Thursday, September 19, 2013

Revisiting Generation Farm

by Shane Smith, Outreach Coordinator & Perimeter Manager

You might remember the young farmers of Generation Farm in Concord from an article in the Co-op newsletter back a year and a half ago, when they first began bringing their fantastic spring greens mixes to the store. The farmers had recently purchased their future farmland with dreams of a certified organic permaculture produce mecca. Within just 18 busy months, both the farm and the land have gone through radical changes.

The farmers have built two greenhouses, a 1,200-foot farm road, a three story barn, and successfully achieved organic certification. Generation Farm feels it is important that consumers feel confident that they are buying certified organic produce because it is one of the official ways to give customers assurance in how the produce was grown. The farmers have cultivated several new acres of diverse vegetable crops this year and made major infrastructure improvements – including changes that will comply with new rules and standards which may be required for all farmers through the Food Safety Modernization Act (see page 4 for more on FSMA).
The farm has gone through rough periods and experienced growing pains like many small businesses. Two of the three original partners have left the farm to pursue different career paths. Generation Farm has endured all the fury that Mother Nature has brought over the past year, from hurricanes to blizzards and flooding rains. Every day is a new challenge but that is what makes the work so vital to establishing a sustainable business that can serve the community and provide delicious veggies for many decades to come. Currently there are two main farmers, James Steever and Marley Horner, who both work and live on the farm.

James and Marley feel that in order to have strong, sustainable communities there should be robust local agriculture. Early on, Generation Farm worked to develop a hyper-local business model. They feel strongly about supplying food to people who live in the greater Concord area. This way the produce is as fresh and nutrient-rich as possible while also using very little energy for transport – good for people, and good for the environment. With the Co-op being only a 10-minute drive from the farm it seemed like the perfect place to sell their produce. Generation Farm and many other local farms can and will play a huge role in what is an essential and missing piece of our country’s food security and overall health.

In 2014, Generation Farm will be offering several new offerings. Spring will bring succulent perennial green and purple asparagus. They also plan to grow sugar snap, snow peas and bunches of kale. For the summer months they will be introducing fresh herbs to our selection as well. Keep an eye out for their thyme, basil, chives, parsley, and cilantro. Fresh herbs can make all the difference in creating outstanding flavor in many dishes – and they are incredibly easy to use. James and Marley plan to provide hints and tips for each herb on their packaging to inspire some new ideas for the home cook. Generation Farm will also be introducing its first garlic crop, and garlic’s fantastic pre-harvest treat: garlic scapes.

Keep up with Generation Farm at