How did two young people with no history of farming come to set up a pretty mind-boggling farm on Wells Road? Well, it wasn’t a direct path. Having grown up in Bristol and Rocky Hill, Courtney and Andrew Hurczyn met on a soccer field, went to prom together, and eventually married in 2011 after they finished college. Andrew got a degree in civil engineering at UConn. Courtney got a degree in business and human development at UConn, and then received her law degree at Western New England University.
The couple lived in Wethersfield, where daughter Addison was born. Courtney practiced law and Andrew got plenty of experience in geo-technical and manufacturing fields, as well as running an automotive shop at night. After three years, they felt the need to make some lifestyle changes and were eager to take Andrew’s sister up on an offer to move to Colorado and go in on a hemp farming business. The project didn’t work out, and the couple came back to Connecticut and began their search for some farmland. Within a week, they saw an ad for the farm on Wells Road and here they are.
Farming hemp is an up and coming business, as the popularity of cannabinoids in various health products has really taken off. Only recently has it been legal to do so here in the state; the Hurczyns applied for and received a license in June 2019. They planted 730 seeds in July, transplanted the seedlings outside in August and harvested the flowers in October. This year, the seeds were planted in the greenhouse in June and the seedlings were transplanted outside in July. The three fields of hemp plants are doing very well despite a blistering hot summer and lack of rain, thanks to the couple’s relentless weeding and watering.
The hemp is cured and milled for use in CBD products. Before the hemp flowers are cured and milled, the Department of Agriculture requires that the plants be tested to be sure they have below 0.3 percent delta9THC, which is the psychoactive compound that causes the “high” one gets when using marijuana products. Hemp-derived products are designed to not have the psychoactive effect, therefore must contain less than the 0.3 percent of THC. Andrew uses the UConn Center for Environmental Sciences and Engineering Laboratory to perform the tests.
Once that is completed, the harvest must be done within 15 days, as the concentration of THC increases as the plant grows. The harvested plants are hung to dry and cure in the big red barn on the property. The flowers are hand-picked off the branches and sent to a company in Vermont where the oil is extracted to create the crude compound that will be used to formulate products such as a lotion, scented with coconut. Most of these products are sold through the Hurczyn’s website, happyaddison.com, where there is also a very informative blog regarding their entire operation.
Along with growing hemp, the couple wanted to live a more sustainable lifestyle, so they also have an extensive vegetable garden: potatoes, beans, squash, tomatoes, corn, lettuce, carrots, beets, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers, onions and garlic. There is also watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries, and cherry, pear, peach and apple trees. To complete the farm, there is a chicken coop, built by Andrew with re-claimed lumber from the barn. Andrew also had to fashion an extensive run for the birds when it was discovered that they like lettuce, and ate almost the entire crop one day. The chickens are still happy to provide eggs, however.
As you might imagine, there are more fruits and veggies than the Hurczyns can use, so they have set up a serve-yourself farm stand in a little white truck open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays on the corner of Sakrison and Wells. Stop by and enjoy some of the wholesome items produced on this amazing farm—even more amazing because Courtney and Andrew (and Addison) do all the work themselves.
Editor’s note: Addison Farm is also a participant in Granby Ag’s Virtual Farm website. See article here.