Over in the back roads of Willington live a sleepy farm with a beautiful view, tons of animals, and a welcoming heart.
As Joe steps into the paddock, the Maremma Sheepdogs that guard their animals instantly circle around vying for his attention and behind the ear scratches. Soon after, Carmen walks in and they do the same, quickly joined by a cow who insists on licking her free hand while she goes through the list of animals they keep: goats, two varieties of sheep, chickens,
guinea hens, the three dogs, a cat, and even a miniature pig. A true collection of barn yard animals and love.
The forty acres they tend, with the myriad of creatures who explore the land, have not always been part of Joe and Carmen's life however. Growing up in Maine, both of them were extremely connected to the outdoors: Carmen spending time with horses and Joe volunteering to keep the Appalachian trails near his home in working condition. When the professional world and other obligations started to take time away from those interests they found themselves busier and less connected with nature, animals, and their food. They wanted a change.
So in 2015, Joe, Carmen, and their son took the leap to buy a farm in Willington, CT. 40 acres of fields, forest and a traditional New England barn to look over the land. They immediately loved it and set about looking for ways to share their love of the land and farm with others. First came the animals, small fruits, and veggies with products they could share with the community, then the airbnb where folks could stay in the barn and participate in farm chores, a small barn converted into a wedding venue, and finally a treehouse where the animals wander underneath as guest sip their morning coffee on the porch.
"We want people to know what it means to farm, to see a real working farm"
These are all smart moves when it comes to a small farm diversifying their business and creating multiple sources of income, but you can tell as you wander around the property, with Joe and Carmen the primary motivation is a joy in sharing what they have. "We want people to know what it means to farm, to see a real working farm" is something that Carmen emphasizes, and they have created multiple intimate ways for folks to do just that, which they couldn't experience on a larger agro-tourism venue.
Here, they remember your name, they invite you into their process of caring for what they grow, and encourage you to love the land and all it provides as much as they do. "Bluebird Farm in Willington, CT sending some love ," that's how Carmen puts it on their social media- and you know it's true because you see life thriving in the animals and land her and Joe are entrusted with.