Around the Farm
This farm has been my home since I was a baby. Every tree has a story and every pile of dirt still has a few plastic army guys. Working on the farm made me want to do anything BUT farm for most of my life. I longed for a cushy desk job because of the hard work of farming, helping my parents on their never ending addition to our house, and being a laborer for my dad’s tile company. I really dreaded the blisters on my hands, and working from before the sun comes up until long after it goes down. I decided to pursue a degree in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire. Plans changed in 2011. I was diagnosed with cancer. Four months of chemotherapy and surgery transformed my life. No longer was a desk job what I longed for. I discovered I couldn’t sit still while in the hospital. A life behind a desk was not for me. I began to appreciate those long days, valuable work ethic and, yes, even those blisters. I spent my days on my laptop in the hospital learning everything I could about apple orchards.
8am to 8pm
For the first time in my life I enjoyed learning. I searched high and low for the answers to my questions, absorbing everything I could. I grew up surrounded by small business owners, which made me desire to make my own unique impact in the world. I ordered 400 trees that year and was soon on my way to having my very own farm. Over the last 5 years the farm has expanded into vegetables, herbs, flowers and more fruits. Now I wholesale to restaurants, grocery stores, food purveyors, and the Boston wholesale produce market. You can find me at 2 farmers markets during the season and my farmstand is open 7 days a week 8am to 8pm. I ask you to help me take this farm to the next level. We have a chance to better our little piece of the world.
Below is a brief history of Sandy Hill Farm.
Sandy Hill Farm is the location of one of the first European settlements in Maine. The Shapleigh estate was founded by Alexander Shapleigh in 1635. It was operated as a homestead farm for many years. The tidal currents of the water flowing in and out of Shapleigh’s old mill pond and the Piscataqua River powered a grain mill for decades. Of the original 800-acre settlement Sandy Hill farm is what remains of the original piece. Our front field was the location of the original Shapleigh home before it burned.
In the 70's my grandmother, Nancy Shapleigh purchased the land and together with her husband, Merritt Shapleigh cleared the land to make pasture for their dream of owning draft horses. Over the next few years, they accumulated 14 draft horses in all. At one point, they had the only six horse hitch in New England. They stopped showing them as the horses got older. The horses were allowed to live out their days in this scenic place until they all passed away.