About the land
Anchor Light Farm was founded by Derek and Megan O'Toole in 2012. It is a 34 acre parcel in the heart of Peth Village. At Anchor Light, we use horse power in all of our vegetable production. We also use our team to move the chicken houses, log and haul firewood, hay the fields, and maintain the land. They are at the center of our farming practice, consuming the hay that grows on the land, and in turn fertilizing the fields and vegetables. They also have a remarkably low impact on the land. All other systems on the farm are powered by the sun. In 2014 we installed 7.3 kW of solar panels on the farm to provide power to the house, barns, and fencing systems.
We are a small, community minded farm, with an emphasis on producing fresh, high quality produce for our customers. While we are not certified organic, we do not consider ourselves a conventional farming operation. In many ways, we are beyond organic. We do not use any sprays or chemical fertilizers, and consider ourselves holistic stewards of our farm and forest land. We raise whole red broiler chickens, who have plenty of space to forage and grow like chickens should. Our laying hens have free range of the land, which allows them to produce rich, high quality eggs.
Back in the mid 19th century, Peth was a busy and vital part of Braintree's economy and social make-up. Dozens of mills used to populate the banks for Spears Brook, which runs right through the village and meets Ayers Brook near Route 12. Remnants of these mills and their infrastructure can still be seen along Spears Brook today.
Anchor Light Farm has had many agricultural lives. Likely once part of the vast orchards that supplied the cider mill in Peth, it also performed well as a livestock farm. Recently, the land has been managed as a homestead with productive hay fields. Derek and Megan have plowed up several acres for vegetable growing, and will continue to hay the fields to sustain their horses, which will, in turn, sustain the crops with their valuable fertilizer. They believe that using draft horses in the practice of farming preserves the unique characteristics of Vermont's rural landscape. It also gives food consumers an opportunity to reconnect with farming practices that have a low impact on the land and utilize techniques that are rarely seen in today's agriculture industry, but that are integral to the health and sustainability of the local community. The land is enrolled in the State's conservation program for agriculture, with a Forestry Management Plan developed by a local forester to ensure the health of the property's 20-odd acres of woodland.