Blue Star Equiculture's Barn
BSE currently leases the historic 129-acre farm, known locally for decades as "Burgundy Brook." The farm is located at the intersection of the Ware and Swift Rivers. It is bounded on the south by the Ware, the west by the Swift, the north by the abandoned Hampden Railroad ("The Railroad That Never Was"), and on the east by Rt. 181. The farm features an 1890's dairy barn that has been converted to fit the needs of our horses.
This farm has been used as farmland from the beginning when the first European families starting arriving. In 1725, King George granted this land to a Scottish family who began a textile mill down the river from the farm. Since that time this farm has served to provide countless families and animals sustenance and security. We hope to one day to buy the land and protect it from development for all time so that it may live on to be the refuge it has always been for horses, humans and mother earth...and of course cows, goats, sheep, donkey's, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other working horses that were born and raised here.
Our barn has three floors to accommodate the horses and extra large spaces for teams or friends that want to be together. Our stalls need work as well as many other areas of the barn and every year we strive to make any improvements we can manage.
Blue Star Equiculture has an experimental farm garden that has been in production for the past 5 years. Every season, we plant various vegetables and flowers with UMass/Stockbridge interns who oversee the management of the farm garden. Future farmers are allowed to experiment with old and new methods of sustainable farming using horsepower, without the pressure of production yields. This gives novice growers an important opportunity to learn through trial and error.
Draft Horse Compost
We have developed aerated composting systems to process the daily manure production from our herd of 26 horses. They produce over 500,000 lbs. of manure each year which is composted to create over 200,000 lbs. of pathogen and weed seed free compost. We use this compost in our gardens and farm garden plots and offer it to the public in recycled feed bags and by the truckload. The proceeds go to helping the horses that made it!
Pasture Management Project with UMass and MEPA
Our Paddock Paradise design encourages our horses to move along a track throughout the day, which is beneficial for their overall health and especially their digestion. It also restores the land around precious waterways, with multiple types of grasses, restoring portions of the pastures. Through regular open houses, BSE is committed to demonstrating best practices and serving as a model for visiting horse owners and farmers.
National Grid Mass Save Energy Program
In 2014, BSE received an energy efficient lighting upgrade funded throughout National Grid's Energy Efficiency Program. Our renovated horse barn is now equipped with efficient light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs and fixtures. This program not only helps us save money on our electric bill, it also allows us to focus more on our time and resources on providing services that benefit our horses and our community.