Nestled atop Ayer Ridge in the beautiful town of Freedom, Maine, Murphy Family Farm strives to develop a thriving, sustainable, diversified operation to supply the local community with the freshest, most nutritious food available.
Our land will remain free of unnatural chemical-based pesticides and herbicides regardless of our labels. We eat the food we grow, and wouldn’t even consider contaminating it with noxious poisons of any sort.
We believe that a healthy, strong community starts at home, and that is why we are here to offer you only the best.
For the 2019 season we will have about 3 acres of fields in vegetable production and an additional 3 acres in perennial fruit and nut crops. We have continued to expand and break ground on new fields and new perennial plantings each year since 2013 and we have no plans to stop just yet.
Focus on Sustainability
Healthy food starts with a healthy soil, and our goal here at the farm is to maintain and build up the ridge top Marlow and Tunbridge soils that have been accumulating since the last ice age. We’re using a variety of cover crops in conjunction with locally sourced organic matter to bring the soil up to our standards.
Throughout the year we regularly get truckloads of hardwood sawdust from a local firewood operation to mulch our perennials. The vegetable fields are primarily amended with what is essentially the rich waste dredged from the log flumes of the paper mills in Jay, Maine and derived from the forests of Western Maine. We apply this directly to the top of the soil or let it compost and work it into the beds as needed.
One thing you won’t find too much of on the farm is plastic. We use absolutely no black plastic ‘mulch,’ unlike many local organic growers. This stuff has no place on a sustainable farm, and you will never see it here choking out the soil we work so hard to nurture. We do use Agribon, better known as floating row cover, but strictly to keep out pests without the need for spray. We do not use row cover for frost protection, instead we have been sourcing more cold hardy seeds for the shoulder seasons and then selecting the very best of these to produce our own seed crops of extra-hardy crops that survive the winter unassisted.
The New Land
In 2016 we bought an adjacent 5 acre chunk of land that had once been part of our “back field” when the land was originally cleared hundreds of years ago. The 5 acre portion had reverted to forest probably 100 years ago, and had been clear cut about a decade ago. The original stonewall that bounded our back field sat several hundred feet beyond the tree line when we bought the farm in 2013. The new land was an impassable thicket of overgrown brush the first time I tried to walk through it, and it was quite easy to lose your bearings in the dense growth.
Portions of the land most suitable for planting are now cleared from original stonewall to original stonewall. It feels good to be reclaiming a piece of Freedom’s agricultural heritage.Though the land is a bit steep for vegetable production, its north-easterly slope is ideal for more fruit and nut trees. Once it is totally cleared we will be planting it with peach, cherry, and English walnuts trees.