“We moved to New Hampshire in 2007 to start, what we called at the time, the Bardo project. We were looking for land along with another couple for a place where we could pursue any business ideas we had – from alternative schools to teaching homesteading and survival skills, things like that.

“We ended up finding a place that already had some farm animals. My husband and I, being the animal lovers that we are, always wanted that sort of life. We wanted to be completely off grid and we started by learning a bunch of homesteading skills, gardening and making our own maple syrup.

“When we started farming, my husband and I loved it. The farm just kept growing, we had our meat in restaurants and sold at farmer’s markets. But after the restaurant we were in partnership with went under, we had to take a step back and figure out what to do next.

“We had a lot of support from our community and among local friends. That helped as we started selling CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] farm shares by switching over to monthly meat subscriptions. That became our main way of selling.

“We’ve been very lucky as a business during the pandemic. Our business has doubled. Many people who were on the fence about buying from us – or have heard about us for years but weren’t ready – began to get worried they wouldn’t be able to get meat from a store.

“When things started getting a little crazy in March, and we were suddenly at home more, we thought, ‘O.K., more time to farm’ or for other projects. Then I started getting calls and more calls. We sell piglets in the springtime and normally we would sell maybe 100 at the most. But we sold out so quickly. We heard about all these factory farms closing and people started to worry about meat shortages.

“We realized we needed to ramp up on the farm. So, we got more animals and I was receiving calls daily – not just inquiries but sign-ups every single day for a month and a half. Many people wanted to ensure that they were going to have meat later this year, thinking, ‘what it’s going to be like later in the year’ or ‘what winter will look like.’

“At first, we were questioning whether this growth was going to be sustainable or was this just a spike before it goes back to how it was. I think that once people taste our meat and meet us and see the farm, they’ll continue to buy from us. We say, ‘once you go Bardo bacon, you never go back!’ Now we’re almost in August, and we haven’t lost any of our new customers.

“The business climate here in New Hampshire is better than some other states – certainly Vermont, which is where I’m from. While we are lucky to be doing well, I have many business owner friends that have been strongly affected during this time.

“There are all these businesses that have been forced to shut down, lost employees and are trying to recover now. I think any tax hike in general is bad. There shouldn’t be any automatic tax hikes, especially now. It’s a no-brainer.

“To consider [an automatic tax hike] now would mean these businesses aren’t being valued like they should be. We should be supporting small businesses and not be making it more difficult on people.”

Emily Smith
Bardo Farm
Croydon, New Hampshire