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.
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.
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.
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!
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.