Moore’s Maple Grove Farm, Orange

john-on-tractor

Moore’s Maple Grove Farm, run by John and Laura Moore, got its name when John’s grandfather was courting a young woman named Lottie Marble. She lived to the south of his family’s North Orange farm, and a stand of sugar maples at the edge of her father’s property told her visiting sweetheart that he was nearing the end of his long walk to see her.

The couple and later their son ran the farm as a milk business, but by the end of the 20th century their grandson John, like many area farmers, found that it made more financial sense to diversify. The farm now sells vegetables, meat, and maple syrup, while Laura runs the Maple Grove Farmhouse Bakery, based in the former Minute Tapioca factory (now the Orange Innovation Center). Their children and grandchildren sometimes join in, making nine generations of Moores who have farmed in this town.

This remarkable continuity sits side by side with the kind of continual change and adaptation that has always been needed to keep small farms operating in this part of Massachusetts. John Moore uses both draft horses and tractors to work his land; the farm draws on deep-seated relationships with neighbors and family, but also on newer and revitalized networks like farmers markets in area towns and farmland preservation models (the Moores’ fields are protected in perpetuity with the help of Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust). In many ways, today’s enthusiasm for local food and farming has just caught up to what the Moores have been doing all along—producing good food and selling it at affordable prices in very local markets.

Photo: Pamela Moore (click on photo for larger view)

Click here to read more about the history of Moore’s Maple Grove Farm and the Moore and Marble families.