connecticut farm tours

posted May 21, 2013

from the New Connecticut Farmer Alliance. Read on for the full schedule.
Each Farm tour, accompanied by a potluck, will take place every third Sunday of the month.
Tours will begin at 4:00pm with a potluck at 6:00pm until dusk. Bring your own place setting and beverages.  Farmer friends welcome.
May 19 – Provider Farm, Salem CT
Provider Farm is a 10 acre non-certified organic vegetable farm that uses biodynamic methods managed by Max and Kerry Taylor. They are primarily a CSA serving 200 shareholders and sell to farmers markets and wholesale accounts.  They also maintain a small grass-fed beef herd on 20 acres of rotationally grazed pasture and sell beef cuts retail to their shareholders and the general public.
The farm tour will focus on tractor selection and implements used for mechanical vegetable cultivation.
Provider Farm 30 Woodbridge Rd.  Salem CT 06420
June 16 – Sullivan Farm, New Milford, CT
Sullivan Farm is currently in its 2nd year of operation as a 501(c)3 agricultural non-profit.  Joe Listro, the Farm Manager, has been farming for 5 years and began at Sullivan Farm last year when the non-profit started its lease on the 104 acre town-owned farm.  His previous work includes farming and educational programming at Urban Oaks Organic Farm and the Community Farm of Simsbury.
The mission of the Sullivan Farm is to educate children and high school students in the area of sustainable food production.  The farm is run by a crew of 20-30 youth volunteers and interns ages 14 through 19.  They saw over 1000 elementary school children last year through school field trips, children gardening events, boy and girl scout programs, and special events.  They grow over 30 types of vegetables, 60 acres of hay, and produce maple syrup.  Interns market their produce through an on-site farm stand, local farmers’ market, New Milford Hospital, and local restaurants.
The farm tour will focus on farm-based education on production and non-profit farms.  We will discuss how to attract community members to your farm through programs which benefit the greater community and open up an additional revenue stream for the farm.  We will also go into detail about managing and supervising a (mostly) youth work crew.
Sullivan Farm 140 Park Lane Rd. New Milford, CT 06776
July 21 – GROW Hartford, Hartford, CT

Grow Hartford urban farm is a project of the non-profit Hartford Food System and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. The farm provides hyper-local produce to Hartford residents as well as social service agencies in the city. They sell to restaurants, farmers’ markets and have a popular CSA program. The farm is also the base for a vibrant youth program focusing on agriculture and food justice.

Rodger Phillips has worked at a number of farms and is in his 5th season as farm manager at Grow Hartford. A lifelong grower, Rodger and his wife Isabelle have been urban homesteading in Hartford for 14 years.

The farm tour and social will feature a tour of three urban farm plots. Details on urban farming challenges, advantages and techniques will be discussed. Follow along by car or by bicycle. At our last stop we will share a delicious meal and enjoy some live music.

Grow Hartford 75 Laurel St. Hartford, CT 06106
August 18 – Sweet Acre Farm, Hampton, CT
Charlotte Ross and Jonathan Janeway started Sweet Acre Farm, a partnership business, on 1 acre in Mansfield in 2011.  For their third season they moved to a 2 acre farm in Hampton where they have received organic certification and expanded both their vegetable and livestock operations.  For the 2013 season they will be growing diversified vegetables for 3 farmers markets.  They also have a small market-based CSA component and sell wholesale to restaurants when possible.  The extra acreage will afford them the opportunity to grow more storage crops in the hopes that they can continue selling into the winter.  Additionally they are raising pigs, laying hens, meat birds, and two goats that will eventually allow them to dabble in dairy/cheese-making.  They own only a BCS walk-behind tractor so much of their farming is done by hand.
The farm tour at will include an update on their experience with organic certification (pros and cons), BCS tractor work and implements, discussion on the use of proteknet row cover for brassicas, and reflections on use of cover cropping in an intensive farm operation.
Sweet Acre Farm, 130 Station Road, Hampton CT 06247
September 15 – New Mercies Farm, Lyme, CT
New Mercies Farm is a 5 acre organic farm nestled in the quiet countryside of the Connecticut River Valley in Lyme, CT just 13 minutes from exit 70 off I95.  They grow a diverse array of heirloom fruits, vegetables and heritage chickens on the tenants of holistic stewardship and community building.  In their first year of production, they offer produce through a CSA, farmers’ markets, and specialty grocers. The farm was established in March 2012 as an LLC and is managed by Mike Melillo.

Mike is fourth generation farmer who grew up gardening with his grandfather and great uncles.  In 2000 he began a personal journey into self-resiliency taking many apprenticeships on organic farms in Connecticut and California which culminated into bringing back his family farm under the name Nature’s Mirror.  His enthusiasm for agriculture is fueled by the sharing of knowledge with others.

The farm tour will focus on good record keeping. It would be helpful if farmers would bring their templates/spread sheets and anecdotes on how they keep their farm records and what they keep records of.  Mike will also discuss management of small fruit such as brambles and vines.

New Mercies Farm 256 Beaver Brook Rd Lyme, CT 06371
October – Favorite Plant Variety Halloween Party, location and date TBD 
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