Friends of Holcomb Farm

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Photo by Susan Canavan

Clear—if jumbled—evidence of folks out enjoying perfect conditions on the east fields at Holcomb farm.

Introducing Trail Tenders

The COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for so many, and the Friends of Holcomb Farm sends its heartfelt hope for comfort for all with loss. We also know from the snowshoe and ski trails throughout Holcomb Farm that many have found some consolation in their (re)discovery of all that Granby has to offer in open spaces, woodland trails and scenic views. This is a blessing we expect will endure well beyond the tragedy of the pandemic.

For those who have been enjoying this town-owned, volunteer-stewarded property, and others who might yet explore, this seemed an ideal time to update you on the work that the Friends do to make these trails a tremendous public resource.

While agriculture is the centerpiece of Holcomb Farm, it is only a fraction of the 300+ acres left to the Town of Granby by siblings Tudor and Laura Holcomb. Some 15-20 acres along the west branch of the Salmon Brook are fertile ground for the tons of produce Farmer Joe O’Grady and his crew produce annually.

Most of the land, as is typical of a traditional New England farm, is hilly, rocky and best suited to early-successional habitat for birds and turtles, and new and mature woodland homes for Granby’s bears, bobcats, deer, cayote, fox, rabbits, martins—but we digress. The point is for you to discover it for yourself.

That is where the Friends’ Stewardship Committee and Trail Tender volunteers come into play. Over the years, some 10 miles of hiking trails have been built and maintained, and more recently meadows have been restored and a Tree Trail launched, with markers and educational displays. How do the Friends of Holcomb Farm help maintain the well-used miles of Farm trails? 

Right now, it’s with re-energized volunteers—almost 20 of them—working solo or in pairs, tending to their adopted trails. In past years, the Stewardship Committee would walk the trails when it could, calling in reinforcements when needed. As activity has increased, so has the willingness of people to help: thus, our Trail Tenders. This new designation adds a personal connection for individuals to specific trails and allows us to promptly address obstructions. Of course, both the Stewards and the Trail Tenders will collaborate when needed, and call-in reinforcements after storms, or seasonally when extra hands will lighten the work.

Trail Tenders who have adopted trails on the east and west sides of Simsbury Road include: hiker/horsewoman Lee Shaw of Barndoor Hills, Jillian Juarez from Holcomb Hill and a band of youth and supervisors from the local LDS church, Peggy and Jack Lareau from Reed Hill, a Day Street South contingent including Mike and Deb Gantt, Rob and Cat Kadrle and Walter Ford, Dave Desiderato and Val Raggio of Simsbury Road, and Lee Barba of Higley Road. Also helping the effort: Ellen Thompson from the center of town, Jay and Holly Ely of West Granby Road, and Bill and Lynette Simpson of Reed Hill, along with Stewardship Committee co-chairs Jack Lareau and Eric Lukingbeal. 

If you are not yet familiar with the Farm trails, you can learn more at holcombfarm.org/trails/ and you can find a trail map at holcombfarm.org/trail-map/ 

If you see trail obstructions that need tending, please contact us at 860-844-8616 or send a note to holcombfarm.org/contact/ Your information will be routed to stewardship co-chairs Jack Lareau and Eric Lukingbeal or steward Peggy Lareau. Please enjoy the trails, and please join us in thanking the volunteers.

It may look like Sasquatch has visited the trails at Holcomb Farm, but really these tracks were left by Evelyn Danke and her dog, Maisy, enjoying the open spaces. Photo by Susan Canavan

CSA and Farm Store News

Meanwhile, back on the farm, Farmer Joe has ordered his seeds, has some new equipment on order, and is busy preparing for an even bigger and better season.

The sold-out winter CSA closed out with its final pick-up on Feb. 10–13. The summer CSA will sell out again this year, so if you want in, get your share at Join Our CSA – Holcomb Farm.

You do not have to wait until June to get Holcomb Farm produce, though: here’s the upcoming Farm Calendar:

March 10–13: Veggie sale at the CSA Barn/Farm Store. Drive thru pick up of root crops, greens and more.  

April 1, 4 to 7 p.m.: Spring Farmers Market at Lost Acres Vineyard

May 6–8: Plant Sale at the CSA Barn/Farm Store 

June 15: CSA begins, Farm Store opens Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 30.

Specific times will be announced via social media and email, so if you are not already getting notices from the Friends and wish to, you can sign up at holcombfarm.org or email cathy@holcombfarm.org 

We hope to bring back a slate of cooking demonstrations and other events at the farm this season, but it is too early to put anything on the calendar. Here’s hoping we can begin gathering regularly again, long before the next big harvest season.

There’s more than a foot of snow outside, but in here, the Holcomb Farm CSA crew continues to grow beautiful, delicious greens for lucky Winter Shareholders. Photo by Georgia McDougall