236 Jerusalem Rd, Cohasset, MA 02025, USA
Owned By: Holly Hill Farm
Organic farmstand and nonprofit education center on historic property in Cohasset. Check the website for information about plant sales, workshops, field trips, school programs, farmyard visits, and other educational opportunities. Farmstand is open most Saturdays from 10am-3pm.
Holly Hill Farm, along with the Cornelia & Richardson White Woods, next door, was placed under a conservation easement in 1980, protecting it from development. Volunteers are now working to restore and protect the land from invasive species, to preserve its biodiversity. If you’d like to help — perhaps to earn credit for your school or scout troop’s Community Service requirement — contact Holly Hill Farm.
The White Family purchased this land in 1845. Some of the cart paths date back to the 1630’s, when “Hingham farmers are believed to have driven their livestock through the woods to graze on the marshes and open meadows bordering Little Harbor.” (Source: Holly Hill Farm)
First it was part of Hingham’s “common lands,” but by the 1670’s much of the land was subdivided and assigned to individuals who then cleared the fields for growing crops and pasturing sheep and cattle. Early owners included such Cohasset families as the Stoddards, Lincolns, Joys, Nichols, Towers, Pratts, and Cushings, plus Henry Doane in the early 19th century.
Thomas Richardson and his wife Olivia purchased the farm in the 1840’s and renamed it Holly Hill. Shortly before the Civil War, Thomas created the Ice Pond, as well as an orchard. In the 1920’s, Richardson White (the great-grandson of Thomas) along with his wife Cornelia, moved to the property full-time and began developing it into a commercial farming operation. Ultimately the quality and layout of the land could not adequately support this enterprise. Instead, from the mid-1930’s to the 1950’s it served as the headquarters for a 100-acre vegetable “truck farm.” Later the fields were used primarily to grow hay. After Richardson White passed away in 1993, the property was divided among his sons Peter, Frank, and Donald. Holly Hill Farm in its present incarnation — an organic educational farm — was established in 1998 by Frank and Jean White. It operates on 5 acres of the original family property.
Prior to European contact, a band of the Massachusett Native American tribe maintained a village in what is now Cohasset. It was known as Quonahassit — often translated as “long rocky place.” In 1614, while exploring what was known then as the New World, Captain John Smith (1580-1631) landed in “Quonahassit Harbor” to trade for furs. The Quonahassit village was probably in the vicinity of today’s Elm Street, a summer camp for fishing, and for growing corn, beans and squash. The village moved inland during the winter for shelter, and to hunt for deer, turkey and other wildlife. A widespread plague decimated the Quonahassit population shortly after Smith’s visit.
Habitats and Wildlife
Some of this property is wooded, and some is open field. There is also a manmade ice pond very close-by, with a stream running through it. It’s a diverse habitat that welcomes migrating songbirds, hawks, owls, grey and red foxes, fisher cats, and much more. Some of the trees here include holly, pitch pine, oak, white pine, beech and yellow birch.
A restoration project is underway, to create a half-acre “native meadow” nearby, to better support at-risk insects such as the Monarch butterfly and the Golden Northern Bumble Bee. Nesting boxes for kestrels have been installed around its perimeter. Holly Hill Farm is also home to one of the South Shore’s best remaining stands of endangered spring ephemeral wildflowers.
Historic Site: No
Boat Launch: No
Size: 5 acres
Hours: Farmstand is open Saturdays from 10am to 3pm. Program hours vary. Otherwise, dawn to dusk.
Parking: Limited on-site parking.
Cost: Rates vary.
Trail Difficulty: Easy
Benches, bike rack, farmstand, class/meeting room.
Boat Ramp: No
ADA Access: Yes
Scenic Views: Yes
Waterbody/Watershed: Richardson's Brook (Cohasset Little Harbor watershed)