Rich soil and a favorable climate were the main objectives for Bob and Carol Russell. The year was 1982 and the Russells had been growing grapes in Dighton for years. Their goal, however, was to find the right combination of soil quality and climate to begin larger scale growing grapes and producing high quality sparkling wine, so they began to search across the world for the perfect place to begin. They searched in France. They searched in California. Fortunately for all of us in Southeastern Massachusetts, they didn’t have to search for long…or very far.
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Farmers are an indispensible part of our civilization. Despite the fact that all too many in this day and age are unaware of how their own food systems work, everyone becomes very aware when the price of things like oranges, tomatoes, eggs and milk go up because of production issues. We become more acutely aware of those things when we are deprived of them. Our farmers and growers make sure we can feed our bodies. The folks at Colchester Neighborhood Farm in Plympton are doing that, and then some. They’re working to provide independence and purpose as well.
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As the “Buy Local” movement grows and the market for locally grown agricultural products expands, more and more people are stepping out of their comfort zone and trying unique products previously unfamiliar to them. Joining a CSA may mean you’ll receive fruits and vegetables and other items that you may not have used before. Exposure to a greater diversity of agricultural products is one of the great benefits of buying locally, and raw milk is certainly a part of that.
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If you go by the numbers, Norfolk County has the least amount of farms in Massachusetts outside of Dukes, Nantucket, and Suffolk counties. The number of acres farmed is comparatively lower than many other counties, as is the median size of farm. True, numbers don’t lie, but they don’t always tell the full story. While the scale of agriculture may not be as great as other counties, Norfolk certainly makes up the difference in diversity and quality. A trip to Ward’s Berry Farm is all you need to understand that.
Located in Sharon, its over two hundred acres sprawl across several lots and streets and yet, very quickly after arriving, you feel right at home. Wandering in the greenhouse area, a young farmhand in his early 20s struck up a conversation about what’s starting to grow after a long winter thaw. His youthful enthusiasm wasn’t an anomaly, and it wasn’t restricted to the young people I met. Ward’s is certainly large but, at its core, it is a family farm…and families care. Read more →
When one hears about a local farm, it’s natural to conjure up images of wide open skies over rows and rows of corn, cows grazing in verdant plains, a tractor in the distance…you know, typical bucolic New England. So you’d be forgiven if, on a drive through Attleboro, you zoomed right past 2 Friends Farm and didn’t even realize it. I sure did! Set in a former factory in an industrial park on the outskirts of a blue-collar Southeastern Massachusetts city, 2 Friends’ exterior appearances can be deceiving…but walk up a flight of stairs, open the door, and you find yourself surrounded by light, rows and rows of delicate green vegetables and more than a little magic. Read more →