As Allyn Brown III sat on the porch of his house, high on a hill overlooking his Christmas tree farm and myriad pick-your-own crops, he had every reason to feel satisfied. \"I\'m very lucky that my chosen work is actually my hobby,\" said Brown.
Torrey Farms Inc. is a family owned farm located in Elba, NY. The family originated in England but moved to the United States in 1626. In 1948 Elbert Torrey purchased the farm in Elba, and in 1954, Charles Torrey, Elbert\'s oldest son, moved to Elba to help out with the family business.
March Farm is a third generation family farm located in Bethlehem,Connecticut surrounded by the beautiful rolling hills of Litchfield County. The farm was purchased in 1915 by Thomas and Rose Marchukaitis. The farm consisted of 114 acres and supported 15 cows and 2 horses.
Carlson Orchards was founded in 1936 by Walter and Eleanor Carlson. The orchard is set on a remote hilltop in Harvard, MA and they believe it is \"about as perfect a place for growing apples as any place on earth.\"
Lyman Orchards is located in Middlefield, CT. It began in 1741 as a \"36 acre farmstead that evolved into a diverse and thriving business, one of the most popular family and recreational destinations in Connecticut and beyond.\"
The Rapasadi family came to the United States in 1920. The family settled in Canastota, NY at a time when the location was the dominant area for onion production.
As the farm grew they worked to find creative ways to keep the kids busy making their newly acquired 50 acres \'pay-back\'. Farming vegetables and fruits was the answer, and it became the family\'s focus.
Izzie (Isador) Albinder - first entered the apple business back in 1932, by buying a pushcart and selling apples in the neighborhood streets of Brooklyn, New York. Since it took great effort to wheel around the heavy pushcart, and since the business was profitable, he soon rented a horse drawn wagon. In his first week with the horse and wagon, he made a profit of $92.00 and soon the wagon became a truck.
Henry Wells began farming in the 1890s in Deerfield, MA. Four generations later, Williams Farm is thriving. Headquartered in the historic section of Deerfield, the farm is hosted by the Wells-Thorn house. Built in 1747, the house is open to visitors and furnished to illustrate the development of the agricultural economy of the Connecticut River Valley over the past few centuries.
Jim and Carole Starvish launched White Eagle Farm in 1976 and got to work building their masterpiece. Now their East Windsor farm hosts corn, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash, winter squash, and a bounty of broadleaf tobacco.
Just a short distance from the University of Massachusetts, Twin Oaks Farm has stood eminent in nearby Hadley since 1918. Edwin Matuszko\'s grandfather owned the farm until 1979, at which time he and his wife fervently took over the establishment. Edwin explains how he and his wife named the farm: \"We have a series of oak trees around the farm and they\'re planted in pairs. I don\'t know why, but there’s two here, two there. My grandfather always wanted the name.\"
After going to school to become a tool and dye maker, Michael Arisco decided instead to make farming his full time occupation. In 1969, Michael started what is known today as T&D Growers. Michael\'s son Joe now runs the Cheshire, CT farm’s operations and concludes, \"I guess (farming) was put in my blood.\" Joe\'s father started with just two greenhouses and grew the business with the help of his family.
No one knows a family farm like the Szawlowskis. In 1910, JR Szawlowski immigrated to the United States from Poland and worked part-time in a local factory and farmed for his family on the side. Now a fourth generation masterpiece in Hatfield, MA, Szawlowski Potato Farm celebrated its 100th anniversary of farming in 2010. 71 year-old Frank and his daughters Shelley, Mel, Diane and 20-some family members help to keep the farm\'s operations in the family.
Like many farming families in the Pioneer Valley, the Smiarowski’s are of Polish descent. Charlie Smiarowski\'s grandfather, Joseph, came from Poland and settled in the Massachusetts area to begin his farming career. In 1959, Charlie\'s father bought farmland in Sunderland, MA, and soon Smiarowski Farm was flourishing.
Earl Reichle has been farming since 1945, at which time he was just 19. Now 84 years old, Earl can remember growing up in the midst of the deep Depression. With the help of his four siblings, Earl and his parents resorted to farming to make their living and soon the farm was flourishing. In 1974 Earl bought his own land in East Windsor, CT and began what is now one of the most unique corn packing operations in America today. Reichle\'s Farm features a 14-foot underground packing facility that is extremely efficient in processing their 330 acres of sweet corn.
