Friends of Holcomb Farm

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Members of The Bog Crew, from left: Jim Szipszky, Jack Lareau, Dave Tolli, Jim Lofink. Missing from photo, David Desiderato. Photo by Eric Lukingbeal.

Enjoy a hike on new bog bridges

Volunteers have built more than 200 feet of bog bridge on the east side trails so far. Photo by Eric Lukingbeal

With the footbridge over the Salmon Brook washed out by Hurricane Ida, the Holcomb Farm trails to the east of Simsbury Road are suddenly getting much more traffic. The good news is that there is so much to see up there: the Holcomb Tree Trail, the new interpretive signs and the gorgeous views. But there is also a muddy reminder of the 40 inches of rain we have had since July 2021. Who you gonna call? The Bog Walk Crew! Head up there for a walk today and you will encounter more than 200 feet—with another 100 feet in the works—of handmade “bog bridges,” allowing people to pass through wet areas, while still leaving room for our four-legged friends to tread through the wet stuff. In case you aren’t familiar with bog bridges, here is a good explanation:

“Any hiker who has spent time in one of New England’s many conservation lands has encountered the humble bog bridge. Also known as an Alaskan boardwalk, puncheon or split log bridge, the deceptively simple structure keeps our feet dry and protects soft soils and wetlands. The bridges open up a portal into some of New England’s unique wetlands and give visitors the chance to see rare plants such as predatory pitcher plants, enormous cinnamon ferns and the spectacular blooms of giant rhododendrons.

Bog bridge anatomy consists of two base logs, or sills and large boards or half-logs called stringers. The stringers rest on top of the sills and are held together by spikes or long screws. Bog bridges can pass over short muddy spots or link together to extend deep into wild marshes.” (source:

The Bog Walk Crew includes Jack Lareau, Jim Szipszky, Dave Tolli, Jim Lofink, Dave Desiderato and Eric Lukingbeal. Think of them fondly as you tread the dry bog walks.

New kiosk installed

To ensure you don’t get lost on the Holcomb Tree Trail, an information kiosk, complete with a map, is finally installed—and it is as beautiful as it is informative. Find it past the gate at the junction of Simsbury Road and Day Street South, some 100 yards up the dirt road. Thanks again to the local Lions Club for its financial contribution.

The new informational kiosk provides a map of the mowed paths and woodland trails that make up the Tree Trail. Photo by Eric Lukingbeal

Other trail improvements

On Nov. 6, this crew planted 500 daffodils on the Holcomb Tree Trail. Photo by Eric Lukingbeal

Taking advantage of the lovely November weather, volunteers, including some of those who built the bog bridges, planted 500 daffodil bulbs in 2.5 hours. And the Tree Trail continues to evolve. Thanks to Shawn Bosco of Bosco’s Garden Center for the donation of the Kousa dogwood and a variegated sweet gum, hardy volunteers got them safely into the ground before the first frost. Stewarding this property for the benefit of our community is a labor of love for these folks, so join us in thanking them. Better yet, join them! People interested in volunteering to help with trail and tree management should contact

Farm veggies available this winter

The Farm has continued to provide sustenance to our Fresh Access partners into the middle of November, with plans to extend the season even further in the year in 2022. And, while we had to cancel winter CSA shares, we have been able to provide substantial winter veggies and fresh greens through weekend openings of the Farm Store. If you missed the November opportunities, stay tuned for drive-by bag pick-ups in December, as well as a Farmer’s Market at Lost Acres Vineyard on Dec. 18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Join us and other local farmers to be sure your holiday table is healthy and local.

Thank you for supporting

Fresh Access

Our ability to extend the season for our Fresh Access partners depends on two things: how much we can grow and how much money we can raise. The Farm Crew did heroic work in 2021. Community support for the special Fresh Access fundraising drive in October, in lieu of the pandemic-cancelled annual Harvest Dinner and Auction, showed that we—and you—aren’t going to let the pandemic get in the way of providing food to people who need it. We hope the Harvest Dinner and Auction will be back next year, but in the meantime, we thank you for your support of neighbors in need, here in Granby and throughout the greater Hartford region.

Year-end thoughts

A newly planted Kousa dogwood shows off its fall plumage on the Holcomb Tree Trail. Photo by Eric Lukingbeal

We finish up another successful year of the Friends of Holcomb Farm stewarding this town treasure as we always do, with our Annual Appeal and huge thanks to the people of Granby. Our administrative expenses are kept very low, under 5 percent of annual revenue, while the food produced for Fresh Access is worth at least 40 percent more than what it costs us to produce. The land is being improved—invasive plants removed, trails built and maintained, new trees planted —all through volunteers. We pay to lease, and support upkeep of the town-owned infrastructure we use—the CSA barn and farmhouse—so taxpayers don’t have to.

“We” are the volunteer board, and more than 700 members of the Friends of Holcomb Farm. If you aren’t a member already, you can and should join. Please help us continue all the good through your contribution to the Annual Fund Drive. A $25 contribution in response to the mail campaign, or online at Holcomb, gives you the gift of engagement and connection with this special place: Granby’s own Holcomb Farm. Thank you.

On a final note of 2021, we bid a fond farewell and huge helping of gratitude to Mark Fiorentino who has served on the Friends of Holcomb Farm board for the past 12 years. Fiorentino has been hugely instrumental in reenergizing the Friends’ Fresh Access program that, if all goes according to plan, will be providing fresh produce and fruit worth close to $90,000 to people in need in 2022. The Friends’ loss is Granby’s gain, as Fiorentino was elected Granby’s First Selectman in November. Thank you, Mark, for your passion for the cause.