Granby Land Trust and Holcomb Farm host bear talk
By Trish Percival
Due to the overwhelming response, the location has been changed - it will now be held in the Granby Senior Center. Thanks, Jill Ford (Administrator at Holcomb Farm.)
As the black bear population continues to rebound in Connecticut, it is important that people better understand these magnificent creatures. To help Granby residents of all ages learn more about bears, the Granby Land Trust and Holcomb Farm will co-host a family-friendly bear talk on Wednesday, April 22, at 7 p.m. at the Holcomb Farm Workshop.
Led by Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) bear biologist and Granby resident Jason Hawley, the talk will focus on the natural history of bears in Connecticut, bear biology, current research being conducted by the DEEP, research techniques, bear management in the state, and the dos and don’ts of living in bear country.
There will be hands-on activities for children. Hawley will bring bear pelts, skulls, and collars for everyone to handle. Weather permitting, Hawley plans to demonstrate the usage of a culvert bear trap as well as bear tracking using telemetry.
Hawley grew up in Hartland and received his Bachelor of Science degree from UMass Amherst in Wildlife Conservation and a Master of Science degree from Central Michigan University in Conservation Biology. His graduate work involved researching management options for wolves in the Midwest. He then worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the Mexican Gray Wolf reintroduction project in Arizona and New Mexico. He also worked on the Island Fox recovery project on San Clemente Island off the coast of California. Hwley has been a wildlife biologist on the Black Bear Program for the CT DEEP Wildlife Division for about 10 years. His work involves researching and managing black bears in the state. Jason lives in Granby with his wife and three children.
If you would like to attend the bear talk on April 22, please register with Dave Emery at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Granby resident takes care of a tree for 54 years
By John R. Neib
For 54 years, Granby resident Dale Usko has nurtured a grapefruit tree, and that’s longer than she’s known her husband, James. “I’ve known my husband for 44 years,” she said, “the tree’s part of the package that came with me that he had to accept.”
When Usko was 12 years old, she planted a seed from the grapefruit she had for breakfast one morning, because she and fellow students were growing trees in science class. “My father also inspired me a little bit, he did a lot of gardening when I was younger,” said Usko. She was also a member of the 4-H Club in Bristol.
The tree has thrived wherever Usko has lived in Connecticut, and it currently resides happily on Dara Lane in North Granby. As a child, she sometimes neglected the tree. She would forget to water it, and it would dry out from being left in the hot sun for long periods of time. Even after an infestation of mealy bugs treated with pesticides, the tree flourished. Usko uses alcohol and water to spray the plant and houseplant fertilizer to keep it healthy. It is fed once a month, and receives two cups of water every two to three days. “It likes to be dry,” Usko said. Last year, tropical plant fertilizer was added to its care to help it survive for years to come.
Humidity, moisture and rain are good for the tree when it is outside. However, it is difficult for the tree to transition between inside and outside with the seasons. Outside temperatures must be over 40 degrees, and it must be placed in spots where it isn’t overly sunny during spring and summer. The tree stays inside during the autumn and winter months. In the winter, the tree doesn’t get as much direct sunlight. “I have this beautiful sunny exposure in my house with patio doors and skylight to provide the light that it needs especially in the winter months,” Usko said. Since the tree is in a small pot, it can be placed in front of a window when it is inside. “It really needs to be in Florida, where it would be happier,” Usko said.
The tree began producing fruit seven years ago, and this year was the first year that a grapefruit grew to a substantial size, about the size of an orange. When the grapefruits fall off the tree, they are mature. Currently, there are five mature grapefruits on the tree, which appear ready to be picked and enjoyed by the Uskos and their grandchildren.
The tree stands six feet tall, weighs about 85 pounds, and is a few inches in diameter around the trunk; small for a grapefruit tree meant to be 20 feet tall. When the tree blossoms, it produces fruit and “the blossoms are very fragrant,” Usko said. “It’s become kind of like a family member,” said Usko of her tree.
