Next Barn Over Farm is a 34-acre, certified organic, mixed vegetable farm in Hadley, MA at the foot of the Holyoke Range, near the confluence of the Fort & Connecticut Rivers. We grow over fifty different crops, primarily for our on-farm CSA, as well as for off-farm box-shares and a few grocery store and restaurants. We generally work with a crew of seven in the fields as well as a membership coordinator and a shareroom manager (and since each of these exceptional folks tend to pull the weight of two, we manage to get it all done). Ray and Tory started Next Barn Over in 2010 building on the tradition and community of Food Bank Farm where they apprenticed with Michael Doctor.
Once the rich bottomland of ancient Lake Hitchcock, archeological research suggests that the fertile valley we are in has been farmed for several thousand years. In addition to the corn-beans-and-squash that was grown here for millennia by Native Americans prior to the arrival of European immigrants, the last several hundred years have seen a variety of farming primarily dairy, hay, tobacco, winter squash, potatoes, corn, asparagus, and other vegetables. Hadley loam, Hadley asparagus, and Hadley corn have distinguished this otherwise quiet New England town.
Because of its rich soil and strong agricultural industry, Hadley has the most farmland in Agricultural Protection Restriction (APR) in the state of Massachusetts, with over 2,400 acres protected from development. The APR program has helped farming remain viable and new farms like ours possible. Almost all of the land that we farm is preserved for agricultural use forever.
We come to this work with a deep love of this land, hard work, and sharing vegetables. We believe everyone should have access to healthy, local, sustainably-grown food and we envision our farm as part of a greater movement for food justice and food sovereignty. We think the CSA model is a great way to provide nourishing food, support local farming, steward the land, and act as a gathering place for vibrant community.
Ray Young started Next Barn Over Farm in 2010. Previously, Ray spent three seasons as an apprentice and manager at the Food Bank Farm in Hadley, and worked as an assistant farm manager at Casey Farm in Rhode Island. Prior to pursuing a path in farming, Ray co-founded and worked with the political theater troupe Liberty Cabbage Theater Revival and on many grassroots community justice projects in Western Massachusetts. In 2005, Ray traded in stage life for the glamorous work of crawling through manure. And although it wasn’t the romantic pastoral work imagined, it is, as you might expect, a sticky profession. Ray has been gratefully knee-deep in it ever since.