Hank Kenney, Farmer
Marlborough, NH

Hank Kenney says he
always knew he wanted
to be a farmer from his
days as a youngster when
he spent time with his
uncles on their farms.
“All the people I envied
were farmers,” he says, “and they were my role models.”

Hank has been farming the land outside Marlborough since 1972. For nearly 20
years, it was a dairy farm with up to 70 cows. But they couldn’t make money at
it. Now the Kenneys focus on the maple syrup, which is available in about 10
stores in the area, and on the hay, which they sell to grain stores and big stables.

One of his favorite stories involves a group of middle school kids from Long
Island who came up for a visit on a cold, rainy day during sugaring season.
“Most had never been off the pavements,” he says. Hank gave them buckets and
took them out to show them how the sugaring was done. When they got back to
the house, one young boy looked at Hank and said: “Mr. Kenney, this is a lot of
work. Why don't you just buy your syrup at the supermarket?”

“People have gotten too far removed from the farm,” Hank says. “Fewer and
fewer people are directly involved with farming. They think food grows on the
store shelves.”

He wants them to know otherwise, which is why he hosts visitors to his farm
and why he is involved in other activities such as Stonewall Farm, a nonprofit
working farm in Keene, NH (
www.stonewallfarm.org) where he serves on the
board; the Conservation District Board, which is a watchdog to ensure soil
conservation; and the local County Extension Council. Each is important in
helping preserve farming as a way of life.

“Typically, farmers do a lot of community service,” Hank notes. “It's part of how
we live, as part of a community.”

Family is important to him. Not only does he farm with his son, but his sister
and her family live next door along with his 83-year-old mother. His other sister
and two brothers also live nearby and the family gathers for holiday dinners in
the more than 200-year-old farmhouse. “With the sugaring and the tours,” he
says, “the whole family gets involved. On a busy sugaring weekend, we might
have 12 family and neighbors up here.”

When he's not working on the farm or attending meetings, Hank likes to build
stone walls and restore antique tractors. And, on rare occasions, he might even
have the time to fish in the 40-acre lake on the farm. “I don't get much time to
fish,” Hank says, “but just knowing I can is worth it.”

Many thanks to Hannah Grimes Marketplace of Keene, NH for this page.You can
purchase Hank's maple syrup at
Hannah Grimes.
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