Thursday, November 15, 2012

Building Unity Farm - The Community

One of the most important aspects of choosing a farm property is the community around you
* What is the zoning?
* How will your neighbors react to wandering guinea fowl or an escaped llama?
* Are there other farms nearby?

For our farm, we chose Sherborn, a very agriculturally friendly town just west of Boston.

The Sherborn town bylaws indicate that no agricultural pursuit can be restricted.   Of course, various wetland restrictions and environmental controls apply, but if we wanted to raise ostriches and emus on our 15 acres, we could.  Our land was previously a 200 acre farm and our only current neighbors are a 55 acre apple orchard and a 15 acre property used for horse rescue/mini-donkeys.    Those neighbors admire and support our livestock.  

But what about nearby farms?

This week, we ate foods gathered or purchased from our farm and surrounding farms (photo above).

The western border of our property is the Dowse orchard.   At the Dowse Orchard Farm Stand  we purchased:
Romaine and red leaf lettuce
Field broccoli
Apples (Mac, Cortland and Empire)
Local seasonal pies
Fresh pressed apple cider

Just over the hill from us is a 1700's dairy farm - the Sunshine Farm.
We purchased:
Field turnips
Field carrots
Field onions
Homemade sweet corn veggie pizza

Just down the street from us is the Sweet Meadow Farm where we purchased sugar pumpkins and grain/hay for our animals.

At our own Unity Farm, we gather 8 eggs per day from our chickens.   This season we grew eggplant, garlic, onions, and potatoes in our raised beds.   In our kitchen garden we grew parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.   We planted our own apple orchard and will be planting an acre of high bush blueberries in the Spring.  We're building  a 20 foot x 72 foot hoop house that will enable us to grow year round produce.

Nearby, the Boston Honey Company runs a Honey CSA.  Our share this year included fresh combs and local wildflower honey.

 If December 21, 2012 really does bring cataclysmic or transformative events, living in Sherborn is good preparation for self sufficiency.   From our perspective, it's an ideal farm community.

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