Zeigler’s Market Garden was founded in 2016 by Zachary Zeigler. While still in High School Zach started “farming” his families front yard to grow produce for local farmers markets. During the next few seasons and with the addition of leased farmland at the historic Misty Meadow Farm and the Warelands Farm in Norfolk, production has steadily increased.
The CSA was started in 2019 as a way to get produce directly to our community members. During the 2020 Season our Farm Stand and CSA remained open to provide our local community access to fresh produce.
Sarah Visnick and Zach met in College at the Stockbridge School of Agriculture and have been farming together ever since. Sarah spent the next few seasons helping Zach to expand the farm and help increase the number of farmers markets the farm supplied.
In 2020 Sarah started farming in her hometown of Rockport, leasing the 150 year old vegetable field at Seaview Farm. This additional farmland has led to a the founding of Hometown Farm in Rockport. Zach and Sarah now collaboratively run both farms to provide produce in both of their hometowns.
Zach and Sarah hope to build strong local agriculture movements in both of their hometowns and work hard to provide fresh produce for their friends, family, and communities.
The produce is grown using organic methods and sustainable farming practices that do not use synthetic fertilizers or pesticides. Instead focus is put on using locally made compost, increasing biodiversity in the field, and choosing crop varieties and growing techniques that naturally repel pests and diseases.
The garden is managed with three specific practices in mind; mulching, minimal tillage, and multi-cropping. Compost is the principle fertilizer for the garden, and is used as a heavy mulch to set transplants into. Soil preparation is done with minimal tillage to preserve soil structure and increase healthy soil organisms, including earthworms and edible fungi. Multi-cropping is a major way the garden can grow more food with less land. The limited growing space in the garden requires multiple crops to be sown simultaneously for dual harvests out of each bed.
The use of a broadfork and smaller walk-behind rototillers helps to prevent compaction in the garden. Cultivation is managed with hand tools and lots of hoeing. Solarization tarps are used during the season to smother weed seeds and in winter to keep soil covered. Cover crops like oats, peas, and rye are used every year to help replenish the soil.
Bugs and diseases are managed with organic methods such as crop rotation, field sanitation, trap cropping, and lots of protective row cover. Aromatic herbs and flowers are used to attract beneficial insects that prey on insect pests.
Overall, the goal of the market garden is to start small and make big changes in the way our local community chooses to get its food.