Since 1979, when Ed and Linda took over the farm, Twin Oaks has grown an increasingly diverse selection of vegetables ranging from cabbage to ornamental pumpkins. Linda says, “We used to have only two crops. If you lose one crop to disease or pests, what do you do then?”
While polyculture growing decreases the threat of losing their crops, pests can still be an issue. With assistance from Ruth Hazzard at UMass Extension, Twin Oaks has implemented Integrated Pest Management (IPM) practices to minimize their use of pesticides to the lowest amount possible.
Using IPM is just one way Edwin and Linda have actively sought to protect the health of their land. They have also preserved their farmland forever through the Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Restriction Program (APR). The APR means that nothing can be developed on their land which obstructs its use for agriculture. Farmland preservation is a critical issue in the effort for New England to produce more of its own food.
For Linda, there is no better use of their 55 acres than agriculture. The Pioneer Valley is well-known for its Hadley loam, a type of soil well-suited for growing food. With Josef taking an active role on the farm, the future for Twin Oaks is bright and full of vegetables.