Why I Farm Roadtrip: Wayne Salisbury
Jan 16, 2017
Wayne Salisbury’s Rhode Island farm has been a part of the family for seven generations. As an agritourism destination, over the last twenty years, the farm has become important to other families as well.
The dairy Wayne grew up on has transformed into a diverse produce and hay farm. “I got started because this place has always been a farm. I grew up on the farm here. When my dad got out of dairy farming, we took over doing a lot of hay. Gradually we got into other things. The first one was strawberries. That’s because my oldest son had a high school project that he had to do and he decided to plant strawberries. So, we planted a few, made a little money on them, planted a few more, made a little more money on them. Each year after that, we’ve been doing between ten and fifteen thousand strawberry plants spread around. Gradually the vegetables, the sweet corn, all of that increased and we started doing less hay.”
Selling the fruits and vegetables they’ve grown at their farm stand and the farmers market gives the Salisbury family an opportunity to meet their customers face to face. “I think it’s an important aspect of the community. I try to initiate more locally grown stuff for people to purchase. I think it’s fresher and better.” Wayne explains.
In addition to their wonderful fresh produce, Salisbury Farm is known for their annual corn maze. Each year Wayne’s sons create a new design. Photos of their creativity are framed and on display throughout the barn. “We were the first farm in Rhode Island to do a corn maze. In fact, I believe we were first in New England.” Wayne says with pride. Each fall, the same families return to wind through the corn maze, pick out pumpkins and decorative corn shucks. It’s become a tradition. “We’ve had families that started off when their kids were knee high and they keep coming till they go off to college.”
It takes the whole family to host all the farm’s visitors in the fall. “My wife is involved. My two sons, although they have their own full time jobs, they do work here on the weekends, especially when the maze is going. My grandson, Justin does most of the heavy labor. I think it’s great to work with your family.” Wayne smiles.
Although the fall is filled with excitement, the spring season is Wayne’s favorite. “I like spring into summer when we’re doing a lot of hay because you get away. That’s if everything is going right, the baler works, the rake works, the cutter works. You’re away and you can’t hear the phone, so the phone doesn’t bother you and it’s rather serene. Plus I love the smell.”
“For the most part, I enjoy it. It’s outdoors. I enjoy seeing the land produce and I enjoy being able to deliver quality products to customers that they don’t always get in the grocery store.”
That’s why Wayne Salisbury farms.