BY KAREN SCHWALBE
On a chilly March morning, the smell of fresh-baked muffins and even fresher coffee wafted out the door of Reed’s farm stand – the home of Under the Sun Farm. It was a welcoming first impression to a new business in North Dighton. Milton Teixeira, along with his wife, Caitlin, have recently opened in the location of the former Reed Brothers Produce and Garden Center, a fixture in the Dighton/Rehoboth area. The farm stand is open and stocked with the basics, including the all-important coffee and on-site bakery, to accommodate longstanding regular customers. Under the Sun Farm sells both its own produce as well as more traditional merchandise making it a destination market for the neighborhood. This past weekend the greenhouses officially opened with flowers, seedlings, baskets and bedding plants. I was able to catch up with Milton and Caitlin as they were preparing for the upcoming season.
Milton has been farming since the age of eight and his passion for it hasn’t diminished. A graduate of the Stockbridge School of Agriculture at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Milton is obviously very good at what he does. His education is honed through years of experience, most recently as Farm Manager for Jansal Valley Farm operated by Sid Wainer & Sons in Dartmouth, MA, where they trial lesser known varieties of vegetables and fruits for their wholesale supply business. Milton enjoyed his work as farm manager, especially with the staff, but was looking for new challenges and variety in his day-to-day activities. New farming enterprises are hard to find and land is scarce and expensive – when the opportunity to takeover the space at Reed’s Farm Stand and some of the associated land at Mount Hope Farm arose, Milton and Caitlin were ready.
The Reed business included the farm stand, greenhouses, and the land adjacent with those buildings, plus some of the fields at the Mount Hope Farm just a short drive away. The farm has gently sloping land, good soils, and irrigation – in addition to a rich history of supporting the community. Milton has plans for every inch of it. A wide variety of crops are planned or already started, from Arugula to Zucchini, with some fun surprises as the season progresses.
The list of things that need to be done to get ready for a growing season is tremendous, second only to opening a new business, and the Teixeiras are going full bore acquiring new/used equipment, learning new practices, business planning and planting. But a farm business is more than land and infrastructure: building a quality staff for the business is extremely important to Milton. Some of the existing staff have stayed on, and the Reed’s – Leonard and Roger – provided excellent assistance and advice, and they are hiring a full complement for the field and farm stand.
All the elements are in place for a successful venture! Milton and Caitlin’s dedication to providing their own fresh produce to the neighborhood is exciting. Make certain to ‘like’ their Facebook page, or request their newsletter to keep up with all the happenings (Farm@underthesunllc.net). These next few weekends are going to be fun:
- Saturday April 30 Free Soil Testing 9:00 am – 3:00 pm. Bring 8 oz. of soil
- Saturday May 7th Mothers’ Day event 12:00 to 2:00 pm A craft-filled afternoon for kids! Flower Pot painting, planting and more.
We hope to see SEMAP members and friends there!
Under the Sun Farm
1050 Williams Street
North Dighton, MA