The Bug Hill Farm Story
Bug Hill Farm is a small, certified organic*, rare fruit farm in Ashfield, Massachusetts, growing raspberries, gooseberries, currants, wild and cultivated high-bush blueberries, elderberry, and aronia.
Although the farmhouse dates to 1812, the current incarnation of the land owes its form and spirit to the vision of Kate Kerivan, who moved to Bug Hill in 2005, entranced by the black currants, native highbush blueberries, ponds, wetlands and woods. As she established a working berry farm - expanding existing crops and adding new ones - she managed the fields and forest with the intertwined goals of cultivating fruit, fostering biodiversity and ensuring conservation - with particular emphasis on providing habitat for native birds and pollinating insects. Kate’s vision was supported by a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) grant ("Effects of controlled disturbance within early-successional northeastern forest habitat: Evaluating soil quality, plant production, and economic feasibility") that enabled the creation of ten acres of early successional woodlands, in which three berry varieties were grown in experimental test plots using different cultivation practices, including hugelkultur. In 2010, Kate started to produce and sell specialty berry products, including non-alcoholic cordials, shrubs (drinking vinegars), sauces, and spreads. Her black currant cordial - Kiss of Cassis - quickly became a best-seller.
Today, Bug Hill Farm consists of an acre of cultivated blueberries, two acres of cultivated raspberries, elderberry, aronia, gooseberry, and currants, and 38 acres of forest, including ten acres of early successional woodland replete with wild blueberries, birds, butterflies, bumblebees and a host of beneficial bugs. In our on-site commercial kitchen we craft and bottle our nutritious and delicious products using our berry crops, other local berries, and raw honey or organic sugar - with NO added water or preservatives. We sell our products at our own farm shop, at local farmers' markets, groceries and specialty food shops, and on-line.
Bug Hill Farm has been featured in the Boston Globe and in the May 2014 issue of Country Gardens, a national magazine. We welcome visitors and often host educational groups that come to learn about our efforts to promote a bio-diverse landscape and pollinator habitat.
*Bug Hill Farm was USDA Certified Organic until May 2016. Certification was not renewed during the year of ownership transition but all growing practices continued to follow organic standards, and we expect to be recertified in Fall 2017.