Langwater Farm is in the news! Many thanks to Paula Vogler for the very nice writeup in the Easton Journal and the Brockton Enterprise. If you haven’t already, read the story below.
Easton – While the winter weather outside may be frightful, spring and summer in Easton are looking quite delightful for those who prefer locally grown, pesticide free, fresh tasting produce.
Langwater Farm, an 80-acre farm located beside Langwater Pond on Main Street stretching behind the North Easton post office through fields and forests all the way to Elm Street, will be open for business in the spring.
Part of the property was originally designed by landscape architect Fredrick Law Olmsted, the creator of Central Park, according to the farm’s web site, www.langwaterfarm.com. Years ago, the original farm famous for its Guernsey cows and Clydesdale horses.
Now a group of area residents are leasing the land from the Ames family and returning it to its agricultural roots.
Former Sharon resident and principal farmer Rory O’Dwyer, 29, said 40 acres will be dedicated crop land while the other 40 acres would remain forest. The farm will be run using organic farming practices.
While three to four acres of fields have been tilled, one to two of those acres will grow mixed vegetables with other acres growing flowers. O’Dwyer said those vegetables and flowers will be sold through a farm stand, farmers markets and hopefully to local restaurants that want to use locally grown foods in their meals.
Eggs from chickens raised on the farm will also be sold.
O’Dwyer said a few examples of what farm patrons can expect would be lettuce, carrots and scallions in the spring, beets and swiss chard in July, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant in August, and winter squash and pumpkins into September and the fall.
The farm will offer pick your own pumpkins and strawberries to customers and will plant fruit trees in 2011 which will take five to six years to bear fruit.
Crop rotations in the various fields, a good soil management practice, will be used when planting each year.
The property also has a forestry plan attached that will allow the farmers to removed standing dead wood but not take down the trees.
While she does not have forestry experience O’Dwyer said there are things to do with forests like innoculating oak stumps to grow shitake mushrooms or planting nut trees.
O’Dwyer said watering the large property will not be a problem since a pump will pump water from Langwater Pond up to a holding tank on the farm.
“Farmers can take up to 100,000 gallons per day without getting permits and that’s way more than we need,” O’Dwyer said. “We’ll be using drip irrigation since it’s the most effective way to get water to the roots.”
O’Dwyer said the farm will offer Community Supported Agricaulture (CSA) to those in the area where for a membership fee of $525 and a few hours of community service work on the farm, participants will receive of box of fresh vegetables each week from June into the fall.
“We think our vegetables will be pretty competitive with organic produce at Shaw’s,” O’Dwyer said. “CSA members will get a pretty good deal, a 10-15 percent discount on farmers market prices.”
A CSA is advantageous to farmers because they receive some upfront capital during winter months when money is needed for seeds and equpiment while also giving them an idea of how much they need to plant for the upcoming season.
For this coming harvest O’Dwyer said the farm is capping the membership at 50 and there are already 35 people who have expressed an interest in joining.
“We definitely want to expand but we don’t want to get too big the first year,” O’Dwyer said. “We want to see what the land will support. If we have a wait list and more produce, we’ll offer it to more people.”
O’Dwyer said her decision to spend a summer working outside before entering graduate school at Boston University as a political science major seven years ago led to a startling revelation and a career path change.
“I fell in love with it,” O’Dwyer said. “I thought, ‘this is what I want to do.’ I dropped out of grad school after one month.”
After apprenticing on various farms O’Dwyer moved to Davis, California where she will be leaving her job as operations manager for the Growers Collaborative, a nonprofit that buys produce from local family farms and distributes it to schools, restaurants and hospitals.
The desire to run a farm never left her and when O’Dwyer found out the Ames family wanted to return some of their land to agricultural production, she called her brother, Kevin, 28, last March. Kevin lives in Norton and has worked on Ward’s Berry Farm in Sharon since he was young.
Keeping the farm all in the family, Kevin’s wife, Kate, and O’Dwyer’s partner, Alida Cantor, are on the farm staff. Even mom, Mary O’Dwyer who still lives in Sharon, will be lending a hand since she has been an avid gardener for years.
While growing anything may be far from the minds of most Easton residents at the moment the farmers are spending the winter months going over spread sheets and marketing stragegies, attending equipment auctions, and pouring through seed catalogs.
“I’m up through raddishes in the catalogs,” O’Dwyer said with a laugh.
The farm stand and entrance to the farm will be located at the intersection near the Washington Street cemetary and Elm Street. For more information on the farm or for an application to join the CSA visit www.langwaterfarm.com or call 508-205-9665.
Paula Vogler can be reached at 508-967-3510 or by email at email@example.com.
(A few very minor corrections: Rory and Kevin will share the responsibilities of primary farmer, and most of the 3-4 acres will be dedicated to veggies with less land in flowers.)
Easton Journal: Langwater Farm opening this spring
Brockton Enterprise: Easton’s first CSA farm to open this spring