Before we were hedge fund wizards — before we were a world marketing capital — before we were an artists’ colony, even, we were farmers.
Back in the day, Westport was a farming community. And by “the day,” I mean not only the early Puritan settlers, but the Indians we snagged the land from.
The Westport Historical Society has partnered with Wakeman Town Farm and the Westport Farmers’ Market to honor our agrarian tradition. “Back to the Roots” includes not only the 4-part WHS exhibit on display across from Town Hall, but a summer-long series of programs and field trips.
Barns, stone walls, fresh food — they’re all part of “Roots.”
So are these fun facts:
- “Long Lots” got its name from the shape of early farming plots.
- Westport’s incorporation in 1835 resulted in large part from our successful maritime exportation of fish and produce to New York, Boston and beyond.
- Onion farmers used nutrient-rich seaweed as fertilizer. During the Civil War, Westport was the leading onion supplier to the Union army.
- After 2 blights, onion growers switched to apples and cidering. However, shellfishing continued, and Lloyd Nash developed a major ice harvesting business, revolutionizing local food preservation.
If you’re downtown for today’s parade, check out the Historical Society exhibit. You’re sure to look at this afternoon’s cookout with fresh eyes.
(Special “Back to Our Roots” programs for food and farm lovers of all ages will run every Saturday at Wakeman Town Farm, Thursdays at the Farmer’s Market, and at various times at the Historical Society. Click here for details.