After a long day of digging deep and testing oneself in the saddle, riders turn the final corner and are met by a truly bucolic scene offering the warmth of a campfire, an overflowing food buffet set out under twinkling lights of the barn and the bleating of lambs as they welcome you to Mayfair Farm. Each year, OBC partners with Mayfair Farm, in Harrisville, New Hampshire, to provide an authentic overnight farm experience for riders of the Maneha 250.
Owners, Sarah and Craig, heeded the call of farming in 2011 when they moved their family to Harrisville to run a diversified family farm and kitchen. Mayfair Farm sustainably and humanely raise both pigs and lambs, alongside two orchards of blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, apples, and pears. Their farm store offers a wide selection of their own lamb, pork, sausage, in-season fresh fruit and maple syrup, along with homemade pastries and prepared foods like chicken pot pies and quiches. They support other local farms by selling eggs, honey, chicken, beef, jams and soaps. They sell online, too! With their on-site commercial kitchen, Sarah and her team -- including her lovely mom -- offer true farm-to-table catering and events with an emphasis on seasonal, local menus.
Mayfair’s farming focus is on raising old style pig breeds and Dorset cross lambs in the woods and on pasture. A mix of heritage and old style breeds, their pigs enjoy year-round access to the outdoors and spend the temperate seasons pastured in the New England woodlands. There, they forage and romp, eating nuts, roots and non-GMO grains raised and milled specially for them. Mayfair Farm pigs live the good life!
After our Maneha riders have changed into warmer clothes to ward off the chilly late spring evening in the mountains, they choose just the right spots to set up their tents and then head back down to the barn for a homemade feast by Sarah and her team. In between visits to the food buffet, riders enjoy mingling with the pigs, penned up in the barn. When they do wake from their often noisy slumbers, you may just be met with one jumping up on the fence to give you a snout close-up and a cheery snort. We’re hoping that Peanut Butter, a crowd favorite, will be there again this year to hang with us. The evening continues with riders drinking beer around the campfire in the shadow of Mt. Monadnock while sharing tales of the day, marveling at the lambs and Mayfair’s friendly sheep dog, Thelma. Riders slowly trickle up to their tents to rest their tired legs and lay their heads down for a good night’s rest under the stars in preparation for the return leg of Maneha the next morning.
Before even the sun rises, our cow bell alarm rings. Riders wake to another overflowing buffet, this one full of homemade granola, pancakes and freshly scrambled farm eggs. Breakfast boasts views of Mt. Monadnock from the plateau on the top of the farm’s tallest hill. The warmth of Sarah and Craig’s hosting is found in the details of hot coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, warm pastries, and friendly early morning smiles.
For Maneha riders, the stay at Mayfair Farm is part of a remarkable riding experience with the farm offering a place of rejuvenation, a connection to animals, and the solace of nature. We look forward to the challenging two days of riding, to the amazing meals we will share at Mayfair Farm and the connections we will forge.