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Sustainable agriculture at Verrill Farm encompasses a myriad of practices and activities from soil improvement to the support of community life. Much of our land was deeded to the Wheeler family by the King of England in colonial days, following years of cultivation by the native Indians. After more than three centuries of production, our soils are still among the most productive in the country. In 1982 our farmland was placed under an Agricultural Preservation Restriction, preventing development.
IPM (integrated pest management) is at the center of our cropping program. We employ a professional crop scout, who makes weekly visits setting insect traps, taking soil and tissue samples as needed, monitoring pest problems, and making general recommendations for disease and pest control. We use cover crops and crop rotation extensively, till the soil to limit erosion, and work to maintain fertility and organic matter.
Weed Control on our small crops is accomplished with a combination of pre-emergence flaming, plastic covered beds, mechanical and hand weeding, hoeing, and the use of tens of thousands of transplants which we start in a weed-free medium. We use some selective herbicides on crops such as corn and pumpkins. We have had good results using Dutch White Clover as a living mulch for weed control between our degradable-plastic covered beds of tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. A combination of organic and conventional techniques are blended into a sustainable program.
Local agriculture offers consumers flavorful, in season foods with high nutritional value, supports energy conservation and eliminates the damaging environmental effects of shipping.
Our summer festivals are enjoyed by family members of all ages. Our staff of about 60 people includes many students in their first work experience. We believe that maintaining an attractive farmstead, contributing to and partnering with community organizations and participating in Town government round out a sustainable environment.
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