by Jasmine Wang, Volunteer Writer
Simmons Farm is an historic family farm in Middletown, RI, that has been around since it was owned by the Coggeshall family back in the 1600s. It became Simmons Farm through marriage when Elizabeth Coggeshall married into the Simmons family in Newport in the 1880s. The current owners are Karla and Brian Simmons, who had the farm passed down to them from the previous generation. When the farm was originally handed over to the current owners 25 years ago, it was a simple vegetable farm with tomatoes and other vegetables as their main produce. Now the farm has diversified into producing value-added products such as goat cheese, pesto, and a variety of cheeses. Notably in 2011, Simmons Farm also branched into agricultural entertainment. Known affectionately as “the goat lady,” Karla began to create entertainment services with the goats on the farm, with the “Goat Pet and Cuddle” in 2014 and goat yoga in 2017. Simmons Farm in 2022 offers an array of farm-related activities, and has shown remarkable growth from the simple vegetable farm it was 25 years ago — and they have further plans to diversify!
One of the most well received produce items from Simmons Farm is their arugula. Tangy, peppery and with a strong bite, Karla Simmons boasts that while arugula is not the product that brings Simmons Farm the most profit, it is the product that customers continually rave about. Karla’s personal favorite is the farm’s tomatoes; they are always bursting with sweet, deep and rich flavor. She explains that what makes Simmons Farm’s produce so delicious is their commitment to organic fertilizer and compost — everything is naturally grown in healthy soil. Simmons Farm’s value-added products also enjoy great popularity, such as the basil pesto, Florentine cheddar, garlic and scallion cheeses. The combination of their own flavorful produce in their own dairy makes for a splendid combination that customers continue to crave.
Simmons Farm has made a commitment to sustainability their priority. Strong believers in biodiversity and organic farming practices, the Simmons Farm team does most composting themselves using the manure of their farm animals, and never uses any chemicals on any part of their farm. They use well water to water their greens, and all sorts of animals — from frogs to salamanders — roam free in the fields, not kept away by pesticides. Nothing is wasted at Simmons Farm, where everything is continually kept in a sustainable cycle. Manure from the farm animals is used to fertilize produce; the goats are milked for dairy; the goats themselves are then used in agricultural entertainment activities. This sustainable cycle allows Simmons Farm both biodiversity and green sustainability, but also some financial sustainability as well.
Simmons Farm’s collaboration with Farm Fresh RI to build a winter CSA drop spot in Providence has also proved a booming success. The Farm has participated in the winter season of Farm Fresh Providence Farmers Market (as well as at its previous location in Pawtucket) for many many years, and it has been a great source for them of farmer community as well a convenient way for their customers to access fresh produce. Today, Simmons Farm products can be found in similar farmers markets all around Providence, or can be ordered on their website. Importantly, all agricultural entertainment events are also listed on their website, from Sunset Hayrides in the fall to Conversational Mozzarella Cheese-Making classes, Simmons Farm has it all covered. Be sure to check out Simmons Farm, both for the amazing produce and dairy they sell, but also for a unique farm experience!