Celebrating 30 Years of growing for CSA
As the 3rd Community Supported Agriculture project in the US (1986), we have a long-term commitment to growing food solely for the farm-share model. We tend 30 acres of crops and grow about 250,000 lbs of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs annually for over 600 supporting households.
We distribute shares to the Pioneer Valley from our "Farm Shop" in the main barn on Hulst Rd in Amherst. We also pack fresh boxes on Thursdays and deliver them to Boston-Area shareholders. We have a winter share of storage crops distributed self-serve from our root cellar just below the Farm Shop.
For us, community supported agriculture provides the best chance to practice sustainable agriculture, which we like to think of as having a triple bottom line: ecological, economic, and social.
We don't use any synthetic pesticides or petroleum based fertilizers. Instead, we use compost and mechanical weed control (humans and tractors). We build soil health year after year by keeping a herd of beef cows on the farm and making their manure into compost.
We are economically self-sustaining, not depending on grants or donations to make ends meet. We are not supported by a college or a wealthy benefactor. Our land, buildings, and equipment are owned by a non-profit created solely to ensure this one farm's existence into the future. We want our farm to stand as a possibility for other farms to develop along similar lines. Our work over many decades has earned us a reputation in the field of farm business management; Long-term planning, budget creation, crop planning and capital development are topics that we frequently present at conferences or are asked to consult about with other farmers.
We also cultivate the connection with our community of shareholders to build resilience through mutual dependence. Shared risk and shared reward are our buzzwords and we take them seriously.
about the food
We grow high quality produce, and we strive to make it affordable and accessible. Whether you come to the Farm Shop or get your box at a drop site it has come from our fields just a short time ago.
We're not the fanciest or the flashiest. We like growing onions more than cinnamon basil blossoms. We distribute the good and the pretty good and feed the rest to the pigs. There's no preciousness here. There's hopefully just a lot of good food and good people.
We don't market our produce any other way - no farmers' markets, no wholesale - just food for our community. You are not getting the leftovers after we take the good stuff to market. Our shareholders are our only customers.
At The Farm
Our pick-your-own fields extend behind the barn, increasing the connection between people and this physical place that we share. Beyond the fields, walking trails wander through woods and swamp and meadow. During the season, the farm buzzes with folks of all ages, meeting friends for a walk, picking the last paste tomatoes before the frost, enjoying a book on the back porch, or playing in the sandbox (granted, mostly little ones choose the last option).
Brookfield Farm is a relationship between shareholders, farmers and friends supporting our soil and our community. Though Boston shareholders receive their entire share in the city, some enjoy coming to the farm every so often for an event, to get the pick-your-own experience, to pay a visit to the pigs, or to take a stroll and then explore the rest of the Pioneer Valley.
Each year, we train three apprentices in sustainable farm management and their friendly faces in the Farm Shop become an integral part of the on-farm shareholder experience. Many of our apprentices have gone on to start or manage their own farms - both locally and around the US. And now, our apprentices have gone on to train other apprentices who have gone on to create their own farms - allowing this web to continue to grow and grow. Being a shareholder at Brookfield Farm supports our farmer training program which moves sustainable agriculture forwards into a wider future.