PEPPERELL -- Kinnon Hollows is a strange-sounding name for a farm.
It isn't an immediately recognizable local landmark, or even the last name of owner/founder/operator Josh Bradbury. Bradbury says, while brainstorming ideas, he tried about 100 different ones before coming up with it, and for him, it's perfect; it represents the world of his business.
Kinnon, Bradbury's 3-year-old son, embodies the family aspect of his work. Bradbury said he wants to connect the farm to his family.
"I also have a daughter, McKenzie, she's eight and we're always going out to do stuff on the farm, we're together," Bradbury said.
Like a hollow, when used as a noun and defined as a small valley, the plot of land Bradbury grows on is relatively tiny, but dedicated to staying as close to nature as possible.
"We're keeping it all natural, eating and selling whatever the soil provides," Bradbury said. "I would say it tastes better."
It's important, he says, to use no pesticides, herbicides or fungicides or other chemicals in his crops. A large pile of compost next to the Kinnons Hollow plot contains last year's left overs and cover crops to be re-introduced to the soil.
Bradbury works without a tractor so he can butt rows of vegetables up against each other, a method that saves space and water. He built his own greenhouse in the rear corner of the plot. Guinea hens, lady bugs and praying mantis are enlisted as natural pest management, introduced to eat bad
"I got a lot on my plate, starting off the farm has been like stepping off a cliff at times, but I want to do it the right way," said Bradbury, adding that though it's work, it's also a passion.
"I love to wake up and know that I get to do what I want to do."
As he was getting the business farm rolling in March this year, he was also finishing a degree in natural resources at Mount Wachusett Community College. He took classes in horticulture, agriculture, green houses and renewable energies and was the president of the Green Society, a group that runs recycling programs and plan sales on-campus, raising money for larger projects such as a water filtration system.
He is a native of Maine, but returned to Leominster for school after meeting his now-wife Kara. After graduating in May, he moved to Pepperell to put down his roots, literally, and move closer to his family.
"I like being outside, hunting, fishing, hiking and stuff, I even worked as a land surveyor for several years, always had an interest in forestry," he said.
In Maine, Bradbury says, his parents always kept a large garden, and he said that had a large effect on it.
"It's stuff like that that keeps you growing, we had horses and vegetables and always had something to do," Bradbury said. "I want to make sure my kids have the same experience."
Vegetables are already coming through the black, plastic weed matting covering the plot. Here, he spends two to four hours each day, poking holes for new sets of crops, moving sprinklers around and checking on his veggies.
Bradbury says he feels his techniques are working, boasting the height of his corn and saying the lettuce is "going crazy." Squashes are doing well too, as well as the peas and other sets of veggies will take a few more days, but are well on there way, he says.
Community supported agriculture shares and half-shares are available, containing looseleaf and romain lettuce, sweet corn, bush and pole beans, cucumbers for slicing and picking, peppers, hot and bell; and varieties of spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, peas, eggplant, cabbage, Brussell sprouts and melons.
In five years, he said wants to have 50 shares sold and start an orchard, so he can add some fruit shares.
"I just started, but I want to stay in Pepperell, since I opened up I've got a feel for the area, it's a good spot to network," he said. "There are a lot of good local examples to follow."
Recently, he joined the town's Agricultural Advisory Committee and has been taking advantage of programs put on by the Department of Agriculture, who have visited Kinnons Hollow in support of his methods. Programs like twilight farmer workshops and gleaning have helped him get to know the local farming community too, he said.
Kinnons Hollow features an honor cart at their 52 Bancroft St. location and will be selling at the Pepperell Farmers Market on Saturdays at 9 a.m.
For more information, call the farm at 978-727-6877, visit Kinnonshollow.com, check out the farm on Twitter or Facebook. Community supported agriculture shares and half-shares are available, a full share is typically 18 to 21 weeks worth of vegetables, Bradbury said.