Muck and Mystery Farm grows nutritious fruits, vegetables, and herbs while also building the soil and enriching the ecosystem. We hope to make our vegetables accessible to all.
We grow the soil alongside our produce, and feed not just our customers but all the creatures in our soil’s ecosystem.
Our name comes from a passage in Small is Beautiful, by E.F. Schumacher, an economist writing in the 1970s. He calls for a move towards human-scale forms of production and consumption and away from the modern industrial economy.
He refers to the then-young organic farming movement, and society’s dismissal of them as “the muck and mystery people”. As soon as I read this, I thought — muck and mystery must be celebrated, not denounced, amidst a destructive industrial agriculture and economy. Later, Schumacher calls for “orientat[ing] all of our actions on the land towards the threefold ideal of health, beauty, and permanence,” in contrast to the common focus on productivity. When we build a farm system that works with natural processes and the inherent power of the soil ecosystem, “productivity will then be attained almost as a by-product”.
OUR GROWING PRACTICES
Organic-Based, No Synthetic Chemicals
While not certified organic, the farm never uses synthetic chemical fertilizers or any pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Compost, leaves, and other organic inputs provide food to the field instead. We rely on good soil health and fertility to provide plants the defenses they need against pests.
No-Till, Hand-Scale Cultivation
To preserve soil structure and promote microbiology, the fields do not experience deep or broad tillage. Instead, we use hand tools to keep soil disturbance as light and minimal as possible.
Cover Cropping and Mulching
Whether sown within an intensively planted bed or a resting field, cover crops build soil fertility, prevent erosion, and smother weeds. We also use leaves, straw, and other natural materials as mulch to cover bare soil and retain soil moisture.
WHERE WE ARE
Muck and Mystery Farm is one of a handful of resident farmers leasing land at Osamequin Farm in Seekonk, Massachusetts. The farm property spans 350 acres of conserved forests and fields and includes an established pick-your-own blueberry patch. Beginning in 2018, Osamequin Farm began leasing farmland in order to expand land access to young and new farmers in the area. The farm provides resident farmers with shared infrastructure, such as a wash station and cold storage. Having access to these resources has made it much easier to start up the farm. We are grateful to be part of the Osamequin Farm community as it expands into this new stage.
We lease just over one acre of field space along Prospect Street. Rows of annual fruit and vegetable crops occupy the majority of the field. The remainder contains perennial plantings of fruit trees, grape vines and herbs.
WHO WE ARE
Muck and Mystery Farm is run by John McGarry. John began dirtying his hands as a work share at Scratch Farm and quickly wanted to dig in deeper. He began as a full-time apprentice at Scratch for the 2015 season and continued working there through 2019. John would not be where he is now, and Muck and Mystery would not exist, without the knowledge and support he received at Scratch Farm over the years. He has also worked and learned at a handful of other farms in and around Rhode Island.