The NMH farm is a small, diversified operation that has been a part of school life since 1879. The farm is where many of our most cherished values—curiosity, hard work, creativity, and stewardship—come together. It’s a science lab, a work project, the source of delicious fresh food for our dining hall, and even a place to practice a bit of entrepreneurship.
We grow berries, tomatoes, pumpkins, asparagus, herbs, flowers, and make lavender soaps, apple cider, cheese, jams, and maple products. The vegetables and milk go to the dining hall, and if your timing is right, you'll be able to sample homemade ice cream when you visit. But maple sugaring is our largest endeavor. Over spring break we collect thousands of gallons of sap from our own maple trees and boil it down to syrup, which we sell, along with other farm products, to raise funds for the school. (Order here.)
Each term, roughly 35 students spend about four hours per week at the farm as part of their "workjob" requirement. Their duties might include harvesting asparagus and raspberries, pressing apples for cider, cleaning horse stalls, milking cows, cutting wood, building fences, or making cheese or jam. Students also can sign up to work on our sugaring operation for a six-day stretch over spring break. That’s eight to 12 hours a day, collecting sap and making maple syrup, and it fulfills your work requirement for either the entire winter or spring term.
Farm Manager Liam Sullivan ’05 earned his degree in Sustainable Agriculture at UMass–Amherst while working as the assistant manager of a large fruit and vegetable farm in Sunderland, Massachusetts. Before joining NMH, he mastered small herd management and the art of haymaking—in combination with sugaring and cider making—in Worcester County. He relishes the opportunity to work with young people in a learning environment.
NMH Farm Facts
- The farm includes a student-built greenhouse, a sugar house, and a cider house.
- 35 students work on the farm each term.
- 26,000 gallons of sap are collected to make approximately 600 gallons of syrup per year.
- 2,000 gallons of cider are pressed annually.
- 600 quarts of raspberries are picked every fall.
- 36 cords of wood (4,608 cubic feet) are burned in the evaporator every sugaring season.
- 1/2 acre of vera lavender is distilled down to one quart of lavender oil.
- Three dairy cows produce 12 gallons of milk daily.
- Ten gallons of milk go into an eight-pound wheel of farm cheddar cheese.