Nutwood Farm is growing nuts! In the Hilltowns!
What kind of nuts?
Hazelnuts, Chinese and American chestnuts, English walnuts, hardy pecans, butternuts, Japanese heartnuts and Korean stone pines… so far
Nuts are highly nutritious foods that can be made into a variety of different products including nut butters, oils, flours, milks, and meals. Yet nuts are nearly absent from our modern regional foodshed (despite once being a significant food source gathered by the Mohican, Pocumtuc, Nipmuc, Abenaki, and others for many thousands of years). Nut trees are perennial, meaning they do not die back after bearing fruit and can continuing growing for years, decades, and sometimes centuries! They can grow extensive root systems, sequester carbon, prevent surface runoff, build biomass, and cycle nutrients continuously. They also do not require extensive inputs like fertilizers or irrigation, or prime agricultural soils to grow. The nuts we are growing have been selected over generations to be highly productive, climate-adapted, blight-resistant, and easier to cultivate and harvest. With the growing interest in perennial food crops and a greater diversity of locally grown foods, we now see great potential for nut growing success here in the Northeast.
But why nuts?
We believe in creating a new perennial agroecological food system that turns farming back into an complex mutual relationship with the land and its many intertwined inhabitants. Inspired by the principles of agroforestry, permaculture and food justice, we are bringing a different approach to food production that thrives on maximizing the beneficial impacts of human interplay and technologies to build soil, increase diversity, and thrive nutritionally in community on a small scale. By growing nuts in a perennial agroforestry system that integrates full sized trees, diverse hedge rows, and understory plantings, we can produce highly valued crops WHILE increasing the health and fertility of the forest farm so that it can feed and be a home to as many different species (including humans) as possible.
Nutwood Farm is (will be) an abundant, diverse ecological habitat intentionally stewarded to provide a wide array of edible nuts, fruits, and grains for our regional foodshed while redefining conventional food production, inspiring deeper changes in how we relate to food and the socioecological systems we partake in, demonstrating the principles of regenerative agriculture, strengthening community food sovereignty and economic sufficiency, and embodying appropriate human relationship with the earth.
With the forest as teacher, we hope to become the first small commercial nut farm in Massachusetts, growing hazelnuts, chestnuts, walnuts, hickories, butternuts, and more. As the hedgerow plantings mature atop our contour berms, interplantings of edible shrubs, berries, and medicinal understory herbs will blanket our field with habitat and food. Rice paddies, fruit trees, and small vegetable gardens will round out the diversity of our farm, along with beehives, a small herd of sheep and some amorous ducks. Greenhouses attached to the southface of our passive solar timber frame strawbale home will continue the abundance of production year-round where more exotic herbs, fruits, and spices will thrive (local avocados anyone?). Our exceptional and reciprocal neighbors will complete our vision of a thriving local farm and community in a place we honor and care for that gives meaning to our lives.
We welcome all to join us in this motley adventure and manifest vision- we will happily offer our knowledge, experiences and mistakes along the way as we explore a lifetime of relationship with the human and ecological landscapes we are embedded in.
Nutwood Farm’s mission is to plant roots in the community to create an abundant permanent culture embodying appropriate human relationship with the earth.
In a nutshell, we will do this by:
- Cultivating a diverse array of perennial tree fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms, grains, and medicinals
- Using water harvesting earthworks and keyline design to wisely manage water resources
- Applying the principles of carbon farming to rapidly build topsoil and increase soil biological activity and nutrient holding capacity
- Developing integrated land management techniques through intensive rotational grazing and silvapasture
- Supplying our community with high-quality, nutrient-dense, locally-adapted, open-pollinated perennial foods
- Providing for our own food needs by extending the growing season, maximizing storage capabilities, and experimenting with greenhouse grown exotic fruits, herbs and spices
- Demonstrating innovative green building techniques, appropriate technology, and living building ethics