Sodco was started in 1981. The 500-acres of land in Slocum, RI upon which Sodco was built make it the largest contiguous farmland in all of Rhode Island - but this land wasn’t always a sod farm.
Our Farm’s Past
The farm that would eventually become Sodco was originally a potato farm. Years later, the farm was sold off and converted into a dairy farm and then sold again to the New York New Haven Railroad - who planned to use the entire area for an industrial complex. This complex was never built and in 1970 the Tucker Family, which had been leasing the land to grow potatoes and sod, bought the farm.
The Start of Sodco
When Sodco took over the farm in 1981, it was turned over completely to sod, specifically bluegrass fescue. Over the years, the farm’s crops have been changed to also include bentgrass and turf type tall fescue – including Black Beauty Sod, as well as alternative crops as part of Sodco’s rotation initiatives.
TPI Conference Hosts
The farm has twice hosted the prestigious TPI Conference (Turf Producers International). This event attracts attendees from all across the world to see the latest equipment and advances in the turf industry and our farm was proud to be selected as the host farm for this important event.
Sodco through the years
In 2001 the development rights to 400 acres of farmland were sold, preserving forever the land as a farm and open space. The future of the farm is a bright one as Sodco embraces crop rotations, soil health, the latest in technology and innovation to continue producing New England’s Finest Sod.
In 2008 SODCO starting growing corn as both a cover crop and for fuel. When the oil prices starting climbing, corn was a more affordable option. SODCO installed two corn boilers, one for the farm offices and second for two residents on the farms property. SODCO has been selling the corn to a number of different customers over the years, from our own employees to a local whiskey company.
In 2010 SODCO starting growing Turf Type Tall Fescue sod. After a few years of hearing complaints on how much fertilizer and inputs have to be put into the traditional bluegrass lawn, SODCO looked for an alternative product that still has the same or better qualities as the Bluegrass. After years of trying to find the right varieties and the best way to treat the sod we had success!
In 2011-2012 SODCO starting growing Jonathan Green Black Beauty Tall Fescue. Once SODCO and Jonathan Green starting their relationship, it was a great partnership! SODCO has been exclusively growing Black Beauty and no other Tall Fescue, as our alternative sod ever since! SODCO took the Black beauty’s “American Lawn” and transformed it into a product for all! Golf courses starting using the Black beauty on bunker banks, step cut and rough areas. Universities have starting using it on quads. A few years ago, SODCO sampled the Black Beauty at a shortcut height. Shortcut Black Beauty opened another door for SODCO and Jonathan Green Black Beauty! It has been used on tee boxes, range boxes, fairways, and croquet courts!
In 2013 SODCO’s farm manager was approached by a seed company to grow a tall fescue Microclover™ blend for a sports field in Brooklyn NY. The project was very hush hush until it passed all compliances. In 2015 it passed everything with flying colors, we starting selling the product to our customers! After a few years of orders here and there, SODCO showcased the Microclover™ Black Beauty on This Old House! The Microclover™ was used at the Idea House in Narragansett and the NET Zero project in Jamestown. SODCO received an ample amount of emails and phone calls about the Microclover™ after the episode aired.
In 2018 SODCO grew tomatoes, peppers and squash in between rows of Microclover™. We used the grass clippings as a mulch to keep the weeds out! We sold the vegetables to a local grocery store and a local pizza place. After the growing season was over for the crop we over seeded the area with Micoclover™, it filled in just before the winter. We also grew an acre and a half of sunflowers. The sunflowers made for a great summer view, after the flowers were done for the season they were tilled back into the soil. Turns out sunflowers can be a great cover crop for turfgrass.
In 2019 SODCO is starting to grow hemp. Stay tuned….