Thistle Dew Farm, Holliston


Thistle Dew Success!

On October 21, 2021, the Town of Holliston and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources purchased an Agricultural Preservation Restriction on 28 acres of Thistle Dew Farm. The owners of nearby Outpost Farm subsequently purchased the land in order to expand their operations. They and all future owners are obligated to keep the land as farmland and can never develop it.

Thank you to the many wonderful donors who helped SVT raise $150,000 toward this protection effort, including the Town of Holliston Open Space Committee and Mass Audubon, which secured a $100,000 contribution from an anonymous donor.

Thistle Dew Farm is a 28-acre farm located on Highland Street in Holliston, on the Ashland town line. For decades, it has been farmed by Charlie Nickerson, who now wishes to see the farm permanently protected.

The current owners of Holliston's Outpost Farm will purchase the property and expand their current farming operations, but first, Mr. Nickerson will ensure that the property is never developed by selling an Agricultural Preservation Restriction (APR). The APR will permanently protect 28.74 acres of the farm from development and require that it stay in active agriculture. The house and barns will be excluded from the APR and will be limited to a single-family house lot. 

The APR will be held jointly by the Town of Holliston and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR).  DAR will be responsible for monitoring the property annually to ensure that the farming values are maintained. 

A 2017 appraisal established a fair market value for the restriction of $1.11 million. The Department of Agricultural Resources will contribute $465,588 toward the purchase, and an additional $644,412 is needed to reach the fair market value of the restriction.

Holliston voters overwhelmingly agreed to commit $500,000 of Community Preservation Act Funds toward the purchase of the APR at Special Town Meeting on October 28, 2019.