OXFORD — The garage door is lifted open, revealing a small showroom of raw pine furniture, the kind crafted almost singularly for relaxing in while sitting on a porch during a summer afternoon.

Shrink-wrapped meat, portioned and organized by animal, is neatly stacked in a series of hip level chest freezers along a back wall. In a side room, bright flowers in plastic containers artfully, if pragmatically, arranged lay in rows, punctuated by planters of parsley, cilantro and other herbs.

Brian Hall moves rhythmically to and fro between rooms, crossing in front of a cooler displaying fresh farm eggs and cheese wedges. On a self behind him, maple syrup and jams await.

Another season has come to Crestholm Farm in Oxford, and Suzanne Hall hopes it won’t be their last.

The Hall family has operated a farm stand at their property near the Mechanic Falls town line on Route 26 since 1989. Hall says she can remember generations of farmers selling vegetables there.

In March, developers announced the construction of a 90-room Hampton Inn hotel just a few hundred feet from the farm stand on land Hall, through her family’s trust, sold in November.

The construction of the hotel so close to the farmhouse that Hall has called home for decades was viewed as a sign that the family had stopped operations for good. Like an augury, Hall said that when her son Brian, who does the majority of the farming after she retired in the early 2000’s, turned up to sell goods to a local market, shop owners were surprised to see him.

“A lot of people don’t think that we’re here, but we are,” Hall said.

Uprooting farmers who’ve tilled the area for generations — Suzanne believes the farmhouse dates to 1843 — won’t happen anytime soon. The farm-stand will sell its usual array of spring, summer and fall vegetables and herbs, all grown on-site in greenhouses next door.

Still, the construction project will bring changes. It’s a murky spring afternoon, and the early spring rains cast a damp chill that clings to the skin even after seeking shelter. On a downward slope aback the Hall farmhouse, construction equipment can be seen behind a pen for lambs and goats. Though it’s motionless, soon it will begin excavating what was once pasture land for a small herd of cows.

Cows aren’t the only operation the Halls have had to forgo. A red barn that once held chickens will be removed later this year during construction. Hall is no stranger to changes — the least of which are the ever-present roar of cars 30-feet away along route 26 — and is eager to see the hotel come up.

It’s the first day of the season, and a few people brave the weather, trickling into the store. Two high school students walk over, introduce themselves, and with breathless speculation inquire about summer work. Hall shakes her head politely, saying she has enough help this year, but takes down their information anyway.

There’s several weeks before produce can be harvested, and though normal this season won’t be, there’s already a sense of steady routine about the way Hall talks about the weather.

“We’ll never get everything in with how wet the ground is.”


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