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Specialty Crop Producers Business Planning Course

The Cheshire County Conservation District, the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are partnering to host a free 7-week-long business planning course (waived fee of $600!) for speciality crop producers in New Hampshire.

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The Cheshire County Conservation District, the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship, and National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) are partnering to host a free 7-week-long business planning course (waived fee of $600!) for specialty crop producers in New Hampshire. Specialty crops are defined in law as, “fruits and vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits and horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture". Read the full definition here.


Classes will take place in person at the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship in Keene, NH. Participating farmers must commit to attending all sessions in person. 

The 2023 Course will begin on January 12th, 2023 and course ends on February 23rd, 2023.

The course will meet every Thursday from 4:00pm-7:00pm.

Throughout the course, farmers will learn how to:

  • Enhance the competitiveness of your business

  • Receive technical assistance

  • Receive peer support from other speciality crop producers

  • Create a business plan

  • Receive a $2,000 stipend to implement your plan at the end of the course!

Informational Session Materials:

Application Information and Application Selection Process:

  • Limited spots are available, and Cheshire County farmers will receive priority, although New Hampshire farmers outside of Cheshire County are encouraged to apply!


The following criteria will be taken into consideration for selection:

  • Must be a specialty crop producer in New Hampshire (or planning to be)

  • Producers Needs/Goals are a good match with program curriculum

  • Initial plans to use the $2,000 stipend is appropriate

  • Demonstrated interest in improving profitability and efficiency of your business 

  • Demonstrated trajectory for growth/plans for growth

  • Percentage of your income coming from your farm

  • Demonstrated readiness to participate, strong interest, can commit to fully to the course

  • Historically underserved, beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers are encouraged to apply!

  • Willingness to complete the Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship intake form that is required for participation.

  • Willingness to comply with all relevant Covid-19 safety protocols such as masking and social distancing

Ready to Apply?


Questions/Request to Receive a Printed Application:

Contact or call 603-756-2988 x4

Funding for this program is provided in part by the New Hampshire Department Of Agriculture and the Markets & Food USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Our 2022-23 Application Cycle is Now Closed

Applications are due by November 30, 2022!

Apply here!

View application questions before filling out application, here!

Past Business Course Attendees:


Doug Clayton and Aaron Abitz, Fassett Farm Nursery, Jaffrey, NH

Aaron Abitz, a landscaper with decades of experience and owner of Katsura Landcare and Doug Clayton, self-employed property steward, edible landscaper, permaculture designer, etc., are joining together to create a new business they are calling "Fassett Farm Nursery"; where they intend to propagate perennial plants, focusing on species and cultivars of special interest to permaculturists, edible landscapers and customers interested in natives, pollinators, wildlife, etc.  This is a niche market not being well served in the Monadnock region.


Rachel Patterson, Headwaters Homestead, Nelson, NH

Headwaters Homestead is a small, diversified family farm on a hilltop in Nelson, New Hampshire. Owned and operated by Rachel and Daniel Patterson and their young children, Headwaters Homestead uses regenerative farming practices to grow nutrient dense food that is good for people and the planet. Headwaters Homestead specializes in flavor-driven, heirloom cool season crops as well as pastured raised lambs and poultry. Conscious consumers can have access to local, healthy food, year round.


Andal Sunaramurthy, Nalla Farm, Wilmot, NH

Nalla Farm is run by Andal Sundaramurthy and is located in Wilmot, NH. There is nearly 1 acre of gardens plus 2 high tunnels. Crops include mixed vegetables, small fruit, and cut flowers. Sale of produce is to a 10 member CSA, local farmers market, and various wholesale. As the only commercial farm in town with the nearest grocery store 9 miles away, Nalla Farm is committed to improving local access to fresh food.


Jenna and Tyler Rich, Partners’ Gardens LLC, Nelson, NH

Partners’ Gardens is a minimal-till market garden organically growing produce and cut flowers in Nelson, NH whose customers are locavores, creative chefs and community members who want to support and buy local. They provide high quality produce and fresh cut flowers for those who want to know their farmers. Partners’ Gardens strives to create a community where local food on every menu is expected, not an exception.


Jack Rixey, Tracie’s Community Farm, Fitzwilliam, NH

Tracie's  Community Farm is owned by Tom and Mary Frazier and operated by Jack Rixey in Fitzwilliam, NH. Jack has been running Tracie's farm, initially under Tracie Loock, since October 2017. Tracie's offers a diverse selection of carefully grown produce through a CSA, on site farm stands, and off-site farmers markets. A farm-to-door delivery option in their CSA allows Tracie’s Farm to reach a wider customer base, while expanding access to locally grown food.


David and Amanda Wadleigh, Kimball Fruit Farm

Kimball Fruit Farm is a 176 acre farm owned by David and Amanda Wadleigh. The farm straddles the border of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Kimballs sells a diverse selection of produce at both their farm stand in Pepperell, MA and farmer’s markets in the greater Boston Area - providing local families with the opportunity to enjoy healthy foods together.

