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The Trustees of Reservations

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Pakeen Farm in Canton: CSAs on CR-protected farms!

Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an economic model that brings customers to local farms, as shareholders of a growing season's crops, who receive a weekly share of fresh, healthy, organically grown produce.  This innovative model not only breathes new life into the economic health and viability of farms, but the health of  local customers connected to fresh, local food.  What's more, in the age of development pressure and sprawl, a successful CSA helps keep land in agriculture, and maintains the traditional scenic landscape of Massachusetts.  As you may already know, The Trustees of Reservations runs CSAs at several farm-oriented Reservations: brand NEW for this 2013 season is the CSA at Moose Hill Farm in Sharon!! Our other four -  Powisset Farm CSA in Dover with an expanded scope in 2013!! ; one of New England's largest CSAs at Appleton Farms in Ipswich & Hamilton; beautiful Moraine Farm in Beverly; and at Weir River Farm in Hingham.

In addition, we are thrilled that our Conservation Restrictions (CRs) permanently protect five private farms running CSA programs from Boston (yes, within the city limits) and Metro Boston to the Pioneer Valley.  Last year we shared three of these farms on this blog - Tangerini's Spring Street Farm in Millis (blog post link); Warner Farm with its famous Mike's Maze in Sunderland (blog post link); and Alprilla Farm in Essex (blog post link).  This year, Pakeen Farm in Canton gets the spotlight, and you can look forward to reading about Boston's last working farm soon as well!

The colorful spread of Summer's harvest at the Pakeen Farm CSA.  (Photo Credit - Pakeen Farm)

Pakeen FarmCanton, MA - 117 acres of farm, woodlands, and wetlands, protected forever by a 1994 Conservation Restriction to The Trustees of Reservations.

Crop fields on Elm Street in Canton, at Pakeen Farm!
Since the 19th century, the Lyman family has tilled the soil and pastured animals at Pakeen Farm, on Elm Street in Canton, watched over by the Great Blue Hill, long before the modern hum and hurry of nearby Interstate 93 and Route 128.  Before the Lymans, this beautiful land perched above Ponkapoag Brook had been farmed since the 17th century.  In today's world, a 117-acre farm in a major metropolitan area is a place to celebrate, for the beauty and tradition it signifies when so many others have been lost - and with the hope that the CSA model can help our remaining local farms stay viable!  Jane Lyman Bihldorff and her son Dave are the fourth and fifth generation of the Lyman family to keep Pakeen Farm.  It was Jane who wisely worked with The Trustees of Reservations to ensure the land's permanent protection in the early 1990s, right around the corner from our very own Eleanor Cabot Bradley Estate.  Jane diversified the farm's business initiatives to include Christmas tree sales in 2002, and with Dave's return home, they began a CSA program in 2009.

Fertile soil produces some beautiful vegetables!
Now in its fifth year, they hope to grow to 150 CSA shareholders.  Dave and his crew grow tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, kale, sweet corn, blackberries, rhubarb, flowers, garlic, and other crops on several acres at the farm.  A unique partnership with three Vermont farmers enables Pakeen Farm to supply an amazingly diverse array of fresh produce in season, and organic fresh salad greens, carrots, eggplant, zucchini, green beans, and summer squash are just a few of the delicious vegetables made available through this partnership.

Bright and nutritious chard!
Want to help their CSA grow and contribute to keeping agriculture alive in Canton?  Dave, Jane, and the rest of the farm crew are eager to meet (and feed!) their fellow community members in and around Canton!  Pakeen Farm offers flexible options for CSA shares, and you can buy a Full Season, or a Summer or Fall Share, at two sizes - "Single" ($22/week) or "Family" ($32/week).  Click here for more information on joining! 

Bulls add to the Pakeen Farm scenery on our most recent CR Program visit!

Be sure to come by Pakeen in the Autumn as well, to pick up some festive Halloween pumpkins, and in December for a Christmas Tree grown on site!  Now is a great time of year to think about joining a CSA, when the air is warming up, and the earth is stirring into life.  At The Trustees, we love our roles both as farmers with our own CSA offerings, and as land conservation partners who protect places like Pakeen Farm forever.  We love nothing more than to see these farms thrive with their own agricultural ventures and CSAs!  

In several years, these trees will be ready for holiday festivities!

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