Four Town Farm in Seekonk Brings Five Generations of Farming Knowhow
The following article originally appeared in the Seekonk Patch.
By Jeff Sullivan (Patch Staff)
Christopher Clegg is a fifth generation farmer at the Four Town Farm in Seekonk, and he says having that kind of experience behind you is a big help in his line of work. “You’re always learning,” he said. “There’s a routine to the year, but everyday is different and every year is different. I have generations that I can fall back on if I have a question.”
Clegg has been working on the farm since he was a kid. He said the farm was started in the 20s by his great great grandfather. He said times have definitely changed since then.
“We were a whole sale operation until the 1970s,” he said. “Back then, most of this area was all farms with very little development, because of the proximity to Providence so there was always an outlet for produce.”
Clegg said the introduction of refrigerated freight trucks changed everything and they had to think smaller. He said they make much more money now selling directly to the consumer.
“It all started with my grandmother selling cantaloupes down on a table across the street,” he said. “Very quickly we realized there was more money to be made selling directly to the consumer, and since then our farm stand has evolved to what it is today.”
And Clegg said it’s quite an operation. At any given time, he said they employ about 15 people at the stand itself and 22 people to work the field.
“At this point we grow everything we can in this climate with the exception of apples,” he said.
Clegg said the land use and time investment into started an apple orchard is just too great, but he said he’s more concerned with the produce they grow now.
“You do what you do best, and we grow vegetables best,” he said.
The farm sells vegetables and fruits when they’re in season. Clegg said they start as direct seed or clippings. He added anything they grow you can grow yourself in a small garden.
“If you’re a consumer, basically we’re doing the same things on a much larger scale,” he said.
Clegg said he believes in the grow local movement, and added you really can’t beat a locally grown vegetable or fruit.
“You take something like asparagus, and that’s not the most exciting crop, but to eat native asparagus versus the grocery store, it’s like night and day,” he said. “It’s amazing to see the difference in what was just harvested and what was stored and shipped how much of the flavor is lost.”
Clegg said the organic movement in the country has helped him to make some changes to some of the products they grow in the farm. He said that’s not always feasible for the farm, but they do it when they can and when pesticides or herbicides are necessary, they make sure with a lot of testing before they are put to use.
“I take what’s best of both worlds,” he said. “When it’s practical, I’ll use organic methods, but for me time’s a factor. I need something to harvest and to bring things to fruition.”
Clegg said he works with the University of Massachusetts, who sends out testers periodically to count threats to the harvest and determine when intervention is necessary.
Four Town Farm is located on 90 George St. and is open everyday starting at 9 a.m.