By Craig Thompson, Mayfair Farm

The thing with pigs is that every sound they make sounds like giving birth.  Or what you might think a sow giving birth might sound like.  When you walk into the pig barn in the morning and wonder if there are any new piglets on the way, the sounds you hear might make you think there are.   Grunts, heaves, barks – all part of the language pigs speak.  But none of them mean piglets are coming.  When piglets are coming, everyone in the pig barn is actually kind of quiet.  Like someone hung out a sign – “Shhhh – piglets coming.  Quiet please.”

Co-op Staff Member, Matt West, traveled to Mayfair Farm this week.

Co-op Staff Matt West met Mayfair Farm’s newest arrivals this week.

A pig that is soon to have a litter will look the part.  Her belly will hang low filled with milk.   She might get a little irritable, short tempered even, towards her barn mates.  Of course she might do this a couple days before giving birth or a couple weeks, so even if she knows when it’s going to happen, she’ll keep you guessing.  Which isn’t such a bad approach on her part, because when she starts to act this way you’ll probably move her to nicer housing, make sure she has lots of clean straw, and probably pick out the best kitchen scraps for her.  Maybe some left over pizza or bananas.

While she’s enjoying her upgraded accommodations you’ll check on her several times a day, handing her that pizza or banana and scratching behind her ears.  And she’ll make sure you get a good look at her profile, sagging low towards the ground, to make sure you don’t forget just how pregnant she is.  She’ll take the treat you offer her and grunt a bit, not in labor but in thanks, and look back over her shoulder at you as if to say, “Soon, but not right now, Mister. Maybe later.”

This will probably go on for several days.  Even weeks.  But it will eventually end.  You’ll know you’re getting close on the day when you look into the pig barn and see that she has rearranged her private accommodations.  The straw will no longer cover the floor in an even yellow carpet, but instead she will have pushed and pulled it into a bed.  Maybe all the straw will be piled in one corner.  Or a mound in the middle of everything.  When you offer her some left over peanut butter toast, she won’t even take a look.  No.  In fact she won’t even come across the stall to see you, but instead will wait quietly – no grunting, heaving or barking – for you to leave.  And you will leave, both because she’s asked you to and because there’s nothing for you to do but wait.

As you go about your day you’ll check in on her and at some point when you look in she’ll be nursing a couple pink little piglets at her side.  And when you stop by again during the day there will be a couple more.  And over the course of several hours they will keep multiplying by her side till there are eight or ten or even 12 or more, all in a jumbled, wiggling row competing for space along her belly.  When you finally get a good look, maybe by going into the stall and sitting at her head to scratch her ears, you’ll see a row of piglets so long the first is nursing between her front legs and the last just visible between her back legs.  And what you’ll hear then won’t be the barking and heaving and grunting of everyday life, but the sound of contentment.

New litter of piglets at Mayfair Farm.

New litter of piglets at Mayfair Farm.


Kerry KelleyWe hit double digits today — in terms of the number of staff we currently employ!  We welcome Customer Service/Front End Manager, Kerry Kelley to the Monadnock Food Co-op’s staff.

Kerry worked at United Natural Foods, Inc. in Chesterfield, where she was a Purchasing Associate. She also served as Teller Supervisor at Granite Bank in Keene, before running her own day care service.

“Kerry’s ‘above and beyond’ customer service ethic and her warm smile will set the bar high for our Front End team,” said Michael Faber, General Manager of the Monadnock Food Co-op.

Kerry Kelley started working for the co-op on February 27, 2013.

Justin Somma 2We welcome our first Grocery Manager, Justin Somma to the Monadnock Food Co-op team.

Justin owned and operated a hardware store in Hunter, NY for the past seven years.  He returned with his family to the Keene area to take advantage of the many quality of life benefits afforded by the city.  While in the area prior, he worked in marketing and publishing in Keene and Peterborough.

“Justin’s entrepreneurial background and experience managing sales, margin and labor in a retail setting is a great addition to our store,” said Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager, Michael Faber.

Justin Somma started working for the co-op on February 25, 2013.

Farm Appreciation Night 2013 at Stonewall Farm

Friday, March 8, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM
Hosted By Monadnock Farm and Community Connection

Farm Appreciation Night is a night of merriment and tribute to the farmers who enable us to eat local, farm-fresh foods throughout the season, contribute to our community, and help preserve the rural feel and agricultural heritage of the beautiful Monadnock Region. This volunteer-run event brings farmers and the broader public together to kick back, eat, drink, and be merry together – and perhaps even dance a little!

View all the details and PRE-REGISTER today!

FAN onlineposter

February Focus: Soil & Seeds

Here’s What You May Win in February:

$50 Gift Certificate to Ideal Compost

$25 Gift Certificate to Solstice Seeds

Jack Discover Local

How to Enter:

Current Member-Owners – Forward our discover local email template to friends, family and neighbors today.


Not-Yet Member-Owners – Join today (or anytime before February 28, 2013)!

Find out more about our Discover Local Promotion

Questions?  Please contact marketing@monadnockfood.coop

The store window installation is over halfway complete.  We learned today that some of the windows weigh 400 pounds each! Dry wall taping started and priming of the walls begins on Friday.  The building project continues to run on schedule — which means an early April co-op opening! 

Tuscan Hummus

From Glenn Sibley, Our Prepared Food Manager

This creamy smooth hummus is made with cannellini beans, instead of chickpeas. Try it at home today and look forward to buying it at the co-op in early April!

  • 30 oz cannellini beans rinsed and drained
  • 5 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1/2 cup sesame seed paste (tahini)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Pinch of ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Blend all the ingredients until smooth and enjoy.

Member-Owner Feedback:

Upon receiving one of your latest news letters, I decided to try Glenn Sibley’s Tuscan Hummus recipe because it looked like a winner. The verdict: It is an excellent recipe and it should sell well! The only thing I changed was the salt amount. I added only 1 tsp of sea salt vs 1 1/2 as recommended. We are thrilled to have a new recipe but equally thrilled that you will have this one in store when we are rushed for time.