The farm's present
We - Bob and Sally Fitz - purchased the farm in 2004, but our search for a farm had been underway for over 15 years. Bob spent summers on a farm in the Midwest as a boy, and for most of his adult life, he dreamed of recreating that idyllic experience by owning a farm. After searching throughout the Northeast, we finally decided in 2002 that Western Massachusetts held out the best hope for finding the dream farm. And in 2004, the dream came true!
The 63-acre property comprising Small Ones Farm has a rich history. The farmhouse and barn were built around 1850. For many years, the property was owned by Wes and Pearl Wentworth. Even though they were builders in town, the Wentworths protected the property from being subdivided. In 1987, the Dahowsky family bought the property and began planting the orchard that exists today.
The farm's past
Why "Small Ones Farm?"
We envision the farm as a place for children to be nourished – in body and mind – by what is grown here. This focus on children influences our growing practices (we use natural processes and materials) and it fuels our vision for children's programs on the farm.
In the past, we have run summer programs for young children. Our "Seedlings" took care of animals, harvested crops from the children's garden, and explored the many natural features of our farm. Our summers are now taken up with farming so we no longer run our summer camp.
Children visit our farm through school visits and community organizations. And, when we have a bumper crop, children join their families for apple picking in the fall. Check out information about our programs here.
Our growing practices
People love fruit and so do insects, fungi, and other living organisms. In order to grow mature, delicious and (mostly) aesthetically pleasing fruit, we need to keep bugs and disease at bay. This is a monumental challenge when using growing processes and materials that are earth- and people-friendly.
As a Certified Naturally Grown farm, we use insect traps and USDA approved organic substances to manage pests, and we implement land management practices that enhance – rather than deplete – the soil for future growing. For instance, instead of burning the branches that have been pruned from the trees, we pile the winter prunings into the orchard aisleways and then chop them, literally returning the trees to their roots.
Read: How Did We Get Here