The CT NOFA Organic Farm Tour visits three spectacular farms in the beautiful Housatonic River Valley.
The Annual CT NOFA organic farm tour will visit three farms on or near Route 7 and the Housatonic River in western Connecticut on Sunday June 24, from 10 to 4. These farms are examples of the best of organic and sustainable agriculture in Connecticut.
Tour participants will visit Fort Hill Farm in New Milford, Marble Valley Farm in Kent and Stone Wall Dairy Farm in Cornwall and hear from each farmer about their farm operation.
All three farms are on permanently protected farmland. They are relatively new farm enterprises managed by long time CT NOFA members who have all worked on other farms for years to gain the skills and experience needed.
Paul Bucciaglia operates 20 acre Fort Hill Farm in New Milford on land owned by The Nature Conservancy. This is just the sixth year he has leased this land. His CSA includes nearly 300 members, many of whom pick up at one of 13 drop off sites in Litchfield, Fairfield and New Haven counties. Paul also sells at the Weston Farmers Market and through New Morning Natural Foods in Woodbury. Visit www.forthillfarm.com for more information.
Megan Haney worked at Mad Mares CSA in Bethany, at High Hill Orchard in Meriden and at River Bank Farm in Roxbury over the last decade or so, always looking for an opportunity to have her own farm. She found that on the flood plain between Route 7 and the Housatonic River in Kent on land preserved by the Kent Land Trust.
Chris Hopkins owns and operates Stone Wall Dairy Farm in Cornwall, a grass based dairy producing raw milk from Jersey cows. His land was recently permanently protected for agricultural use when Chris sold an easement on the farm to the Connecticut Farmland Trust. The easement was designed by the Trust to unite several parcels of the farm and the farmstead into one unit, which allows for the development of on-farm processing and other farm related businesses that are important for farm success. Part of the land also has an easement with the Federal Government because it is in the viewshed of the Appalachian Trail.
The work of several long time CT NOFA members is important in bringing these farms into being.
Margaret McCauley, who passed away this winter, was the long time manager of the Nature Conservancy’s Sunny Valley Preserve, a collection of farms, forests and open space on almost 2000 acres of protected land in New Milford and adjoining towns. She was active in searching specifically for an organic farmer to use half of a beautiful, level, 40 acre hay field and then in working with Paul to provide the infrastructure needed for a successful farm including a well and barn. The Preserve will miss her great skill in managing those farms while balancing the complex environmental, economic, personal and other considerations the come into farming today. And Connecticut’s Land Trust community will miss her strong voice for preserving farmland and using it well.
Joan Larned is another long time member and a former certified farmer. She was very active in the Kent Land Trust’s search for a farmer to operate on their farmland. From talking to her over the years, I know it was a quite a struggle to find a farmer for that land and I hear that there are still hurdles that Megan is having to jump as she establishes her farm. The property includes a house and a barn, essential elements for a farm which are sometimes missing from protected land.
Since the Connecticut Farmland Trust’s formation in 2002, I have represented CT NOFA on its board as it built its capacity to protect farmland. So it was a real thrill for me as president of the Trust to be able to purchase the easement on Stone Wall Dairy Farm, the first CT NOFA farm that the Trust has protected. The funds for this purchase came from the community.
It is said that Connecticut loses 20 acres of farmland every day. This tour gives you an opportunity to see what talented and dedicated farmers can be produce on 20 acres. It will give you an understanding of what we are losing.
Admission to the tour includes a local and organic lunch and is by pre-registration only. Participants in the tour will provide their own transportation. Cost for this tour is $30 for NOFA members and $45 for non-members. Join CT NOFA and take the tour for $75, Two member tickets cost $55. Two non-member tickets cost $80.
To attend the tour, send a check with names of participants and contact information to CT NOFA, Box 164, Stevenson, CT 06491. Visit our web site, ctnofa.org or call the office at 203 888-5146 for more information.