Litchfield, CT --
Contact: Janet L. Serra
For Immediate Release
Seventy-Six kinds of heirloom tomatoes. Dozens of varieties of culinary herbs. Fresh eggs from free range chickens. Handmade milk soap from organically fed goats. These are just a few of the offerings at the growing host of organic farms in Litchfield Hills, a perfect autumn destination for travelers interested in finding fresh, healthy products and foods loaded with vitamins and minerals. Brilliant foliage is an added bonus on the farm trail.
Even the best city markets can't match the quality of the cleaner, greener fresh-picked products available directly at farm stands or in local farmers' markets in this rich area of Northwest Connecticut. Some produce is so delicate or grown in quantities so small that it is never shipped. But the natural bounty is rich at farmers' markets held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in Kent and New Milford. The region even has its own strictly organic farmer's market held in Sandy Hook every Tuesday. At least a dozen area farms have been certified by the Northeast Organic Farming Association or National Organic Program, assuring that their products have been grown or raised without the use of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, growth hormones, irradiation, or genetic engineering. Many have their own farm stands.
A farm excursion might well begin at Waldingfield Farm (www.waldingfieldfarm.com), 24 East Street in Washington. A family operation managed by Quincy Horan, aided by his brothers Patrick and Daniel, the farm's 20 acres produces a long list of vegetables, including 12 kinds of peppers, half a dozen varieties of beans, baseball size beets, many herbs and salad greens so tasty they have become a trademark. The farm supplies vegetables and herbs for many top restaurants. But it is heirloom tomatoes that have put Waldingfield on the map. Available from early August until mid-October or the first hard frost, these rare, delectable juicy treats grown in dozens of varieties give today's tomato lovers a sampling of the tasteful food enjoyed by earlier generations. These bear little resemblance to the waxy bland tomatoes found in some super markets. The farm stand is open noon to 7 p.m. weekdays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
John and Lyn Holbrook also grow heirloom tomatoes at Holbrook Farm (www.holbrookfarm.net) on Route 53 South in Bethel, a family farm that has been growing crops organically for 30 years. A wide selection of vegetables, berries, herbs and flowers is for sale at the farm stand, along with their highly prized eggs from free range chickens. The stand is open Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and is closed on Sunday.
Fort Hill Farm in New Milford is another grower of heirloom tomatoes, sometimes weighing a pound or more. They are among the farms whose produce can be found at the Sandy Hook Organic Farmers' Market, open every Tuesday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. through October 3.
Daylilies in scores of varieties are the healthy, organically grown crop at the aptly named Bloomingfields Farm (www.bloomingfieldsfarm.com) on Route 55 in Gaylordsville. Most of the farm's business is by mail order, but visitors are welcome to see the colorful flowers in bloom Friday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Labor Day Weekend and by appointment through the month of September (860- 354-6951).
Goatboy soaps, made in New Milford, began when Lisa Agee found that her allergy-prone son, Bobby, could use the gentle soaps made with goat's milk. What started as a hobby in her kitchen is now a family business, with mail orders from as far away as Portugal for this moisture-rich product made from all-natural ingredients. When they sell at the New Milford Farmer's Market, held on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, Bobby and his brother Ryan often bring along a goat or two to the family booth.
For more information on organic farms and products and a free copy of UNWIND, a 112-page color guide to lodging, dining and all the attractions in the Litchfield Hills of Northwest Connecticut, contact the Northwest Connecticut Convention and Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or check the Internet at www.litchfieldhills.com.