John Burney built Meadowbrook Farms from the bottom up. He graduated from Cornell with a degree in Agriculture and initially went to work as a loan officer for the Farm Credit Bureau. During college, John was helping out a retired dairy farmer by managing farm operations and, to return the favor, the 80 year-old lent John some of his farming equipment because he knew of John\'s interest in the business.
The three Markowski brothers, Bob, Ed and John, handle the day-to-day operations in Broad Brook, CT. They grow an ample acreage of cabbage, sweet corn, pumpkins, and tobacco. As Ed puts it, \"I grow whatever.\" Overlooking the farm, a colorfully painted barn stands reminiscent of years past and of good years to come for the brothers and their crops.
The farm was founded around 1920 when brothers Joe and Walter Hutkoski decided to make their living from the land. Fast-forward 74 years to 1994, grandson Scott Hutkoski landed into farming because he was searching for something to fill his down time while working as a part-time policeman.
Spanning seven generations, Lewis Farms began in 1780. Mark Ramsay recalls, \"It goes all the way back to my grandfather\'s great grandfather. The family first came over on the Mayflower.\"
In 1972 Lamothe\'s Sugar House was born in Burlington, CT. Rob Lamothe and his wife Gene made their way into the syrup and honey business-and never looked back.
J.J. Zgrodnik Farm was founded in the 1920s in Hatfield, MA. During the Roaring 20s, New England farms were owned by \"white Yankees\" and worked by Polish immigrants. When the stock market crashed in 1929, the owners sold their leveraged farms at low prices to the true workers and a Polish farming monopoly of the Pioneer Valley began.
Joe Czajkowski recalls his grandfather\'s anguish of working for the boss: \"He didn\"t enjoy working in the factories in Holyoke, so he came up here, married my grandmother, and started farming.\" In 1914 John Czajkowski started a family tradition with the foundation of J. Czajkowski Farm.
The first of six generations of Hortons settled in Glastonbury, CT on the banks of the Connecticut River. With business beginning in historic 1860, the farm began with no more than a red barn and quaint farmhouse, both of which remain in existence today. Along with these antiques, Ken Horton and his family expanded the Horton Farms to include a total of seven barns set on 35 acres of land. Throughout the farm\'s unprecedented 250 years of production the Hortons have grown tomatoes, butternut squash, dairy, and tobacco.
High Hills Orchard was founded in 1946 by Wayne Young\'s father, Charles. Wayne explains that his father grew up in the fruit business and wanted to continue what his father started. Now High Hills has 25 acres in production, producing 14 varieties of apples, peaches, pears and blueberries.
\"I borrowed a tractor from a farmer and that\'s how I started.\" So in 1978, the start of what is now the Harvest Farm of Whately began with owner David Wojcieshowski. He explains, \"I just had a strong desire to be in the farming business. My father didn\'t want me to farm, in fact he strongly objected. He wanted me to be a doctor just like my four brothers.\" Despite his father\'s resistance, David started farming first through the Amherst Food Co-op, raising around three acres of vegetables. In \'78 he jumped into the profession full-time and even took agriculture classes at the University of Massachusetts, in his late 20s, to learn more about the tasks that lay ahead of him.
Founded in 1950, Galenski Farm is nestled in the foothills of Mount Sugarloaf in South Deerfield, MA. \"We\'ve been farming since we could walk and get on a tractor.\" John, 33, and Justin, 30, were taught to farm and were taught well. Their grandfather, Edward Galenski, brought them up working on the farm, honing their skills to someday take over the farm\'s operations.
In the early 1900s Biaze Futtner immigrated from Italy to South Windsor, CT and, thus, five generations of farming began. The great grandfather of current owner Jim Futtner, Biaze \"went for a walk and bought this farm.\"
Clarence Fuller started growing potatoes in the 1950s, but due to an illness, business came to a halt in 1962. 41 years later, Tom Fuller, Clarence\'s son, revamped the family business. In 2003 he started over, raising 5 acres of several varieties of potatoes.
Circa 1790, John Foster\'s great grandfather\'s great grandfather started Foster Farm, a move that made farming a Foster family journey for over 200 years. From apples to dairy, the first generation of Fosters farmed \"a little bit of everything.\" Today in South Windsor, CT, 35 year-old John Foster grows pumpkins, corn and tobacco on a plentiful 150 acres.
