© 2014, Jon Belber. All rights reserved. Friends of Holly Hill Farm
Variety at the Farm
Though our Main Barn does not double as a winter chalet with skis, skates, couches and hot chocolate, we do play host to many a snow shoeing family and cross-country skiing enthusiasts. The recent blizzard and subsequent cold make for perfect conditions to follow the animal tracks and field edges (skiers are thoughtful not to traverse and compact over the growing beds) and head out for some beautiful picturesque jaunts. The 140 acres at the Farm are always open from dawn to dusk, free to the public and ready to receive any wandering farm stand seeker, though in these months, all we have for sale is the hope of Spring seeds and fruitful, bearing plants. The adjacent Wheelwright Park and entrance to the Barnes Sanctuary on Forest avenue also abut Holly Hill’s 25 marked trails. Some walkers are pleasantly surprised to find themselves at the Farm and might even learn a bit of history about how Holly Hill is now in its 5th generation of family ownership and open to all who wander. There have been many iterations of farming occurring on this lovely land and now its farming and education efforts are hopefully known to many neighbors and community members from Cohasset to Hull, down to Plymouth, up to Boston and over to Brockton, with even Belmont third graders this May and Brooklyn Bohemians planning to come in June.
There are purposeful efforts to draw visitors to the farm in all seasons. As there are beneficial bees buzzing in the Summer, the apiarist who keeps hives will discuss the roles of the bees as they set to pollinate and make honey. A starry, starry night with a full moon in February is terrific time to take a guided walk and listen for owls and other calling animals. Clearing the Tomato Barn of its bountiful fruit namesake in late October makes space for a caller, a live band and fifty, nifty folks to come for a contra dance and squash soup stewing on the outdoor oven. With ready-to-cut saplings in far away Hunt field, a school group from Hingham is preparing, measuring and planning to build a tepee to keep warm, protected and curricularly busy on Fridays this winter. And guided walks with a naturalist, an early plant sale, a full slate of Summer programs and many a school teacher organizing a field trip to the farm come Spring, the farm hosts lots of people and visitors, both organized and spontaneous, planned and surprised to come celebrate and enjoy this local gem of a resource. Holly Hill Farm can be a neighborhood farm perhaps, a community gathering spot and a place to learn new and familiar ideas. Or it serves as a fine spot to wander through on one’s own journey. Let the parallel ski tracks be your guide or the flight of the bird your inspiration, there are places to walk, explore and muse, be it a backyard, a conservation retreat or a diverse bit of farm land amidst homes, a constant ocean and life’s busy and daily routines.