Last spring, Grow Food Northampton inked a three-year lease of it’s 10-acre “East Field” to Slow Tractor Farm, owned by Andrea and Christian Stanley of Hadley, MA.
Andrea & Christian are better known for their successful young business, Valley Malt, that malts locally-grown barley to sell to local breweries. Slow Tractor Farm grew oats, wheat, & barley on the East Field and Main Fields of the Northampton Community Farm.
In 2010 Andrea and Christian Stanley started Valley Malt in Hadley, MA. When they discovered that all malt being used by craft breweries came from thousands of miles away, they committed to “bring the malthouse back” to a local level.
It’s been a wild ride to try to start a new agricultural based business in tough economic times but the response from farmers, to brewers, to beer drinkers has been positive! Their business is growing every day and so are more and more barley fields in New England.
Andrea and Christian also started growing barley in 2010 in order to bring back heirloom varieties and trial newer varieties that would grow well in Massachusetts. It has been many decades since malting barley was last grown in Massachusetts. With little background in farming, Christian & Andrea rely on the mentoring of more experienced farmers in the region. They are very passionate about barley and organic growing practices and are thrilled to have been offered an opportunity to expand their barley farming to the East Field through Grown Food Northampton.