The Granby Agricultural Commission is sponsoring a free Open Farm Day on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Open Farm Day is like a pub-crawl except with less beer and more goats—but there is wine! The only thing more fun than visiting one farm is exploring up to a dozen in one day, catching exclusive events at each. Hop from farm to farm to see a Sepe Farm sheep be shorn, how Sweet Pea Farm turns milk into cheese, taste a new Lost Acres Vineyard wine or try your hand at Maple View Farm’s hay bale throwing contest. Farms will open their gates to host demos, tours, tastings, tractor rides and more. This annual tradition is a unique opportunity to discover what goes on behind the scenes at a diverse selection of local farms, all in Granby!
Granby Agricultural Commission
OPEN FARM DAY • Sept. 15 • 10 – 4
Spend a day on Granby’s farms!
Pick up a passport at your first farm and collect a stamp at each farm visit to be entered in a drawing for farm prizes! You are eligible for prizes with just one stamp; those collecting 6 or more stamps could win a $100 gift certificate to use at the Lost Acres Vineyard Thanksgiving Farmers Market.
More information is available at www.granbyAG.org
1. Maple View Farm
192 Salmon Brook Street, Granby
On 50 acres in the center of Granby, Maple View Farm is home to horses, cows, goats, pigs and chickens in addition to the farmers who, for 3 generations, have lived on and farmed the property. Founded in 1950, the farm has been a dairy, provided pony rides and boarded horses, and today grows food for their neighbors and offers horseback riding lessons and weekly summer sessions to kids. The pastured-based operation provides meat, veggies, eggs and other local products to their neighbors through the Farm Store on the property. The Boglis are committed to taking care of their 50 acres of land in the center of town so it can be farmed by their own children and grandchildren for years to come.
On Open Farm Day, Farmer Kate will lead tours where you’ll get to meet all of the animals and walk through the garden to see how everything works together on the farm. There will be a student riding demo and a chance to meet Jellybean the pony. Come at lunchtime to purchase a Maple View burger or dog. The day will culminate with a hay bale throwing contest and an opportunity to help Farmer Kate button up the farm.
Granby 4-H (firstname.lastname@example.org) will be at Maple View Farm on Open Farm Day, where visitors can learn more about the club and the Hartford County 4-H Fair. Come and meet a chicken up-close-and-personal, see the accomplishments of our young people, our community service projects and educational displays. Make a wearable button, a “tie-dye” butterfly or flower or color 4-H themed coloring pages.
Granby 4-H is a volunteer and youth run organization that exposes its members to everything from agriculture to technology and teaches leadership and responsibilities along the way. Bee Keeping • Sewing • Hacks and Crafts • Vex Robotics • Small Engines • Goats • Photography • Pocket Pets. These are just a sampling of our project groups from last year.
2. Lyric Hill Farm
134 Hungary Road, Granby
Lyric Hill Is a small family farm dedicated to sustainable growing practices. They use fresh milk from their herd of Alpine dairy goats and a variety of herbs and wild harvested botanicals (grown and collected on the farm) to make soaps and other eco-friendly, farm-based products. The farm store is open year round.
On Open Farm Day, Lyric Hill will offer farm tours, where visitors can meet the farmer and her goats. Guests will be able to tour the studio and see the soap making process. Lyric Hill will offer demonstrations of how to felt wool, as well as how to make a garlic wreath. The farms store will be open, and visitors are welcome to browse the handcrafted products for sale.
3. Clark Farms at Bushy Hill Orchard
29 Bushy Hill Road, Granby
Clark Farm at Bushy Hill Orchard in Granby is one of three farms run by the Clark family. Bushy Hill is a 75-acre farm/orchard growing: apples, blueberries, peaches, plums, pears, nectarines, and vegetables. The farm is open seasonally, offering Farm to Table cafe, Ice cream and a full bakery (including the famous apple cider donuts), Pick-your-own apples and blueberries. The farm offers a great location for family outings and small events. There are many things to see and do at the farm and farm store: apple cider pressed fresh from the farm, local products, dairy; both goat and cow from the Clarks Griffin Farmstead dairy in East Granby, and flowers from their Goodyear Farm location in Suffield. The Creamery offers local ice cream from Gran-Val Scoop in Granville, Mass. and homemade goat milk gelato (seasonally).
