ABOUT SNELL FAMILY FARM
Snell Family Farm began in 1926 when Henry Snell (John Snell Jr.’s grandfather) moved to the Buxton farm in search of fresher air for a healthier lifestyle to help him recover from tuberculosis. He and his wife, Ruth, and their six children began raising poultry for meat and egg production, selling the farm products locally in Saco and Biddeford. There was a small apple orchard at the farm, and Henry planted more trees, enlarging the orchard, and raising vegetables, and keeping a couple of cows. Henry was a careful manager, and for years the Snell poultry business flourished. The fresh air treatment was effective, too, as both Henry and Ruth lived well into their nineties.
Henry’s son John Sr (Jack) joined the farm and ran the orchard part of the farm until the late 1990s. During Jack’s tenure, the expanded orchard began producing enough so that in addition to local sales, many of the apples were trucked to Boston. The poultry business ended in the early 1960’s, but the apple orchard continued to be a focus of activity. As the chickens left the farm, the Snells built a refrigerated apple storage. John Jr. grew up working for his grandfather and then his father, picking and grading eggs, pruning apple trees, harvesting fruit, haying, and experiencing life on the farm.
Meanwhile, across the river in Hollis, Rita and Frank Anderson were farming their land growing food for their family. Daughters Louisa, Ramona, and Wanda grew up with a special love for growing vegetables. Both the Snell and Anderson families were active in York County 4-H clubs, managing projects that gave the young people hands-on experience with agriculture.
When Jack Snell’s son John Snell Jr. and his wife Ramona Anderson married in 1975, they began growing vegetables, especially fall crops to sell alongside the apples Henry and Jack were growing and selling. Ramona taught middle and high school English until she and John began their family with first daughter, Margaret, in 1981. Already John and Ramona were growing vegetables in the summer and fall to sell at the farm and at farmers’ market in Saco.
In an effort to decorate the sales area at the farm, Ramona installed and planted window boxes on the roadside stand. It seemed customers were more interested in the plants she had chosen than the produce they were selling, so John and Ramona began planning their first greenhouse to raise flowering plants. By now they had welcomed daughter number two, Carolyn, and son Edward to the family. Ramona’s mother, Rita, and sisters Louisa and Wanda helped in the new greenhouse, transplanting, watering, and selling.
That first greenhouse worked out so well, the Snells built another and another, but the first one is still intact, and you can visit it; we’ve named it Greenhouse Number One.
In 1998 we started our CSA program, allowing our customers to invest in the farm by pre-buying farm products. We’ve added crops and dropped crops, picked some back up, and tried different growing techniques. One of our newest enterpirses is Pick Your Own Raspberries. Our first year of raspberry harvest was 2005.
The Snells have grown cut flowers for decades, making bouquets to sell at farmers' markets. Carolyn has taken on the cut flower piece of the business, continuing with the weekly bouquets, and since 2010 designing florals for weddings and events.
Our newest venture is our commercial kitchen, built in 2015, and run by Abby Snell, John and Ramona's daughter in law. She is using our farm ingredients to create tasty treats.
We love growing things, and we love selling them to local customers with whom we’ve cultivated a long relationship.