Oxford Farms … rich soil … lofty ambitions
Theresa Cohen, owner of Oxford Farms, second from left, with Amelia Kellner, Corey Foster and Evan Lussier.
By Rod Lee
Theresa Cohen’s family purchased one hundred thirty acres of rich agricultural land high atop Federal Hill Road in Oxford in 2015. In the seven years since, she has already transformed Oxford Farms into a place residents of the area can turn to for fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers and meats.
“I bought this property from Bigelow, the nursery people,” Ms. Cohen said in her office on the grounds on the morning of May 31st. “It is protected farm land. There were no structures. I put in a post-and-beam barn, a storage shed, there are greenhouses, outdoor gardens, and a flower and herb garden. We are farming roughly one acre of the land, half of which is forest, half of which is open.”
An environmental engineer by trade, Ms. Cohen has maintained a steady focus on what she wants to do with Oxford Farms. She has designated about one-third of an acre to “no-till” farming (non-certified organic) and will be utilizing the greenhouses to plant year-round. The beef, lamb and chicken she sells are produced by “100 percent grass-fed” livestock, “no antibiotics or de-wormers.”
Above, a view of Oxford Farms’ post-and-beam barn from the entrance to the property on Federal Hill Road in Oxford.
Below, some of the organically-grown plants that are available for purchase at Oxford Farms.
Her chickens are pasture-raised.
“We are all about clean food, healthy food and a respect for nature,” she says. She relies on “the expertise of my livestock manager and garden manager” to realize her vision for Oxford Farms.
Ms. Cohen’s plan might not have been to become a farmer. But, she says, “my kids had health issues so I got involved with alternative health. My husband and I started a recycling business and he runs that.”
Apparently she has only just begun. Oxford Farms’ store hours are Wednesdays, 9:00 to 11:00 a.m., Thursdays, 4:00 to 6:00 p.m., Fridays from 11:00 to 2:00 p.m., or by appointment. A seasonal operation, Oxford Farms is open from June through October 31st. The farm hosted a Harvest Fair in November and a spring fair. Music festivals may be coming. There is a pick-your-own ingredient, for strawberries, for instance—for “your total farm experience.”
A cornerstone of the venture is the “shares” component: vegetable, fruit and flower shares, small meat shares and family meat shares.
“We don’t box you in!” she says in her promotional literature for the fresh vegetable shares. “Our shares allow you to choose what vegetables you get. Your vegetables will be picked shortly before you buy them, fully vine-ripened and ready to eat to insure best flavor and highest nutrition. We are not certified organic but we follow organic practices—no chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers. We build soil health using natural sources of fertility such as compost, feather meal, fish meal and alfalfa meal, natural mulches and mineral amendments based upon soil testing.”
Oxford Farms offers delivery “and we sell to restaurants,” Ms. Cohen said. “Dead Horse Hill, Isadore’s Organics, the Worcester food hub.”
Another goal she has in mind is growing the farmstead’s retail aspect, “bread, eggs and dairy.”
Ms. Cohen is proving to be a capable steward of the land. The previous owner “planted trees for their nursery.” Her objective is much larger in scope.
“The purpose behind this farm is to interact with people,” she says.
Of the success she and her approximately eight employees have realized so far, she says “you help yourself a lot if you start with a good asset.”
Contact Rod Lee at [email protected] or 774-232-2999.