On Open Farm Day you will have the opportunity to pick-your-own apples from their 17 varieties, take a wagon ride, and sample those famous homemade apple cider and donuts!
4. Granby Grange #5
212 North Granby Road (Route 189), Granby
The Grange is a venerable rural community organization and has been helping farms since 1875. On Open Farm Day, the Grange will offer face painting (donations welcome), yard games, as well as its annual chicken BBQ (tickets available for purchase).
5. Sweet Pea Cheese/House of Hayes
151 East Street, North Granby
The dairy cows at House of Hayes have moo-ved into the future with two new state of the art robotic milking units. It has now been over a year since the robots have been installed and have been well accepted by the cows. Come see the cows being milked from the viewing room open to the public. Sweet Pea Cheese at the House of Hayes milks a herd of dairy goats and processes milk, yogurt and cheese.
Open Farm Day activities at the House of Hayes include self-guided tours of the dairy and cheese-making facilities. Visitors can enjoy free bite-sized goat cheese samples. The corn maze will also be open, with an admission fee of $8 for adults; $6 for children aged 5 to 13; free for children under 5. The retail store sells pasteurized whole goat and cow milk, along with yogurt, feta cheese and chèvre (goat cheese prepared according to the French tradition). Open Farm Day t-shirts will also be for sale at Sweet Pea.
6. Wilhelm Farm
329 North Granby Road, North Granby
Wilhelm Farm is a 46.6-acre property that is 75 percent forested. The remaining 25 percent of the land is in hay, pasture, gardens and farm buildings. The owners, Ann Wilhelm and Bill Bentley, are the third generation of the Wilhelm Family to own and steward these resources. Ann and Bill are taking a whole-farm perspective as they plan for the future, placing emphasis on integrating farming systems and layering ecosystem functions. They are managing their land to produce environmental services (wildlife habitat, water and air quality, hydrologic control and carbon sequestration) while sustainably producing food, timber and non-timber forest products. They are investing in several agroforestry practices, including silvopasture, forest farming, and riparian forest buffers. Their long-term vision is to demonstrate the emergence of new paradigms for agricultural and forestry management in New England, with the goal that Wilhelm Farm will be used by outreach professionals and owners of small landholdings as an educational resource.
On Open Farm Day, Wilhelm Farm welcomes visitors to enjoy self-guided tours of their forest and farm, with maps provided for a 1-mile trail. Experts from conservation agencies will be onsite to answer questions and provide information. Farmers Ann and Bill invite guests to attend presentations on their farm projects and encourage visitors to stay for the discussions to follow.
7. Lost Acres Vineyard
80 Lost Acres Road, North Granby
In the 1700’s Lost Acres was a political no-man’s land known as “the Wedge.” In the early 1800’s, the Wedge’s free-spirited, cider distilling, hill farmers populated the area. At Lost Acres Vineyard, owners Kevin Riggott and Michelle Niedermeyer, continue this tradition with grape wine. A former apple orchard, Lost Acres Vineyard reclaimed this land in 2008, and is now home to 5 acres of wine grapes, contributing to the agricultural spirit and the natural beauty of Granby.
On Open Farm Day, the vineyard will have free samples of their Wedge White wine and demonstrations with an old-style wine press. Visitors can tour the wine cellar as well as attend a fermentation workshop where they can learn to ferment veggies and make Kombucha. In addition, visitors can learn to knit their very own hat with Morehouse Farm. (Advance sign up and preorder of materials required. Registration available on granbyag.org) The day will finish with a riding demo by Marcus Rhatigan of Hillbrook Sport Horses
Granby Pony Club (granby.ponyclub.org) will offer pony rides at the vineyard for a small fee, as well as give demonstrations.
Sepe Farm (sepefarm.com) sheep shearing team—Peter and Carolyn Sepe, Erin Sepe Pirro, and Jonathan Pirro—will be at the vineyard to demonstrate fall sheep shearing. Wool spinning demonstrations and a felting craft for kids will be ongoing throughout the day.
