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BY JASON WENTWORTH
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 →
Spring is really and truly finally here; this is not a drill.
It seems that everybody is taking a cue from the bees and is very busy. Farmers are in the fields, though they’ve been working for months, and amateur growers like me are starting to shake off the long winter’s slumber and look for those work gloves we haven’t used in months. Now, as a very (very) amateur grower, I’ve always felt a matter of pride taking something like a tomato plant from seed to harvest. It’s a good feeling, especially if you are “winging it” like I often do. However, many of us don’t have the time to put in to bring those seeds to life (myself included this year). Thankfully, when it comes to shrubs, vegetables, flowers, and other beautiful plants, we have a myriad of local options to save you that work. Read more →
BY JASON WENTWORTH
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 →
Anyone who has spent some time with me is quite aware of the importance I place on available calcium at a critical piece of growing top quality and top yielding crops. Calcium is key to strong cell wall development and cellular “signalling” (i.e. communication). The historical influence of William Albrecht and the impact calcium:magnesium ratios play in soil flocculation (i.e. better oxygen availability for microbes on tight or heavy soils) has kept my attention tuned into calcium for the better part of the past decade. On soils which have been historically treated with dolomitic limestone the magnesium levels often go beyond adequate. True a bit of extra magnesium will help hold some moisture in the soil on light, sandy soils – but I think the drawbacks of excessive magnesium as it relates to nitrogen utilization are worth keeping in mind.
I have been impacted by the work of the late Carey Reams, a controversial agronomist and “healer” – who labeled calcium the “King of Nutrients”. Reams included an emphasis on calcium(s) in his fertility recommendations – not just a single source/type of calcium – I do know a number of growers who have worked with the Reams targets of available calcium and achieved good results. Read more →