Berlin and Sterling, Massachusetts
Farm Credit Affiliation
Farm Credit East
Ryan and Tom's Perspective
Ryan MacKay and Tom Corbett, both 25, established Lilac Hedge Farm in early 2011 while still in college with the vision to provide local, sustainably and responsibly raised meats to consumers.
Lilac Hedge Farm includes a 350-acre farm the partners purchased last summer as well as an additional 200 acres of leased land. There they pasture-raise beef and sheep and raise pigs in wooded lots. When needed, they supplement the animals’ diets with grain that is grown and milled in a nearby town. The majority of their beef is processed at another nearby facility designed to ensure humane conditions for the animals.
“We’re inspired by the reward of living a fulfilling life, preserving open space, providing jobs to our local community, and being able to put fresh local food on our consumers’ tables,” says Tom. “Farming is a work in progress. I hope to have a well-organized farm with everything we need to run smoothly, the animals to live comfortably and the management to be operated effectively.”
Lilac Hedge Farm markets its products through its own Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, at ten seasonal farmers markets and through farm stores located near Boston and Cape Cod. They also participate in the newly opened Boston Public Market (BPM) to sell their own products and some produced by other local farmers. Partnering with Lettuce Be Local, Lilac Hedge Farm sells its meats to restaurants throughout central Massachusetts. They also use social media to market to and engage their customers.
Both Ryan and Tom are actively involved in the Massachusetts Farm Bureau Young
Farmers & Ranchers, with Ryan serving as chair; he is also a director for
the Worcester County Farm Bureau and is on the State Livestock Committee.
"I think the future of agriculture is bright,” says Tom. “I have many friends across the country involved in production agriculture. All of them are willing to grow with technological advances, and know that the product they grow is driven by consumer demand.”
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