Weir River Love Note
Turn off 228 and start up Leavitt Street, pass the library, and you’re still in busy Hingham-kids being dropped off at the library, time with the tutor, meetings to attend. As you make the climb up the hill, the scenery changes from bustle to bucolic. Rolling farm and grassland dotted with charming Belted Galloway cattle, 3 ½ acres planted with farm stand produce, and stellar views of Boston harbor. It’s really hard to believe that you’re still in Hingham.
When you reach the top of the hill it gets a bit confusing, but here is how it lays out: At the very top find Turkey Hill parking lot for both the farm, and Whitney Thayer Woods. Turn around and face Boston. Ok, on the left you have the gorgeous and extensive Whitney-Thayer woods which reach all the way to Wompatuck State Park and are a beautiful hike [do take a map]. On your right, past the pretty stone private home find Weir River Farm. It extends down the hill from Turkey Hill Road all the way to East Street. You can also access the farm [for a quick trip to buy eggs] from East Street, by entering the stone walled gate, winding up the hill past the “private drive” signs to the big red barn. See? A bit confusing, but no matter how you get there, it’s a spectacular place. Now what to do?
Hike: The 75 acre property is open to the public year-round from sunset to sundown. There are trails to hike on the farm as well as in Whitney-Thayer Woods. If you have little ones, take them down the hill towards the farm barn, cut across the field heading north and stay on the enclosed path that cuts through grazing land for the cattle, pigs, even a llama or too. You'll find yourself in the farm woods behind the Quaker Friend's Home where kids can discover a frog pond, find cattle and pigs grazing in the woods, and spot turkey feathers galore. A perfect fall adventure.
Discover: The farmyard itself is home to chickens, pigs, sheep, cattle and the most lovable farm dog ever. Go when the barn is open [and perhaps get the chance to get up close] or meander through the fields and watch the animals free-range. Do not worry that you are bothering the farmers, they love it.
Graze: The 3 1/2 acres of organic farmland have produced a gorgeous bounty this year. You can select from produce in season [including a jaw dropping selection of tomatoes] available at the farmstand. Find the fields and the farmstand on the south side of the road, opposite the farm. The fields and stand are still open on Wednesdays [11-5pm] and Saturdays [11-3pm]. Or find the produce this season at the Hingham Farmers Market on Saturdays 10-2 at the Bathing Beach.
Or, you can pick up a dozen organic free-range eggs at the barn. The original flock of farm hens were all eaten by a fisher this spring [that sounds so wild for our suburban locale doesn't it??] and had to be replaced with a group of birds already mature and laying. New Hampshire/Rhode Island Red crosses, they're an unlovely flock with feathers sticking out here and there. They may not be pretty to look at but those girls sure can lay, the eggs are so large their paper cartons have to be wrapped with a rubber band to keep from bursting open.
Enjoy: The Belted Galloway cattle are charming to look at, and delicious to eat. Yes, the farm butchers a few each year and the very, very lucky who are in the know get to purchase steaks and ground beef of unparalleled flavor and impeccable quality. It may sound shocking, but knowing your farmer, and meeting your meat is part of a natural cycle of life that is a grounding experience. Sign up for the newsletter to know when beef, pork, [and even lamb next year] will be sold.
Muck Around: Help in the fields on Fridays [9am- 1pm] or Saturday [1-4pm] there is a weekly project to conquer, and no better feeling of accomplishment. Kids under 15 can participate too, when with an adult.
Discover: The farm has a fantastic selection of events, classes and courses for all ages- but particularly wonderful for small kids. Fall is so beautiful on the farm, it's a good time to get out and discover. Here's a tiny selection of the activities offered: Wednesday Story Hour: a farm inspired read-along. Open Barnyard: Saturdays. Ecosplorations: Five weeks of exploration, themed hikes and fun on Weir River and World's End. Autumn Family Outings: Guided hikes at World’s End, Weir River and Norris Reservation ages 2-5. Drawing on the Fall: Local artist Lynn Rizzotto guides a hands-on drawing session for grandparents and their grandchildren ages 5-10. See? a fantastic selection for children. For adults, Menu for the Future is a eye-opening course on food and nutrition. For more programs go here.
Join: Sign up for the Weir River newsletter and get first hand information on events and be first to hear about famous yearly Weir River meat sale.
Support: Next year Weir River Farm will be forming a CSA [community supported agriculture]. A CSA is a prepaid “subscription” to a farm's produce for the season. It allows the farm to create the infrastructure needed to support a season of growing [greenhouse, seed, machinery] Think of it as buying stock in the crops. Weir River Farm grows the food specifically for you, the shareholder. They are in the process of raising money to put this CSA into action so to donate or get on their CSA wait list just go to their website and help them transform Weir River Farm into a true place of inspiration – for today and for future generations.
Betty could go on an on in our love note to Weir River Farm. It's incredible that such a vibrant, progressive, working farm is so close. The tiny [only 5 people] staff is passionate, committed and incredibly generous and their enthusiasm is infectious- it's hard not to become a part of the tight knit community. You'll find us there- hiking, buying eggs, taking photos, breathing the fresh air. It has a way of reordering the chaos of our lives- naturally.
Find out more on their site here.