Welcome to New Mercies Farm
One Business, Two Farms
In their message below Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn reflect on the past year. They also look forward to expanding their operations to New Mercies Farm. As Baylee notes, they will operate the two farms under the name of Upper Pond Farm.
I plan to give them the New Mercies Farm mailing list but only after giving you the opportunity to opt out. If you do not want your email address to be shared, simply reply to this email with “OPT OUT” in the subject line or body of the message. Best wishes for a healthy and wholesome New Year.
Notice of Error:
The 2016 Farm and Food Guide published by CT NOFA lists New Mercies Farm as being certified by the USDA as an organic farm. The farm was certified in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 the farmers using the greenhouses were certified and I used organic seed and practices for the cover cropping that year. In 2016 the farm is leased to and operated by Baylee Drown. Baylee has signed the CT NOFA farmer's pledge but decided not to accept the considerable costs associated with USDA Organic certification.
We hope your year has been as bountiful and fruitful as ours. We had an excellent year, despite a drought that started in May. The drought has affected our crops most of the season. Our tomato crop was impressive, we had an abundance of squash, cucumbers, sweet potatoes and plenty of cooking and salad greens.
Our mild fall weather has provided an excellent fall crop of root vegetables and plenty of greens for our fall share and the Chester Holiday Market. We are trying for another winter farmers market as well. By comparison to our hopping summer schedule, things are much slower now. Winter is a time for reflection, recuperation and preparation on a vegetable farm.
It has been a busy year. We put up a second high tunnel (a large unheated growing structure). Our Kickstarter Community funded a heated greenhouse for us, which has proven extremely useful for our production capacity. We cannot thank them enough for the continuing contribution that the new structure has made to our farm.
We have tomatoes and MicroGreens cranking in the greenhouse right now. We tilled and grew on 3 acres this year, greatly expanding our production for our CSA customers, Foodworks, Coffee’s Country Market, Tri-Town Foods, Ashlawn Farms Cafe, Oceanhouse, La Belle Aurore and the Lyme and Chester Farmers Markets.
We are happy to announce that we be farming and living at New Mercies Farm. It is an excellent piece of land for vegetable production, and we are so greatful for the infrastructure and soil improvements Rod and Debbie have made.
From this position we will be able to have on-farm pick up for our CSA members, grow our membership, and provide more wholesome food for our community. For the near future we will continue to market our products and do business as Upper Pond Farm. We will be farming both locations for at least the next two years, benefiting from the distance between them for managing pests and disease. Having two locations will be a distinct advantage for crop rotation and our production capacity.
We are hiring on 50% more staff to accommodate the additional work load and to continue improving our vegetable growing prowess. We look forward to sharing our new farming space with you this spring, and its abundance.
In the spring we will have a plow day with our draft horse friends, and we will invite you to learn about and tour New Mercies Farm with us.
Thank you for supporting us. We could not do this without you.
Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn
During the 2015 growing season the land at New Mercies Farm took a rest. The soil was improved by planting cover crops of buckwheat, peas and oats.
At the same time the landowners, Rod and Debby Hornbake, and their consultant Kathy Ruhf of Land for Good, completed a search for new farmers. Ruhf’s organization specializes in matching farmers and landowners throughout New England. Her rigorous process brought us a number of highly qualified applicants.
At the end of that process, the lease to operate the farm was offered to and accepted by Baylee Drown and Ryan Quinn. Baylee is known in the community as the operator of Upper Pond Farm in Old Lyme. She has shown a track record of success there and has expanded her operations steadily. She will further expand her farming to the land on Beaver Brook Road.
Baylee is a farmer by birth, by training and by choice. She is a fifth generation farmer from Michigan where she was raised on a farm. Baylee is a graduate of Michigan State University and was awarded a Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems by Green Mountain College in Poultney Vermont. Along the way she has accumulated an impressive record of leadership and management success in diverse farm ventures. Since January 2014 she has been an entrepreneur farmer.
Ryan Quinn, known as “Quinn”, received his BS in Biology and MA degree in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is transitioning from part time to full time farming. He has a rich and diverse background as a chemistry teacher, farmer, outdoor educator, carpenter, handyman and even as Chief Steward aboard the Kalmar Nyckel, a tall ship sailing out of Wilmington DE.
Alone either Baylee or Quinn would be competent to operate New Mercies Farm. Together and with their staff of four assistants and apprentices they are truly formidable. We believe our community will be blessed by their energy, experience and enterprise.
New Mercies Farm was started in 2012 by Rod and Debby Hornbake as a Social Enterprise dedicated to three social goals: 1) to preserve land for agricultural use; 2) to provide wholesome food for the community; and 3) to provide opportunities for young farmers to be successful in their chosen field of endeavor.
Rod and Debby Hornbake with Farmer Quinn and Farmer Baylee
News from the Farm
- New Mercies Farm Welcomes New Farmers December 5, 2015
- New Mercies Farm is on Sabbatical February 7, 2015
- Bionutrient Density of Food February 7, 2015
- Friends of the Farm February 7, 2015
- CSA FAQ February 7, 2015
- Farmstand by reservation January 22, 2015
- Farmstand by reservation January 3, 2015
- Our Sweet Spinach Returns!! Farmstand By Reservation December 21, 2014
- Thanksgiving Farmstand! November 24, 2014
- New Mercies Farm Stand! October 21, 2014