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. Ramona's sister Louisa, an elementary school teacher, helped in the fields, and especially worked selling at Saco Farmers' Market.
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