8. Lost Acres Orchard
130 Lost Acres Road, North Granby
Since the ‘70s the Wutka family at Lost Acres Orchard has grown peaches, apples, quince and pears. In the fall, you can pick your own apples or buy them already picked. They also sell local winter squash, pumpkins and gourds.
The kitchen at the orchard rightly deserves its reputation for delicious pies and other baked goods and soups. The retail bakery stays open all year round, with longer hours during the fall fruit season. Enjoy some hot apple crisp on the front porch (with ice cream from the Gran-Val Scoop), or select something to take home – soup, quiche, pie, cookies, jams, jellies and more.
On Open Farm Day, enjoy complimentary wagon rides through the orchard and on-going talks about the apple and peach harvest. The bakery will be open all day (9am – 5pm). Fruits will be available for purchase as well as lunch– including a quick grab-n-go picnic option under the tent or on the lawn before moving on to the next farm!
9. Garlic Farm
76 Simsbury Road, West Granby
The Garlic Farm grows pesticide-free vegetables and flowers and sells them to the public every day in the vintage barn on the farm. Equally well known for its tomatoes and its garlic, the farm also grows peppers, eggplant, squash, and other summer veggies, along with onions, leeks and shallots.
On Open Farm Day, visitors can inspect tractors at close range and perch for a moment on one of them for a photo. Farm owner, Gary Cirullo, will lead several tours and offer tips on growing garlic at home. Samples of roasted garlic and peppers will be available.
10. Holcomb Farm CSA
111 Simsbury Road, West Granby
Holcomb Farm is a town owned historic property in West Granby. Today, the property continues as a working farm with fields full of fresh produce and is also a resource available to the public for passive recreation.
Holcomb Farm is committed to preserving the expansive green spaces for which the state is known, and dedicated to offering programs that honor community, agriculture and education. The Holcomb Farm community supported agriculture (CSA) program brings the farming tradition at Holcomb Farm into the 21st century. All crops are grown without chemicals and with a commitment to sustainable agriculture. As part of its non-profit mission, Holcomb Farm CSA’s Fresh Access program provides a portion of its harvest to social service agencies in Hartford and Granby.
At the CSA Barn on Open Farm Day, visitors can learn about farming and tractor implements at the Tools of the Trade Show and Tell. Visitors who come for the cooking demo can watch Julie Wern use CSA produce to prepare a fresh and delicious dish.
11. O’Brien Nursery
40 Wells Road Granby, CT
O’Brien Nursery has grown into New England’s premiere hosta nursery. Its extensive display gardens feature more than 1,600 hosta varieties as well as other shady characters including asarums, pulmonarias, epimediums, and arisaemas. The gardens also include a wide variety of unusual dwarf conifers and more than a hundred varieties of Japanese maples.
On Open Farm Day, nurseryman John O’Brien puts the spotlight on rare peony species and intersectional peonies (cross of tree peonies and herbaceous peonies). Their showy seedpods ought to be at their peak in early September. Also expect hosta division demos, a tour of the landscaped trails with John O’Brien for fans of the hostas and a self-guided plant quiz for fun. Discover the pleasure of plants, many unique and unusual specimens.
12. Angel Horses Inc.
12 Knollwood Ln., West Granby
The mission of Angel Horses Inc. is to provide a permanent retirement sanctuary for horses who have been teachers and healers in the therapeutic world. These special horses receive nurturing, companionship and love for the rest of their days, all thanks to the hard work of volunteers and generous donations. Angel Horses is a place where beautiful, generous animals that could otherwise have a terrible end at auctions or slaughterhouses have a peaceful place to live out their lives. Angel horses is also a place where humans come to experience the magic of connecting with such sensitive beings.
On Open Farm Day, Angel Horses will offer tours of the farm, giving guests the chance to meet the horses, mini donkeys, goats and sheep that call the farm their home. Visitors can experience energy healing firsthand during a horse reiki demonstration with Katrina Schaedel, as well as meet a large animal vet from Salmon Brook Veterinary Hospital. As Angel Horses is a nonprofit and relies on donations, Horses and Hounds will have a table where visitors can choose to purchase the animals gifts of grain, bedding, and other basic necessities if they wish.