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Local, Fresh Eats Right in Winchester: Featuring Wright-Locke Farm

By Kristen Bosse

It seems as if everyone is talking about eating food grown locally these days. The number of farmers markets in the area has probably doubled in the past few years as a result of society's demand for fresh produce. Wright-Locke Farm of Winchester is helping keep this demand alive, providing fresh, organic produce to the Winchester and Lexington farmers markets. With over 7 acres of land at their fingertips, Wright-Locke has filled their space with crops that are carefully chosen based on the community's needs, likes, and dislikes. In fact, if they are not growing something that you might like, you can simply send an email to make a request (but no guarantees)! It is this attention to detail that convinces the community to lend its support year after year, and allows Winchester to be known as a town that promotes sustainable agriculture.

When it comes to the preservation of this farm, the support of the Winchester community has really become a vital asset. Being a community-based organization, they rely on the community for financial support and for helping hands! Volunteers can choose from an array of opportunities ranging from animal care and fieldwork, to community outreach or education programs. If you are not able to donate your time, a financial contribution will help pay for new equipment and/or buildings. No matter what you set your sights on, you are sure to leave feeling fulfilled that you helped preserve a Winchester gem.

Why is providing locally grown produce to the community such a virtue you might ask? Cynthia Latta, Treasurer and Board Member at Wright-Locke, explains her reasoning. "Perhaps the most obvious one is that the food is fresher and more flavorful. There is also the comfort of knowing that there are no pesticide or herbicide residues on the produce and that the meat is all grass-fed with no additives or antibiotics." In other words, consuming local produce ensures that you are eating the healthiest and most nutritional form of the crop. Not only that, but consumers can enjoy their food knowing that the whole process provided jobs and experience for young locals eager to learn!

Perhaps one of the most exciting additions to the farm in recent years is its Youth Education Program! Volunteers that are knowledgeable about sustainable agriculture and the crops harvested on location are now leading hands-on after-school and summer vacation classes. This is a great way for the youth in Winchester to learn about the importance of the farm's existence, and how eating healthy can be fun and easy. Wright-Locke is also searching for local experts to lead adult workshops on organic home gardening, herbalism, nutrition and health, and many more interesting topics. With youth and adult classes offered, the whole town can become well informed about the importance of local, fresh eats!

In just a few short weeks, 12.5 acres of the land surrounding the Wright-Locke conservancy will be put up for bid in accordance with the Board of Selectman's Request for Proposals. Cynthia explains that this open space is irreplaceable, providing grazing space for the farm animals and parking for visitors. They are working tirelessly to raise awareness and make sure this land is not lost. For important information on this issue, or to make a donation to help save the land, please visit: www.wlfarm.org/open-space/saving-wright-locke-farms-open-space.

With the number of sustainable farms dwindling around the state, it is imperative that Winchester and surrounding towns continue to support Wright-Locke Farm. Feel free to stop by the Winchester Farmers Market or the Lexington Farmers Market to grab a taste of their fresh produce. See the difference in taste from locally grown yourself!

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