Waldingfield Farm 

We sat down with Patrick Horan of Waldingfield Farm in Washington, CT.  Find their stand every week at the Wooster Square Farmers’ Market! 

1. How did you first get into farming?
My older brother started the vegetable operation in 1990. My twin and I were freshman at college and joined up with him during the first couple of summers. It was a old dairy farm that had basically become a summer home for our grandparents. It was last active in 1934, though the fields were leased out to the neighboring farmers.

2. What’s unique about your farm?
We were among the earliest farms in New England to grow large amounts of heirloom tomatoes. Back in the mid to late 90s we were the biggest by far. Today, we are still a big tomato operation but far more diversified.

3. What’s the story behind your farm’s name?
Our great-grandfather said it reminded him of our ancestral lands, little Waldingfield in Suffolk, England. Today it is on the CT Registry of important historic farms, called the Smith Homestead. Our mother is a Smith and her grandfather purchased it from his cousin. Basically it’s been Smiths on the land since the 1730’s.

4. Tell me about your growing practices.
We are a certified organic farm and have been certified for the past 27 years. We use no synthetic inputs and our farm is inspected yearly to ensure we are complying. Rotation, diversification, and soil management are the keys to our success as growers.

5. What is your favorite recipe/favorite product?
We make a mean bloody mary that I am partial to…but there are so many! Kale pesto, perhaps!

6. What’s one thing you want everyone to know about your farm?
That we bring to our work a commitment to the land, to our community and to making sustainable farming work in our state. And we’re nice guys!

7. What do you like to do when you have spare time?
What is spare time? Hahaha…Seriously – we spend time with friends and family, go out on the lake, play tennis in summer, skate hockey in the winter. Normal CT stuff.

8. What are the best and hardest things about being in this industry?
The best part is the sheer joy of bringing in a harvest. To see a seed turn into something is a marvel to behold. The hard part is just about everything else. For some reason our culture has been slow to embrace the idea that working the land is a good thing. We spent a long time trying to escape the land to earn a living in other ways that were perceived as “easier.” The thing is, the life of a farm has in many ways a superior purpose to the life of the office. Perhaps it’s spiritual, perhaps not, but it’s obviously a choice.  And for me and the crew who work on the farm — it is our passion.
Discover more about Waldingfield Farm on their website or like their Facebook page.