Very unique c. 1930's Fruit Crate "Blue Label"
c. 1900’s, 20th century
© Vintage Winter
Dunbar Farms is part of a fourth-generation, hundred-year-old family farm within the city limits of Medford. The family farm was founded by brothers Leonard and Alfred Carpenter in 1909, who planted 60 acres of pears using draft horse teams. Although the pears no longer remain, the Carpenter family farm continues to produce a wide array of agricultural products and remains a viable farm amidst a sea of suburban development. The farm as a whole currently produces hay, wine, and naturally-grown vegetables, though under three separate entities: Dunbar Orchards (hay), Rocky Knoll (wine), and Dunbar Farms (vegetables).
Under the Dunbar Farms entity, they are beginning a number of new projects and experimenting with other agricultural activities, including grain, eggs, and goat milk production. Their hope is to learn how to generate more of their own agricultural inputs and resources on the farm — to “close the loop” and build a more self-sufficient small farm. They are working to grow their own nutrients (compost crops) and energy (horse-power) on the farm as well. They have recently purchased a team of Belgian Draft horses, and are learning to work with the very same animals that originally plowed the family’s first pear orchards one hundred years ago.
Mr. Dunbar Carpenter was a longtime orchardist whose family foundation has granted millions of dollars to local nonprofit organizations. "He was the model of the best of the whole community," said Dan Thorndike, member of the Carpenter Foundation board of trustees.
Born in 1915 in Medford, Carpenter grew up outside of Boston, Mass. and earned a bachelor's degree in economics at Harvard. He and his wife, Jane, moved to Medford in 1946 to take over the family orchard and farm, now Dunbar Orchards and Rocky Knoll.
In addition to work with many agricultural organizations, Carpenter was involved in the arts, sat on many arts organizations' boards, and founded what is now the Rogue Gallery. He was also an avid skier.
The Carpenter Foundation was established by Dunbar's uncle, orchardist Alfred S.V. Carpenter, and Helen Bundy Carpenter in 1942. It was then called the Jackson County Recreation Agency and provided recreational activities for servicemen at Camp White. The foundation was reorganized in 1958 as a general-purpose family foundation.
It now has assets totaling more than $22 million and gave out more than $800,000 in grants in 2007 in the arts, education, human services, public interest and scholarships. The foundation will remain in place, family members said Tuesday.
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