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Community Embraces Green Meadows Farm

The property owned by Joanne Patton has become a community source of food for more than 400 families.

Green Meadows Farm in Hamilton, organized as a Community Supported Agriculture cooperative, has been providing locally grown food to the area since 1980, when Gen. George S. Patton began growing strawberries on the property.

The son of the famous World War II general began farming the property that was in his family since 1927. Upon his death in 2004, his widow, Joanne Patton, inherited the farm.

Over the past eight years, the farm has been managed by head farmer Andrew Rodgers and his wife, Diana, who runs the farm stand and catering business.

Diana Rogers, 36, used to work for Whole Foods, but said she wanted to leave her corporate job to work with her husband at the farm. They live in a house on the property with their two children.

Also living on the farm are some student interns and an aupair for the Rodgers' kids.

Apart from growing produce like beets, kale, broccoli, beans, tomatoes, and blueberries, the farm raises free-range chickens, sheep and pigs, supplying the farm with organic pork and eggs.

Some shareholders, like Cathy Sampson of Wenham, work on the farm for their food rather than pay for it.

During the fall harvest season, the farm employs up to 25 people, Rodgers said.

Outside of the farmstand, where farm shareowners pick their own string beans, Anne Brady of Hamilton said she has been a CSA member for six years.

"When I have to get groceries, I come here as my first stop, get whatever I can here, locally, and then we go off to the supermarket," Brady said.

She met Diana and Andrew through their children's daycare and became a member of the CSA six years ago, Brady said.

As the supplier of produce and meat and cheese to area restaurants, such as Duckworth's in Gloucester, Rodgers said she and her husband seldom go out without being recognized.

"We take the community aspect seriously," Rodgers said.

She said she is also starting a practice as a nutritionist, in addition to managing events, weddings, and catering at the farm.

Joanne Patton stays out of the farm operations to continue her work with charities and women's veterans groups.

Patton lives in the old 18th century farmhouse with her oldest son, Georgie.

"She's really supportive of Andrew and I, and our vision," Rodgers said. "She's amazing."

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