Their Strawberry Game is Strong
June 10, 2017
Yup, this is another one of those CTMQ pages that just sort of “exists.” I learned about the Strong Family Farm via the CT Open House Day listing which said that they “Strong Family Farm provides a historic agricultural education center where children, individuals, families, and community groups can experience an authentic family farm environment.”
So I approached the farm like a “museum-ish” place. I don’t think it is that. Maybe someday though, who knows.
When Damian and I visited in June of 2017, it was just a very small working farm with a few thing for sale and a handful of farm animals.
So why am I bothering with a page? I’m not sure really. But here I am, into the fourth paragraph not really saying anything.
The Strong family has owned this farm forever.
For 135 years, the Strong Family Farm has stood as a sentinel in the center of Vernon. Once comprising more than 50 acres on West Road and Hartford Turnpike, the farm has served as the home and workplace for more than seven generations of Strongs.
And that’s more than impressive in this day and age. We met a Strong matriarch who was kind and proud of her family and their farm. She immediately recognized Damian’s unique qualities and leapt right into a conversation with me about adult special needs housing.
Whoa. Just like that? (Actually, I appreciated it and found it to be pretty cool. Turns out that one of the hoped-for future special needs communities approached the Strong Family to build on their property, but ultimately backed out because of its proximity to the fire house and its sirens.)
Damian and I went to look at the animal pens, but found them empty. Then we checked out the historic old barn and it, too, was empty. Heck, it didn’t even have a floor.
So we went back outside and were invited to check out the strawberry patch.
Nathan Morgan Strong purchased the orchard lands using his wife’s dowry, and built the 7-bedroom homestead that still stands today. Establishing the farm was a matter of survival for the Strongs, as a means to feed and support their growing family, and to produce crops that could be bartered for other necessary goods and services.
On the way, we stopped by the chicks. All sorts of youthful chickens were prancing about. The Strongs are not really in the chicken business and as I understand it, these chicks were more for Open House Day show than anything. But I wasn’t really listening intently, as the strawberry patch was right behind us.
The strawberry patch itself was also small and had just recently been established. Rows of ripe, succulent berries were poking through the straw thatch and we were invited to pick and eat! Ah, now I’m a Strong Family Farm fan!
As Damian and I picked and ate, picked and ate, we were given a short history of the family, the farm, and its place in Vernon.
Dang, these were good strawberries.
There are a few other crops grown here and the family has – Mmmm, another berry? Don’t mind if I do!
Back in 1910 the Strongs did this thing wherein they – Oh my, that was a juicy one! Our guide was incredibly gracious and knew all the right things to say to Damian despite his grunts and protestations. I love people in this world like her.
You get the point. We returned to the barn and sales area and I bought a quart of strawberries and a jar of local honey. It was the least I could do. Granted, I could get a lot more berries and honey for $12.50 at the grocery store than I got here, but it felt good buying from the Strongs.
If you are a good person and want to actually learn about the Strong Family farm history, they’ve put together a nice synopsis here.
Go read that and give ’em a visit next time you’re in Vernon. They have various events throughout the year that will appeal to a variety of interests.