We cultivate and pasture about 8 acres at our 15 acre farm on Wardtown Road (Route 125) in Freeport. We call this the “home farm.” This is our base of operations. The is the place where we have lived and raised our family over the last 35 years. In this image you can see the current state of the production field layout, the locations of the greenhouses, the barn which houses the CSA pick up area and the shop, the walk-in cooler, the wash station, etc., etc., etc…
In addition to our home farm, we farm 3 other pieces of land in Freeport that we lease from some local people who are very supportive of what we do and how we take care of their land. We are very fortunate and thankful to have this kind of support in our community. These satellite properties are an essential part of our pest management program. By rotating crops from location to location from one year to another we can put a buffer of several miles between any problems that may have developed in the crop and where the crop grows the next year. This system has allowed us to effectively manage insect and disease problems.
This is what we call the “Griffin Field” at the corner of routes 125 and 136. If you visit the farm, and come by way of route 295 you will pass this field. This is about 5.5 acres of relatively light soil that is almost perfect for growing vegetables. You will also see a pond that serves as a source of irrigation water which we use sparingly. It’s great to have the pond when we really need it.
This next piece is about 1.5 acres on Pine Street in Freeport. The soil here is very well drained making it perfect for early crops in those years when spring is cold and wet. Unfortunately, because there is no suitable irrigation source, this also makes it unsuitable for planting in a year, or at a time when it’s hot and dry for an extended period. In 2017, I was tilling for weed control and I looked up and there was a coyote sitting about 50 feet from the tractor just watching me. The perfect wildlife for vegetable farmers since they control woodchucks, turkeys, and deer. I stopped the tractor to look at him thinking, I wish I had my camera, and he got up and meandered off into the woods. Just as he disappeared I realized that my phone has a really nice camera built right in. It’s a bitch getting old.
This last piece is another 1.5 acres of light sandy soil. It’s located on the Brown Road in Freeport. This one is my favorite to work at because it’s off the road, and tucked way back in the woods. It feels much more secluded than it really is. There are a bunch of lady’s slippers that bloom every year in a grove of big old white pines adjacent to the field. Unfortunately this one is also water challenged so, like at Pine Street, we have to be careful what we plant here and when we plant it.
So, from this you see that we have options that we can manage to our advantage. Although we always plan what will be planted in each location, we can also make last minute changes depending on how the weather is trending. Each year we grow about 12 acres of vegetables between the 4 properties. The total growing area is more than 16 acres. This gives us the flexibility to do some weed management and soil building by taking an area out of production, tilling as needed, and planting green manure crops to build organic matter. We are VERY thankful for the flexibility that these land owners have afforded us.