Founded by Irish immigrants, Wilson Farm has been in operation at its present location since 1884. James Alexander Wilson, W.M. Wilson, and brother-in-law George Reynolds came to Lexington from Enniskillen, Ireland. Here they were able to buy 16 acres of land and rent some of the surrounding fields for farming. James A. Wilson was the salesman, and the other partners worked the farm, growing vegetable crops and plants. Included among them were: cabbage, white turnip, celery, carrots, and beets.
In the late 1800’s farmers from Lexington and nearby towns had to take their produce to Boston to sell at Quincy Market. In the evening many small farmers would bring their product to James A. Wilson, who would combine the partial loads in order to fill the market wagons. These market wagons were pulled by teams of road horses, as the work horses were retired for the day. On the return trip from market, the wagon would stop at the Boston area hotels and pick up garbage to be used to feed the pigs. If the driver fell asleep (as this sometimes happened), the horses knew the roads and could find their own way home. During the winter months, trips to the market were less frequent, thus vegetables were stored in pits. These pits were covered with salt marsh hay and boards - maintaining the temperature at 34-36°F until all the vegetables were sold at market. Slow winter days were spent in
the barn repairing equipment.
As James Alexander Wilson’s sons joined the family business, the other two partners lost interest. W.M. Wilson and his family went into a successful textile dyeing business. George Reynolds sold his interest to James to pursue other ventures, leaving James and his family as owners and operators. About 1920, James Alexander turned his farm over to his two sons, Walter and Stanley. They operated the business in much the same way James had, until the early 1950’s. At that time their sons, Donald and Alan, took over the farm and opened a retail farm stand.
10 Pleasant Street
Lexington, MA 02421