The land is in Northeastern Conn., in a green corridor of woods, fields and wetlands in the Mashomoquet Brook and Nightingale Brook watershed, on the homelands of the Mohegan, the Pequot, the Nahaganset, the Nipmuk and the Wampanoag nations.
The Abbott family has cared for the land and woods here since the 1930s. The woods have had time to regrow after hard use before we came, and this place has been a refuge for my family for four or five generations. My dad spent summers here growing up, working on the farm, and so did I, riding bareback in the woods. We all want to see the living system grow in balance.
Nightingale is part of a larger property that now runs a haying operation (through Spring Farm LLC) and some light and careful timbering (on the order of a few trees once in 10 years) in some of the woods. Tony and Deborah Abbott, and their children's families, hold Nighingale.
In Nightingale, the Abbott family has up to 30 acres of land available right now, and we are looking for farmers interested in sustainable and regenerative uses. These fields lie along Mashamoquet Brook with some soils of state and national importance, water for irrigation and access to electricity (nearby, which we can set up). We also have possibilies for housing, i.e. a house that may be available to rent in the future, within two miles of the fields.
In the near future, we are looking for farmer(s) willing to work independently as entrepreneurs, with a viable business plan for the area. In the longer term, we are looking toward the future, and we can imagine a farmer, or more than one, creating new relationships with the land and with each other. I have been following the work of communities like Soul Fire Farm, as they shape ideas and teach and grow.
We are open to ideas ...
• Permaculture, native perennials
• CSA for meat or veg, eggs, cheese etc.
• Rarer or specialty crops or goods — cheese, ice cream, honey, chestnut flour ...
• Pick-your-own or farmstand
• Restaurants and co-op markets ...
• Farmers markets, SNAP and HIP programs
We see opportunities here, as the older agricultural structures are re-forming — we have an expanding local community of small farmers and farmers markets, and regional cities with farm-to-table restaurants, and reach to Boston, Providence, Hartford and Worcester — and an academic community including UCONN and Storrs nearby. Pomfret is also known for its high schools — Rectory school, the Pomfret School, Woodstock Academy.
We know that Nightingale will need some time and investment, as a new operation, and we are willing to work with you to see it grow, and to talk through what resources you will need that we can offer or help you to find. (Spring Farm has equipment that we may be able to make available to Nightingale for short-term use, for example).
Our land also connects with open spaces around us, and we feel the importance of this stretch of green space for everyone living here, beave and bear and deer, coy wolves, cougar … trillium and wake-robin, huckleberry and mountain laurel …
The part of my family who still hold the land now all care about keeping the open space open and the farmland in the hands of people we trust, and who care about sustainable and regenerative practices and relationships with the land, as we do. And we are looking to the future.