One of the first things we learned about our farm, was its’ designations as a National Heritage Landscape, which means it’s specially acknowledged as a historically productive farm. Additionally, it is also a recognized habitat for the protected eastern painted turtle, along with many native species of birds, insects, amphibians and animals. Also thrilling was learning there was a special turtle nesting area. Several years later, the farm was awarded a grant to rehabilitate the turtle nesting site. To protect the turtles, we raise mower blades to avoid turtles in the fields, and always keep watch for turtles and relocate them if necessary.
This is one example of living alongside the wildlife on the farm. Usually, (don’t mention the deer and bear eating our corn this year) we manage to live in harmony with the creatures we share the land with.
For instance, there are large brown bats in our barn and correspondingly few mosquitoes in the areas around the barn. This year we noticed that as the bat population declined slightly (they suffered from white nose syndrome like most Massachusetts bats) the mosquito population has increased. Luckily, a state naturalist told us the bat population should rebound stronger than ever with bats more resistant to the disease. Good news for us, bad news for the mosquitoes.
One of the most beautiful residents of our farm are the butterflies. They are useful pollinators and there are many species present: swallowtails – both yellow and black, Melissa blues, coppers, sulphurs, and of course Monarchs. Monarchs, sadly, have declined in recent years. Five years ago there were hundreds of Monarch butterflies in the fields, but last year, the summer of 2015, we were lucky to see a half dozen. This year it’s thrilling to see many dozens of Monarchs all over the farm. We think our diligence in preserving their host plant milkweed, planting lots of flowers – plus the lack of any pesticide use – help keep many creatures thriving in addition to the Monarchs such as bees, dragon flies, frogs, toads, praying mantises, and many species of birds.
If you’d like to join our farm community, experience our beautiful landscape and enjoy our certified organic produce, we have harvest and winter shares available. Check out our website or come see us in person – the farm market is open to the public Wednesday to Fridays from 3 – 6:30 pm & Saturday’s from 9 am – 2 pm.