West Bridgewater

Local farm to stay just that

A nonprofit group dedicated to preserving open space has combined forces with state and federal agencies to ensure the former Hayward Dairy Farm on East Center Street will remain a working farm. The Trust for Public Land, the Massachusetts Agricultural Preservation Program, and the federal Farm and Ranchland Protection Program helped facilitate the sale of the 74-acre parcel from Tara Realty Associates, a subsidiary of the Tedeschi Food Shops, to Peter C. and Lynn Reading. The couple plan to operate Reading Farm LLC, which will grow certified organic and conventional produce such as pumpkins, tomatoes, apples, and strawberries. The state purchased a restriction that the property be used only for farming, making the land less valuable to developers and reducing the price for the Readings. “We struggled for more than 14 years to buy a farm, but everything was too expensive,” said Peter Reading. “Then we got the opportunity of a lifetime. This is really a dream come true for us.”