This year marks the 100th anniversary of Outlook Farm in Westhampton, MA. 2022 is also the 60th anniversary for its current owners, the Morse family — who purchased the property in 1962.
The farm, which has adapted to the ever-changing economic landscape through the years, also serves as a community gathering spot as Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan discovered when he stopped by recently.
Explore what life is like in the small farm town of Westhampton in a digital exclusive story.
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Zydalis Bauer, Connecting Point: This year marks the 100th anniversary of Outlook Farm in Westhampton and is also the 60th anniversary for its current owners, the Morse family, who purchased the property in 1962.
The farm, which has adapted to the ever-changing economic landscape through the years, also serves as a community gathering spot, as Connecting Point’s Brian Sullivan discovered when he stopped by recently.
Brian Sullivan, Connecting Point: This little farm stand on the corner of Southampton Road and Route 66 in Westhampton has been an enduring landmark since 1922. Since being purchased by the Morse family in 1962, it’s enjoyed six decades of success under that one family and done so while converting from what was primarily an animal farm with orchards to the fruit and vegetable farm we see today.
Brad Morse, Outlook Farm: Back in the early ’80s, pretty much the state and whatnot promoted the idea of farms diversifying. And at that time, I think it was when we first got into the breakfast and lunch thing out front, along with expanding the deli.
We had our meats going anyway, primarily pork in the early days, and then we expanded the operation into all cuts of meat. We have our produce.
We’ve got the bakery that’s been built up over the years. Originally, it was just apple pies that were being made all the time, or fruit pies. My mother made those for years.
And then I wanted to expand it — my wife started way back in the 80s, also started baking chocolate chip cookies and bringing them here to sell, and that’s what it went from there into everything we got going today for a full — full bakery.
Brian Sullivan: Those baked goods, breakfast treats, and coffee are quite the drawing card at this family barn and eatery that’s managed to maintain its authentic, rustic charm after all these years.
And in a town with a population of just over 1,600, saying that this is the local hangout probably isn’t too much of a stretch.
James Roberts, Westhampton Resident: I have a small roofing business and I meet my guys usually on the jobs, which are nearby here.
And I live down the road, so I come here and get my coffee or maybe a donut or whatever else, and maybe sometimes get those guys a muffin or a donut and coffees, and just head to the job.
Jean Webster, Weshampton Resident: We came here to Westhampton in 1977. My husband worked for Mass Electric. And so, this was the coffee place to come and to meet people. And then in the 1990s, I came to work for Brad’s dad, Dave Morse, and I’ve been coming back ever since.
And the last several years there have been several people at the same table, and they were all retirees, retired teachers, retired nurses, and husbands that put up with all of us.
Brian Sullivan: Not to be forgotten, and certainly not easy to miss, is the vast acreage of orchards surrounding the property. In peak growing season, they offer up the kinds of visuals one might expect to find on postcards from New England.
The family at Outlook Farm owns 40 acres of land, 30 of those behind the barn, the other ten are across the street here in these apple orchards. But overall, they manage 60 acres of property, that includes apple and peach trees about a half mile up Southampton Road in that direction, and some blueberry fields about a mile and a half down Route 66 in that direction.
But while the bushes and trees may have an abundance of berries and fruits ripe for the picking, Outlook Farm faces the same dilemma as so many other small businesses nowadays, and that is finding employees to do the work, or in this case, do the picking.
Brad Morse: We’re running very, very short in the fields. Nobody to pick apples right now, we’re still working on that. In the store, it’s the same thing. We lose our college kids this week and it’s going to be down to hardly anybody to serve the store.
So, it’s really tough as far as employees go. That’s the hardest part of it all.
Brian Sullivan: Outlook Farm continues to chug along, though, by adapting to the times. In this case, it meant turning the former slaughterhouse into a brewhouse, or using their surplus to make their own wines. Keeping the produce local, if it’s not grown here on site, and having a fully functioning butcher shop for fresh local meats. Whatever it takes to keep money in the till.
Brad Morse: You just make the changes through the years that we needed to make to just keep things running for the best and — and hopefully keep trying to make some money.