Special to The Express
The summer of 2020 has been challenging on many levels. During this time of pandemic uncertainty, The Soule Homestead, located at 46 Soule Street in Middleboro right on the Plympton line, is a grounding, beautiful working farm with trails, farm animals, community gardens as well as commercial farmers.
The farm is open to the public for free from sunrise to sunset. There is one public restroom which is cleaned daily. Oftentimes, Executive Director Megan Connolly Riley, “Miss Meg”, and Education Director Katie Roberts, “Miss Katie”, are around to answer questions about the trails or point you in the direction of the many farm animals including two calves, two goats, a rabbit, several sheep, lambs, chickens, ducks and pigs. You can also see farmers working the fields.
Many people in the area have attended their annual Sheep Day in the spring as well as the Harvest Fair and Joe Davie’s Folk Festival every September.
According to Meg, “the overarching goal is to keep open and keep people safe.” Even though the Soule Homestead’s programming looks different in 2020, they continue to be a vibrant member of the community. For example, Plato’s Harvest and Bay End Farm, a vegetable farm that leases land, sold out of CSA shares. Due to increased demand, Plympton based Revival Farm pork farmers, was able to lease a field. Last weekend, there was a virtual concert by Abby Vail.
In response to no summer camp, Soule Homestead is offering farm tours for families and friends. More information about the tours is available on the Soule Farm website and/or Facebook page.
The annual Farm to Table fundraiser will be a deliver and or pick up event to be decided. The Farm to Table fundraiser highlights the food grown on site prepared in exciting and unique ways by local chefs who are involved with the farm.
Two years ago, Soule Homestead built a commercial kitchen that is rented out to local businesses. The fate of the Harvest Fair has not been decided but will most likely be re-structured in response to pandemic restrictions. The farm continues to host craft classes such as wool spinning and rug braiding.
Despite the many challenges, friends and members of the community have been generous to the non-profit. Sheep Day was a virtual event and for a price, Miss Meg offered to have the sheep shearer cut off all her hair. She raised over $10,000. Many families elected to donate their summer camp deposit to the farm. A volunteer organized a plant sale raising $400.
The Soule Homestead Education Center has been an essential member of the local community since 1987. The land has been in use since the 1600’s when George Soule, a pilgrim, bought the land from the Wampanoags. In 1983, the town of Middleboro purchased the farm. At the time, the homestead was in danger of being bought by developers.
The non-profit Soule Homestead Education Center was founded four years later in order to restore the farm and, according to their website, “develop it into an agro-ecology education center.” The homestead is part of the Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR) program. Middleboro received money from the state to buy the development rights so it will be preserved forever.
Although summer looks different at the farm, it remains open to the public, providing a refuge from the day to day stressors and isolation during these challenging times. Check out their website http://www.soulehomestead.com/ for COVID-19 regulations as well as membership opportunities and upcoming programs.
The office hours vary; call 508-947- 6744 for details.