Copicut Farms – Dartmouth, MA
by Nicki Anderson
At Copicut Farms, it’s neither the chicken nor the egg that came first, but the willingness and dedication of one New England family. After years of work in science and education, Elizabeth and Vince Frary decided to pursue their dream of starting a farm. Now in their third season, Copicut Farms raises chickens (for eggs and meat), Cornish game hens and turkeys – about 3,000 birds in all on 80 acres of mixed woodland and pasture. Copicut Farms is a family owned operation that uses no hormones or antibiotics in any of their feeds, and Copicut birds enjoy a free range lifestyle, feeding on healthy pasture and fertilizing the soils along the way.
Although both Elizabeth and Vince grew up on and around farms (Elizabeth is a fourth generation family farmer!), neither of them had initially chosen farming as a career. Vince was a wildlife biologist for the state of Arizona and Elizabeth had earned her Masters in Elementary Education. Their early years of farming had instilled in them the values of hard work, dedication and a love of the outdoors. Starting a farm together became an opportunity for them to create that experience for their young son, Emmett, who gets to spend every day on the farm and absolutely loves it.
While Elizabeth and Vince understood the harsh demands and daily grind of farming, pasture raised poultry farming was a new venture for both of them. Their focus was and is to be fairly traditional, but providing responsibly raised poultry for a local and direct consumer is a business that provides new challenges every year. The infrastructure that once existed in the State to support small scale poultry production is no longer available and as the pasture raised poultry movement is still very new they are continually adjusting and refurbishing their farm to best suit the New England climate.
Additionally, in their unwavering commitment to ensure that their poultry is of the highest quality, Copicut Farms processes all of their birds by hand in their on-farm processing facility. Many farms outsource this process due to the associated overwhelming regulations and burdensome added costs. Keeping this aspect of their business on site allows Copicut Farms to know everything that happens to each animal “from the day they’re born to the day they’re ready for packaging.”
Another area of innovation at Copicut Farms’ operation is their revival of old time consumption practices. While they’re doing everything they can to reduce the carbon footprint of their farm, they have inspired their customers, who often equally value sustainability as a movement, to do their part as well. They strive to teach their customers that using the whole bird reduces waste and creates more edible opportunities out of one bird. You can find their Whole Chicken recipe ideas on cards at many of the locations where their products are available.
These places include Lee’s Market in Westport, How on Earth in Mattapoisett, and Dave’s Fresh Pasta in Somerville, farmers markets in Plymouth, Winchester and Cambridge year round, and Lexington, Arlington, Padanaram in the summer, as well as at the farm June through October. They also offer a Farm Share option, for either a full or half season’s worth of poultry and eggs. Check their website for seasonal updates.
Operating a farm with animals requires strength and devotion. The birds need daily attention and the smells and sights are quite different than what vegetable farmers encounter, but as Elizabeth says, “On the days when you’re most hot, most tired, most frustrated, it’s so nice to have happy customers.”