Steve is a Fourth Generation Farmer in Lancaster, MA.
Tell me about your farm, how did you start farming?
I am the fourth generation of Deershorn Farm, born and raised in Lancaster, MA. Our farm began when my great grandfather relocated from Vermont to Lancaster and started his business in dairy. My grandfather then added the apple orchards and the business grew. My father continued on with the legacy. Our farm was one of the first to begin a pick your own operation in MA. At the age of 15 I started the vegetable production on the farm. I eventually went to college and obtained my BS in Horticulture and a minor in Business. Many changes have happened over the years, however I am happy to say that I continue to carry ont he tradition, constantly adding more and more produce to the agenda.
How Do You Choose What to Grow?
Choosing which products would be most beneficial and trying to stay abreast of what the current markets are demanding, and always trying a few new items each and every year to see how they work out. I am big on new and upcoming future varieties of apples and peaches. In the next few weeks I will have several different varieties of white and yellow peaches, white and yellow nectarines. Also, my donut peaches (saturn) which I will be bringing this week. Corn is also one of my favorite crops to grow, constantly experimenting with new varieties of sweet corn to hopefully stay ahead of the game and producing some of the sweetest and best corn on the market.
In what ways do you take care of your land?
I am an IPM grower (Integrated Pest Management), which our farm was one of the original farms which was chosen by UMASS Amherst, many years ago for the extensive study of the insect and fungicide issues for the Massachusetts Growers. This program created SIGNIFICANT changes in how we grow vegetables to this day. Crop rotation, cover crops in the fall, soil management, all play a major role. I also run my own bees for crop pollinations and also supply the Medford Market with their honey.
How did you learn what you know about farming?
I was born and raised a farmer, sixteen years of education and the biggest one: the School of Hard Knocks.
Any fun facts about your or your work?
Fun facts I work hard at what I do, I enjoy what I do and try to provide customers with the best product I can. This year has been extremely challenging with the major drought going on, and currently I am spending a great deal of my time trying to move irrigation throughout the fields.
What’s next for Deershorn Farm?
Continuing to do what I love, until I become physically unable to do so. Unfortunately in todays day and age I will probably be the last generation to do so at my farm.