Hermenio Cecchi immigrated from Italy in the early 1900s and settled in Feeding Hills, MA to start a new life for himself. Hermenio bought land in 1946 and started what is now an impressive family tradition. Bob Cecchi, 45, recalls, \"When my grandfather first started, he used to sell produce on tables under the large maple trees by the side of the road.\" With their grandfather and father, Bob Sr., to look up to, Bob and his brother Mike grew up on the farm and have been picking produce since they could walk.
In 1930 Steven Dzen immigrated from Poland and landed into farming. In Broad Brook, CT he started with a dairy farm and also grew tobacco and potatoes. Now 80 years later Donald Dzen still carries on the family business-300 acres are home to thousands of blueberries, strawberries, pumpkins and Christmas trees. With a professional background in the farming field, Don received a degree in Agricultural Engineering from SUNY Cobeskill in Cobelskill, NY.
A firefighter by trade, Joe Desteph had a good amount of down time when he wasn\'t on duty. With three days on the job and three days off, Joe was looking to fill his time with something. Consequently, he decided to try out farming. He started with a couple types of vegetables and today still specializes in just two crops, peppers and squash. Interested in up-and-coming, healthy varieties, Joe spends much of his winter in the library researching different crops and determining what he feels is best to grow for customers.
Alec Ciesluk came from Poland with no money in his pockets. His wife made $1 a week as a maid for an American family while Alec was employed by nearby farmers. In 1920, the couple had enough capital to buy 12 acres of land in Deerfield, MA, and there, Ciesluk Farm was born. On the 12 acres, Alec grew tobacco and built a barn for the family\'s two horses. Now Ciesluk Farm boasts 120 acres of sweet corn and several smaller crops of vegetables. Sweet corn is the family\'s main attraction.
After emigrating from Italy, Michael Christoforo couldn\'t speak English and he couldn\'t write-but he could farm. In the early 1900s, Michael started with one acre and with the help of 15 children the farm grew exponentially. Today Christoforo Services is run by Michael\'s son, 78 year-old Charlie Christoforo, and Charlie\'s son, 50 year-old Charlie Jr. An amazing 500 acres is home to several varieties of tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, string beans, shell beans, and more.
When Fran Bordua explains how he got into farming. he puts it very matter-of-factly: \"I grew up on this street and worked on a farm, and just stayed with it.\" A first generation owner, Fran started Bordua Farm in 1980 and continues to work hard and enjoy the business 30 years later. Situated in South Windsor, CT, Bordua Farms produces sweet corn, tomatoes, winter squash, pumpkins, and tobacco on 65 acres.
After a proud career as the Dean of Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin, Eric Henry\'s great-great grandfather, William Arnon Henry, made a bold move to relocate across the country. With encouragement from his friend J.H. Hale, revolutionary peach grower and Glastonbury, CT resident, William moved to Wallingford, CT to start his own peach business. Now with over 300 gorgeous acres of apples, peaches and pears, Blue Hills Orchards is run by 41 year-old Eric.
Belltown Hill Orchards has reason to celebrate this year: 2010 marks the 100th anniversary of the farm\'s business. In 1910, 20 year-old Louis Preli had saved enough money to buy seven acres of farmland in South Glastonbury, after having emigrated from northern Italy just six years prior.
Bednarz Farms began with current owner Mick Bednarz\'s grandfather, Walter Bednarz, in 1927. When explaining how his grandfather got into the farming business, Mick jokes, \"He had 11 children so he had to do something.\" Now a third generation farm, Bednarz Farms raises corn, cabbage, tobacco, grain corn and hay on 140 acres in scenic Windsor, CT.
More than two centuries ago, Joe DeFrancesco\'s great grandparents came from Italy and settled in Northford, CT to make a new life for themselves. Five generations later DeFrancesco & Sons now cultivates 120 acres of mostly vegetables and some fruits: cabbage, beans, corn, tomatoes, spinach, peppers, lettuces, cantaloupe, watermelon, and more.
Close to 150 years ago, Henry Killam\'s grandfather bought what is now the oldest standing house in Glastonbury, CT from Lt. John Hollister. The house, built in 1675, keeps its watchful eye over the farm that is now known as Killam & Bassette Farmstead.
