Updated: Oct 25, 2021
Though the Long Island Sound coastline has it’s draws, for Dove Hill Farm’s Sylvia, John, and Jenny, the water views and wildlife were not quite enough...
More than 8 years ago this husband, wife and daughter team picked up and moved from bustling Milford to the more farm friendly Moosup- a change that brought them back to the agricultural tradition their family had been involved in.
After looking for a suitable place to transplant into the farming world, Dove Hill Farm found their new home on 7 acres of land, that was rich in agricultural history, right in the Quiet Corner of the state. Since the 1700's the land had been used for farming and raising food for families but had laid fallow for 50 odd years. Just like they were returning to their family work of farming, the land was being called on again to produce food and forage for people and animals alike.
Dove Hill boosts a wide variety of products as they steward the plot they've chosen: vegetables, cut flower, quail, chick, duck and goose eggs, small fruit, turkeys- and that's just the edible bit! They also keep goats, sheep, make jams, jellies, pickles, crocheted items, and use their local lumber to craft wood products.
"The challenges are always there no matter what you do in life- you can be challenged do something you don't want to do or be challenged doing something that you do want to do."
But setting their hands to farming was not just about "growing food." As you talk to them about their organic growing practices, what they choose to grow, how they treat their animals; you understand that it is about establishing a relationship with the land, with the community, with the earth, and all the seeds, critters, and bits of life that find their way passing through their land. As the Moosup River tumbles past their property it is a constant reminder that there is change and constancy all wrapped into one. The water is always there, but it is never quite the same as it passes by. The animals always come to refresh themselves at its banks, but the generations change as time goes on. The land that buffers that water is solid and always hems in the river's path, but grows and develops as the seasons pass, the soil is tilled, and plants are grown. John, Sylvia and Jenny know that how they care for their land and the animals they raise on it today, impacts the soil, the waters, and the wildlife of tomorrow- not to mention the folks that are fortunate enough to share in their crops, eggs, and other products.
Jenny summed it up best when she talks about why she does the work: "It's like being a child on Christmas day and you run downstairs, and all the presents are waiting for you and it's an overwhelming feeling of joy and purpose. It's the joy that you feel that you are helping things grow. You get a sense of accomplishment and pride and purpose as you do everything by hand. The challenges are always there no matter what you do in life- you can be challenged do something you don't want to do or be challenged doing something that you do want to do."
Well by the joy that visitors can feel when they stop by the farm, it seems they have taken on the challenge of doing something they want to do.