Open for the season June 28
- Tuesday and Wednesday 11:00-6:00 (Self-serve only)
- Thursday, Friday, Sunday 11:00-6:00
- Saturday 9:00-6:00
Small Farm grows fruits and vegetables suited for the New England climate on an old agricultural site (see the Farm History tab for more) in Stow, MA. We use growing practices that we believe would satisfy Organic standards, but are not currently certified. We currently focusing on getting the farm going in 2018 and will consider applying at a later date.
Too old to return to summer camp, Karl was sent to work at a local farm during his junior summer year of high school. His interest in farming only grew from there. Karl has studied 2D animation in college, gotten covered with bees in Uganda, Woofed in New Zealand and Hawaii and gotten lost in the Sierre Norte mountains of Mexico.
Karl loves small-scale farming, the challenges it brings and the knowledge and skills he gains through work. He believes it is a useful skill to preserve as the world becomes more automated and fewer people have the opportunity to work with their hands.
He enjoys growing lettuce and loves crunchy things he can chew on in the field. Also recently developed a taste for hot and spicy things.
Elena Colman started farming in 2006 at Brigham Farm after seeing how wonderfully dirty her big sister looked when she returned from her farm job. She loves the physical and mental challenges of farming, and the number of skills she's had to learn on the farm (plumbing, construction, accountant, PR).
She thinks farms are a special way to preserve land and provide a community space where people can gather, connect over the most basic of human needs--food, and leave their screens behind.
She also believes small-scale farms, both as providers and consumers, are an important piece of having a resilient food system, especially when faced with a changing climate. She is happy to be leasing land in an area with sufficient rainfall to replenish the water supply and takes her responsibilities of land stewardship very seriously.
She currently manages Lexington Community Farm, and helps Karl out whenever she can.
Written by Dwight Sipler (operator of small farm 1988-2017)
small farm began in 1988 when Dwight bought a tractor and rented some land on Tuttle Lane. We planted pumpkins and they grew somehow, and we harvested them somehow, and sold them somehow. That made us think we could do it.
The next year we rented some additional land and added tomatoes and peppers, winter squash and gourds to the mix. We started going to farmers markets. Dwight bought another tractor (and survived when Barbara found out). The new tractor was set up to cultivate two rows 36" apart, so everything was planted 36" apart, even radishes.
We started growing corn, and found out that the days to maturity listed in the catalog are averages, and vary a lot with the weather, so even though we planned the harvest dates to be uniformly distributed, the corn had a habit of bunching up and leaving gaps between the heavy harvest dates. We also learned about local geology, where the top layer of rocks is loosely termed “soil” by the New England farmers. Farming is very educational.
In 1992 we bought the Stephenson farm on Route 62. The farm had been used as a site for a sawmill for about 40 years. The major crop grown there was poison ivy, for which we had no market. So we set about clearing the land.
When we bought the farm it had a house right by the road, but it was in poor condition. It was an old house (it is shown on the 1830 map) and we were told that the clapboard styles were typical of the early 1800's, while the foundation construction was similar to houses built in the 1700's. The mansard roof was probably put on in the late 1800's. The house was connected to the barn by a shed, so one could walk to the barn out of the weather. There was a privy in the shed (a two holer, with wallpaper) with a cleanout underneath. The well was under the house, directly below the kitchen, and originally had a hand pump, probably in the kitchen. At some point, electricity was installed in the house and an electric pump was installed and the hand pump was removed (but not thrown away).
We had been selling our produce out of our garage at home on Route 117, but it got to be a bit cumbersome growing the produce somewhere else. So in 1998 we finally set up a stand at the farm, operating on weekends to see how the business would be over there. It was much better, since we had more parking, more visibility, and no running back and forth for the produce, so in 1999 we closed the stand on Route 117 and moved the stand completely to Route 62.
Since that time more of the fields have been cleared and put into production. The flowers have become very popular, particularly as a pick-your-own operation. We still are limited in space, so we have had to become more efficient and drop some items that did not perform well.
Stephenson Brothers est. 1988
The Stephenson family bought the property around 1898. An apple orchard was planted in the 1920's. Mr. Stephenson died in the early 1940's and the two sons, Stanley and Wendell inherited the property. They probably operated the orchard for a while, but Stanley operated a sawmill. The mill was steam powered and portative. After the 1938 hurricane the mill was located on Harvard road and produced lumber for several years. At some point, Massachusetts passed laws requiring inspection of steam boilers, and the steam power system was sold to someone in New Hampshire, where such laws were not present. Around 1960 the mill was moved to the farm, and was operated by Stanley until he died in the late 1980's. Wendell made an attempt to operate the mill occasionally with help from neighbors, but eventually the mill ceased operations.
On the 1830 map, the house is listed as being occupied by "Wid. Abbot".