the trustees of reservations
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The Trustees of Reservations

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Warner Farm and Mikes Maze in Sunderland, MA - CSAs on CR-Protected Farms

Aerial view looking N/NE up the Connecticut River - Warner Farm sits on its east (right side) bank!. Photo Credit:

Warner Farm and Mikes Maze: CSA shares in the Pioneer Valley and Metro Boston. Nationally-renowned corn maze every Autumn!
32+ acres protected by a 1986 Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) held by The Trustees of Reservations
Kale and greens growing at Warner Farm, in some of the world's richest agricultural soil! Photo Credit:

Eleaser Warner (1694-1776) lived in an agricultural age, when the idyllic town of Sunderland (Swampfield at that time) was a newly incorporated frontier settlement.  Times have changed since he founded Warner Farm in 1720 (he probably never suspected it would have a Facebook Page), but we think he'd be happy to see his 10th-generation descendants till the same rich agricultural soil on the banks of the Connecticut River nearly 300 years later.  Today it is one of the oldest family farms in New England, watched over by Deerfield's scenic Mount Sugarloaf (now a DCR State Reservation), and just minutes north of UMass Amherst.  The farm is run by a dedicated staff of four: father and son Mike and David Wissemann; CSA Manager Jess Marsh; and Taylor Haas, Equipment Operator and Yard Manager.   They grow over 100 varieties of vegetables, using USDA certified organic practices, with 17 acres dedicated to offering Certified Organic produce.  CSA Members can purchase summer shares of vegetables, fruit, eggs, and flowers, and pick them up at a variety of Pioneer Valley locations, and even in Eastern MA at the Winchester Farmer's Market, and at the Winchester/Woburn Whole Foods Market, - see all locations here. They have formed an innovative partnership to provide produce at Brandeis University in Waltham, which you can read about by clicking here

Noah Webster challenges 2011 Mike's Maze visitors with a word search game in corn! Photo Credit:
Warner Farm may be best known as the host site of Mike's Maze, Wissemann's creation with a friend, artist Will Sillin.  Since 2000, the two have collaborated to create intricate corn maze art installations, designed as famous people and art pieces, and grown in corn.  We are talking nationally televised, Ripley's Believe-it-or-Not intricate here - the maze has been featured on Ripley's television show, on CNN, ABC, and the Weather Channel!  In past mazes, they have covered everything from the Mona Lisa in 2001, to the 2004 Presidential Candidates, to Noah Webster (of Merriam-Webster Dictionary fame, still a local business in nearby Springfield today!) in 2011.  The maze is open to the public on weekends during September and October.  Stay tuned to their website for the astounding design of this year's ma(i)ze - a great excuse to visit a gorgeous and fun region in peak foliage and get lost in corn! 

The Trustees of Reservations and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources ensure permanent protection of this private farm through an Agricultural Preservation Restriction. 

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