Maple View Horse Farm, Salmon Brook Street
February was tough with all the snow and cold (check out the picture) even though things are less spread out here in the winter than in the summer, that's still a lot of snow to trudge through and move. Animals and farmers are always happy to see the calendar turn to March with its promise of longer days, warmer temperatures and seeds sprouting. Even if you still get blasted with some cold, the end is in sight. We'll start teaching beginner horseback riding lessons this month. Send us an email to schedule. We're looking forward to finishing our new barn/garage. It will be a great place to work on equipment during the winter and lots of storage area for tools and equipment. Save the date for April 26, 12–2 p.m. for our annual free Open Barn event. You can take a tour, play a game, make a craft, and meet one of our lesson horses.
Lost Acres Vineyard, Lost Acres Road
Even though we are closed, we are still busy making wine, bottling and getting the calendar ready for 2015. Look forward to a new release of Salmon Brook Rose this spring. The first show for Lost Acres Vineyard Gallery will be the Granby Memorial High School Art Show, check out the Artist Reception on April 3. More Info
There are still spots available for our wine CSA this year, check out our website for more information. And while we are closed, you can always stock up on Lost Acres Vineyard wine from Center Spirit Shoppe.
The snow acts as a big blanket protecting our vines root system from the cold, but temperatures below 12 degrees Fahrenheit might cause some damage to the canes. As we start pruning this spring, we will have to take special care to account for any damage to the vines.
Fiddlehead Farm, Silkey Road
We're ready for summer, and that means we've got ponies for parties, and our hands-on traveling barn yard of two adorable Pygmy goats, two sweet bunnies, and two fluffy hens all for snuggling, brushing and lots of photo opportunities. We travel year-round and make the most memorable birthday parties and events—large and small—educational, fun and so unique! Fiddlehead Farm also home to the most superb Golden Retriever pups that are the ideal family companions.
Sweet Pea Cheese at House of Hayes, East Street
The Sweet Pea Cheese midwives have been very busy this month. Most does have their babies just fine, and we just try to be there and help them dry off the babies. Then we offer the mommas warm water with a half cup of molasses. They really appreciate this extra energy boost.
We have 122 kids on the ground, with a few more due the end of February and beginning of March. All the babies nurse off their mommas and we get the extra to make product. Like us on Facebook to see lots of pictures!
Sepe Farm/Pirro Farm, Broad Hill Road
We're thinking spring and getting ready for our busiest season: shearing and lambing! Shearing starts at the end of March or early April, weather permitting, and the lambs won't be far behind. We also spend many days on the road shearing sheep for other shepherds in Conn., ensuring their sheep get annual haircuts before the weather gets hot. We'll use our wool to make beautiful blankets—have you seen them on www.SepeFarm.com or our Facebook page?
We're also taking orders for lamb. Please get your order in early because special sizes go quickly! And, of course, you can always order your half or whole lamb right from the farm at (203) 470-4084.
East Side Fields
Before snowfall, volunteers made their final assault for 2014, pushing back the overgrowth at the edges of the east side fields and battling invasive growth, such as the dreaded Oriental bittersweet, autumn olive and multi-flora rose.
On your next trip by the Farm, check out the progress in the field diagonally across from the farmhouse. Much of the brush along the decrepit fencing paralleling Simsbury Road has been removed, swaths of brush at the field edges has been cut out, and interior sections bush-hogged.
It's a daunting task, with an aim to help reclaim the fields and ready them for livestock or other agricultural use. The cattleman who planned to lease the fields from the Town has bowed out, but hopefully there will be another farmer.
Hit the Trails
Hiking, tracking creatures in snow, snowshoeing and cross country skiing are all awaiting you on your own but also watch for special announcements of group activities. Volunteers continue to fix up the blazes for you and help with trail maintenance. Shortly, a revised trail map will be on our website, www.holcombfarm.org.
