Who We Are
First Root is a little vegetable farm with a big heart. We are young farmers who grow food with love. We love to eat, we love to cook, we love working outside, and we love sharing it all with so many wonderful folks.
Founded in 2009 by two enthusiastic, dedicated young farmers, First Root has grown into a thriving community farm. We grow vegetables and flowers on 4.5 acres of historic farmland in Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, MA. We run a 200 member summer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and smaller November and December CSAs, and sell to several neighboring restaurants.
We use organic and sustainable growing practices because we want this land to be fertile and healthy for generations to come. We host monthly community work days and farm potlucks because we believe connecting folks to each other and the land and the food we all eat is what makes farming so much fun.
As a successful start-up farm, we hope to inspire other farmers (young and old) to take the plunge and make their own farm dreams come true.
Nina & Laura do American Gothic
Posted by Laura :: Tuesday, February 24 :: 3:53pm
This Saturday, February 28th, is National CSA Sign-Up Day!
Come celebrate with us: give winter a nudge out the door…say hello to spring…buy a CSA share!
According to the 2014 CSA Farming Annual Report, a study of over 200 farms put together by our friends over at Small Farm Central, February 28th is the most popular day to sign up for a CSA. So farmers all over the country are celebrating the first-ever National CSA Sign-Up Day this Saturday.
Eastern Massachusetts definitely needs a celebration. It’s been a hard winter. With all this snow on the ground, it’s hard to convince ourselves that we’re ever going to see the dirt again. That’s why we think National CSA Sign-Up Day is such a great idea. There’s no better time to celebrate local farms then right now, in the heart of winter. And CSAs are worth celebrating.
The CSA model was how First Root got its start in 2009. Without the sale of CSA shares, we would not have been able to buy seeds, potting soil, fertilizer, or anything else. Six years later, First Root is still thriving, and it is because of the CSA. Access to capital in the off-season; the meaningful connections between farmers and CSA members; the sense of ownership and pride members feel about their CSA farms—all of these things add up to healthy farms, businesses, and communities. The CSA model is good for everybody.
After five seasons of running a small business, I’ve learned that it’s a good idea to celebrate everything you can, every chance you get. So I hope you’ll join First Root this Saturday to celebrate everything and everyone that makes CSA farms so special. Now is when we need your support most. As always, the ever-delightful First Root community has our gratitude—without you, we’d have a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers and chard, and no one to help us eat them!
Here’s how you can celebrate National CSA Sign-Up Day:
Buy your CSA share on Saturday, February 28th! Everyone who buys a share on February 28th will get a coupon for a bouquet of beautiful First Root flowers this summer.
Visit us at Haute Coffee on Saturday morning from 9am-12pm. Farmer Laura will be in the café to chat about the farm and answer all your CSA questions. If you sign up for the CSA on the spot, we'll thank you with an $8 gift certificate for the best coffee/hot chocolate/baked goods in town! Come in out of the cold, chat with your farmer, and support an amazing small business.
Tell your friends! If you've already signed up for the 2015 season, we simply can't thank you enough. Spread the word--have your friends write your name in the "Referred By" box on the CSA signup form on February 28th, and we'll thank you with a coupon for a beautiful flower bouquet.
Tell us why you think CSAs are worth celebrating! Post what you love about your CSA on social media this Saturday with the hashtag #CSAday. (We’ve never used hashtags before, but hey, we’re going with it…) Or email us your thoughts, drawings, and photos about why you love your CSA, and we’ll compile everything into a beautiful, celebratory blog post to share with the world.
Posted by Laura :: Tuesday, February 17 :: 8:40pm
I love winter. I’ve always loved winter. Given the choice between a 100° day and a -5° day, I’ll pick the sub-zero temperature every time. I prefer sweaters to tank tops and snow boots to sandals. If there’s going to be a storm, I prefer that it come with snow. I love the feeling of fresh, bitter, snow-scented wind across my face, and the stillness of open snow-covered fields, and the stark, clear silhouettes of naked trees against blazing blue winter skies.
Yesterday I snowshoed out over the snow-covered farm just before sunset. It was cold, and there was no one else around; just me and the wind blowing patterns over the white. I climbed over six foot drifts around the tractor shed and looked back at the sun turning the side of the barn to gold. I could just see the top of the disc poking out from underneath the snow; a few more inches and it will be completely buried. The fields were utterly quiet and the sky was the deepest, clearest blue, fading to purple on the horizon. The farm had never looked so beautiful to me.
