Friends of Holcomb Farm

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Photo by Lynette Simpson.

The team rests with the rock picking work done. L to R: Jim Lofink, Mark Fiorentino, Eric Lukingbeal, Peggy Lareau, and Jack Lareau. Volunteers not shown are Dave Desiderato, Valorie Hollister and Lynette Simpson.

Celebrating The Harvest—Harvest Dinner is Nov. 9

For our farmer, Joe O’Grady, and for our many other talented farming friends in Granby, this fall has delivered a great harvest. We can’t wait to share a taste of it with all who have signed up for the annual Harvest Dinner and Silent Auction for the benefit of Fresh Access. The dinner is Saturday, Nov. 9, at the new Metro Bis, located in the Ensign House, a beautiful old mansion at 690 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. There may be a few tickets left at

In addition to amazing food, you can get a jump on your holiday shopping with all sorts of contributions from friends, neighbors and businesses. Want a special piece of local art from Laura Eden? A weekend at the Lost Acres Vineyard B & B—maybe for visiting relatives to stay? A winter weekend in Vermont? The list is long, and the cause is perfect: Fresh Access is the Friends’ way of raising funds to provide fresh, chemical-free Holcomb Farm produce to Granby’s Senior Center, Waste Not Want Not community dinners, local families struggling financially or facing a health crisis, and several regional organizations serving people in need. We can provide this service only if our friends and neighbors support our cause. We hope you’ll join us for a gourmet meal in a gorgeous setting. Buy your tickets today.

Stewarding the Land

Whether you simply enjoy the beauty of Holcomb Farm as you drive by, or park the car and take a stroll on the mowed paths or hiking trails, remember the members of the Friends of Holcomb Farm, whose support makes our work possible (more on this later), and in particular the volunteer stewardship crew. The crew has been busy with several projects that enhance the land: fixing trails, planting trees, installing interpretive signs, picking rocks (yes—rock picking is a traditional New England sport), and meadow resurrection.

Got Rocks? Pictured with the tractor bucket is Jack Lareau. Not pictured is the driver, Jim Lofink. The field was later seeded with a pasture grass mix.

Executing a generous donation from an anonymous donor to rehabilitate the invasive-choked Southeast Field, a team of Friends of Holcomb Farm volunteers picked an estimated 12,000 pounds of rocks from the recently plowed, limed and harrowed southeast field, along Simsbury Road.

These three elm trees were planted a year ago. They are the Princeton cultivars of the American Elm, Ulmus americana. The same cultivar is planted at the White House. It is resistant to Dutch elm disease.

A team of volunteers also planted 12 new trees, a non-trivial exercise. To offer a glimpse of the work, here is an extract from the instructions sent to the volunteer crew: “Here is the plan for tree planting at Holcomb Farm…. [We] will bring the twelve bare root trees…. These trees are all 8-9 feet tall, 1- or 1.5-inch caliper. We will drop the trees off under a big tarp under the big white oak tree up on the hill…. It’s important to keep the roots from being cooked in the sun. It will kill the tree. The planting sites are to the left (North) of the gravel road as you walk up the hill. We will begin planting, watering the trees in to eliminate all air pockets, staking, and applying the buck rub guards (hardware cloth like last year) at 8:30 a.m., I will bring the hardware cloth, snips, and tape….The holes were all pre-dug and mulched to suppress vegetation a couple months ago. A pile of mulch will be beside each hole. The holes are 42 inches wide by 8-10 inches deep. The single most important thing for these trees is to avoid planting them too deep. The root flare should be clearly visible above ground. Mulch should not touch the trunk, but stay an inch or so away. No volcano mulching allowed! We have 36 four-foot wood stakes, which we will leave with the tarp. [We] have rubber mallets to pound the stakes in. I will have suitable rope available for staking. It should be tied very loosely so the tree is not strangled as the trunk grows. We should plan to leave ten gallons of water in buckets with lids, or in some other kind of containers, beside each tree hole so that the planting can move along quickly.” That’s just a TASTE or the work that goes into this labor of love. Huge thanks to all the volunteers!

Supporting The Friends

The Friends of Holcomb Farm want you as a member and supporter, and will be reaching out through mail, email and social media over the next month with our Annual Appeal. We are a nonprofit membership organization; an individual or family becomes a member through an annual contribution of $25 or more. What does “membership” mean? It means you are part of one of the community service organizations that make Granby a great place to live. For the Friends, that means working closely with the town, which owns the property, to protect, preserve, promote, and utilize this authentic New England farm. As these monthly articles try to demonstrate, our nonprofit farming operation grows fresh, chemical-free food for sale through the CSA, the farm store, and select restaurants. Any extra income, together with donations and grants, is used to make this same food available to people in need through Fresh Access. Our stewardship work builds and maintains miles of walking and hiking trails open to the public, works to keep beautiful meadows open for wildlife, and has begun to build a Tree Trail for Granby-ites to enjoy for years to come. You can join (through donation) anytime, at Just look for the “Donate” button.

Follow Us

Want to stay abreast of happenings at Holcomb Farm? Follow us on social media, learn about upcoming events on our Facebook page, keep up with what’s in season at the CSA and Farm Store on @holcombfarmcsa (Instagram) and learn about the plants and trees on the trails at the Farm on @friendsofholcombfarm (Instagram)

Volunteers Needed

The Friends of Holcomb Farm is a volunteer organization, and it is always looking for more people interested in trail maintenance work or getting involved with special projects around the farm. The organization is especially interested in someone with farm equipment mechanical skills.

It is also open to tax-deductible contributions of quality farming equipment. If you have something to share—time or treasure—please contact Thanks!