Land’s Sake Farm in Weston always has plenty to celebrate in summer. This year, the fields that produce over 130,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables annually are prolific. Organic practices that prohibit the use of synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers have been successful, ensuring that the land is used sustainably. And the education programs that serve over 10,000 kids and adults per year are well attended.
So nothing new to report on the growth of food or the education mission of Land’s Sake. The really big news on the farm is the ambitious $6 million infrastructure project in progress as a result of the Land Sake’s Grow With Us capital campaign. Now in its third calendar year, a phased approach to fundraising allowed Land’s Sake to act quickly on long-desired improvements. Only a couple months after the Weston Select Board approved the campaign, a groundbreaking ceremony for a new timber-framed Animal Barn was held in summer 2021. A renegotiated lease on the land helped make the project possible. “The town owns the land, and we are the nonprofit that runs the land as its stewards and managers,” Land’s Sake business manager Heather Hilton explains. “We used to renew the lease every three years. The reason we’re able to do all this now is because Weston allowed us a 30-year lease.”
By last month, the Animal Barn officially opened, serving for now as a farm stand, and the public was invited to a ribbon cutting ceremony.
Unfazed by the timeframe
Phase I with its goals of enhanced parking, construction of the Animal Barn and a greenhouse and hoop house is nearly complete. Completion of Phase II, the construction of a 3,000 square-foot, net-zero, energy-efficient Farm Stand, is expected to be finished in fall 2023. When that happens, the big swap will occur, and the Farm Stand operation will move from the Animal Barn to its permanent home.
Farmers working at the Animal Barn now have access to water year-round, thanks to the new frost-free water line system. “This is how we can have animals in the winter, because we have access to water after the frost now,” Heather said. The goats and bunnies will now have a forever home and no longer have to live a nomadic existence off-farm during the winter months.
Unsurprisingly, programs featuring goats, bunnies, and chickens are a very big draw at the farm, so the ability to extend the season for these farm stars is a big plus. So beloved are these well-tended and sleek creatures at Land’s Sake that when I asked a farm employee whether animal slaughtering takes place on the farm or at an off-site location, first she nearly fainted, then she assured me that the animals are never killed. Guess I’ve been reading too much into those bumper stickers that commonly adorn vehicles around farms, the ones that read, “No farms, no food.”
OK, got it. It’s a working farm, but not that kind of a working farm. On Saturdays, Farm Stand visitors can purchase USDA certified pork chops, roasts, steaks, ground beef, ground sausage, and bacon supplied by Bascom Hollow Farm, so meat products are available for sale at Land’s Sake.
Bob Glowacky, a Land’s Sake Farm board member, emphasized that the Grow With Us campaign is first and foremost about helping the farm run safely while ensuring that organic practices and a sustainability mindset thrive. “We thought, if we had a really efficient operation, the farm could really run without the wasted hours of setting up and breaking down things like the farm stand every day. Then imagine what more could happen here.”
“Magic” was a word I heard a lot on my tour of the farm. While walking through a cloud of dirt kicked up by the tractor (it’s a farm, these things happen), it seemed possible that soil alchemy was at work. Could it be that the billowy mass was nothing special, just ordinary organic matter, floating on the wind before settling elsewhere on the farm? Or did I walk through stardust?
For information on programs, workshops, events, CSA shares, pick-your-own availability, and more, visit the Land’s Sake website.
LOCATION: Land’s Sake Farm, 90 Wellesley Street, Weston, MA 02493
FARM HOURS: Year-Round, dawn to dusk
FARM STAND HOURS: Mon: closed
Tues – Fri: 11am – 6pm
Sat. & Sun: 10am – 3pm
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