Founded by Irish immigrants, Wilson Farm has been in operation at its present location since 1884. James Alexander Wilson, W.M. Wilson, and brother-in-law George Reynolds came to Lexington from Enniskillen, Ireland. Here they were able to buy 16 acres of land and rent some of the surrounding fields for farming. James A. Wilson was the salesman, and the other partners worked the farm, growing vegetable crops and plants. Included among them were: cabbage, white turnip, celery, carrots, and beets.
As James Alexander Wilson’s sons joined the family business, the other two partners lost interest. W.M. Wilson and his family went into a successful textile dyeing business. George Reynolds sold his interest to James to pursue other ventures, leaving James and his family as owners and operators. About 1920, James Alexander turned his farm over to his two sons, Walter and Stanley. They operated the business in much the same way James had, until the early 1950’s. At that time their sons, Donald and Alan, took over the farm and opened a retail farm stand.
Today the farm has expanded from 16 acres to 33 acres in Lexington; and to an additional 500 acres in Litchfield, New Hampshire.
Farming is an important part of our environment and It’s one of Wilson Farm’s number one concerns, which is why they decided to be a part of Massachusetts’ Sponsor A Highway ® program.
How We Grow
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is a proactive approach to growing. It’s a farming method that helps to control insects, pests and diseases on crops by combining several complementary strategies. These include sanitation, soil enrichment, variety selection, pest detection, and biological controls. Chemical pesticides may be used, but only as a last resort, and only if absolutely necessary.
IPM allows us to produce high-quality plants and crops and reduce chemical pesticide use. The University of Massachusetts Extension Service has calculated that IPM programs have reduced pesticide use by up to 85% on participating farms. See below for more information on the various elements of IPM.
- Sanitation: We start clean to grow clean. By keeping our growing areas free of weeds, we can dramatically reduce the influx of pests and disease.
- Soil Enrichment: We protect our soil by planting cover crops, which provide erosion control and build soil structure. We also use compost, which is essential to providing nutrients to the land.
- Variety Selection: We grow only the best and strongest plants at Wilson Farm. We select varieties based on a number of factors such as vigor, yield potential, and of course, eating quality! Stronger, more robust crops will withstand stresses better than weaker varieties, and require fewer pesticide applications.
- Pest Detection: By watching our crops closely, we have a better chance of successfully combating any issues that arise. We also take care to learn the life cycles of pests in order to more easily control them. The University of Massachusetts provides a lot help to us in this area, by constantly monitoring and reporting on pest movements throughout the state.
- Biological Controls: We use “good bugs” against “bad bugs” to help control unwanted pests in our fields. An important part of this process is understanding and protecting beneficial insects.
- Non-Chemical Controls: There are many ways to deter and confuse pests without the use of harsh chemical pesticides. Row covers, plastic mulches, and trap plants all enable us to discourage pests and control weeds.
- Pesticides: We only use pesticides as a last resort, when absolutely necessary. Early detection and study of pest life cycles allows us to select pesticides that are less harmful to the environment. These are more effective and better for everyone, from the farmers in the fields to the consumers.
If you’d like to know more about our growing practices, and get an inside peek behind the scenes at Wilson Farm visit them today on their web site.