Fruits of their labor: Farmers market draws stalwart produce-growers

Fresh food abounds at the Milton Farmers Market every Thursday from 3:30 – 7 p.m. outside the Hannaford Plaza on Route 7.

Submitted by SOPHIE DUNCAN, Milton Community Youth Coalition

Despite all this rain, the summer is heating up, and the vendors at the Milton Farmers Market have new and delicious fruits and vegetables ready to harvest each week. We’re lucky to have so many Milton-based farmers at our market.

Over at the Smittybrook Farm booth at the market, Beth and Ted Smith have baskets brimming with garlic scapes, young onions and freshly dug beets with their greens still attached. They also sell yarn spun from their own sheep and beautifully dyed, and delicious fresh eggs.

Ted Smith’s parents first purchased Smittybrook in their retirement and started a sheep farm. Every summer, they’d gather all their grandchildren there for “farm camp.”

“The kids would do chores while they were there, and then at the end of the season they’d all dress up like vegetables and sell produce on the side of the street,” Beth Smith said.

Beth, who said she used to have “the miracle garden – it was a miracle anything grew!” never expected to end up farming. But after she and Ted retired from teaching and engineering, respectively, they bought the farm in 2010 and began refurbishing it with their nephew, Quinn.

Since then, the farm has evolved. Their gardens are constantly growing, and they have a new greenhouse thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In addition to flowers and vegetables, they have sheep, pigs, and chickens, both layers and broilers.

It’s Smittybrook Farm’s third year at the market, and this year Beth Smith has been crucial in its growth, serving as chairwoman of the market steering committee. If you miss the market one week, you can find eggs at their farmstand on Smittybrook Road in Georgia. They can even pick some veggies fresh for you while you’re there.

At Ted Beaudoin’s stand, you’ll find some produce that he purchases across the border in Canada but also great, fresh veggies that he and his son grow on their farm on Milton’s Middle Road and sell at their farmstand.

Beaudoin’s wife, Irene, grew up on their farm, and the two of them transitioned to vegetables from dairy and beef cattle in 1992. The Beaudoins’ son, John, was away for many years, working on master’s degrees in dance and education before returning to his roots on the farm.

The younger Beaudoin is proud of his family’s roots in the area. His great-grandmother also farmed nearby, and he’s excited to expand the family farm. In addition to increasing their plantings and yield of all the usual favorites – radishes, tomatoes, lettuce, blueberries and tons of pumpkins – John Beaudoin has been busy planting new and exciting varieties, including paw paw trees, hardy kiwis, half an acre of perennial herbs, and berries from lingonberries to elderberries and everything in between.

Ann and Horace Clark are two more longtime vendors at the market and are renowned for the delicious berries, peaches, plums and apples they sell. Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks as these local treats start to roll in.

The Clarks moved to Milton “on moon landing weekend” in 1969 and started growing fruit trees on their property shortly thereafter. It wasn’t until Horace Clark started grafting to produce new trees that they got an overflow of fruit and took to the newly formed Milton Farmers Market, back when it was held at the grange, to sell their extras.

In 2010, the Clarks incorporated bees into the operation, almost by accident. A neighbor gave them a hive to pollinate their fruit trees, and it wasn’t long before they were harvesting their own Milton honey.

These three farmers have been stalwart vendors at the Milton Farmers Market. Come and visit them to sample the literal fruits of their labor, and stay tuned for next month’s article on the new generation of young farmers at the market.

This article is the second in a summer series about Milton’s Farmers Market. Got an idea? Email us at news@miltonindependent.com.

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