Tuttle's Family Farm | House for Sale
Lucy wonders what the farm would look like today if she or Becky had been given the chance to run it. She doubts they’d be waiting for a suitor to make good on an offer. Neither of them would want to part with the farm, despite the hard work and minimal profits. There are ways to make the farm more successful, Lucy thinks: tapping into the local and organic food movement, for example. With enough dedicated farmhands, they could take it in a new direction. But it’s too late for that now.
On this April morning, it’s been more than a year since the family put the farm up for sale; they shuttered the store in October. The original asking price was $3.35 million for the proptery’s remaining 134 acres (which are under a conservation easement) and the farmhouse; it’s now $1.875 million, excluding the house. There’s been a lot of interest, including a few tentative offers to purchase the land where Lucy is sitting, absentmindedly plucking clumps of clover from the grass: “Many suitors, no ring, still being courted,” Lucy quips. A breeze ripples her short, strawberry-blonde hair, making the tendrils wave like wheat.
Today, as she surveys the land, she allows herself a hard-won sense of peace. She takes in the gentle slope of the fields, cascading down from the east to the road that bisects them–once part of New Hampshire’s main north-south throughway–then jumping the asphalt to continue their rolling descent west before ending in a border of tall pines. Whenever she returns from a trip, whether as far away as Paris or as close as the hardware store, her heart jumps a little at the crest in the road where the fields come into view. “I’m home!” she always thinks. But today she tries to picture this as a place. A farm. A business. Not a home. “Sell this goddamn place!” she lets herself think. “If I don’t like who buys it, I can move away.”
Saying goodbye to the farm has been a long, painful process. Lucy’s son Evan was among those tortured by the decision. In the end, Hugh didn’t mind that Evan had a different last name; he hoped to hand his legacy livelihood over to his grandson. And Evan, 24 years old and wracked with grief as 81-year-old Hugh lay dying in the farmhouse 10 years ago, promised that he would carry the business end of the farm for another generation. Now Evan works a desk job in Chicago while he pursues his true passion–creative writing–in his free time. His heart wasn’t in farming. Lucy didn’t push; it was more important to her that Evan find fulfillment than that he keep up the family tradition out of sheer obligation. In the end, she thinks, the farm is just a farm.
“People ask me, ‘Don’t you just want to die? Isn’t this the saddest thing that’s ever happened to your family?'” Lucy says. “Well, no, it’s not.”
She’s starting to recognize that the farm isn’t the only thing that connects her to her roots. Parting with the land of her ancestors has brought the living members of her family closer together. Becky, now divorced, has moved in with Lucy. And both now work for their cousin, Dave Tuttle, who runs his own farm just over the Maine state line. In Dave’s greenhouse, where she and Becky transplant seedlings, they still carry Tuttle soil beneath their fingernails.
As Lucy leans back into the grass, propping herself up on her elbows, a form appears at the edge of the field behind her. It’s a girl–one of Will’s daughters–jogging in the rutted dirt where there once grew rows of sunflowers. Her strawberry-blonde ponytail bounces with each step. Lucy turns her head and raises her hand to wave. “Nice form, Daisy!” she calls. The girl disappears behind the treeline.
For details of the sale, contact Robert E. Gregg Jr., Concord, NH; 603-227-2413; firstname.lastname@example.org; tuttlefarm.landvest.com