by Julie Pottier Brown
I had a lovely visit to a beautiful property in Boxford, MA last week called ifarm.
Tamara and I had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks from ifarm when we tabled an event in late March in Topsfield at the Gould Barn/Topsfield Historical Society and the adjacent church. We chatted about what we each did, and I purchased a bag of dried herbs. In considering how we might work with this new-to-us farm, I realized the bags of dried herbs would fit nicely in the Cooks Share. There were a few back and forth calls in August, a deal was struck, and the process of drying began.
Now the herbs are dry and I went to pick them up last week. I happened to go late on Friday afternoon, just in time to crash the staff’s weekly meeting. I found a box of packed herbs was waiting for me along with a gifted bag of husk cherries! My favorite! I left the staff to their meeting to wander the permaculture gardens and hops yard, eating husk cherries as I walked. I wandered back to the picnic table to finish chatting, sip some cold cider, and explain a little more about the FDC, our history, and how we operate. I learned more about ifarm, Christine Barensfeld has owned it for 7 years, and been farming it for 4 years, and about the workshops they are currently offering. Workshops change regularly and current events can be found on their website.
We talked about the uniqueness of their growing style. They opt to use wood chips to mulch for water retention, and to not re-seed/plant every year, but to let the plants go to seed and let the wind, animals and chance decide where the plants will reseed themselves. The staff will transplant to keep the overall shape of the garden intact. The nut trees are young right now, but will eventually alter the way the garden needs to be tended because of shade.
There are a pair of draft horses on the property as well as sheep (knitter alert – Wool Share next year?), and a barn cat named Peppermint. We talked about more ways we can work together; dried herbs and tea blends, dried floral wreaths, herbal sachets, and I left intrigued with this beautiful historic property and the lovely people I met.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this farm feature and look forward to providing you more information about our farmers in the future.
Click on any of the photos to view a full size rendering of the beautiful property!