The large number of hemlocks being destroyed by the woolly adelgid infestation are leaving tall sentinels in the woods, which are shedding extra debris onto the trails and changing our forest landscape and ecosystem. The bears were pleased. Before their winter sleep, they gleefully ripped apart standing dead timber and downed logs to feed on insects.
Community Supported Agriculture Vegetable Farm
After harvesting the last summer-grown produce and putting the fields to sleep, we turned to the Winter CSA—a winter full of storage produce and some fresh greens. We have just finished the last distribution and will now enjoy the remaining home-stored root vegetables.
Meanwhile, Farmer Joe O'Grady is planning next year's crops, his first chance to craft his own summer crop plan here. The 2015 summer share options, including on farm and off-site pickups- may now be found at http://holcombfarm.org/joincsa. Good news: same price as last year—20 weeks @ $28.75 per week, for a season total of $575.
Are you mulling buying a summer share for the first time in 2015? You can get a good sense of "what's what" by perusing Farm Manager Joe O'Grady's archive of entertaining weekly blogs. For a real bonus, read Julie Wern's delightful past Simply Fresh blogs recommending uses and recipes for Joe's vegetables. Holcomb Farm’s blog can be found by visiting http://holcombfarm.org/blog.
The Town of Granby's new building, sited where the deteriorated north barn once stood, is well underway. The Friends' $100,000 contribution from its past capital fund, will defray some of the costs of this community building. This contribution contained no regular membership or CSA share monies.
Fresh Access Accomplishments and Plans
Holcomb Farm’s Fresh Access program prospered in 2014, supplying over 10,000 pounds of fresh, chemical-free vegetables to those who cannot access them readily.
Fresh Access provided substantial pounds of produce to the Granby Senior Center and the Hispanic Health Council in Hartford. These vegetables included lettuce, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, potatoes, cabbage, zucchini, chard, hot peppers and much more.
But that's not all. The program made many contributions to Waste Not Want Not Community Kitchen at Granby's South Congregational Church, which provides a weekly open community meal. And, Fresh Access also made a very large produce donation to an agency which partners with Food Share, an entity that works to alleviate hunger in Greater Hartford. In 2015, we aim to expand this program.
Support for Fresh Access
A lively group came to the table at Holcomb Farm’s annual Harvest Dinner and Silent Auction in November, celebrating the spirit of our community and helping feed hungry families. At his Metro Bis Restaurant, Chef Chris Prosperi prepared a superb, gourmet feast incorporating our farm vegetables.
Thanks to volunteers, donors and bidders, the silent auction yielded substantial proceeds—about $5,000—which will be dedicated entirely to Fresh Access undertakings. Neighbors outbid neighbors and went home with many coveted items, from stays at lodges to local pottery. Further impressive proceeds were derived from dinner ticket sales, given Metro Bis's moderate charge for our feast. Thank you, Metro Bis, for your generous support.
How else can you support Fresh Access now? Donations are always encouraged; simply use the orange "donate" button at www.holcombfarm.org/freshaccess or mail in your contribution. In doing so, you will be part of a community of supporters—the Granby Community Fund, churches, other non-profits and many individual donors.
By Jim Glenney
Believe it or not, it's time to reserve a garden plot. The Granby community gardens are located at Ahrens Park on Hungary Road. The gardens are divided into organic and conventional sections. Water is supplied by a well. The cost is $5 for a 20x20 foot plot and $10 for a 20x40 foot plot.
Last year's gardeners wishing to reserve the same plots need to submit payment by April 20. After that date plots will be given out on a first-come basis. Last year there was a waiting list of new gardeners, so don't delay.
The gardens are usually ready for cool crop planting by the last week in April.
Volunteers will be needed to help lay out and label the plots sometime in April. This usually takes two to three hours depending on the number of volunteers. Pathways give easy access to the plots, provided every gardener makes an effort to keep them clear of overgrowth, weeds and stones.
