TRUST FOR PUBLIC LAND PERMANENTLY PROTECTS BROWN FAMILY FARM
The Trust for Public Land today announced the permanent protection of Brown’s Harvest, a local family-farm on Poquonock Avenue in Windsor. The farm, now in its 42nd season, is open to the public and provides a place for local families to pick strawberries, blueberries, and asparagus while also enjoying the rural landscape along the Farmington River. Once a shade tobacco farm, the land is representative of Connecticut’s deep-rooted agricultural identity and has been a staple of the community for over 150 years. Today, sisters Kathi and Susan run the business, having recently taken over for their late father.
The Trust for Public Land spent the last year working with the family to find a way to protect the farm through the sale of a conservation easement. The easement will ensure that the family can continue to nourish the community with fresh and healthy food while also conserving sensitive riparian habitat that supports a variety of wildlife species and migratory birds along the federally designated “wild and scenic” river. On Monday, April 29th, the family sold the development rights on 61 acres to the State of Connecticut’s Farmland Preservation Program. The Trust for Public Land managed and negotiated the land deal, securing public funding from federal, state, and municipal sources, as well as private donations.
“For generations, families have come out to the farm to pick pumpkins in the fall, asparagus and strawberries in the spring.” said Kathi Brown-Martin. “We want families to continue to enjoy the farm for years to come. People tell us that they grew up coming to the farm with their parents–so our farm has really become a part of the family tradition for so many in this area. We’re proud to be a part of that tradition”.
“We’re thrilled to have helped Kathi and her family protect the farm. It’s an incredible place and means so much to the community and the history of Windsor” said Honor Lawler, Project Manager of The Trust for Public Land. “Working lands are a vital part of Connecticut communities, and these agricultural experiences foster a special connection between land and people that’s so important to our mission.”
Funding for the conservation project came from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the State of Connecticut Department of Agriculture, the Town of Windsor, a private grant from the 1772 Foundation, and numerous other foundations, individuals, and corporations.
“Windsor has a long agricultural history and the Brown family has been a large contributor to this rich history,“ said Peter Souza, Town Manager for Windsor, “We thank the family and The Trust for Public Land for working with other key stakeholders to preserve this iconic piece of farmland in perpetuity,”
“NRCS is pleased to partner with the State of Connecticut, The Trust for Public Land, and the Town of Windsor to preserve this important property,” said Thomas L. Morgart, Connecticut State Conservationist for the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service. “Protecting this 60+ acre parcel from future residential and commercial development is significant on many levels, especially because of its highly productive, prime farmland soils that are needed for agricultural production necessary to feed a hungry world.”
Brown’s Harvest opens for the season in early May with fresh hand-picked asparagus, and continues well into the fall with pumpkins and more fall favorites. You can find out more about visiting at www.brownsharvest.com.