Meridian Industrial

COPPER HILL FARM

4/30/2020 | Keith O'Connor

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Greg Hazleton of Copper Hill Farm in Somers is in every sense of the word a modernday farmer.

It’s evident simply from the way he talks about farming and the description of his farm on their Facebook page which reads in part:

“We are a small-family, pasture based, beyond organic farm with a focus on community rather than profit. From heirloom vegetables, mangalitsa heritage pigs, thanksgiving turkeys and pasture raised chicken eggs, we do our best to provide healthy, humanely raised alternatively-fed chemical free food to our community via our Farm Store and The Ellington Farmers Market.”

Indeed, it really is all about “community” for Hazleton when he speaks about what he is trying to accomplish.

“Whenever I see someone new in our Farm Store, I tell them that this is a place of community and that we are not profit driven.

So, we put a big emphasis on community and bringing local people in to purchase and eat healthy food. We also hold many community events here like pig roasts and other get-togethers,” Hazleton said.

“Community is huge for us and it is crucial with what is happening now with the coronavirus pandemic. The community is coming out more than ever right now and we can’t keep up with it at the store. I’ve been selling 40 to 45 dozen eggs in about a half hour after opening, and they’ve been emptying my freezer….pork sausage is going like crazy. We also have hand sanitizer that is made locally by Blessed Creek and it’s going out the door just as fast,” he added.

Hazleton’s interest in farming began while living in Ellington, Conn., calling his home a “big farm town.”

He attended Green Mountain College in Poultney, Vermont, an environmental liberal arts college where Hazleton noted he also enrolled in a number of agricultural classes and “lived on my first farm up there.”

“After college in 2009 I rented farmland in West Suffield and started what has become my main thing to do – farming and self-sufficiency. I met my wife there and in 2013 we purchased our current 10-acre farm in Somers. Today we have two girls, ages 3 and 5, and we’re just trying to grow our infrastructure to a point where we consistently have beef, pork, poultry and vegetables all of the time. My wife does help, but she has a regular job at The Hartford and holds down the regular paycheck for us,” Hazleton said.

Hazleton’s community appears to appreciate what he is doing and his Facebook page is filled with positive reviews, one of which reads: “Greg is in a class of his own. His care for the land and the animals is unmatched and his products are always fresh.”

“To hear that makes me feel good. We strive to take care of the animals as best we can. They live outside in the sunlight, but also have access to the indoors, but aren’t cramped into small spaces like you might find on a lot of farms. I frequently move them around so they have new grass and grounds to move around in. And that makes a big difference, especially for the chickens and results in their making eggs that are really, really healthy,” Hazleton said.

The farmer noted his animals “pretty much have a grain-free diet” and feed on vegetable scraps that he collects from different markets and farms.

“So, that makes the meat different from grain-fed pork and chickens. I think I have an advantage because there is a really different flavor to the meat. In that sense, they eat as well as most humans do, if not better. They are well taken care of like the review says,” Hazleton said.

At any given time, Hazleton noted they have chickens for meat and eggs, turkeys that arrive in mid-June for Thanksgiving, and always have pigs. He expects in the next couple months to have beef, which he once had on his old farm. As for vegetables, heirloom radishes, baby greens, snap peas, spinach, heirloom carrots – of some 20 different varieties and all sorts of colors including yellow, purple red, white and “other funky colors” – kale and more will soon be harvested, followed in the summer by heirloom tomatoes of all different shapes and colors, watermelon, potatoes, cantaloupe, beans, garlic and more. Then in the fall it all begins again with his spring veggies. Visit their Facebook page @CopperHillBeyondOrganic to learn more about what Hazleton is selling at his Farm Store.

For those “homegrown farmers” with their backyard gardens, Hazleton said it’s time to get the best compost you can buy and apply it directly to the garden area. Then begin with planting seeds that will grow radishes, lettuce, snap peas, spinach, carrots and more, followed later by cucumbers, tomatoes and other warm weather vegetables.
Hazleton explained what he means by “focus on community, not profit” in his description of their operation.

“By being community driven everyone can work together to make where we live a better place. A very common quote that I go by is ‘think globally, but act locally.’ If you are thinking on a global basis, you have an open mind and are trying to help everybody. You can apply that realistically within your community, whether it is supporting someone like me who is a local farmer, or vice versa, me being a farmer growing all this organic healthy food to have it available for my community,” he said.

Furthering the community aspect, Hazleton noted they hold numerous community events on the farm and offer tours of the property.

“I also dabble in the music scene and book a lot of festivals and jam band shows and it all interconnects between the farm, my music, and the community I’ve built, because a lot of the farm community likes the music,” he said.

Copper Hill Farm is located at 144 Hall Hill Road in Somers, Conn. Farm Store hours are Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m., but once his heirloom vegetables are in stock in May, Hazleton said he will begin to open more hours in the week.

For more information, call 860-306-9604,
email Hazleton at greghaz42@yahoocom or
visit their Facebook page @CopperHillBeyondOrganic

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