After 380-plus years, family farm sold
DOVER, N.H. (AP) — Three years after it was put up for sale, an 11-generation family farm in New Hampshire has been sold.
Members of the Tuttle family owned the 135-acre farm in Dover since 1632, one of America’s oldest continuously operated family farms. They put the fruit-and-vegetable farm up for sale in the summer of 2010 as they dealt with competition from supermarkets, pick-it-yourself farms and debt.
The original price was $3.35 million. Foster’s Daily Democrat reports it sold last month for a little over $1 million to Matt Kozazcki, who owns a farm in Newbury, Mass.
Kozazcki calls the business Tendercrop Farm and plans to sell meat and produce starting in December. The meat will come from his farm in Newbury, where there is a more room to raise cattle and livestock. He said the Dover farm will also include about 20 cows and an area where children can visit smaller animals.
Under a deed restriction that came with its 2006 designation as conservation land, it can’t be developed into strip malls or condos. Kozazcki said he intends to honor the easement and feature a variety of fresh goods, such as beef, pork, chicken, and turkey, in addition to fruits and vegetables.
Kozazcki said he plans to install a memorial plaque honoring the Tuttles near the farm store entrance.
“It’s a lot of heritage,” Kozazcki said. “We’re trying to make it as much of a farm as possible. You can’t forget the Tuttles. I can appreciate the work they did.”
The farm began in 1632 when John Tuttle arrived from England, using a small land grant from King Charles I to start his enterprise.
It was sold by Tuttle siblings Will, Lucy and Becky. Their father, Hugh Tuttle, was profiled in 1971 by Life magazine as the last of a dying breed. He developed irrigation ponds on the farm and was well-known in New Hampshire for his interest in soil and water conservation work before his death in 2002.
His children eventually turned the farm into a year-round business instead of a seasonal one. They built a new farm stand to replace the family’s old red barn and diversified the product offerings to include gourmet cheeses, baked goods, plants and other products. But after 40 years of work, they realized they couldn’t continue at the same pace and did their best “to lovingly discourage” their children from becoming generation No. 12, Lucy Tuttle said when the farm was offered for sale.
As the farm awaited a buyer amid an uncertain economy, a new group of young farmers unrelated to the family helped keep the operation going for a year, trying a variety of crops, livestock and organic farming practices.
Kozazcki started farming in 1986 and was looking to expand.
“We’re very excited,” Kozazcki said. “It’s sad that farms keep going out of business. I know what it’s like to start with zero.”