The use of insecticides and pesticides is discouraged, but not prohibited. It makes sense not to use them as there are many safe alternatives. The use of inexpensive weed block is also discouraged because it tends to deteriorate near the end of the season and, if not carefully removed, spreads into other gardens in the spring. Use wet newspapers, cardboard, leaves, grass clippings or cut up rugs to control weeds.
Cleanup of plots needs to be done by the end of growing season, usually by Nov 1. A sign will be posted stating the exact date. Each gardener is responsible for cleaning their plot by taking away all cages, fences, ropes and strings and cutting down all stalks to near-ground level.
New gardeners interested in reserving plots should email email@example.com or call Jim Glenney at 860-653-6179 or Marge Goslee at 860-653-2516. Make checks payable to Granby Community Gardens and mail them to James Glenney, 33 Glen Road, Granby, CT 06035-2516.
Warm for the Winter
By Shirley Murtha
If you live in a house bordered by woods, you most likely have a mouse problem when fall arrives. The little deer mice and white-footed mice are relentless in finding ways to get into our homes to escape the cold winter temperatures. In November, I intended to clean out the bluebird nesting box in my back yard, but I was too late: a tiny creature had already constructed the extensive nest pictured here. It measures almost eight inches in depth, comprised of mostly mosses, shredded grasses and other plant material.
To build this cozy bivouac is a monumental effort, considering that the nest box is located almost six feet from the ground. Imagine the number of trips up and down the post! The mouse chose a perfect location, however, as the wild garden below it is full of seeds and dried berries, so when the need arises, it isn't a far journey to find food.
Unlike the house mouse (Mus musculus), which is a pest in our homes, the white-footed and deer mice (Peromyscus sp.) are beneficial, feeding on garden pests during the warm weather. Yes, they also have a connection to Lyme disease, but they are just so darn cute, it's hard to not like them and to be sympathetic to their plight, for their lives are quite short. They are preyed upon by many, including hawks, owls and coyotes. In captivity, these little critters can live several years, so it is clear that their high reproduction rate is their answer to being food for so many other creatures. In the wild, they have as many as four litters a year, each containing up to nine pups.
As for my little builder, I can report that it is safe and well, for its tiny footprints appeared around the base of the post after a recent snowfall.
Lost Acres Orchard, Lost Acres Road
Winter has arrived here at Lost Acres Orchard. Things slow down as the weather gets colder. Our new (seasonal) hours are Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 12:30 to 5 p.m. (We are closed Monday through Thursday.) We will make fresh soups, breads, pies, and quiche each week and keep our freezer stocked with potpies, more soups, mac and cheese, cinnamon buns, and other goods. Watch for our Orchard News on Thursdays to let you know what’s cooking. Also check the Lost Acres Orchard Facebook page and click on Orchard News.
Maple View Horse Farm, Salmon Brook Street
Winter has finally come on strong and we've been working hard to make sure all of our animals are safe and sound. Sure, there are fewer chores in the winter but, depending on the weather, it seems to take all day to get things done! We picked up more fresh pork so the freezer is stocked. And we'll have new sausage and bacon by the time you read this. We won't have more beef till early spring (thanks for buying so much of it—we're trying to keep pace with you!) Even with all the cold, we have Summer Session on the brain: registration is open (visit www.mapleviewhorsefarm.com), sign up before Feb. 7 and come to Barn Fun for free!
Sepe Farm, Broad Hill Road
These very cold nights have been great ones to have a Sepe Farm wool blanket. Available in two patterns and six different sizes, there is sure to be one for you. Order from our website, www.SepeFarm.com, and we'll ship it out the next day so you can be warm and toasty too. Bonus: if you want to see how they are made, visit our Facebook page and look at "25 Days of Blankets" from December.
Don't forget, you can order your full or half lamb right from the farm by calling 203-470-4084. You choose the cuts, and we'll deliver right to you. A half lamb fits easily in your over-the-fridge freezer. Be sure to visit our website and Facebook page for delicious recipe and cooking ideas.
