Mayflower Farm is a family farm in South Egremont, Massachusetts that raises registered Romney sheep. Romneys are well-suited to the climate in the Northeast, producing high-quality meat and strong wool that is well liked by hand spinners. We sell lamb and sheepskins directly from the farm, as well as at the Great Barrington Farmer’s Market from August through October and at the Berkshire Grown Winter Farmer’s Markets. We also rent a cottage to vacationers. We make our own hay and use rotational grazing practices to build fertility in our pastures. We welcome farm visits by appointment.
~ Our story ~
When Peter Maggio was a kid in Brooklyn, he used to wake up early on Saturday mornings to watch the “Modern Farmer” program on television. When his family moved to a dairy farm in Salisbury, he learned how to drive a tractor, grow sweet corn, and milk cows. When he was 15, he got sheep.
This first sheep experiment was of short duration. When his family moved up the road to Mayflower Farm* in 1973, Peter’s flock would take frequent jaunts up Route 41, usually right after he had left for school. Single-strand electric fencing doesn’t work for sheep, it turns out, because they can just duck under it and their wool insulates them from the electric current.
Twenty years later, when Peter and his wife Ellen and their daughters moved up to South Egremont from Brooklyn, the experiment began again. First came the sheepdog, Rosie, then the Indian Runner ducks (to train Rosie), then, in 1997, the first three sheep, Yolanda, Penelope, and Pollyanna. All of our sheep are descended from these three ewes.
Since then, the flock has grown, and now we expect between 30 and 40 lambs each spring. We have all learned to love the land we farm alongside the Appalachian Trail, where our sheep do triple duty: keeping the fields open, fertilizing the soil, and feeding our community. We are always learning, and we take greatest inspiration from the rotational grazing movement, also known as “grass farming.”
Here is some of our favorite reading material, inspiration for our land stewardship:
Stockman Grass Farmer, edited by Allan Nation (deceased) and Joel Salatin
The Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan
Voices From White Earth: Gaawaabaabiganikaag, by Winona LaDuke
Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry
*Peter’s mom, Patricia Maggio, changed the name from Merriebrook Farm to Mayflower farm when she and her husband bought the property in 1973. (Maggio means “May” in Italian.”)