By Analiese Paik
Spring has arrived and farms are bustling with activity in preparation for the growing season. Despite their already long and full days, many farms are offering educational events to the public to help us become more successful gardeners or grow something new. I think it’s wonderful that farmers have the interest and initiative to share their wisdom with those of us who want to expand our homesteading skills.
Austin and Kendra Martin of Squash Hollow Farm in New Milford invitingly call their farm “The Farm Next Door”. As Austin tells it, Kendra, who grew up on a 100-acre farm in Pennsylvania, turned him, a self-described surfer boy, into a farmer. He admits “never having handled a chicken until I met my wife.” Two kids, a cat, dog and 10-acre yard full of chickens, pigs, goats, guinea hens, and turkeys later, they’re a bona fide farm.
Squash Hollow Farm doesn’t grow any GMOs and is free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The crops are grown from heirloom seeds purchased through the Seed Savers Exchange. They pasture raise Cornish X and heritage breed chickens for meat and are holding a Raising Meat Chickens course at the farm on April 27 at 10 am.This is not for the meek or faint of heart: as part of the course you will be processing your own chicken and taking it home for dinner. It’s for the burgeoning number of farmsteaders who want to learn to be more self reliant.
If this class isn’t right for you, head over to the farm anyway for fresh vegetables, eggs and a range of pastured meat and poultry products. Squash Hollow Farm raises heritage breed pigs – Berkshire and Tamworth – plus Yorkshire landrace crosses. Austin said “We will be rotating our pigs in two pasture areas and finish them in the gardens come harvest time. Their diet is supplemented with milk, apples and pears, and what ever other good fruit or veggie sources we can find locally. We are really excited this year to be working with a local feed shop, The Gift Horse of Kent, to come up with a GMO free pig feed, which will include oats, rye, and other non gmo local grown produce. Our goal is to finish this years batch of pigs on non GMO feed with the goal of becoming a complete non GMO feed operation next year.”
All of the farm’s meat is all butchered at Tarzia Meat Packing Company, located 5 minutes away from the farm. Austin said this leads to a very low stress transfer come processing time.
If you would like to buy whole, half, and bulk ($50 and up) cut orders, please call or email the farm to place a pre-order since they will be custom cut to your preference. Austin said that they do at times have retail cuts available for purchase on farm, but pre-order is necessary.
Visit their roadside farm stand for eggs and produce.
Squash Hollow Farm
Austin and Kendra Martin