Heather Bowen of H&M Farmis what you can call a Jill of all trades. She has worn many hats throughout her life, from being a professor and teaching tourism & hospitality, to raising her own ducks, and most famously for her bread. The type of bread she makes ranges from sweet to savory. Some of my favorites being the cinnamon swirl, plain white, and, cheese. They are a staple at the Lunenburg Farmers Market, where she also happens to be the manager. Last year (with the help of Jackie Chabot owner of In the Meadow Farm), she helped to bring in fun events such as Family Day, Poopapalooza, Makers Day, and Fiber Day. These events helped to create a sense of community and also helped create an opportunity for folks to meet their local farmers.
I have had the pleasure of getting to know Heather over the holidays, she was even kind enough to invite me to her open house at her farm. As soon as I got there I was greeted with such warmth and kindness that it was very easy for me to lose track of time. However, the best part of the whole open house was being able to taste all of her breads. They all tasted amazing. Each kind had a wonderful crust with a super soft interior but hearty enough that they still had some texture. They also tasted delicious with the homemade jams she served alongside of them.
Heather began baking bread as a hobby at first (something that she did out of the love for baking for other people) but then after multiple requests for more bread she decided that maybe this is something that would do well at the Lunenburg Farmers Market, and she was right. Heather’s bread is now a staple at the Lunenburg Farmers Market and it now has its own following and club where members can buy loaves on a weekly basis. Even though she is well known for her bread, she also bakes pies as well, being sure to use locally sourced ingredients.
The reason that she knows where to get the best locally sourced ingredients is because her family has long roots in this area ( her family being connected to the once famous Whalom Park). She has lived in many places throughout her life, but like so many others who have left and then came back, she has made her way back here to Lunenburg to make a life for herself.
Heather truly picked an ideal place to have a farm. Lunenburg is a right to farm community and there are a lot of homes and properties that have enough acreage to do so, plus when all of your neighbors have farms or homesteads it’s hard not to want to become a farmer. But she has dreamed of her own farm since she was a little a girl, her parents often tried to quell her urge to bring home farm animals by letting her adopt all the cats she could find. In another attempt to satisfy her desire to own farm animals her parents sent her to Smithfield Farm (now known as Pine Fall Farm) where she spent most of her summers mucking stalls, feeding, and caring for the horses. It has been a long time since she has had to care for horses, although now her main focus is on her ducks.
I did not get a chance to taste the ducks that she has been raising, but if what they say is true about well loved animals tasting better then I’m sure that they taste divine. I had the opportunity to help Heather with her ducks and it was amazing to watch her interact with them. She knew each of their personalities, breeds, and color-while I stood there completely dumbfounded that she could even tell the difference between them. To the untrained eye they look just like a flock of ducks. Her immense knowledge of raising these animals blew me away. She could tell which ones were feeling anxious, lonely, or even feisty. She could read them better than I could read my own children. The love that she has for her animals, seriously had me contemplating raising my own birds, but I know better than to just jump into owning birds, especially after helping her muck all those stalls. It’s a lot of work caring for farm animals, it is something that you must be passionate about.
She has educated many people from our community about farm life and all the ugly that it entails. But she, like most of the farmers in our community, welcome a chance to educate people about farm life and she always has an open door policy at her farm. She is always open and always welcomes visitors. This is why she embodies the spirit of the Lunenburg farmer, someone who is open, knowledgeable, and willing to share.
Heather makes farm life look easy, even romantic in a way, but she has never been shy letting people know that having a farm is not pretty. It’s hard work, but ultimately it’s one of the most fulfilling things that you can ever do. It’s certainly not for everyone, but that’s why I’m so thankful for people like Heather who take joy in doing all the dirty work.
If you would like to purchase bread from H&M Farm or to inquire about ducks you can reach her via Facebook or call (540) 878-1259.