1942 West Main Rd, Middletown, RI
PHONE (401) 848-9910
Over 350 Years of Getting Dirty
IN SEPTEMBER 1632, JOHN COGGESHALL OF ESSEX, ENGLAND ARRIVED IN BOSTON. He quickly gained prominence in the colony and in the church, but when he and others began to question church leadership, they found themselves banished. Along with 58 other disenfranchised church members, including Anne Hutchinson, Coggeshall headed south, where he settled on the island of Aquidneck. He was allotted 400 acres—130 of which make up the Simmons Farm we know today.
In 1643, John Coggeshall was elected the first “president” of the Rhode Island colony. Through many generations, the Coggeshall family spread out and the farmland was divided. By the mid-1800s, David Coggeshall owned the bulk of the ancestral farm, and he established one of the largest dairy farms in the state. In 1878, his daughter Elizabeth married John Lawton Simmons, a city slicker from Newport, and John and Elizabeth took over the farm.
John and Elizabeth’s son, John L. Simmons Jr., and his wife Ruth Barker Simmons kept the farm running through two World Wars and the Great Depression, even surviving an outbreak of brucellosis that killed their entire dairy herd. When their son Alexander Simmons Sr., his wife Mary, and their five children took over, they began growing produce on their traditionally dairy-based farm. Vegetables were sold from their picnic table…and then their garage…which over time grew out of several buildings to inhabit the one customers visit today.
In 1988, Alexander Sr. and his brother James decided preserve their farm for future generations by selling the development rights to federal, state and local agencies, forever protecting it from becoming a victim of urban sprawl. Around the same time, the farm’s milking operations ceased, as the cost of keeping the cows surpassed the money brought in by milk sales.
In 2000, Alexander Jr and Patricia’s son Brian Simmons and his wife Karla took over the management of the farm. Farming organically became a priority for the new generation. In 2011 a new barn was built and new chapter begin. CHEESE! We started to make our own cheese from milk from our own animals. Nothing brought in from off the farm. Our animals graze on our pastures and produce some of the best tasting milk around. We started to offer almost 10 varieties a week cheeses made fresh each week. Visit us at the farmstead or at the farmers markets to try a sample of the many different flavors. You can also pick up pasture raised meats, eggs and vegatables.