Hawk Hill Farm

Project Description

It took five grants to acquire this 45-acre farm (23 acres of prime soils) in 2015 and then $54,000 in personal donations and a $10,000 tag sale to restore the 1870’s “bank”-style barn, now filled with hay. This former dairy farm links to adjacent open space and farms forming a 350-acre cultural landscape on the west side of Bloomfield.

Hawk Hill Farm is one of the oldest continuously operating farms in Bloomfield, dating back to 1746. Multiple generations of the Kelly family operated the farm from the 1860’s to the 1980’s. The post and beam barn was in poor to failing condition when it was bought in 2015. WLT raised $35,000 to successfully stabilize the structure, added electrical power and rebuilt the large sliding front doors. Challenges for this barn remain to be crumbling and cracked concrete walls along with water infiltration during the spring season.

The farm also includes an easy, one-mile walking loop from the barn on Duncaster Road that connects to trails in the adjacent LaSalette Park with views of the Hartford skyline and Metacomet Range. (See Trail Maps for more info, and follow signs to avoid active farm operations.) Plans call for the trail to become part of the LaSalette Trail, a regional walking trail that will connect Filley Pond Park in the center of town to the New England Scenic Trail in Penwood State Park.

A UCONN Extension case study provides additional information about this unique project.

July 2019 Update:

After the fields were restored with the help of a Connecticut Department of Agriculture grant, volunteer stewards observed an influx of Canada Thistle in the middle tier fields. Thistle seed is wind-distributed and could spread on the property and to neighboring farms. A contractor cut the fields by tractor, and hard-working volunteers cut the remaining inaccessible areas by hand.

October 2019 Update: 

Volunteers cleaned the barn interior, picked up around the yard, mowed along the road, removed felled trees, and removed invasive vines from many of the property’s 12 state champion trees. Thanks to all who helped!

May 2020 Update:

We’re pleased to introduce The 4 Five Farm operated by local residents Daniel Duesing and Kassie Murphy. They will employ organic and regenerative practices to raise free-range chickens and turkeys and grow peas, peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables using Hawk Hill’s barn and fields. These will be for sale at the farm or can be pre-ordered (see their website for information). As you enjoy our trails and the new animals, please respect the new fencing and follow the signs to avoid farm operations.

March 2022 Update:

Hikers and passersby may notice a few changes as the Land Trust and the 4 Five Farm continue to ensure the site remains a sustainable, active farm. The Land Trust contracted with New England Wrecking to remove the collapsing tin roof from the former manure shed behind the barn. The crew took advantage of frozen ground to minimize impact and saved as much debris as possible for reuse. The Land Trust plans to install a multi-use utility shelter in its place to support farm operations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) also is helping to develop a Farm Conservation Plan for sustainable farming and stewardship practices. For example, mapping the wetland areas clarified how the wet lower field can be used. Also, testing the soils formerly used for grazing livestock suggested adding compost could help prepare them for growing vegetables, so an area will be set up to compost materials generated by the farm.

Related Projects

Beacon Hill Preserve

Evans Family Meadows

Hawk Hill Farm

LaSalette Trail

Lisa Lane Farm

Stout Family Fields

Thrall Farm

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