You might have heard Holliston is a “right to farm” town, but what does that mean? According to Cherie Hafford, of the Holliston Agricultural Commission, (www.hollistonagcom.org), the law “makes sure that farmers are not dealing with nuisance lawsuits. If I move next door to a pig farm, I can’t be rabidly unhappy when the smell and sound kicks up in the summer,” says Hafford, who grew up in the farm-rich lands of Southern California and just joined the Holliston AgCom this past year. In general, farmers have the right to operate under standard farming practices, she says. In cases where farming is challenged, the Holliston Agricultural Commission steps in to mediate issues.
This month, you can peek at how some of those farms operate and what they have to offer with the Annual Holliston Farm Day, sponsored by the Holliston Agrictultural Commission and scheduled to take place on Sunday, September 9th, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. You can visit these participating farms: Outpost Farm, Little Beehive Farm, Arcadian Farms, MacArthur Farms and the Upswing Farm stand, as well as the butterfly aviary for a number of fun activities, as well as farm-fresh goods to buy.
This year, in addition to the participating farms that have their own locations, Christ the King Church, at 600 Central Street, Holliston, will host a Popup Farmers Market, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We were contacted by a small committee from Christ the King,” says Hafford. “One of the things they’d love to do is become a little more involved in the community, and they thought a farmers’ market might be a great idea.”
Martha Whyte, Parish Administrator at Christ the King, says, “We were familiar with PJ Kilkelly’s work with the AgCom as his wife and children are members of Christ the King. We reached out to him for advice on starting a farmers’ market, and he suggested attending the meeting to brainstorm with the other AgCom meeting. It was at that meeting that we decided to try a pop up market in conjunction with Farm Day, in an effort to gather information about whether folks in town, both farmers and consumers, would be interested in a more permanent, weekly market next summer.”
Vendors at the Christ the King farmers market on Farm Day include:
• Zeigler’s Farm - veggies
• Broad Hill Lavender Farm - lavender products
• City Compost - home composting service
• Washington Woodworkers - wood products
• Stonybrook - Mass Audubon site
• Endless Energy - solar energy
• 5 Hive Farm - beekeeper
• Pangea Cuisines - food truck
• Merely Creating - paper crafts
• H&B Designs - handsewn items
• Pelle Photography - photography services
• Al’s Birdhouses - make and take birdhouses
• ELCA World Hunger (our vendor fees are going to support our church’s national organization that combats world hunger, so we’re having a representative here)
Hafford says the addition of the farmers’ market “allows people who want to start a farm but who are not ready to receive the public get their toes wet.”
Farm Day, says Hafford, serves the Holliston AgCom’s mission of reminding the Holliston community “that there are farms right here in Holliston and people who are working the land and raising the critters – that they can go to these farms for produce or food. We kind of do that in the summertime, but we don’t think about that year-round, but many of these farms are open. Some of these farms have greenhouses. There’s no need to get imported tomatoes.”
Customers, she says, have access to farm fresh foods and goods, and in turn, farmers gain customers.
“There is less and less land and more developments,” says Hafford. “With more businesses and more factories, farming isn’t nearly as lucrative as it once was. Whatever the community can do to be supportive is a benefit to the farmer and the consumer.”
For more information on the Holliston Agricultural Commission, visit www.hollistonagcom.org.