Farmer in Focus: Nick Larrabee of My Grandfather’s Farm

Nick Larrabee carrying summer squash at My Grandfather's Farm

Photo by Bill Hoenk

My Grandfather’s Farm is run by Tom Larrabee Jr. and his son, Nick Larrabee. Together they manage the 15 acres located at 101 Hummock Pond Road. We had the chance to sit down with Nick to learn more about his background, the farm, and its future. 

Nick Larrabee graduated from UMass Amherst’s Stockbridge School of Agriculture in 2017 with a degree in Sustainable Food and Farming, but his experience with farming began long before then. Nick grew up visiting his grandfather on Nantucket in the summertime – baling hay at his farm and going to see him at Nantucket Conservation Foundation’s Milestone Cranberry Bog, which he managed. In fact, one of his earliest memories is looking out over the 300 acres of cranberry bog and open space and saying to himself, “this is the most incredible place I’ve ever seen in my very short life”. Little did he know then that in 2006, he and his family would move to the island year-round when his father took on the job of managing the cranberry bog.  

The property that Nick and his father farm today has been passed down for five generations – all beginning with Nick’s great-great-grandfather. The creation of My Grandfather’s Farm formalized something that had long existed – a lineage of Larrabees sustaining and building on their grandfather’s farm and legacy. Nick’s passion is driven by this generational history, and he hopes to pass it on to generations to come.  

Tom Larrabee Jr. and his son Nick with their dogs at My Grandfather's Farm
Photo by Bill Hoenk
Memorial rock at My Grandfather's Farm
Photo by Bill Hoenk

When asked about the benefits of local agriculture, Nick exclaimed, “Well, you can’t beat locally grown food!”  Beyond that, Nick and his father believe that their farm is more than a place to grow food, “this is really a place for the community to enjoy, which was the whole point of the Land Bank purchasing it and why we got the lease to start farming it”. The Larrabees sold their property to the Land Bank in 2019, with an agreement that gave them a lease to live and farm on the property.  

Another perk of local agriculture is getting to know your local farmers and what practices they use. The Larrabees “have tried really hard to [create] more than just a farm, but build a very diverse ecosystem across the 15 acres”. They use organic practices, such as rotating their chickens to build soil health. Additionally, they have gone through an extensive process to determine which areas of the land are not appropriate for farm use, such as the wetlands on this property. These wetlands provide habitat for pollinators, beneficial insects, and wildlife, which naturally helps with pests and fungus.  

Wetland at My Grandfather's Farm
Nick Larrabee at My Grandfather's Farm
Photos by Bill Hoenk

My Grandfather’s Farm grows summer squash, snap peas, varieties of lettuce, spinach, beans, sunflowers, and radishes (to name a few). However, they’re best known for their eggs. “We cannot keep them in the cooler – we put the truck out at 9:00 AM, and by 9:45 AM the cooler is empty, every day”, Nick explained. In addition to the chickens, vegetables, and flowers, they have several goats, a few free-range ducks and guinea hens, as well as honeybees. “Last year I got about 250 pounds [of honey] off three hives, and I’m hoping to get about the same or more this year”, said Nick.   

The Larrabees have a truck at the farm Monday through Saturday with vegetables, and Wednesday through Saturday with eggs. If you’re looking for eggs, be sure to get there right at 9 AM, or they might be sold out!  

Chickens at My Grandfather's Farm
Photo by Bill Hoenk

Looking ahead, My Grandfather’s Farm has big plans in store. They hope to add more vegetables, fruits, and flowers, along with pick-your-own blueberries and sunflowers. Though they’re still in the planning phase, Nick shared that one thing is certain, “we’re going to be building this farm up for many years to come, and year after year there will be something more for the community.” 

Photos by Bill Hoenk

Nick had been involved with NCF’s cranberry operation since he was about 14 years old but started full time after graduating from college in 2017. Today, in addition to running the farm alongside his father, Nick serves as the Director of Land Management for the Nantucket Conservation Foundation.