Willow Valley Farm, Willington Photo by Joseph Abad
Varga Family Farm, Mansfield Photo by Joseph Abad
What is #heartCTgrown?
Coming out of the UConn CAHNR Extension , #heartCTgrown is an initiative to promote farms, Farmer's Markets, CSA's, and pick-your-own operations throughout the state of Connecticut. We believe that local food is an important venue for making meaningful connections to each other and to building strong, resilient, healthy communities that are ready to tackle challenges together. We hope to share the stories of these connections, and that it will encourage you to tell your stories too.
Want #heartctgrown in your inbox? Sign up for our seasonal newsletter that explores some of the great agricultural traditions, and new practices, that make CT grown products and people worth getting to know and sharing with your community.
In case you were not aware, this past week was #NationalMilkDay. You know what comes from milk? Cheese. And you know what state has 2 top cheesemakers from Food and Wine's list this year? Connecticut. For this #WeekendRead, check out the link in our profile to read the article by CT Insider giving you the scoop on Arethusa and Cato Corner!
Sooooooo. We think this is pretty cool- Local processing means less time for meat to get from farms to your table and fresher meat is better meat. Congrats Stone Gardens Farm !
RePosted from @stonegardensfarmct We are very excited to announce that we are now able to process meats under USDA inspection. Tommy has been working with the USDA since July 2021. He recently had his final inspection on January 4th and has started cutting meat under USDA inspection!
Stone Gardens Farm meat is USDA Approved. You will notice that some of our meats we have for sale in our stand have a new label. This label has our USDA establishment number on it and means that the products cut and wrapped that day were done under USDA inspection. The only difference between this new label and our regular label is that an inspector from USDA was here that day overseeing the whole process and they are exactly what you have been getting all along from our farm. What this also means is that these products can be sold anywhere; local grocery stores, small markets, out of state, anywhere that would like to sell our meat products. This label allows us to sell our products in locations that we couldn’t before. It also allows us to process whole carcasses for other farmers to sell at their farm stands. Stone Gardens Farm has become the first farm in CT with a USDA approved cutting room. It’s nice to see the next generation bringing new ideas to “grow the farm”.
#ct.grown #onfarmbutchery #farmraisedmeats #heartCTgrown...
Winter crops. How about this radicchio that you don't see on any store's shelves. It's Tardivo di Treviso. This batch was harvested by @russosroots back in December, but oh what fun. Harvesting after it's been kissed with frost and then forcing it to grow a little bit more in a dark space to give it a sweeter flavor then other radicchio. We love it when our farmers have fun with varieties.
Hey now. Have you started thinking about next growing season and which CSA you're going to sign up for? @freshnewlondon certainly has! But their CSA has a special twist, they work with partners to grow, harvest and then GIVE AWAY their CSAs to families that may not have access to the quality fresh veggies and fruits that their income couldn't afford to buy.
Urban Farm ☑
Growing and Giving Awesome Food☑
New Year New Farms!
Over in Hartland, things are getting herby with the new farm Hart Herbs! Read a little introduction to Susan, Alex and the exciting plans they have-
We are a mother and daughter team who are in the process of starting a new herb farm in Hartland, CT. We have always enjoyed growing herbs together, using them in the kitchen and sharing them with friends and neighbors. However, it was only during Covid that we started to think about turning this into a full-time business.
We had the time to experiment and research so we learned to make soap using our own harvest and spent a lot of time researching and discussing the possibilities. What we established was that, for us, the best fit would be to grow herbs for essential oil production because essential oil was the most expensive ingredient in our soaps as well as a stand-alone product.
Our next step was a business course for new farmers during which we had to prepare a business plan. That exercise enabled us to find out that we actually could do this and, eventually, make a living. It also resulted in us having a valuable list of experts who we could call for advice. It became clear that the herbs we plan to grow will not produce sufficient harvest for essential oil production until the plants are at least 3 years old. For this reason we need to be a little creative about bringing in some income during that time.
We plan to sell our range of soaps, bug sprays etc. made with our own herbs, bunches of fresh herbs, young herb plants, and some bedding plants all at Farmers Market and the soaps etc. online year round. (Hence we’re about to embark on a website & blog.)
We purchased the property in October and had visible patches of floor in the sea of boxes by Thanksgiving. While we were initially unhappy to have spent so long on the property search that we missed an entire growing season it has become apparent that the fall/winter is a good time for planning, ordering and generally settling into the home and property. We have plans so watch this space!
What our farmer's tables look like right now 😁 The hard work never stops!
Reposted from @eastmeadoworchard
January days are for our planning. Varieties get chosen, seed sources compared, and orders get placed. It is a tricky dance as we decide how much to grow for seedling sales and what will fill our gardens, along with considering greenhouse capacity and availability...while the snow covers the farm in white, we are immersed in the beauty of summer gardens as we dream about what's to come.
#Weekendread you may have been looking at housing prices in CT over this past year and seen all the craziness of sky rocketing prices. Imagine if you were a farmer looking for land to establish your business on...this weekend read talk a little bit about how hard it is for beginning farmers and farmers of color to afford the soaring prices of farmland.
Read a bit of the article by Civil Eats below, or read the entire article at the link in our profile.
"The rising farmland prices over the course of the past decades, and the current escalation of this trend, is just one of the barriers to land access faced by farmers of color as well as lower-income farmers without family land. For one, a lot of farmland is inherited or gifted, passed between mainly white landowners, without being placed on the market. As that land grows in value over time, it contributes to the growing racial wealth gap as the barriers for purchasing farmland grow steeper...
s a result, farmers on the margins continue to rely on rented farmland, which often prevents them from making investments or planning very far into the future. Land owners, on the other hand, often welcome farmers as renters because maintaining the land in agricultural use gives them a tax break in every state. Ensuring that someone is actively farming the land can also be an obligation when land is protected by an agricultural conservation easement, which comes with a tax reduction and has become more common in rural areas in recent years.
Another consequence is that more young and marginalized farmers could be pushed out of the farming business entirely. In a 2017 report, the National Young Farmers Coalition found that securing access to farmland was the most significant challenge facing young farmers (those under 40), based on a survey of 3,517 aspiring, current, and former farmers. The respondents also cited this as the most common reason for both leaving and not beginning farming..."...