Effort begun to preserve Sunset View Farm 

  • The farm house at Sunset View Farm in Winchendon, built in 1790. Greg Vine

  • Chuck and Livvy Tarleton, owners of Sunset View Farm, located on Gardner Road/Route 140 in Winchendon. Greg Vine

  • Some of the equipment used to operate Sunset View Farm. —Greg Vine

  • Volunteers collect crops at Sunset View Farm. The farm grows a wide variety of vegetables and flowers. —Greg Vine

  • The farm stand at Sunset View Farm. Greg Vine

  • A couple of visitors to the open house Saturday at Sunset View Farm. —Greg Vine

  • A bumblebee is dwarfed by this sunflower at Sunset View Farm. Greg Vine

  • This handsome black maple in front of the farm house at Sunset View Farm in Winchendon is estimated to be about 230 years old.

For the Athol Daily News
Published: 7/15/2019 9:50:11 PM

WINCHENDON – Chuck and Livvy Tarleton welcomed the public to an open house – billed as Open Farm Day – at Winchendon’s Sunset View Farm on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The event was held in part to encourage area residents to contribute to a fund to help preserve the property, located at 156 Gardner Rd., as a going agricultural concern, and in part to familiarize the public with the operations of an active farm.

The fundraising campaign, which has a target of $70,000, is being coordinated by the Tarletons with the assistance of the Mt. Grace Land Conservation Trust. Money raised via the “Protect Sunset View Farm” effort will help to protect all of the buildings on the property, as well as the five or so acres of farmland. It will allow the farm to be sold to the next generation of farmers at an affordable price. Buildings include the 230-year-old farm house, the farm stand, and the sugar shack, where fresh maple syrup is produced each year.

Cami Duquet of Mt. Grace said the effort to save the farm started several years ago.

“Chuck and Livvy approached Mt. Grace in 2015,” said Duquet, “so between the initial conversations and today it’s been almost five years. Now we’re in the phase where the property is already conserved, but now we’re fundraising for an additional $70,000 so the farm can be purchased at agricultural value. It’s called OPAV – option to purchase agricultural value – that the next generation of farmers can use to secure the land and keep farming it.”

Duquette added that Mt. Grace would assist in marketing the property when the Tarletons decide to retire.

“We were living in Ashby and we wanted to get a bigger place,” said Livvy Tarleton. “We looked all around and one day we came here. We had done a lot of gardening and so we wanted a place where we could continue that. The property consisted of 70 acres and a completely re-done colonial house on a nice quiet road – which it isn’t now.”

“I always wanted to conserve the land,” she continued, “which we’ve already done, now. Now they want us to go a step further and conserve all the buildings and have it ready for a young farmer.”

Both of the Tarletons, who had careers in education, refer to farming as their “summer job.”

“I was a high school biology, chemistry, and environmental science teacher in Lunenburg,” said Chuck Tarleton. Livvy ran the academic support center at Anna Maria College in Paxton.

“We started off working with another farmer from Lunenburg, who was able to give us inspiration,” said Livvy. “We got some items from him to begin with. We started very small and just kept growing more and more and more.”

“When we were teaching,” she said, “we did most of our work on the weekend. We didn’t have any help in the beginning. But then some neighborhood kids started to help us. We’re kind of directors now. All the kids come from Teel Road (in Winchendon), and we have one girl from Gardner.”

For more information on the Sunset View Farm preservation project, contact Cami Duquet at duquet@mountgrace.org or 978-248-2055 x13.

To support the fundraising campaign, visit https://www.gofundme.com/protectsunsetviewfarm or call Mount Grace at 978-248-2043.

 


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