Many farmers are not set up to sell retail. They may have a couple of old refrigerators in their garage, with cheese or milk and a "serve yourself" sign and payment on the honor system. Or, they may make sure that someone is there on certain afternoons every week, to be available for folks who want to come and buy. Farmers Markets have helped a lot - you can talk to a lot of farmers all in one place.
But here in the northeast, the farmers market season is short. A new development is the winter farmers market - there are links to local ones below. But you can also contact farmers directly. You need to plan ahead, though. These folks are hardworking and many hold down off-farm jobs in order to make ends meet. Call ahead, and find out if they have self-serve or if there are days that someone is there to sell you meat or milk.
WINTER FARMERS MARKETS IN SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE 2010-2011
In the last couple of years, a lot of farmers in this area have "gotten it" that people want to buy good meat locally, and they have started showing up at their local farmers' markets with coolers full of frozen meat. This is a wonderful change, and a great way to meet the farmers and find out more about their methods. If you're anything like me, raised in the suburbs of Massachusetts, I've had everything to learn about what's involved with raising animals for meat.
You may already know about the winter farmers markets through Seacoast Eat Local in Rollinsford and Exeter, New Hampshire. These markets take place 10am - 2pm on a couple of Saturdays a month , November through April. Complete set of dates can be found here: http://www.seacoasteatlocal.org/winterfarmersmarkets/index.html
This winter, the towns of Salem and Derry, New Hampshire are also putting on winter farmers markets. These markets are not listed with the Seacoast Local ones. The Salem Farmers Market will be on Saturday mornings, November to March. Up-to-date information on the Salem NH Farmers Market here: http://www.salemnhfarmersmarket.com/
Derry Farmers Market will be held on Sundays, Noon - 4pm, on first and third Sundays, November through March, at Veterans Hall, 31 West Broadway, Derry NH. Details: http://derry-nh.org/Pages/index
Local farmers you can contact directly:
Raw milk, yogurt, quark, meats.
Hurd Farm, Hampton NH - 603-944-6869
Naturally raised beef, pork, poultry and eggs.
Harrisons Poultry Farm, Candia NH – 603-587-0323
Chicken, guinea fowl, turkeys. Eggs, honey, maple products.
Riverslea Farm, Epping NH – 603-679-2629
Lamb and goat meat, wool products, lambskins.