Lost Acres Vineyard, Lost Acres Road
Our good friends at Center Spirit Shoppe will be carrying three of your favorite wines for the winter so you can enjoy them all year round. Visit them to pick up Wedge White, Clemon Springs, and Rock Wall Red from now through the end of March. And add April 3 to your calendar—it's our opening day for spring.
House of Hayes/Sweet Pea Cheese, East Street
The kids start arriving in early February, so stop in to meet them! Their arrival also means we'll have fresh goat milk and yogurt ready for you in mid-February. “Like” our Facebook page and we will let you know as soon as we're bottling. Thanks so much to everyone who brought Christmas trees for the goats to eat, they really enjoyed their gift!
O'Brien Nurserymen, Wells Road
Here at the O'Brien Nurserymen we are busy doing inventory and ordering new plants to entice you with once spring arrives. We look forward to seeing many of our friends and customers at the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show, Feb. 19 through 22. We are looking forward to warmer weather and hoping for an early spring!
More than just a quilt By Shirley Murtha
The 26th annual summer Quilt Happening at Lost Acres Orchard on August 2 featured Granby resident Lorraine German of Mad River Antiques, who explained the importance of quilts as a form of not only artistic but also political expression at a time when there were very few avenues available for women to make their views known. In fact, prior to and during the early 1800s, women were considered their husband's property, with the husband having the final say in all aspects of managing the household, including furnishings. Only in needlework were women given their independence, with the expectation that they would keep the family clothed and produce any needed linens and curtains.
In the 1820s, women began to enter their best work in agricultural fairs and later into the century, made quilts that expressed their anti-slavery feelings. Some pieces even allegedly contained pictorial "maps," showing the way to safe havens for escaped slaves. During the Civil War, women made quilts to be used in the hospitals and sent to the U. S. Sanitary Commission that would distribute them wherever needed. Southern women sold quilts to help procure gunboats that protected the ports from Virginia down to the Carolinas.
A local antiques dealer and textile collector, German brought many examples of period quilts to display, along with interesting articles from newspapers relating stories of gifted quilters and the awards and prizes they had won for their work.
As usual, the summer Happening included a delightful al fresco lunch and plenty of quilts, patterns and fabric to peruse. In addition, quilting stations were set up for those who wished to contribute to the making of comforters to be distributed to people of need in this country and abroad. If you would like to participate in the Comforter Project, contact Ginny Wutka at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860-653-6600.
Granby Horse Council hosted Equine Obstacle Play Day
By Joan Davis
On Sunday July 13, 27 riders converged on the horse exercise area in Salmon Brook Park for the first Obstacle Play Day. Taking horses through obstacle courses is an activity which is growing in popularity among equestrians. Leading or riding horses, ponies, donkeys and mules through, over, under and around various objects builds confidence, courage and trust in the rider and the animal.
There were pool noodles to walk through, over and under. Horses stepped on the bridge, pedestal and tarps. The humans dragged pots, balls, tarps, trash bags full of cans, tree branches and poles beside their horses. Some horse and rider pairs enjoyed pushing the giant soccer ball, while others tried “jousting” with bamboo poles and rings. Riders had to weave around the cones while picking up a cup and carrying it to another cone. Many practiced opening and closing the rope gate and turning a 10-foot board around the barrels. Everyone had fun while learning new skills and creating brave horses. Most participants also rode the trail system between the park and McLean Game Refuge.
The Granby Horse Council offers many other activities. It hosts numerous trail rides each year in Connecticut, Massachusetts and at East Beach in Rhode Island. Members also perform demonstrations and appear in parades. You do not have to be a horse owner or even a rider to belong to the council. Non-riders enjoy the social activities, helping with fundraisers and supporting the riders. Club funds are used for maintaining two riding arenas in town, the scholarship and other charitable donations. New members are welcome to join at any time. Non-members are welcome at all meetings, which are held on the third Wednesday of every month. An educational or entertaining program is part of most meetings. See the website www.granbyhorsecouncilct.com or the Granby Horse Council Facebook page for more information.
