From the Roots & Sprouts newsletter, Summer 2013
An Interview with Mike Chase
Belmont Acres Farm (formerly Sergi Farm) is Belmont’s last working farm, operated by Mike Chase and his family at 34 Glenn Rd. Please drop by the farm this summer to check it out and buy your produce fresh from the fields.
When is the farm stand open?
The farm stand will be open three days a week: Tuesdays and Fridays from 3–6:30, and Saturdays from 12–5. We added an extra day this year in an effort to increase convenience and to adapt to Belmont summer lifestyles. The farm usually opens the first week of June, depending on weather. Useful information throughout the season is available on our website: http://www.belmontacresfarm.com.
What are some favorites at the farm stand?
One of our favorite things about eating locally is that your body really learns to adapt to the seasonality of crops. Starting with late spring and early summer, snap peas, fava beans, lettuces, arugula, and potatoes are some of our customer favorites. As we reach the warmer summer months, tomatoes, eggplants, fennel, zucchini, artichokes, and beans (soy, lima, and shelling) become more popular. When we first introduced okra to the stands, many of our customers told us that they had never seen fresh okra before. As the season moved along, our CSA members gradually learned to incorporate this exotic vegetable into their diet. We even had customers who learned through word of mouth that we offered fresh okra at the stand and came in to verify! In the fall, we offer almost any vegetable that can be grown in New England, and some that are new to the area. An example is the Romanesco cauliflower. One of our customers had seen this variety of cauliflower at a farmer’s market in Italy and was very excited to find it in Belmont. While this may seem unusual to some, we have been growing this long enough to consider it the norm.
How many crops do you expect to plant in total this year?
We expect to grow over 100 varieties of crops this season. We are growing more than 10 varieties of potatoes alone this summer and 10–15 different varieties of lettuces.
What else can people buy at the farm?
We’re expanding our flock of chickens and our bee hives, so hopefully both eggs and honey will be available at the stand, although they sell out quickly. We’re also trying to partner with some other local farmers and augment the diversity of products that we offer at the stand (see the website for updates). One of our friends taps maple trees in Vermont, and we will have some maple syrup available at the stand this year. However, any produce we sell at the stand will be our own. As for flowers, we plan to offer a similar diversity of flowers as offered in years past.
What else can people do at the farm?
You are more than welcome to visit us on the farm and see what’s going on. We are happy to answer questions about how we grow our produce when the stand is open. For visits outside of our normal stand hours, we ask that you contact us ahead of time to schedule a visit. Belmont Acres Farm is a working farm, and as such we do not allow free access to all areas, and we expect that people will treat the animals with respect.
What is your philosophy?
Our core belief is building community through food and bringing attention to the broken food system in this country. The current system of production and distribution has removed the consumers from the realities and true cost of farming. While farming locally is a very costly endeavor, it is essential to building a healthy and well-balanced community through the creation of fairly paid jobs. Additionally, local farms raise awareness about our responsibilities to preserve our natural resources.