Many of the farms in our region are not new businesses that pop up overnight. They are the slow work and creation of individuals who have a passion for the land, growing things, and caring for animals.
This is the same story of another one of our farms- West View Farm in Ashford and the owners Rebecca and Chris who are ever so slowly growing their farm to be a place where they can feed their passions and the community.
On busy route 89, if you slow down a little before you reach the intersection holding the old church, you'll see a little farm stand set up on the side of the road. This fall it's peppered with bright mums on pallet-made risers and a variety of pumpkins and gourds all lovingly raised on the property. But in the warmer months, the small holding overflows with tomatoes, fresh cut flower arrangements, homemade soap, and other wonderful veggie assortments. Their prize product, however, are special items you'll have to reach out to them directly about- delicious pasture raised beef and pork.
And when you reach out, you may find out more about this farm couple. You might discover that Chris works with Manchester Fire EMS and that he can find himself coming back from 36 hour shifts to tend to farm chores and projects that are never ending on the property. Or you might talk to Rebecca while she's arranging bouquets after she's come home from teaching at a local Vocational Agriculture school. Or perhaps you'll hear little Harper in the background, learning her first words or trying to communicate her love for their old Ford tractor.
This growing little farm populated with roaming chickens, cows you can see from the back window, and pigs exploring the property's forest was originally just a house with goats grazing around the perimeter. Chris had raised goats back in his 4-H days so it made sense that the journey would begin there. When he bought the house and 18 acres, before he met Rebecca, those were the beginnings of his farm. But then Rebecca came into his life and the "what if we..." conversations started between them as their combined love for each other, and agriculture, grew. So then pigs came, and cows, a garden with veggies, a farm stand, rows of lisianthus, a field of pumpkins and plans to expand even more. Though the small steps had begun in 2011, over ten years later they have steadily invested in the land, and the lives around them, including little Harper that they brought into the family over a year ago.
And as Harper grows she'll get to see even more growth on this little farm. Her dad will build and repair structures to provide places for piglets to be born on the farm. Her mom will show her how to set up the trellising so the tomatoes can support the heavy, juicy fruit they set in the summer months. She'll watch the growth of calves born on their property slowly change from bucking frolicking youngster to gentle grazing heifers. As she grows and changes, the farm will grow and change too.
But Chris and Rebecca have already done so much of the journey before little Harper came along. The middle of the night checks, the long hours getting plants in before they outgrow their seedling containers, the rushed checks to make sure everyone is safe before a New England storm. These are what our small CT farms are: the results of countless hours of labor slowly building something that can last and give something good to the community. West View Farm is the picture of this as they lean into their next 10 years and all the growth that comes with it.