Erin Pirro of West Granby was named to the Hartford Business Journal’s 2014 40 under 40 list.
As a farm business consultant for Farm Credit East, Erin has been helping farmers and agriculturists, large and small, make their businesses run better since 2001. With a background in agricultural economics, her focus has been on benchmarking and profitability improvement. Good management is about choices, prioritization, and decisions. It's her job to give them the focus they need to prepare and manage with a plan, make informed management decisions with confidence, and achieve the goals they've set for their operation.
Erin leads Farm Credit East's Agricultural Retail Benchmarks program. She works with a group of 50 progressive agriculturists to analyze financial and operational metrics to set industry standards, and use that information to focus her clients' strategic business planning. At home, her family raises and markets Connecticut grown lamb and wool products. Each spring, they provide shearing services for sheep, llamas, and alpacas.
Read more about Erin here: http://bit.ly/ErinPirro
About 60 people met in the Farm’s loft for appetizers and drinks. Created by Julie Wern, the appetizers were as visually enticing as they were tasty arranged on tables decorated with amazing floral pieces designed by Tony Cappelli. Groups of 10 or 12 people proceeded to the homes of five hosts, the Bystrowskis, Emerys, Lareaus, Lofinks and Spevaceks. The group pictured here had convened on the back deck of the Spevacek home to enjoy the view and the setting sun. From l., Carol and Squire Bressor, Helen Wilke, John Spevacek, Paula and Whitey Johnson, Shirley Murtha and Al Wilke. Photo by Linda Spevacek
Lost Acres Vineyard on Lost Acres Road
Summer at Lost Acres Vineyards is a celebration of nature. Bountiful is the perfect descriptor for this time of the year, making it an especially interesting time to visit the vines. In July, the focus in the vineyard is hedging the vines to keep the growth under control. In August, the grape clusters will begin showing signs of veraison, which is the beginning of the ripening of the fruit. Out in the vineyards we are pulling leaves off the vine. This promotes good air circulation through the vines and exposes the developing grapes to the warm sun. We are also dropping fruit to reduce yields and increase concentration in the glass.
This summer we will be hosting special food and wine pairings on Saturdays from 12 to 2 p.m. In July and August, we will feature different local farms, highlighting a recipe showcasing the farm specialty paired with one of our wines. Stop by for a sample of food, wine and take home the recipe, the wine and the farm product to make at home.
Sepe Farm Broad Hill Road
Summer is for grilling! You’ll get all your favorite chops and steaks when you order your whole or half lamb right from the farm. Visit our web site at www.sepefarm.com or call the farm directly at 203-470-4084 to place your order. You can also keep up with farm events at www.facebook.com/sepefarm, including our wool blanket project! After shearing, all of our 2014 wool is being made into blankets that will be available in late fall. It’s an amazing process, be sure to check back every now and then on our facebook page to see how it works!
Sweet Pea Cheese / House of Hayes East Street
All the goats and cows are busy enjoying our pastures! All that green goodness goes straight into their milk and into our products. Farmer Hayes is busy designing the corn maze, and Daniel is busy planting corn and baling hay. We are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. Stop in or visit us in East Granby at the Farmers Market on Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. www.sweetpeacheese.com
Hemlock Knoll, LLC Loomis Street
Hemlock Knoll has been very busy this Spring. Show season started the first weekend of May at Eastern States Exposition with the 4-H'ers showing at The Big East Regional Youth Beef Show. Everyone had a great time and showed very well. The piglets arrived and are growing very quickly. A veal calf came and is enjoying the fresh goat's milk twice a day. 4-H'ers have begun working with their projects for this year's fair: goats, swine and beef. The weekends are full of activity on the farm. We have also had born on the farm a bull calf and a heifer calf. They can sometimes be spotted in the front field! We have plenty of pork and veal for sale, contact Aimee at 860-653-6447 or email@example.com.
