Written by Volunteer, Betsy Block
I remember a long time ago, when my kids were still young, seeing a pop-up sign for raspberry picking in a funny little field in Winchester. Organic raspberries in Winchester? At the time it was surprising, and delightful, but it also felt, if I’m being honest, like this was “tax break land.” Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m just saying, that’s how it felt. Still, my family of four picked raspberries because, how could we not?
Several years later, my son worked as a counselor at the Wright-Locke summer camp before going on to major in Environmental Studies in college, and my daughter, now a high school senior seemingly headed down the same path, was his CIT for a week, so I knew even back then that things were changing up on the Farm.
It wasn’t until my husband and I drove over for a walk through the trails on a late fall day in 2016, though, that I saw for myself what Wright-Locke Farm had become. The day was cold, and the vista was a still life in late season grays and browns, but it was starkly beautiful, and clean, and fresh. Meandering through the farm’s different landscapes soothed our souls, frayed beyond repair (or so I thought) from my yearlong battle with a life-threatening illness.
That was the day I realized: this was no longer tax break land. It had somehow, while I hadn’t been paying attention, morphed into a sanctuary. It was as though elves had swooped in and magically transformed this once-forgotten spot into something truly unique, a center brimming with programs and walking trails and, amazingly, even a real working organic farm producing all sorts of crops, not just raspberries (although, thankfully, still those tiny red gems too). Of course, there were no elves, only humans deeply committed to reclaiming and restoring this gorgeous piece of unsullied property that was at one point so very close to being lost to development. Those devoted people somehow managed to find the resources the land needed, and together, they saved it. Now, thanks to the hard work of so many people, both staff and volunteers, it has become a refuge for plants, animals, and humans alike. It is a robust host for education and cultural events. It serves us, is served by us, and belongs to us.
Two years after taking that calming walk on the farm’s trails, I am well and my family’s soul has been restored. And now, with once-again clear eyes, I am able to see Wright-Locke as it is, not as I remember it from a decade ago. Wright-Locke Farm is now a place where life thrives, curiosity is sated, and we are given the opportunity to connect with each other and ourselves.
I am not a religious person, but in a place like this I find what I imagine temple or church provides to others: solace, awe, and inspiration, all at a farm devoted as much to our collective spirit as it is to food. (But oh, the food!) How many places just outside of Boston city limits offer us this much space to breathe and reclaim a sense of both purpose and ease? It may not be wrapped in gold paper and adorned with a bow, but this December we can give thanks for this special spot tucked away in Winchester, because Wright-Locke Farm is a gift to us all.
Thank you Betsy for your beautiful words and thoughts. This post in itself is truly a gift to us!
Wishing everyone a peaceful, happy, and healthy holiday season.