additives. They’re Angus and Holsteins, crossbred."

Taylor said the burning of trees in the early days to clear pasture lands provided potash, a good fertilizer made from tree ash. Manure, milk, cheese, fat, protein, butter and the sale of herd animals were economy boosters. The era of the family cow ebbed as inventions including the mowing machine and the cream separator enabled large-scale production.

Taylor said that by 1900, dairy was big in New Hampshire. The state had 52 creameries to accommodate around 129,000 head of cows. Milk was transported at 146 rail stations. The dairy industry dwindled after World War II. It also took a hit when pizza became popular, for the spicy dish was paired with fizzy drinks, not milk.

Bedford’s Stephen "Steve" Blais, owner of Joppa Hill Farm, 453 Joppa Hill Road, carries on the third generation of a farming tradition. It began in the ’70s with his late grandfather, "Pepe." The farm now nurtures 17 Herefords. Some, castrated males called steers, young females called heifers and their calves are "more like pets," Blais said.

Blais also specializes in growing, mowing and transporting hay. Customers can expect around 20,000 bales of the feed in a good season. He has chickens, ducks and sheep. A loud and feisty donkey protects the sheep better than any guard dog.

"Animals are smarter than people," Blais said. "They know exactly what they need and what they want. It’s how I start the day. Feed the animals."