The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Oasis Springs Farm 

Fall/winter share program 
Program runs for 10 weeks, Oct. 17 through Dec. 19, with weekly pickup. For more information and to sign up, visit
• A full share includes five mini or full heads of lettuce, two bags of kale, chard or salad mix, and one bunch of the herb of the week. $20/week ($200 total). 
• A half share includes three mini or full heads of lettuce, one bag of kale, chard or salad mix, and one bunch of the herb of the week. $15/week ($150 total). 
• A just-lettuce share includes five heads of lettuce and a bag of salad mix. $15/week ($150 total). 
Pickup locations and times: 
• Nashua YMCA (24 Stadium Drive, Nashua) on Wednesdays, from 4 to 6 p.m.
• Great Harvest Bread Company (4 Sunapee St., Nashua) on Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Mondays, from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
Find them at the farmers market:
(Check for updates.)
Nashua: Sundays, Oct. 9 and Oct. 16, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Main Street 
Merrimack: Wednesdays, Oct. 5 and Oct. 12, 3 to 6 p.m., at 526 Daniel Webster Hwy.
How to use winter greens
Since there isn’t a lot of other local produce available during the colder months to complement the greens, Ward suggests incorporating them into more wintery dishes. Shred them up and mix into a hot soup, saute them and use as a side with a roasted meat, or try them in an egg bake like this one: 
Breakfast egg bake 
Courtesy of Sarah Ward 
Dozen eggs
½ cup water
Kale or Swiss chard
Feta cheese
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Saute onions in olive oil until slightly brown. 
Add greens until wilted. 
Whisk eggs and water and pour into 9x13 buttered glass pan. 
Add in kale and onions and top with feta cheese, salt and pepper. 
Bake at 275 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Winter greens
New hydroponic farm grows lettuce year round

By Angie Sykeny

 While many New Hampshire farmers are wrapping things up for the season, Sarah and Chris Ward of Oasis Springs Farm in Nashua are just getting started. That’s because they practice hydroponics, a method of indoor farming that uses nutrient-infused water rather than soil. 

In a 40-by-8-foot recycled shipping container in their backyard, the Wards grow a variety of lettuces, including butterhead, oakleaf, romaine, bibb and a mixed green blend; greens such as kale, Swiss chard, arugula, mustard greens, sorrel and Kalettes; and herbs like cilantro, thyme, oregano, dill, mint, shiso, parsley and basil. 
“The idea started last winter,” Sarah Ward said. “I’ve always loved eating local … and [Chris] likes to have activities during the winter to stay busy, so we started experimenting with home hydroponics and fell in love with it … and wanted to take what we learned to a higher level and share it with the community.” 
There are several different methods of hydroponics. Oasis Springs uses a setup in which the plants grow in vertical towers while the water runs along the top and drips down into the crops. The water is recycled through the system for up to 12 weeks, making the hydroponic farm more conservative with water than most regular farms. A high-tech system measures and controls the temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels and LED “sunlight,” as well as the quality, temperature and pH levels of the water to ensure ideal growing conditions. 
Since there is no soil and no bugs, the produce comes out completely clean and free of herbicides or pesticides. According to Ward, it tastes better, too. 
“Hydroponic lettuce is different. It has a nice, deep color and it’s very crisp which people like,” she said. “It’s not true for everything — romaine is always going to be romaine — but for something like arugula, it’s definitely different and has a stronger bite to it.” 
Since reaping their first harvest in early September, the Wards have been participating in the Nashua and Merrimack farmers markets selling heads of lettuce and premade salad mixes in regular, spicy (includes mustard greens) and sweet (includes sorrel) varieties. They’re currently accepting registrants for a 10-week share program, which will run October through December. 
“The big thing is that we can do it year round. I think it’s huge for New Hampshire to have that resource,” Ward said. “Now we just want to see how things go and see what kind of feedback we get from the community.”

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