We are delighted to welcome Tim Laird to The Trustees at Powisset Farm. Tim has farmed mixed vegetables and fruit organically for over 35 years. He has worked on a variety of farms, including non-profit farms in the area such as The Food Project and Drumlin Farm as well as his own farm in Chile. Tim brings deep knowledge, evident curiosity, and a practical approach to his work. Together with Jessica Rice who has been at Powisset for over 3 years and holds essential land-based knowledge, we look forward to a robust season and invite you to join us!
How did you get into farming?
I did not grow up on a farm, but I grew up in a family that gardened. In college, I was an Environmental Studies major and was interested in the idea of growing food. So, I got an apprenticeship on a farm in Massachusetts that sparked my interest even more. I went on to work on a farm in New Zealand and then I got job in Vermont working on another farm. It all just kind of snowballed and here we are, 35 years later, still growing.
Prior to joining The Trustees at Powisset Farm, what were you doing?
I’ve actually been working on CSAs since 1988, which is pretty close to the beginning of the CSA movement in the United States. I started at a CSA called the Intervale Community Farm in Burlington, Vermont then moved to another CSA in Eastern Long Island called Quail Hill. Then I worked for eight years with The Food Project in Lincoln growing vegetables for a large CSA.
When I was working for The Food Project, we leased some land from The Trustees at Long Hill in Beverly, so I got to know that farm pretty well. I also got to know the people that worked on that property well, and I really liked the mission of The Trustees and really loved the people that worked there. When we started thinking about moving back to the states, The Trustees was one of the first places I looked to see if they had any job openings.
For the past six years, I farmed in Chiloe, an island in Southern Chile, which is where my wife’s family is from. We bought a 5-acre farm called Ajo Insular where we grew salad mix and elephant garlic, which I would dry and sell as a value-added product. You can learn more about our farm by going to our Instagram page.
When it comes to farming, what are you most passionate about?
When it comes to farming, I really enjoy setting up farms where you have the right systems and equipment for the job. Because Powisset is a certified organic farm, one of the biggest challenges we face is managing weeds. Weed management on a farm this size needs cultivating equipment, cultivating tractors. Luckily, we have pretty much all the pieces to the puzzle at Powisset, so now we are fitting them all together to effectively and efficiently implement those systems.
(Photo: Tim’s farm in Chile.)
What is your area of expertise?
One of the things I do really well is managing a farm that is efficient and productive. We’re growing about eight acres of vegetables this year, and I’m hoping that each one of those acres is highly productive after implementing the right systems and necessary equipment into our growing plan.
What are your farming priorities at Powisset?
Jess and I have fine-tuned our crop plan, and it looks really nice. If we follow it, the goal is to increase the number of crops and overall volume of vegetables coming out of the fields, which should increase the size of our shares. I know this is a concern that some shareholders have expressed, so we are strategically trying to increase the size of the CSA shares this year.
Another focus is on soil health. The fields at Powisset have been used for many years, and they need a rest, and we have an opportunity to do that. We have new land to utilize at a field we call Fork Factory Field, which is right down the road. We’re going to be growing a bunch of vegetables over there and putting some of the fields on Powisset’s property to rest. We’re also bringing cattle onto four acres that will go from vegetable fields to pasture for the next couple of years. Livestock grazing on those fields will be really great for the soil, which will increase the fertility and overall soil structure.
A Note from Farmer Jessica Rice
We are very excited to have a highly experienced grower on our team. While every grower has different production methods, Tim is well known for his cultivation methods within the farming community, and I’m excited to learn from him and implement his expertise at Powisset.