Experience Green Lodging at Our Working Farm in Walpole NH
When our family purchased Valley Farms in 1998, the property was a defunct dairy farm consisting of 105-acres of fields and forest, two historic homes, two humongous barns and numerous outbuildings and every single square inch of the property was in desperate need of tons of TLC. Having no farming or innkeeping experience did not deter us. A family venture from the start with three generations participating in the loving restoration of the property, we opened the doors of the Inn at Valley Farms in the fall of 1999. Today, in addition to offering lodging, Walpole Valley Farms is a vibrant pasture-based farm raising 100% grass-fed beef, heritage breeds of pork, chicken, turkey, eggs, cashmere goats, and a wide variety of herbs, edible flowers, produce, small fruits, and perennial flowers.
Managing Our Organic Pasture-Based Farm
Although we choose not to go through the paperwork of the organic certification process, we follow or go beyond all organic growing standards including no-till gardening with our plant production and sustainable farming practices such as intensive rotational grazing with all of our animals. We strive to raise the cleanest, healthiest food we can, not only for ourselves, but also our guests and customers. Much of the produce we grow on the farm is used directly in our daily three-course farm-to-table breakfast we serve to our inn guests or enjoyed by our cottage guests cooking a “local” meal in the cottage/farmhouse kitchens or on the grill. We also sell our products directly to the general public from our farm store as well as in several local food co-ops and restaurants. We are blessed to be located in a rich agricultural area surrounded by many farmers with similar growing beliefs. A stay on our farm gives our guests an unparallel local food experience they’ll treasure for a lifetime – an opportunity to see, feel, touch, and taste such a diverse array of natural food and farming at its best. We welcome you to our farm and are eager to share our passion with you.
Our Environmental Philosophy
Walpole Valley Farms is an organic farm offering green bed and breakfast accommodations to guests who want to experience farm life, interact with farm animals, and learn about local sustainable agriculture. Enjoy this unique opportunity to learn about and experience a New England farm stay.Our farm was certified organic in 1998 when we purchased it, which means no chemical fertilizers or pesticide sprays have been used on any of our 105 acres since at least 1995. Instead, we use crop and animal rotation and focus on building healthy soils to prevent insects and disease from devastating any of our crops.
Additionally, since the opening of our bed and breakfast in the fall of 1999, we’ve taken many steps to create green travel accommodations. We want to ensure that our impact on our local and global environment is as little as reasonably possible, while still providing our guests the special comforts they expect and deserve. Because environmental stewardship is important to so many of our guests, we’ve outlined some of our practices below.
- We strive to consume food grown without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, antibiotics, and growth hormones; so we grow as much of our own food as possible. It is that same food we use to prepare breakfast at the inn including our own pastured organic eggs, produce, herbs, edible flowers, and fruit. Our breakfast menu always centers around what’s fresh and in season to make use of our own as well as other local foods. What we don’t grow ourselves we try and purchase from neighbors who share our same values as much as possible.
- In the inn, we use fair-trade organic coffee air-roasted by local Pierce Brothers Coffee. A fine selection of organic teas is also always available.
- Our animals enjoy much of the food waste generated by our guests as well as our kitchen prep waste. What cannot be fed to the animals (coffee grinds, egg shells, etc.) is composted with yard waste, animal manure and bedding to enrich our garden soil the following year.
- We donate our excess produce bounty to local soup kitchens and food pantries as well as our used or excess items such as dishes, towels, and sheets.
- All natural, biodegradable, environmentally friendly cleaning products including dish soap, laundry detergent, all-purpose and glass cleaners are used throughout the property, virtually eliminating the use of “traditional” cleaning chemicals. Removing harsh chemical cleaners from the farm makes a safer indoor environment for our guests as well as reducing environmental impact. Further, these products are purchased in bulk whenever possible, saving fossil fuels used in the production of plastic containers and the transportation necessary to get them here.
- We exclusively use recycled content toilet paper, tissues, and unbleached paper towels throughout our property. We provide organic shampoo, conditioner, and liquid hand soap in refillable dispensers as well as NH made Jenness Farm goat milk bar soap in all our guest rooms. Recycled content paper is used for all copy paper, Inn stationery, and guest notepads.
- Guest towels are organic cotton, and sheets, as we replace them, are organic cotton as well. Guest bed linens and towels are changed by request and for each new guest significantly reduces water and detergent use.
- Energy efficient appliances and fixtures are installed whenever a new purchase is made and compact fluorescent and energy efficient LED bulbs are used indoors and outdoors throughout our property.
- We recycle all newspaper, cardboard, mixed paper, aluminum, glass, and 1-7 plastic whenever possible and encourage our guests to do the same. Additionally, we are constantly reclaiming materials from one project to use on another.
- We have created an on-site interpretive center that is available to all visitors explaining the many sustainable practices they can see first-hand on our farm.
- Our gardens have been transitioned to “no-till,” which means they never get tilled (mechanically or otherwise). By not tilling the soil we avoid disrupting nature’s natural layering of the soil, improve soil productivity, greatly reduce the need for watering, and significantly reduce the amount of weeds and therefore weeding!
- Our commitment to a grazing practice for our animals called intensive rotational grazing not only provides our herds and flocks with a wider selection of grasses and therefore nutrition, but increases the productivity of our soils without the use of any fossil fuel-derived fertilizers.
- Dozens of varieties of produce, herbs, and edible flowers are labeled in our extensive organic gardens with key information giving guests a first-hand experience with “local food.”
- Our Cottages and Sunnyside Farmhouse all have full kitchens where we have placed recipes to further encourage guests to try new varieties of seasonal produce, herbs, and edible flowers that we grow, in their meals during their stay. Our pasture-raised meats are available for sale at the farm as well and can be cooked on the grills provided. A walk to Alyson’s Orchard allows guests an opportunity to pick their own fruit in season and fashion a dessert to top off their “local” meal – it doesn’t get much better (or more local) than this!
- Guests are encouraged to compost their own food waste generated on-site during their stay in our three-bin compost system. A sign hanging above the compost bins educates guests on what can and cannot be added to our compost.
- Environmentalism is not new for our family; it’s a way of life. Most, if not all of the following practices our family has been doing for the majority of our lives. Ingrained within our environmental ethos is a firm understanding of community, and our responsibility to preserve, protect, and enhance the natural wealth of our surroundings for future generations.
“Environmental Champion” NH Sustainable Lodging Program