The Hippo


Jul 4, 2020








Courtesy photo.

34th annual New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo

When: Friday, Feb. 17, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 18, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester
Cost: $7 general admission, free for kids ages 16 and under

Fun on the farm
NH Farm & Forest Expo returns

By Matt Ingersoll

Watch baby chicks hatch, play Farmo, sample organic foods and learn from dozens of local vendors about agricultural and farming at the New Hampshire Farm & Forest Expo.

The event is returning for its 34th year to the Expo Center of the Radisson Hotel in Manchester, on Friday, Feb. 17, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturday, Feb. 18, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. This year’s expo will feature nearly 100 exhibitors and demonstrators offering free educational workshops.
Expo Manager Tori Berube said the idea for the event all started when Steve Taylor of the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture wanted to bring together agricultural and forestry professionals. Since then, it has grown into a family-friendly event attracting more than 5,000 people over each of the two days.
“The two staples of the expo for the past 34 years have been the trade shows and the educational programming,” she said. “The programs ... are for the general public and are presented by professionals from local organizations on topics relevant to agriculture and forestry today.”
Among the old favorites returning to this year’s expo are a workshop on chainsaw safety and another on the pros and cons of using local trees for maple sugar production. Berube said nearly all of the companies and exhibitors participating in the expo are either based in or do business in New Hampshire. Longtime exhibitors have included the New Hampshire Division of Forests and Lands and the UNH Cooperative Extension.
“We’re actually also doing a workshop for farmers who have their own small businesses on how to cultivate their social media presence, and others on helping them with their income taxes,” Berube said.
Epping-based author Kevin Martin, who penned the book Big Trees of New Hampshire, is also expected to give a talk about where you can find the Granite State’s biggest trees.
“There’s a little bit of something for everyone,” Berube said. “Even for someone who doesn’t own a farm, we’ll have a workshop on Saturday afternoon about what to do or what you need to know if you get chickens for eggs and meat.”
Stop by the Kids Zone at the expo, which will have a variety of hands-on activities for kids and opportunities to meet live farm animals. Kids can plant their own tree seeds, build their own flower boxes and make their own organic yogurt.
“We’ll also have people from 4-H come on both days, and they bring their animals,” Berube said. “They bring bunnies, chicks, baby goats, baby sheep and pigs. … The New Hampshire Farm Bureau always brings chicks that hatch on that day, so people will be able to see baby chicks poking through the shells and have a fresh batch of newborn chicks to hold.”
Other family-friendly activities at the expo include opportunities to climb up on a red tractor, courtesy of the International Harvester Collectors Club’s New England chapter.
You can also play Farmo, a Bingo-like game managed by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, and win prizes.
“You get a question relative to a business or organization at the expo and kids go around the expo floor trying to figure out which booth to go to to answer the question,” Berube said. “So for example, you might get asked how many gallons of sap it takes to make one gallon of maple syrup. … So it just gives vendors the opportunity to explain the process and kids the opportunity to learn fun things.”
For food, there will be several NH Made products available that will include whoopie pies, popcorn, ice cream and maple sugar and candy products.
Berube said the reason the expo is held during the winter has to do with more farmers and members of the agricultural and forestry communities having the availability.
“[February] is a nice time of year for all our farmers to come, because it gives them time to plan what gardens or crops they are managing for the upcoming season,” Berube said. 

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