Land for Growing

edgewater-strawberry-season-2016-aWhen Edgewater Farm, a thriving fruit and vegetable farm that got its start in Plainfield 40 years ago, needed to expand, UVLT got involved in helping to search for more good land. Pooh and Anne Sprague began the farm in 1976, since then their children Sarah and Ray and long-time employee Mike Harrington have joined the operation. They needed more growing space to support the growing family and business!

The Putnam Homestead in Cornish proved to be the perfect fit, at 67 acres with 22 acres of prime farm soil and nearly 900 feet of Connecticut River shoreline. This land was owned by the Putnam family for 247 years — it had been part of an original land grant and was acquired by the Putnams in 1765. Their sturdy brick colonial stands proudly on Route 12-A. A massive old barn once graced the site as well, but was removed when restoration proved too costly. Its timbers have been reconstructed as an adjunct to the new Artistree Art and Performance Center in Pomfret, Vermont and its slate roof tiles repurposed in renovations of the house.

Encouraged by the quality of the soils and the possibility of selling a conservation easement to UVLT, Ray Sprague purchased the Putnam land in May of 2012. Soon thereafter, the land was producing crops for the Edgewater Farmstand and CSA. Now, we are thrilled to report that the conservation easement is in place, enabling Ray to pay down the acquisition cost and friends of Edgewater Farm to rejoice in knowing this farm has the land it needs to keep growing and feeding the community.

planting-at-edgewaterputnamPooh Sprague wrote on the farm’s website: “ …We were investing  effort and money  in some fields that are most likely destined to be house lots. With the addition of the Putnam Farm we now  have a more secure  land area and that will  in turn  insure Edgewater Farm’s ability to continue to provide it’s ability to produce a diverse product mix as well as  provide more land for proper rotation.  …We are excited about our future and what this  land can potentially  provide us as we amend, work and restore  its soils.”

Funding for the conservation easement was provided by USDA’s Agricultural Land Easement Program, the NH Land and Community Heritage Investment Program, the 1772 Foundation and donors from the surrounding community.