Lost Acres Orchard and Farm Store on Lost Acres Road
Summer, oh it is finally here. The apples and peaches are growing nicely on the trees. We are almost finished hand thinning the peaches. Many of you ask, why are you hand thinning the peaches? The answer is that the tree can only nourish a certain amount of fruit. We remove about five peaches for each one that we leave on the tree so that the one can develop into a nice sized piece of fruit. The first peaches should be ready for harvest the last week of July. We do not have pick-your-own for peaches as the trees are quite fragile. We have several varieties of peaches that ripen at different times so we usually have them available until mid-September. Our porch is open for lunch Tuesday thru Saturday from 11:30-2:30. Lighter fare and desserts on Sundays-open 12:30-5. We will be at the East Granby Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. Come and see us along with about 15 other local farmers and businesses. Please check out our daily updates on Lost Acres Facebook or send us an email to receive our weekly Orchard News.
O’Brien Nurserymen-Wells Road
The O'Brien Nurserymen have been enjoying the cool spring! The cool weather has allowed plants to flower for extended periods. The hostas have never looked better.
As we head into summer we will feature sedum and daylilies during our Open Garden Days. Have you ever seen our daylily display that we set up on our tables? They're worth the price of admission, and of course admission is free! Visit our web site for more information and for the calendar of Garden Days: www.obrienhosta.com.
The Garlic Farm Simsbury Road
June has been scape madness at the Garlic farm! Our farm stand opens for the summer on July 5. We’ll have sweet corn, squash, onions and more. We’re looking for a huge tomato and garlic year...see you at the farm! www.garlicfarmct.com
Old Beach Farm
Subscribe now to the 2014 Granby Sampler
by Marianne Curling
Do you need a personal shopper to discover what is in season at local farms? Want to use more locally grown products when preparing meals at home? Don’t have time to go farm to farm for meat, cheese, poultry, vegetables and more? The Granby Sampler, a Granby Agricultural Commission program, gathers together an assortment of locally grown food and farm products and provides for subscribers to pick up at a central location.
Every other Thursday from June 26 to November 6, the best of Granby farm products are available to take home, including meat, eggs, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. An information sheet listing the contents and the farms that produced each item accompanies each box along with a recipe or two and information about ways to use and store produce. There may also be specialty products like breads, honey, jams and flowers in each box.
The sponsor, The Granby Agricultural Commission, and the program support sustainable agriculture in Granby—all of the products will be from here, or as nearby as possible, but can’t be certified as “organic” [complicated process]. The milk is always pasteurized. The meat is hormone free. All produce is picked fresh.
All Granby farms are invited to participate in this program. Farmers are paid for their goods, and may include goods in one or more distribution. The annual cost to subscribers is based on the total value of the box contents, about sixty-five dollars a box with a small administrative fee. Subscribers are asked to pay for their annual subscription up-front based on a box-by-box plan. The contents of each box may vary slightly from the plan due to weather or unforeseen issues, but the Granby Sampler guarantees the total value of a subscription.
For the 2014 season, its fifth year, we are looking for 30 subscribers for Thursday pickup in the late afternoon into the evening. For more information or to become a participating farmer or subscriber, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You will receive the schedule of pick-up dates, the range of products listed and payment options. Pick-up is from a location near the center of Granby.
The aim of the Granby Agricultural Commission is to connect local farms with consumers, provide resources for commercial and hobby farms and to promote businesses that use local produce. With the Granby Sampler, farmers benefit through increased sales and revenue. Subscribers receive locally produced food and goods of value equal to the subscription cost. Participate and help us build and sustain our Granby farm community.
Opening Day of The Granby Farmers' Market is June 24
By Amy Woodman
The Farmington Valley YMCA is committed to building healthy families and strong communities. The Granby Farmers' Market supports that goal by providing fresh wholesome foods grown by local farmers. The Granby Farmers' Market’s opening day is Tuesday, June 24 from 3–6:30 at the Farmington Valley YMCA. The market is open to the public.