Almost 30 years ago, Paul Lemke started with 500 tomato plants that are now commonly called \"supersonic\" tomatoes-large, meaty fruits with great flavor. Now his marvelous South Glastonbury lot is home to 40+ acres of corn, winter squash, lettuce, thousands of tomatoes, beets, swiss chard, and more.
Ed and Ann Jensen have made farming a lifelong hobby that just happens to make them a living as well. Ed\'s father bought the farm in 1919. Now, sprawled across almost 100 acres of land in beautiful Granville, MA, Mountain Orchard produces 15 varieties of apples, peaches, nectarines, pears, and plums.
Coming from Poland to Hadley, MA, Wally Czajkowski\'s grandfather had more than an idea of what he wanted to accomplish, an idea that grew into what is now Plainville Farm. He initially settled on 10 acres of bountiful farmland where he nurtured his crops and six children.
Today the farm adds up to 160 acres of spectacular blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, pears, pumpkins, and more. Unique to this fourth generation farm, a pleasant Sunday brunch offers a wonderful start to the day. Rose\'s was even voted on Travelocity.com as \"The Best Place to Have Sunday Brunch.\"
Having grown up on a farm in Connecticut, Mike Draghi knew he wanted to keep the tradition alive. So, in 2001, 3rd generation farmer Mike went on his own and chose South Glastonbury as the place to source his acreage.
In 1910 William A. Collins came to Rocky Hill, CT and started a dairy farm from the bottom up. The farm continued with its dairy focus until the late 1950s at which time the Collins family began to grow and harvest green beans.
The ownership of the land now known as Deercrest Farm can be traced back to 1673 when it was under the control of the Wangunk Indians. In 1965 Louis Bronzi purchased the acreage with the idea for an apple orchard. 55 years later, John and Hutch Bronzi raise 27 varieties of apples, peaches, blueberries, raspberries, green and yellow squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, and much more on a beautiful 110 acres.
With a lifelong interest in goats, Paul Trubey began working in the dairy business in the mid 1990s at Highwater Dairy, a small dairy farm in South Glastonbury, CT.
In 1932 Lou Bussa bought land from his great grandfather, and thus Bussa Orchards was born. Now 30 acres feels home on this 4th generation farm. Doug Bussa, Lou\'s son, is currently the main harvester of the farm\'s 30 varieties of apples, peaches, and pears.
A second generation farm, AG Enterprises, LLC was started in 2000. After Doug Baggott, son of Tom (Baggott Farms) and nephew of Pete (Windsor Farms), graduated from the University of Vermont he put all of his efforts into nurturing the farm.
Tom Baggott and his brother Pete were brought up on a farm in Ridgefield, CT. After that experience, the rest was history.
Chip Beckett began farming in 1973 when his parents bought the Old Cider Mill from the town of Glastonbury. With the help of his daughter Leah, he now cultivates 33 acres of yellow tomatoes, asparagus, peppers and a selection of fruits and berries.
In 1976, young Shelly Botticello had the idea to set up a roadside picnic table piled with tomatoes from her father Butch\'s backyard garden. Her selling spirit spurred a two generation, 300 acre landscape now known as Botticello Farms located in Manchester, CT.
The Draghis have been farming since 1955 when Pete Draghi\'s father came from the \"old country\" and began his business in South Glastonbury, CT. Before Pete settled onto his present farm in East Windsor, CT in 1994, he put aside time to restore an apple orchard in Pennsylvania for a patient six years.
Located in South Glastonbury, CT, Ferrari Farm began in 1932 when Dominic Ferrari bought the land to raise cattle. Originally small amounts of fruits and vegetables were grown on portions of the land to feed his family and to fortify the herd.
When young Blacey Futtner got an itch to get outside, he began farming with his father. Following his father\'s advice of owning his own property, 22 year old Blacey purchased some East Windsor farmland in 1966 so that it would always be his.
When Larry Pagano first started farming in 1957 at the unripe age of 12, he soon formed a knack for the art of the business. He and his father revolutionized the way to pick tomatoes.
Pete Baggott was always interested in farming. As he puts it, \"There it was.\" With experience from farming on his parents land, Pete had an opportunity and grab it he did.
Four generations deep, the Cecarellis have always carried on tradition and have enjoyed being involved in the family business. As Nelson adds, \"Every day here is different, every season is different. There\'s always variation from year to year and it\'s so rewarding when you overcome adversity and have a crop come through.\"
You now have options to: