Nest And Song Farm in Westport, MA
We are a small, diversified farm in Westport, MA committed to providing our local communities with fresh vegetables, fruit, eggs and meat produced in ways that ensure ecological and human health for both current and future generations. That means we use organically approved amendments and locally sourced seaweed and compost materials to nourish our soils. That means we refrain from using synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. That means we put the thought of all that we love into all that we grow.
Our farm is a community space where you will find care (the nest) and celebration of life (the song) - come visit us and feel the love!
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Westport, MA - WESTPORT — On a warm March day, James McCarthy and Mia Smith walk through their farm, itching to get to work.
The 60-degree weather is tantalizing, but they know it's a mirage with a cold front steadily approaching.
"You have to be careful, you don't want to plant things too early or too late." McCarthy said. "It's a tough to gamble on things like that."
The young farming tandem knows what it means to gamble. In December of 2015 they moved from their West Pawlet, Vermont home to lease a nearly six-acre piece of land off Sanford Road in North Westport and start their own farming business.
Now McCarthy, 27, and Smith, 26, run Nest and Song Farm, the newest addition to the SouthCoast's local farming community. Specializing in fresh produce, organically-grained eggs as well as goats and lambs, Nest and Song was birthed from the idea of having a place that is made of care and celebration.
"We grow diversified veggies, so basically everything," Smith said.
McCarthy added, "Everything you'd expect from a New England farm — tomatoes, zucchinis, squash, potatoes, salad greens, spinach."
In the coming weeks they'll plant onion and leek seeds in their greenhouse.
Their goal is to dispense their carefully crafted bounty to the SouthCoast through a 20 week farm share program.
"We're hoping to retain farm share members for multiple years and actually get people to feel connected to the land they live in," McCarthy said. "It's about connection and healthy living. Part of being healthy is not just what you eat, but how you appreciate what you eat. It's all interconnected."
They may be young — McCarthy's backwards cap and designer glasses are evidence of that — but they are far from inexperienced. After both graduated from Tabor Academy, Smith went on to study environmental studies at the University of Vermont while McCarthy studied earth science at the University of Toronto.
Smith previously spent time at the Skinny Dip Farm in Little Compton, Rhode Island while McCarthy was at Apponagansett Farm in South Dartmouth. From working around the drought in California avocado farms to maintaining apple orchards in Vermont to milking nearly 130 goats twice a day, there's not much these two haven't seen.
Except for creating a market to sell their goods.
"Accessing a market and finding people who are interested in buying locally (rather) than going to a grocery store is a challenge," McCarthy said.
To Smith and McCarthy, the comparison from fresh, local produce and what someone can buy at big stores is not even close. When talking about salad greens, Nest and Song Farm lettuce will last up to two weeks in the fridge. The bagged mixed greens from the supermarket last three days once opened before they turn slimy and wilted.
"We use organically approved amendments and locally sourced seaweed and compost materials to nourish our soils," Smith said. "That means we refrain from using synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers. That means we put the thought of all that we love into all that we grow."
They're hoping the difference in quality is what will garner local business.
"If you're buying locally, those products were cut the day you pick them up. It's a much different product," Smith said.
But for nearly the same price as the average cost of produce at a supermarket, local SouthCoast residents can get weekly shares of Nest and Song's bounty. The basis for their farm share program is that customers pay upfront for the products they want and helps McCarthy and Smith cover their capital costs in the spring.
"It's a way for the farmer and the community to bear the risk and the rewards of farming locally," McCarthy said. "The way most people set up farm shares, like ourselves, the risk is not really born by the customer. They really just have the opportunity to reap the benefits."
The farm shares allow customers to pick and choose the products they want on a weekly basis for 20 weeks starting June 20 at their drop-off locations of Marion and Bristol, Rhode Island. To help offset surplus of a specific product, they'll also sell to restaurants as a latest trend in the food industry is cooking with locally sourced products.
"Restaurants are a really great outlet for us, especially the way we facilitate our farm share," Smith said. "You get to choose what you want. That can potentially leave a lot of surplus of various crops."
They'll also look to showcase and sell their product at a local farmer's market this spring and throughout the summer.
"It's really encouraging that there's so many farmer's markets around here," McCarthy said. "That's a really nice thing to see."
Although they have yet to decide what farmer's market they'll be apart of this upcoming season, they'll continue growing their brand one step at a time.
"You have to build slowly. Farming is really a capital intensive business. It's a little bit every year," McCarthy said.