Bill wanted to be a farmer since he was twelve because his grandfather grew peaches, apples, and vegetables. He went to school to study agriculture and has been farming ever since, first in Vermont and has now owned Green Wagon Farm in Keene for almost 20 years. Bill describes the rewarding cycle of soil preparation, planting, and transplanting. This repeats until, “all of a sudden, boom! There it is. It’s just seeing it I guess, seeing it come out.” Seeing the vegetables spring forth from the ground is worth the hard work.
Green Wagon Farm grows on 20 acres in Keene and Surry, with a farm stand located on Court Street in Keene. Bill Jarrell grows vegetables using sustainable methods, and is current experimenting with composting municipal leaves in order to naturally improve the soil his vegetables draw their nutrients from, since composted manure is not readily available. His main crops are tomato, corn, onions and vines crops, such as cucumbers, squash, and melons – crops that are very popular with the loyal customers of his farm stand.
Bill has previously tried to sell through farmers markets and wholesale. However, he does not have enough time to pursue these markets. When he tried selling wholesale to local restaurants, it might take an hour to deliver a 20-pound box of tomatoes. Furthermore, when having to meet both the demands of a restaurant and the farm stand customers, sometimes a product may run short. Then he would have to face the difficulty of disappointing one of these two customers.
Monadnock Menus may be able to provide a solution by delivering products, instead of Green Wagon, and with other famers helping to supply the produce; a shortage of a product from Green Wagon can be compensated for by another farm. Bill thinks that Monadnock Menus will be good for the community and that “it would be neat to get some local stuff into the schools.” When Green Wagon has surplus food they give it to the volunteer-run Fall Mountain Food Pantry in Langdon, which serves the elderly, chronically ill and low-income families of Northern Cheshire County.