I was once again able to attend the Western Connecticut CRAFT meeting this month. This month’s meeting was at Stone Wall Farm in Cornwall Bridge. The farm was located in an absolutely beautiful area of the state. Stone Wall Farm is a dairy, poultry, and vegetable farm. While the owner, Chris Hopkins, has owned the farm since 2003, the land has been farmed since the 1700’s.
The dairy operation is transitioning to become an organic dairy. The cows at Stone Wall Farm are Jersey cows, which are known for their rich, creamy milk. The milk is sold raw and unhomogenized. It is bottled right at the farm and sold in the farm store and at other local stores.
It was milking time as we took our tour, and so we were able to see the cows being milked. We were also able to see the three calves that are in the barn right now. I have had experience with dairy farms before, but this was my first time at a small scale Jersey farm that sells its own raw milk.
Poultry is also raised at Stone Wall Farm. Both broilers (meat birds) and laying hens are raised. The poultry are raised on pasture. This means that they have constant access to the outdoors and lush grasses. The chickens live in portable chicken houses that can be moved from pasture to pasture. Moving the chickens to different pastures ensures that the birds do not ruin the pasture by scratching around too much on the ground and ruining the grasses, but rather fertilize the grasses just right with their manure,while obtaining a perfect diet of bugs and grass.
The large vegetable gardens at Stone Wall Farm provide produce for CSA customers, as well as local restaurants. While not certified organic, the vegetables are grown organically. Jonathan Kirschner works at Stone Wall Farm and is in charge of all of the vegetable production.
The afternoon again ended with a potluck with all of the apprentices who attended the meeting. It was a very enjoyable time. I liked the diversity of this farm with both the animal and crop production. The CRAFT program is a wonderful opportunity for apprentices like me to have a chance to see other farms in the area. I am looking forward to the other farms that I will get to see!