As we’ve discovered in past blog entries, the North of Boston region has a rich military history dating back to the early settlement days. But did you know that this history continues on even today? In honor of Veteran’s Day, we’re bringing you a bit of modern military history intertwined with a beautiful patch of land in Hamilton – Green Meadows Farm. And where better to get this story than straight from the horse’s mouth? A very special thank-you to this week’s guest blogger, Green Meadows Farm.
The property known as Green Meadows dates back to the 1700’s. The country-style Homestead, just down the street from today’s existing farm, was purchased by Gen. George S. Patton Jr. and his wife Beatrice in 1928 and served as a family vacation spot for many years. With the start of World War II, Beatrice moved to the Homestead permanently while her husband led his troops across North Africa and later commanded the Third Army to victory across the European Theater. Gen. Patton’s untimely death from an auto accident in 1945 put an end to his plans to retire to Green Meadows after the war. Beatrice continued to live at Green Meadows until her death.
In 1980 Major General George S. Patton, son of World War II’s Patton, his wife Joanne and their five children moved to the Homestead permanently. Major General Patton had followed in his father’s footsteps, graduating from West Point and then going on to his own distinguished 34 year career in the US Army before retiring to Green Meadows. He was twice awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for valor. His combat service included commands in Korea and Vietnam.
George and Joanne, the daughter of a career Army Officer herself, looked forward to putting down roots. Once settled Gen. Patton decided that the land should no longer be used strictly for leisure. He wanted it to be a community asset for everyone. Green Meadows Farm was born.
The fact that Gen. Patton knew nothing about farming was not seen as an obstacle by Patton. He sought out experts, and was eager to learn. While still considered an “amateur” farmer, Patton took his first crop (blueberries) on the road and sold them from the back of a truck at the Topsfield Fair grounds. He hired a farm manager, added crops and started selling from his farm property. This very modest beginning grew over the years to the bountiful Farmstand and CSA you see today at 656 Asbury Street in Hamilton, on the Topsfield/Hamilton line.
More crops were planted, greenhouses added and new fields were plowed. Gen. Patton named each of his fields for fallen heroes with whom he had served in Vietnam – men he never forgot. Beginning with Yano Field in 1984, honoring Sgt. R.J.T. Yano of the Air Cavalry, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, seven fields now honor fellow veterans.
Blackhorse Field is named for the 11th US Cavalry – Maj. Gen. Patton’s Regiment. Wickham Plot honors Corporal Jerry Wickham, killed in Vietnam in 1968, a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor for gallantry in action. Hays Field honors Capt. John Hays, killed in action in 1968. Hays was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for “exceptional valor.”
Pilot Field pays tribute to Maj. Gen. Patton’s heroes: the helicopter pilots of the Air Cavalry Troop of the Blackhorse Regiment – men who were key to rescue operations in Nam. The General named his favorite Labrador retriever “Pilot.”
Michelin Field is named after the rubber plantation in Vietnam that was the site of many significant battles involving the Blackhorse Regiment.
After her husband’s death Joanne Patton named a new Green Meadows Field for Operation Troop Support, the Danver’s-based nonprofit that provides care packages, cards and holiday gifts to US troops serving in war zones and across the country. OTS also conducts a monthly family support group.
The large outdoor display at the Farmstand lets you read about the heroes and see where their fields are located.
Sadly, Major Gen. George S. Patton passed away in 2004. He was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery. His partner and widow, Joanne Holbrook Patton, keeps his memory alive by her continued stewardship of Green Meadows Farm, his beloved second career.
In 2002 Green Meadows Farm became a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) offering members (shareholders) access to locally-grown organic produce, heritage meat, eggs and flowers direct from the farm in a new way. Members pay for a share of the anticipated harvest. The general public is also welcomed to buy a wide array of produce at the Farmstand. Drop in to see the chickens or try some of the delicious organic soup.
Thirty years after those first blueberry bushes Green Meadows Farm stands alone as the oldest, family-owned certified organic farm, farmstand and education program in the region. We invite you to join us at the Farmstand, in the fields, and at GMF festivals and special events. Bring the kids for craft time or bring your whole classroom for an educational farm tour; inquire about our Farm Apprentice Program; dine on gourmet organic food thoughtfully prepared at one of GMF’s Farm to Table dinners; join an Elder Hostel eco-tour or book us for an unusual wedding venue and reception. With the holidays fast approaching wreaths, all natural pies, gift baskets will be featured.
Green Meadows Farm salutes Veteran’s and their families on Veteran’s Day and throughout the year.
Green Meadows Farm
656 Asbury Street, Hamilton 01982