Anthony Munene, Two Mountain Farm, Andover, NH


Two Mountain Farm is a family operation that produces fruits, vegetables, garlic, herbs and flowers. Farmers Anthony and Andrea Munene have over 35 years combined experience in organic agriculture and community food systems. Customers have the opportunity to access a wide variety of fresh, chemical free food that is local and in season, via Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares, available for pickup at the farm and at Sunapee Farmers Market from May-September.


Gerianne Fierro, Lucky 13 Farm, Winchester, NH


Lucky 13 Farm is a transition organic family farm located in Sunny Valley, Winchester NH. They grow a variety of specialty vegetables sold through their on-site farm stand, farmers markets, and wholesale accounts. Their mission is to engage children in healthy eating and provide affordable, chemical-free produce to the Monadnock region. Melissa Spencer, Ripple Cut Flower Farm Ripple Cut Flower Farm, llc is a specialty cut flower farm located in the heart of the Monadnock Region. Our flowers supply a 3-season CSA, floral designers and wholesale accounts. Situated on ten-acres, we are developing a pollinator patch, use no-till farming, crop rotation and ethical foraging. Our belief is that we are interconnected and responsible to the plants, animals and soil and steward and grow from this space of reverancy.


Lauren Hubele, Gemmo Forest, Keene, NH


The Gemmo Forest, a woman-led foundation, grows and produces herbal extracts, known as Gemmotherapy, from native trees and shrubs. An extension of Lauren Hubele’s established training, import, and online sales LLC it serves health practitioners, families, and individuals through all stages of life. Inspired by shortages faced during the lockdown periods of 2020-2022 Lauren selected Keene to begin the first full-scale production and training forest site for Gemmo extracts in the United States.


Chris Faucher, Ashuelot Farmers Collective


The Ashuelot Farmers Collective is a collective working to support young and beginning farmers to overcome barriers related to farm start up, provide agricultural labor services to new and existing small farms, and improve quality of life for both farmers and farm workers while promoting and implementing climate conscious regenerative growing practices. The AFC is seeking land for the creation of an incubator farm and communal wash-pack processing and storage facility. Member-grown produce will be aggregated for wholesale, farmers markets, and retail sales at the member-owned Ashuelot General Store. In addition to farm services, the Ashuelot Farmers Collective plans to sell regenerative landscaping, habitat restoration, soil remediation and redevelopment services.


Amanda Allen, Woods and Weiland Farm, Peterborough, NH


Woods and Weiland Farm is a husband and wife operated micro farm, focused on supplying the Monadnock region with organically grown culinary mushrooms. Their mushrooms are distributed direct to consumer and local farmers markets as well as specialty grocery stores.


Hans Mayer, Farthest Field Farm, East Alstead, NH


Farthest Field Farm is located in East Alstead NH and is currently a diversified homestead. We are in the process of land preparation for planting a 3-5 acre mixed nut orchard focusing on Chinese chestnuts, hybrid hazelnuts and heart nuts. We plan to integrate animals and small fruit production. Our hope is to regenerate the land and community while contributing to the resilience of our local food system. Go Nuts!


Louis Plante, Bear Mountain Maple, Hinsdale, NH


We are a 2nd generation family-owned and operated maple syrup farm located in the beautiful Monadnock region of southern New Hampshire since 1993. We make our 100% pure New Hampshire maple syrup the old-fashioned way, with a wood-fired evaporator and no sap processing. We offer traditional maple syrup as well as other variants such as cinnamon, coffee and smoked chile infused.


David Hoffman, Seward Mountain Farm, Sullivan, NH


Seward Mountain Farm grows specialty vegetables and fruits for local restaurants that use local ingredients. SMF’s mission is to provide consistent and high-quality produce and its vision is to bring unique local food to restaurants and their customers. In 2022, SMF switched to growing only grapes and specialty fruits for commercial purposes.


Katherine Woodard, Woodard’s Sugar House, Surry, NH


Woodard’s Sugar House, LLC is a small maple sugaring operation located in Surry, NH. They have just under 1,000 taps and strive to maintain an efficient process while maintaining a quality product. Their premium maple products are sold at local farmers markets, through wholesale, craft fairs, at the sugar house and online.


Jean Balamuth, Cook Hill Farm, Alstead, NH


Cook Hill Farm, LLC since 2011, is a pledged Organic grower in Southwest New Hampshire, with Onions being its finest specialty field crop so far. Michael and Jean Balamuth are owner- operators with the aim to let the farm’s successional habitat be the governing principle in the growing decisions they make. Building the soil with on- farm –inputs and removing rocks has yielded good places to grow annual and perennial crops.


Owen Kohout, Mountain Ed’s Orchard, Alstead, NH


Mountain Ed’s Orchard is an apple orchard in Alstead, NH currently being renovated, diversified, and expanded to include multiple types of fruit and nut trees, as well as improved inter-row forage production for sheep grazing. The farm hopes to market its fruit, nuts, and meat through farmers’ markets and local wholesale accounts – restaurants, food shelves, and co-ops.

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