A small farm that has a lot of heart, love for the community, and of course, lots of veggies and more!
In Lebanon, in a tucked away street freckled with homes, you come across a house that has an unassuming sign to welcome the neighbor, passer-by, or customer to Sweet Acre Farm. What looks like just another family home gives itself away by the peach trees framing the structure, the rows of flowers blooming in their successions, and the home-wrought pagoda that is training a fruiting vine up its timber columns. This little home is brimming with life of all kinds, and Charlotte and Jonathan have strived to make the land do just that when they settled onto the property over 8 years ago to make this Sweet Acre Farm’s permanent home.
Sweet Acre was the name they came up with when they started the farm years ago in Mansfield. Named after the one acre of land surrounded by maple trees, it was here they started their CSA and market farm and turned the land into something productive that brought forth veggies and life. And it certainly was a sweet little acre. As Jonathan and Charlotte started growing and sharing their products, it began the growing of community- sharing the food they loved that was raised with organic standards. And people remembered them, not just because of the organic veggies they provided, but because of the relationships that were slowly created with these young farmers. Recipes were swapped, stories were shared, and gradually the business grew.
From that little sweet acre, Jonathan and Charlotte moved to their six-acre farm in Lebanon, keeping customers despite their move. With a land to call their own, they could start
establishing fruit trees, a pasture for goats, laying hens, perennial flowers and of course the organic veggies that drew folks to them initially. They adapted their CSA to a credit system run through their online store, or through credit at farmers markets. And there was a change to their family make up: two boys now followed after mom and dad in the field: picking cherry tomatoes and learning how to identify ripe peppers.
All this glorious growth meant a lot of juggling however. While planting a new succession of greens in the field, a pot of tomatoes bubbles and gets ready to be canned in the kitchen. While cutting flowers for drying and making wreaths later in the season, a fussy child is on their hip. While picking tomatoes in the high tunnel, there are thoughts streaming through their head on preparation for chickens once the tomatoes have come out.
Despite all the harried tasks that are necessary to run the farm, Jonathan and Charlotte still make time for the community they had in mind when starting this whole thing. Obviously, at a crowded farmers market with a line forming that can be hard to do, but when they get the moment, they grow community by not just sharing the food they cultivate, but by sharing the lives of the people they come in contact with. Despite the stresses of raising 2 kids, fixing everything that broke on the farm that week, and managing staff and a list of growing orders, they engage with the people in front of them.
This is what makes their land, their farm, their business such a sweet place. It is not just the care for the land and the bounty they bring forth. It is the basic connection between people that they grow when they invite you to be part of their journey of growing food for the community. And for the people that see them every week to get their fix of farm goodies, it’s the add on that doesn’t cost them a dime, but feeds them all the same.