by: Alex Hallowell
When we arrived at Kettle Pond Farm, we weren’t sure what to expect, but we were pretty psyched when we saw the food being shuttled out to the picturesque tables under the shade of a giant tree.
Rustic quiches, fresh-from-the-oven focaccia, butternut squash casserole, watermelon salad with roasted pine nuts, chickpea salad with fresh red pepper, a loaf of fresh-baked wheat bread, paired with i
ced tea and wine to wash it all down.
We took a stroll around the farm, ogling at the flowers and fresh herbs that seemed to exist in such quantities, it was no surprise to hear the low hum of hundreds of busy bees buzzing around our heads.
We learned the history of the farm, which had been everything from one of the first Native American reserves in the area, to war booty, to a pirate’s playground (I’m not making this up), and a Orthodox Greek (or Russian?) retreat for nuns, when it finally fell vacant, that is until the 1940s when the current owner’s family purchased the plot to escape the growing fears of a New York City attack during WWII. Current owner Alex moved here as a young boy, from Manhattan. The term he used for the new and rustic living was, a “rude awakening”; for the first four years here, they had no electricity or running water, relying on kerosene lamps for light in the evenings.
His mother had some farming experience from the old country (Poland) where she farmed as a girl. Over the course of Alex’s childhood, the family slowly beat back neighbors who had encroached on their plot while the fields lay fallow and the house empty. They slowly learned the tricks of the trade, growing abundant crops just in time for Alex to enlist in the Army in the mid-1950s.
Nearly 40 years later, Alex is back, but managing the farm has fallen to a younger generation. There is a sort of internship/apprenticeship program here and its exciting to see the youngest generation gaining interest in farming. The CSA is just getting started, and part of the discussion when we visited was how to improve the CSA to reach more diverse populations. And, also, to solve the question of how to be sure that when Alex goes, that the farm (and its produce) will still be available to the region.
Kettle Pond Farm
181 Bay View Road
Berkley, MA 02779