Updated: Feb 15
A little farmstand by a family that has a lot to give.
No one told Mark and Angel of Evans Farm in Lebanon that their high school romance would eventually blossom into a family farm with over 70 cows to care for. Not that it would have phased them if someone had. Mark had long been keeping pheasants and other poultry at his home in Glastonbury and the young Angel had always been drawn to animals through her upbringing in East Hartford. But when the high school sweetheart days grew into a marriage, the two of them talked and decided what was important for the new home they were building together- having cows.
Over 30 years later and they still have cows, but have added chickens, about 80 acres of pasture and haying fields, a farm stand, and a family to help them keep up with everything. That last addition is very handy as everyone in the family works other jobs off the farm during the day. Whether it is Angel working at the State Employee's Credit Union, her son, John working at Speilman's Farm, or Mark working on family owned apartments in the area, they all start and end their day doing the same thing- nurturing and caring for the beautiful herd of Fleckvieh Simmental cows.
And to keep up with these long days, there must be a love of what you do- which by Angel's account is so natural that she hasn't even considered stopping. The breed, by nature, is more docile, but cows in general Angel finds to be so loveable. The deep intentional gaze they softly give as you approach, the gentleness and mothering qualities the heifers show during calving season, and the relaxed movement as they move from field to field grazing- taking their time and not rushing to anything, unlike some of their human counterparts. So, the Evans family cares for their herd, moving them back and forth between fields, cutting and drying hay for their winter feed, and then having gratitude for these majestic creatures when their time is at an end.
Most of their meat was sold for years by word of mouth: one neighbor tells another, family members share with their friends, co-workers come looking for local products, etc. But the Evans family thought this process could be improved upon by way of providing a farm stand. A place they could regularly welcome the community (instead of doing driveway deals) and a place where folks could linger- farmer and customer could get to know each other. So even though the stand opened in the midst of Covid, every Saturday a regular stream of folks come through the doors looking for Evans Farm beef, eggs, baked goods, local dairy and on lovely summer days fresh bouquets from the farm. Though this adds another day of work to
their busy lives, it again, feels natural to Angel and her family. Just as they have a desire to care and nurture the animals in their lives, they have just as strong a desire to nurture the people in their community- whoever walks through those farmstand doors.
So there may be one day when Angel and Mark decide to pass on the work to their children fully, but it is not anytime soon. Their love for the animals, the community, and their land is intertwined with who they are. And they can't imagine a day without a morning greeting from those gentle Simmental eyes.