Tracie’s Community Farm, LLC
As of the Spring of 2020, Tracie’s Community Farm is operating under the ownership of Elephant Rock Farm, our neighbors. The owners of Elephant Rock Farm, Tom and Mary Frazier, were approached by Tracie Loock in the late summer of 2019 to inquire about them buying the land. Tracie’s Community Farm was a 30-acre piece of land purchased out of the larger 250-acre Elephant Rock plot in 2007. When Tracie made the decision to step back from the farm she had started 20 years prior, Tom and Mary were the first people she thought of as potential buyers. With the sale, Tracie’s Farm was reunified with the greater Elephant Rock land. Today, Tracie’s Farm continues to operate as a fruit and vegetable farm on Elephant Rock’s land, while Elephant Rock Farm specializes in meat, dairy, eggs, maple syrup, and cordwood. The two farms interact on a daily basis, and plan to grow together in the future.
In 1999, Tracie Loock started growing vegetables in Sullivan on her father’s land while studying Environmental Horticulture at UNH to get hands on experience. Over nine years she grew experience, customers, knowledge, equipment, credit, and infrastructure. In November of 2007 she found a land opportunity in Fitzwilliam. Fitzwilliam Green was looking for a farmer to buy 33 acres of land they wanted to keep in farming by putting a Conservation Easement on it since the land was classified as Becket Fine Sandy Loam, which is prime agricultural soil, rare in NH and especially not being on the river valley. She worked with Fitzwilliam Green and the Monadnock Conservancy to put together an easement that would work for everyone.
With the help of family and friends all of the farms supplies, greenhouses, and perennials where moved to Fitzwilliam within a week of signing a purchase and sale agreement. The land was prepared for the following season, the greenhouses were erected and we began to harvest pines on the property where the barn was to be built. The pines were milled onsite and the barn was built throughout the winter and spring in preparation for our 210 member CSA starting in mid June. The incredible amount of work it took to move the farm to a new location was worth it. 2008 was a great season and the new location proved to have a supportive community.
Since then we’ve continued to feed community members with vegetables, herbs, and fruits grown with love and without the use of pesticides or chemicals. Tracie took a step back from the day-to-day management of the farm in 2014, and let her farm managers run the farm. Tracie’s principles of land management have persisted through each change of managers. We use row covers to prevent pests and increase warmth, crop rotations to disturb pest and disease cycles as well as balance nutrient uses, cover crops to prevent soil erosion, capture nutrients, and harvest nutrients and organic matter, and compost and other organic fertilizers to feed our soil not only nutrients but life. The diversity of plants we grow helps us prevent pest populations from building up as well as not depend on just a few crops and feel the need to spray when problems do arise.
In 2018, Jack Rixey took over management of the farm and business, and returning crew member Will Kindler managed the field crew. In 2019, Nolan Buonomano, a longtime Fitzwilliam resident, and Sarah Tarr joined the crew and immediately showed interest in being involved with the day to day management of the farm. Now, in 2020, Jack, Sarah, Will, and Nolan each play a hand in the management of the farm. Jack runs the business and field planning, Sarah manages the barn on harvest days, Will is in charge of managing farmers in the field, and Nolan is in charge of weed management. The four farmers have built a repertoire with one another that allows them to work together efficiently and with ease. They each have a genuine interest in the well-being of the farm, and love the piece of land they consider home each summer.
The farm offers CSA shares during the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons, to try to extend the opportunity to eat local as close to year round as possible. We offer CSA shares starting in Mid-March and lasting until the end of October. Those shares are split up into the three seasons, and are listed below.
Spring Shares: We usually take memberships in late January for the 50 Spring shares we have available. We start in Mid March and continue through end of May/first week in June, for 10-12 weeks on Tuesdays. Pick up is 3:30 p.m.-9 p.m.
Summer Shares: We usually take memberships starting in December of the previous season. Summer shares start in late June and go through the end of September for 14-16 weeks on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. We offer a range of share sizes and a variety of veggie add-ons, and even include doorstep delivery to many towns in southern New Hampshire and North-Central Massachusetts.
Fall Shares: We usually take memberships starting in August. The number of shares we take on depends on how the season is going. From 80-140 shares available. Pickups start in October and continue for through the last week in November. Pickup is on Tuesday instead of Thursday on Thanksgiving week. Pickup is either on the farm or in Keene, Peterborough, Swanzey, or Harrisville/Nelson.