Tucked between a hill and the woodlands buffering the Concord River northeast of Concord Center are green and fertile fields designated as farmland since at least 1775. Today this land is the site of Hutchins Farm, organic for 40 years.
It was love at first sight, for Hutchins and me a few years back. Stepping inside their farm stand feels quite the opposite of the fluorescent-lit and refrigerated grocery store produce section. At Hutchins, open doors and windows illumine roughly hewn wooden bins filled with potatoes, beans, squash, and leafy greens. Depending on what month it is, there may be bundles of fresh dill and basil, baskets of heirloom Brandywine tomatoes, or a posse of sugar pumpkins.
Growing food with respect for the land and the surrounding community is the cornerstone of Hutchins’ mission:
All our activities at Hutchins Farm are informed by a profound respect for the land, the people who work the land, and our community of customers. Our commitment to sustainability is threefold—a desire to sustain ourselves and those who work with us with a vibrant, viable economic enterprise; to sustain the land we cultivate through responsible practices and a sense of stewardship; to sustain our customers by growing and selling only the freshest, most flavorful, most healthful produce available. We hope and trust that our commitment will serve, in some way, to help sustain the larger communities to which we belong. From http://www.hutchinsfarm.com
Have you ever sautéed a fresh local zucchini grown with that amount of deliberate and thoughtful care? It just tastes better. And I think it satiates our hunger for a deeper connection with our food, a hunger that can never be satisfied by tossing a plastic wrapped bag of spinach grown hundreds of miles away into your shopping cart.
As you wander around the wooden bins of Hutchins, workers often bring in carrots or other veggies they’ve just pulled from the ground. The community of Concord drifts in and out the doors, stepping out to the back deck to watch our food grow in the fields below.
Last July a friend and I were discovering the wonders of Hutchins’ ground cherries (you must try these!) when a sudden thunderstorm swept across the river valley. A handful of customers stepped to the threshold together to feel the misty gusts on our faces and to watch the rain sweep our fields of food in undulating sheets stretching from grey sky to dark green earth. Hutchins feeds our hunger for these connections, too: with the raw elements that sustain our capacity to live and for shared moments of awe with our community.Visit Hutchins Farm at 754 Monument Street, Concord MA, 01742. http://www.hutchinsfarm.com