Justamere Tree Farm

Published in CISA’s December 2009 Enewsletter.

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JP Welch has been farming his land for over 25 years, and he wouldn’t have it any other way. When he first settled in Worthington, Mass, he and his wife Marian, “did not have a master plan,” but a shared love of working outdoors that led them to consider starting a farm. Justamere Tree Farm was born.

Their products aren’t your typical farm fare:  they revolve around the bounty of the woods. The Welchs create homemade, Early American style brooms, using sassafrass cut from nearby woodlands for the broom handles.  They also make organic maple syrup. Wreaths and Christmas trees are available in the holiday season.

JP particularly enjoys the experience of getting to know a customer. “I enjoy the people, going out to farmers’ markets and crafts fairs, and I enjoy interacting with everyone. They want to know about what you’re doing,” he says. Loyalty stems from this type of face-to-face interaction, and JP’s marketing strategy hinges on the belief that if you give the customer good service and a good product, they will buy from you.

The diversity of products on Justamere Tree Farm help to balance the work load throughout the year.  Running and biking also provide stress relief for Marian and JP, especially during sugaring season, when they set 3000 taps.  JP explains, “On the farm, the work is always in front of you. It’s good to get a break.” Marian and JP are also active in the community; he is a First Responder for the Worthington Volunteer Fire Department, and both are active members of the Massachusetts Farm Bureau and The Trustees of Reservation.

In conversation, JP expresses concern for fellow farmers and for local agriculture, but he’s hopeful for the future. Retail sales and farmers’ markets open up new opportunities, and strengthen the relationship between farm and community. JP adds, “This whole Buy Local thing is really catching on and it’s doing it.”

To buy local this holiday season, stop by the farm in Worthington on weekends, where you can cut your own Christmas tree, try some delicious maple syrup, and admire the craftsmanship of a homemade broom. Pre-cut Christmas trees are available at a retail lot at Hampton Ponds Plaza in Westfield.

You can also find locally grown Xmas trees via the Massachusetts Christmas Tree Association or by asking for locally grown trees at Local Hero farms and businesses.

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