A talented writer and dear friend of mine, Andra Hibbert, once wrote a little piece about how much she loved sitting on the red line when it came out of the tunnel and onto the Longfellow Bridge. “This is the most beautiful,” she wrote, “this is the most true.” That line has stuck with me for years, and I often find myself thinking about it, especially in moments when the world seems to suddenly coalesce into clear, shimmering meaning and beauty. I was thinking about it yesterday, snowshoeing across the white, windswept fields, awed by and grateful for this beloved farm that I love more than any other place on earth.
As I drove home, past half-snowed-in driveways and snow piles the size of small houses, I got to thinking about why I love that line so much. What is it about the particular combination of something that is both beautiful and true that resonates so much for me?
It’s been a hard winter for Boston. Shimmering sunset snowshoes on the farm aside, it’s likely that this record-breaking snowfall has something to do with climate change. The massive amounts of snow are illuminating how ill equipped Boston is to deal with what’s happening: the T is vastly underfunded and our public transit infrastructure is old and crumbling. If you keep missing work and not getting paid for those missed days, if your kids keep having snow days and you suddenly have to find emergency childcare, if your heat costs are skyrocketing, if you rely on the T to get to work, if you rely on your car to get to work, if you’re homeless, if you’re trying to do all the things you normally do in the snow-choked city—well, this cold, snowy winter is not whimsical and beautiful. It’s painful and stressful and dangerous.
Local businesses are struggling. Restaurants are losing customers to blizzards. Small shops, grocery stores, independent retailers—everyone is suffering because no one wants to leave their house unless they have to. Getting to work and home again is hard enough.
And despite how much I love the quiet snow blanketing the farm, First Root isn’t immune to the adverse effects of the weather, either. CSA shares were selling faster than ever before in January. February CSA sales are only 23% what they were in January. It’s not a coincidence that we’ve had 50+ inches of snow in the past four weeks, but less than 20 new CSA signups. We count on early CSA sales to help us get through the spring. The money that we make in February and March goes directly to employee salaries. It’s what we use to buy fertilizer and potting soil. This year, it’s what we’ll use to buy two new high tunnels and electric deer fencing for the whole farm. But folks just aren’t thinking about summer. Summer feels like a far-away dream. Buying a CSA share, or going out to eat, or picking up a birthday present for a friend—all of these things are easily forgotten amid this sea of never-ending snow.
And while the promise that the snow will, eventually, melt, is a comfort to the snowed-in city, it’s not exactly filling my farmer’s heart with joy. Who knows how long it will take for 50+ inches of snow to melt? I don’t know what kind of spring we’re going to have, but after one of the snowiest winters on record, I’ll hazard a guess: it’s going to be wet. I know that the fields will eventually dry out. But how much flooding will there be before that happens? How will we get our potting soil delivered when there’s four feet of snow on the ground and we need to start seeding in early March? When will we be able to get on the fields with the disc (which is currently buried under the snow)? When will the first transplants go in? It’s only February, and I’m already worrying about these things.
In summary, there are many, many true things about this record-breaking winter that are not beautiful at all.
I think I finally understand why that line—this is the most beautiful; this is the most true—has stayed with me for so many years. It has to do with seeing beauty in things that are broken. It has to do with understanding and accepting contradiction. It has to do with loving the imperfections in places and people that are dear to us. It has to do with looking at things from many perspectives.
Making my way back across the snow-covered fields to the barn, I was reminded that it is okay to love things that are hard. But it’s also important to acknowledge that sometimes the things we love are not beautiful, even if they are true. Maybe we can all learn something from those moments when what we love collides with what breaks our hearts.
The line that has stayed with me for so many years wasn’t ‘this is the most beautiful; this is the happiest.’ It wasn’t ‘this is the most beautiful; this is the best.’ It was ‘this is the most beautiful; this is the most true.’
This is beautiful and this is true. This is a winter of blue snow-shadows and struggling small business owners and hilarious snow sculptures and parents fighting to pay the bills because they keep missing work.
So if, like me, you’re reveling in all these gorgeous drifts, if your house is warm and your driveway is shoveled, if this winter has been full of more true, beautiful moments than hard, true moments—then bring a friend a pot of soup, help a neighbor shovel out, support your favorite restaurant, buy a CSA share.
Acknowledgements to Andra Hibbert for the literary inspiration for this piece.