In a summer during which water has been at a premium, it’s impressive that Dracut’s farms are still managing to grow and sell its produce.
Brox Farm is a prime example. Its irrigation pond can barely pass for a puddle these days.
“It’s been a struggle,” co-owner Bill Brox says. “There’s no water.”
But the farm, which has been in business at 1276 Broadway Road since 1902, has managed to thrive thanks to the efforts of its employees, notably Clem Thompson, Susan Mitchell, Sadie El Khoury and Jaunita Green.
Clem is, according to farm co-owner Peter Brox, “a master farmer.”
His brother, Bill Brox, agrees. “He’s the best farmer in the Merrimack Valley. It’s amazing what Clem has gotten out of the farm this year.”
Susan, a Dracut resident, takes care of the plants and flowers.
Sadie, a Methuen resident, cooks the farm’s authentic Lebanese products, including hummus and tabboule.
And Jaunita, a Dracut resident, holds it all together as the farm manager.
“We’re lucky to have good people helping us out,” Bill says.
Bill and Pete Brox represent the third generation of the farm, which they believe is the oldest working farm in town. It all started in 1902 with their grandfather, Charles Brox. Charles’ son, Pete and Bill’s uncle John, took over after that. He leased the farm to Dave Dumaresq for nine years before the Brox family again took the reins and Dave opened his own farm a couple miles away, Farmer Dave’s.
The fourth generation is already working on the farm. Bill’s daughters, Sophie and Georgia, are active at the farm stand and learning the ropes of the operation.
The brothers like to say everything on the farm is homegrown – even the people. Most live in or near Dracut.
The brothers Brox have upped the farm’s game a bit this year, hosting pop-up markets on several Saturdays in the spring and summer. Their Summer Daze Festival in July brought in about 500 people.
The next event is scheduled for October 8 and will include about 40 craft vendors, food trucks, live music and more, as well as food from Asados Woodfire Grill, which opened earlier this summer on the Brox Farm property.
“People really enjoy them,” Pete says of the festivals. “We get a lot of local support, and they’re a lot of fun.”
At the heart of Brox Farm, though, is the produce it grows, including corn, squash, broccoli, melons, eggplant, celery, carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers, potatoes, onions, peppers and more.
Crossing a busy Broadway Road (which was a dirt path back in the days of Charles Brox) to the other side of the farm, where corn, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and other vegetables are grown, Bill notes that aside from the road, “this has been basically unchanged since 1902.”
The house Charles Brox lived in still stands on the property.
“We grew up here,” Bill says.
Though the prime part of the year for Brox Farm ends in October with pumpkin season, things start heating up again, so to speak, in December, with the sale of Christmas trees, kissing balls and other ornaments.
And now that the farmstand’s future is in good hands, Bill and Pete are proud to be the standard-bearers for the Brox family.
“The farm is the gateway to the town,” Bill says.
Contact Brox Farm at 866-272-2769.
By Dan Phelps, Dracut Economic Development