The North Shore is home to at least a dozen small farms, many of which have CSAs. Although harvest season is winding down, residents can now reserve summer 2017 shares at Three Sisters Garden Project in Ipswich and Chris’ Farm Stand in Haverhill. And don’t forget to check out Chris’s farm-raised Thanksgiving turkeys—just in time for the holiday.
Three Sisters Garden Project
Opened in 2015, Three Sisters Garden Project is sponsored by the Cuvilly Arts & Earth Center, a ministry of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur in Ipswich. The farm is located on a 170-acre former dairy farm overlooking Ipswich’s scenic hills and salt marshes.
“We’re not a religious organization, but we have some things in common,” says Elizabeth Green, who managed the farm for its first two seasons.
Three Sisters donates 15 percent of its harvest to local food pantries. To increase access to affordable locally grown food, the farm plans to partner with North Shore hospitals and public schools. And a new internship program is training the next generation of sustainable farmers.
The farm uses only organic fertilizer and non-GMO seeds, and no chemical pesticides. Although there is no retail stand, 140 families and individuals have already joined Three Sisters’ fall and summer CSAs.
Residents can also find Three Sisters’ produce at The Market Restaurant in Annisquam and Short & Main in Gloucester.
Three Sisters Fall CSA
Fall shares are $150 and can be reserved online. The season runs from the end of October through December. Produce includes organic leeks, onions, garlic, winter squash, carrots, beets, spinach, lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, potatoes, parsnips, herbs, and popcorn.
Three Sisters Summer CSA
Summer 2017 shares are $525 and can now be reserved online. The season runs for 20 weeks (about $25/week), from June through October. Produce includes peas, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, cooking greens, salad greens, radishes, melons, cabbage, beets, herbs, and flowers.
Chris’ Farm Stand
There are family-run farms, and then there’s Chris’ Farm Stand in Haverhill. Owner Chris Stasinos learned the business from his grandfather, a pig farmer who cleared an acre of land in 1970 to let his 9-year-old grandson try growing corn.
“He brought the corn to the roadside edge and sold it out of his little red wagon, and he made $500,” laughs Stasinos’s wife, Marlene, who co-owns and operates the farm stand. “He thought he was going to get rich.”
Stasinos never got rich, but he never looked back. Today, 10 members of the Stasinos family grow and sell produce at the 200-year-old Silsby Farm in Bradford, a village of Haverhill. They offer local honey and eggs through partnerships with local beekeepers and chicken farmers. The family also operates a second farm stand in Peabody and has a thriving summer CSA with 150 members.
But Chris’ Farm Stand may best be known for its Pumpkin Festival, which runs every weekend in October. Hundreds of North Shore families come to Silsby Farm for pumpkin picking, hayrides, pony rides, face painting, and a corn maze.
Although the harvest is over by November, Marlene Stasinos is still selling her farm-raised turkeys for Thanksgiving. She says the birds are naturally raised and integral to the farm’s sustainability.
“My turkeys give me fertilizer for the fields, I grow vegetables, the leftovers are fed to the turkeys, and then the turkeys feed us,” says Stasinos. “It works.”
Chris’ Farm Stand Thanksgiving Turkeys
Farm-raised turkeys are available now and range from 15 pounds to 35 pounds. Customers should call ahead to reserve their birds.
Chris’ Farm Stand Summer CSA
Summer 2017 shares are now available and can be reserved by calling the farm. The farm offers small shares for $325, which feed up to two people, and large shares for $525, which feed up to four people. Members can pick up their shares at Silsby Farm or the Peabody farm stand.