A farm that has been feeding the community for years, but now with a new name and a new face to lead the way in organic farming.
There is a long history of stewarding and caring for the land over at Sterling Organic Farm. Wayne's Organic Garden started operation in that land back in 1989, and eventually become the longest running certified organic farm in the state by 2018. Wayne had been a part of the spark that inspired the organic movement in CT. He mentored plenty of young farmers, was involved in the founding of organic organizations, most importantly lived what he preached. However, Wayne was getting ready for some rest: he wanted to retire, and began a year long search for someone that would keep his organic farm running.
Zoe was that person. Steeped in gardening and nature from her childhood, she always felt the pull to working with the earth. Though she farmed in college, she found herself teaching as a career. It was wonderful, but she discovered that it was not what brought her the most joy. So, she bought Wayne’s old farm- the newly christened Sterling Organic Farm, that would carry on the history and care of the land that he had established before her.
Sterling Organic is part of a new generation of CT farmers bringing organic into customer’s lives. It’s not just about organic vegetables, but organic flowers that contribute to people’s joy. In this safe environment, she feels comfortable inviting folks during summer months to pick their own sunflowers, having kids wander around fields during educational tours or classes. The organic veggies and flowers she continues to grow on the property lend their richness to her customer's bodies, but also they do not harm visitors with potential chemicals. Her diverse
flowers and crops provide pollinators and beneficial bugs refuge and food along their journeys. And the bouquets she puts together for the farm stand, or events, provide a little joy for the soul.
She finds as she works that she is doing so much more than feeding people- albeit an important task. With her goal of having all the systems on the farm work to have a positive impact on the environment, her work is about feeding the earth that takes care of her and the community. 2020 was a hard year to fully launch her farm, but Zoe stands in her fields in the height of the season and surveys the life before her. In just the little time she has been on the property, fields have been reclaimed that were sitting fallow. The crops and soil created something new and beautiful and keeps her joy intact.
And Sterling Organic Farm will continue to grow. Through the Veggie and Flower CSA shares she offers, the expanded pick your own sunflowers, the seedlings she sells in the spring, and the growth of her little family as she welcomes her first baby in these next couple months. Zoe is here, continuing to grow and nurture this historic land, and preserving the beauty that the land offers.