Adams Farm, Athol

Adams Farm, August 2015. Photo: Cathy Stanton
Adams Farm, August 2015. Photo: Cathy Stanton

Hester (Comerford) Adams grew up on Bearsden Road in the 1890s and was an active partner in the family dairy farm until she died in 1955. The family was known for working with animals: Hester’s father was a veterinarian who rehabilitated work horses strained by the demands of hauling loads on city streets. Her brother followed their father’s career path as a vet, while her oldest sister became a homeopathic M.D., one of many women in that branch of medicine in the early 20th century.

Hester’s son Lewis and daughter-in-law Beverly transitioned to selling meat as small-scale dairying became unprofitable after World War II. When Lewis died suddenly in 1973, Beverly took over as a way to support her five children and honor Hester’s wish that the farm stay in business.

Another reason to keep Adams Farm going became clear after the hilltop slaughterhouse burned just before Christmas 2006: in a steadily-expanding regional food economy with too few USDA-inspected facilities, Adams had become a crucial service. Today its rebuilt slaughtering, wholesale, and retail operation, run by Beverly with her son and daughter, is an important employer and food producer in the town as well as a key node in the region’s food system.

Click here for a more in-depth piece about Adams Farm.

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