2012-08-31 / Front Page

Fresh dinner from the farm to the table

Broadturn celebrates six years of success with farm dinner
By Marc Filippino
Staff Writer


The Long Barn is used for Broadturn Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture pick ups and for general storage. The long metallic structure is an irrigation system that is necessary since Broadturn’s soil requires a high level of moisture. (Marc Filippino photo) The Long Barn is used for Broadturn Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture pick ups and for general storage. The long metallic structure is an irrigation system that is necessary since Broadturn’s soil requires a high level of moisture. (Marc Filippino photo) When Paul Austin was first approached by former Scarborough Land Trust President Laurene Sedgeley about turning a piece of land in the northwest corner of Scarborough into a self-sustaining farm he was more than a little skeptical.

“I told her, ‘You’re out of your mind,’” said Austin, the current land trust president.

Now, six years later, Broadturn Farm, located at 388 Broadturn Road, is thriving and about to celebrate its first annual “Fresh from the Farm Dinner,” a celebration of the local produce and culture that is generated from the farm.

The Scarborough Land Trust owns the property that Broadturn Farm stands on and farmers Stacy Brenner and John Bliss are in charge of running the farm. The farm, which grows a variety of produce, will provide farm-grown flowers for decorating, fresh fruit and vegetables for the menu and a pig that was raised on Broadturn over the last few months.


The menu of the Fresh from the Farm dinner will consist of Broadturn’s organic produce (seen here) as well as a pig that was raised on the farm since November . (Marc Filippino photo) The menu of the Fresh from the Farm dinner will consist of Broadturn’s organic produce (seen here) as well as a pig that was raised on the farm since November . (Marc Filippino photo) All the proceeds from the dinner will help maintain the buildings and property at the farm.

“It’s really the first opportunity we’ve had to put something together to honor the work at Broadturn,” said Rita Breton, the co-chairman of the land trust’s development and communications committee.

The dinner will talk place Monday, Sept. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the farm.

Tickets are $50 for adults and $15 for children under the age of 13.

Aside from growing everything from organic vegetables and cut flowers to poultry and pork, Broadturn usually hosts roughly 10 weddings a year. Through a program known as Community Sharing Agricultures held in the summer, more than 100 community members buy shares in the farm and, in return, receive eight weekly shipments of produce.

Austin said maintaining the farm requires an unbelievable amount of planning and hard work.

“There is nothing simple about this farm; it is definitely an intricate industry,” Austin said.

Austin said some of the most interesting aspects of the farm is the number of ways it gives back to the community.

Every year between May and October, Broadturn accepts three to five interns, who are usually college students, to work on the farm and experience agriculture firsthand.

Additionally, Broadturn hosts the Long Barn project, which brings in children between the ages of 5 and 13 to learn about local agriculture over an eight-week period. Austin believes the program, which is run by co-founders Beatrice Dahlen and Megan Dunn, is one of the most important educational programs about local farming in the community.

“Many people say that their kids would never eat carrots, until they spend a summer at Broadturn,” Austin said. “Then they learn about the growing process and where carrots come from and then (the kids) love vegetables. It’s incredible.”

Austin believes that Broadturn is leading the renaissance of farms in the Scarborough area.

“About 60 years ago Scarborough was nothing but farms,” Austin said. “It turned into an attractive area to develop in the last few decades. But now we are starting to see farms come back into the area, with Broadturn at the forefront.”

Recently, the Scarborough Land Trust signed a 30-year lease with Bliss and Brenner, a goal which many land trusts strive for in order to have sustainable land in their community, Austin said. Several surrounding land trusts have reached out to the Scarborough trust to learn more about its successful relationship with Broadturn and how it can be emulated.

Brenner said the long lease is something that will help the farm thrive, since she and Bliss know they have security and long-term goals they can plan for.

“The biggest part of the lease is, it allows us to have a model of framework where we can grow a business and have security,” Brenner said.

“It allows us to have a way to attract a farmer who may want to buy in to our business and for us to have security for the business.”

Though 30 years may seem like a long time, Austin said the investment is well worth the commitment, as Brenner and Bliss have proven to be one of Scarborough’s most valuable agricultural pieces.

“It’s absolutely tremendous,” Austin said. “Once the ball got rolling it took a life of its own. Broadturn is probably the best project we’ll ever do.”

The dinner is meant to celebrate the success of the farm while taking a glance of the future, said Breton, who hopes to offer the dinner on an annual basis.

“It’s going to be a blast,” Brenner said. “Always great to have a party.”

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