Our sponsors this year are New England Urgent Care of Simsbury, Liberty Mutual, and Simsbury Bank. Thank them for this generous support of the market. Vendors will include several favorites from last season: Winlox Farms, Killam and Bassette Farmstead, Beech Tree Ranch, Capa Di Roma, Chet's Italian Ice and Dr. Energy Saver. Each week they will have a different theme with fun activities for the kids as well as live entertainment with Anne DiMichiela, Hannah's Field, Chris Sheehan, Thicker Than Water, and many others. There will be several live cooking demonstrations throughout the season with local chef Mike Webster. Look for his delicious recipes on their website.
The YMCA Teen Leaders From The Ground Up will also be participating in the market, growing and selling fresh produce from their community gardens at the YMCA. Stop by to see their gardens and learn all about their exciting projects.
The Granby Farmer's Market will be open every Tuesday 3-6:30 June 24–September 9 at the Farmington Valley YMCA. For more information visit www.granbyfarmersmarket.com or like it on Facebook. The Granby Farmers' Market Committee is also looking for new members, if you would like to join, please contact Alicia Newton 860-653-5524 x 124 or email@example.com.
If you’ve seen the front page of this month’s Granby Drummer (let alone taken a peek inside), you know that someone is not so happy with our town vineyard. Maybe the entire issue can be solved with a change of attitude,
so I’d like to take a minute to look on the bright side of having a vineyard in our beautiful town.
I don’t live next door to the vineyard, but I do live across the street from Salmon Brook Park. I enjoy the happy sounds not just of summer concerts and weekly ball games as I work in our fields. I love the fact that we can see and hear the fireworks for Celebrate Granby right from our front porch. So I can’t imagine not loving being the neighbor of the vineyard.
We moved from New York City to raise our kids in the town where my husband grew up. With all its benefits (there are so many), culture is not as quick and easy to be found. I love having a place to see art, hear music, admire the beauty of nature. So I
can’t imagine not loving being the neighbor of the vineyard.
The best part of being a farmer in this town is our community. We are all looking to help each other, each believing that together we are stronger than we are individually. It’s why
we started Open Farm Day, why we showcase each other at our own farms, and why we feel we can rely on each other for help and advice. The vineyard is a big part of this community. So I can’t imagine not loving being the neighbor of the vineyard.
Our farm had plans (literally) to become a housing development before my husband and I
decided to move back to Granby. Because of a family commitment to farming on the part of his grandparents, his parents and us, our 50 acres in the center of town is still a farm. We are hoping that the work we are doing now will inspire our own kids to want to take care of the land as a farm in the future. But they need to see it as a successful, viable business (as all farms MUST be) in order to want to take on the work that it is. Diversification is key to the health of any farm. So I can’t imagine not loving being the neighbor of the vineyard.
I’ll admit it. I’m jealous of the vineyard. It’s a place people just love to go (who doesn’t love wine). Ground beef and pork chops just aren’t as sexy as Firehouse Red and Clemons Springs white. They pull people in from near and far and their draw helps not just all of the farms in town, but all of the businesses in town. So I can’t imagine not loving being the neighbor of the vineyard.
We’re losing farmland at an alarming rate – less so in CT, thankfully. How great is it that we have
not only farmers who have been working their land for generations, but new farmers, reclaiming land that surely once was farmed. What a great resource for our town. So I can’t imagine not loving being the neighbor of the vineyard.
As farms in town, we realize that we sometimes try your patience. But we thank you for being so helpful and understanding. Our horse is in your back yard? Thanks for helping us corral them back on to our property. You can smell the cow manure we spread on our fields? That’s the smell of spring in Granby! You are behind us on the tractor? You give us a wave as you pass with a wide berth. You can hear the music from down the street? Sit back, pour a lemonade and enjoy. We’ll repay you by keeping our town rural, pastoral, authentic. Please do come visit us on September
6 – Granby’s Open Farm Day 2014!
--Farmer Kate, Maple View Horse Farm
Maple View Farm Blog 5/2/14
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