US (MA): No rest for the winter, Holly Hill Farm grows fresh produce all year long

Even when winter weather sets in, the desire for fresh produce doesn’t go away. Fortunately for Cohasset residents, Holly Hill Farm has the hook-up all winter long. But how is Holly Hill able to keep up their production as temperatures drop?

Recent state funding along with some innovative practices have allowed Cohasset’s last working farm to provide the area with fresh vegetables all year long. Greenhouses protect crops that cannot withstand colder temperatures. Inside Holly Hill’s greenhouses, you will find lettuce, bunched chard, kale, and spinach. Still, plastic coverage is not enough, and temperatures inside the greenhouses must be regulated to make sure crops don’t freeze and die. This is where recent state funding has boosted Holly Hill’s production capacity.

Last year, Holly Hill Farm was one of seven South Shore organizations awarded with Food System Infrastructure Grants from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. A grant totaling $31,057 was awarded to Holly Hill to help pay for several installations and equipment around the farm. “The grant was really big for us,” said then co-farm manager Derek Mullaney. “It allowed us to install some new caterpillar tents and put fans in our greenhouses to improve airflow.”

While the new caterpillar tents added to Holly Hill’s available farming plots, the fans have been an even bigger piece of the puzzle. “The fans help to regulate internal temperature,” Mullaney explained. “Being able to keep this cover on keeps the moisture in and keeps it a better temperature. Fans allow for air to constantly move and keep things from molding.” Mold inside the greenhouse is a year-round issue that the fans will assuage, but when outdoor farming isn’t an option, it’s an even more important problem to rectify.

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