Westport Farmer Offers Insight into SouthCoast Agriculture

Homegrown food is fresher, healthier and better tasting because it spends less time going from farm to plate, and therefore loses fewer nutrients. The food is delicious and tastes much better than the supermarket, which has traveled thousands of miles and is often plucked before it is cooked.

Just ask local farmer Jeff Sampson, owner of Sampson Farm, located at 222 Old Bedford Road in Westport.

“Often locally grown means it’s been picked in the morning and you’re enjoying it that afternoon,” he said.

Founded in 1850, Sampson Farm was farming in Sampson’s blood.

“I grew up on this farm. To me, farming is not a job, it’s my whole life,” said the community-based, energetic, optimistic and thoroughly modern farmer, who was selling his produce at the farmers market in Buttonwood Park Warming House.

Sampson said Sampson Farm has been known for its potatoes for decades, and for very good reason.

“Years ago, a friend who used to work at Frito-Lay called us and asked if we’d like to grow the same premium potatoes that the famous chip company uses?” He said. “Half the crop would be Frito-Lay, and the other half would be ours. At the time, they were known as FL657s. Beautiful, tasty potatoes that didn’t have a hollow in the middle.”

The farm also grows sweet corn, tomatoes, peppers, onions, turnips, pumpkins, and fruits.

“Agriculture is not only very labor intensive, but some years, like this, are not good years for farming,” Sampson said. “We started 2021 with not enough rain, then it rained heavily and then it never rained again.” All this has to be factored into the price of the product when it reaches the market.

Recently, a customer from the farmer got upset, asking him if he was “nuts” because he was charging $3 for a pound of onions. Sampson tried to explain all the details that set the price, but the customer did not hear it.

He said at last: “Well, come and help me in the last week of February, sow the seed, water it twice a week, sow it in April, and this time next year, I will gladly give you onions.”

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