Connecticut Open House Day will be celebrated on June 10, 2023, and we’re delighted to see so many CT Grown attractions on the list of participants! Check out what’s going on at Connecticut’s farms, farmers’ markets, wineries, breweries, and distilleries during the day. Several museums and historic sites are also showcasing how agriculture has played a vital role in the state’s history.
Farms and producers
Ambler Farm, Wilton — Farmstand and Transplant Sale: Visitors are invited to check out Ambler Farm’s farmstand and transplant sale, which runs every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All seeds are grown in the greenhouse using an organic, compost based, biologically active potting soil and then tended to by Ambler Farm’s farmers and dedicated volunteers.
Boho Farm, East Haddam — Open House: Visit the farm animals, walk through the garden, visit the shop, and bring a lunch to enjoy at the picnic tables. Runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Bradley Mountain Farm, Southington — Walking Tours: This historic farm will offer walking tours of its trails and pastures at 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. After the tours, you can view the babies and goat families playing and relaxing.
Chakana Sky Alpacas, Chester — Visitors Welcome: Say hello to the farm’s 17 alpacas and share some treats with them. Visitors are also invited to stop by the “Pacatique” farm store. Runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Creamery Brook Bison, Brooklyn — Festival at the Farm: The Festival at the Farm features wagon rides to visit the farm’s bison, donkey rides, food trucks, craft vendors, and more. Admission is $5 per person. No dogs.
Glendale Farms, Milford — Visitors Welcome: Glendale Farms is a flower and horse farm specializing in flowering annuals and vegetable plants. The farm is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and welcoming visitors on Connecticut Open House Day.
Hogan’s Cider Mill, Burlington — Free Round of Mini-Golf: PGA golf pro Chet Dunlop and his wife Theresa Clifford Dunlop preserved this historic cider mill when they established the New England School of Golf on the back of the property, and it continues to produce sweet and hard ciders. Hogan’s Cider Mill is offering a free round of miniature golf to all visitors on Connecticut Open House Day.
Husky Meadows Farm, Norfolk — Guided Tours: Farmer Brett Ellis leads behind-the-scenes tours of the farm, including the farm kitchen and guest rooms of their Seed & Spoon Farm Stays.
Lyman Orchards, Middlefield — Free Children’s Program: Oboist Fing-Fei Khan and English hornist Charles Huang play a short concert at 10 a.m., inspired by poems, folk tales, folk songs, myths, and fables from around the world. At 11 a.m., they’ll perform an interactive concert (designed for ages 6 to 13) based on the fable of the Cricket and the Ant, teaching children the fundamental elements of music (tempo, pitch, and dynamics) through active listening, imagination, and interaction with the performers.
Smyth’s Trinity Farm, Enfield — Guided Tours: A walking tour of a fourth-generation farm that cares for a herd of 40 cows and bottles their own milk in glass. The tour visits the barns, pastures, and bottling facility.
Starberry Farm, Washington Depot — Visitors Welcome: Take a walk through this beautiful hilltop orchard and learn more about integrated pest management and tree fruit.
Stone Acres Farm/Yellow Farmhouse Education Center, Stonington — Culinary Demonstration and Tasting: The Stone Acres Farmstead provides a culinary tasting and demonstration between 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., then offers a guided tour of the property from 11:30 a.m. to noon.
Strong Family Farm, Vernon — Tours and Tag Sale: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., this nonprofit community farm —the last active historic farm in Vernon — will offer tours and have a “Junk in the Trunk” tag sale. Open 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., tours of the property will be held at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. No pets.
White Gate Farm, East Lyme — Visitors Welcome, and Giveaway: Visitors are invited to explore the farm’s growing fields, beehives, trails, and tractors; you can also feed the lambs, hens, and chicks. The first 15 new people spending $25 or more at the farmstand (open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.) will receive a free bag of White Gate Farm’s washed organic salad greens or a similar item. Please supervise children climbing on tractors.
Litchfield Farmers Market, Litchfield — Saturday Market: The Litchfield Farmers Market will be open on Connecticut Open House Day with more than 15 vendors offering fresh local produce and goods. The market is held year-round, and this event will be the last indoor market of the season at the Litchfield Community Center.
Breweries, distilleries, and wineries
Aquila’s Nest Vineyards, Sandy Hook — Guided Tours: This vineyard and event venue is offering guided tours of the 40-acre grounds with the owner and winemaker. Tours will take place at noon and 6 p.m.
Gouveia Vineyards, Wallingford — Free 4×4 Rides: Groups of up to five can enjoy a free 4×4 vehicle ride to tour the grounds of Gouveia Vineyards.
Sunset Meadow Vineyards, Goshen — Discounts: Sunset Meadow Vineyards is offering a 10 percent discount on the purchase of 12 bottles, and is offering wine slushies for $10.
Two Roads Brewing, Stratford — Guided Tours and Vendors: Free brewery tours and taster glasses are available for visitors ages 21 and older. Two Roads Brewing will also have an outdoor vendor market and an evening concert featuring The C-Sides.
Waypoint Spirits, Bloomfield — Tours and Tastings: This distillery will be offering free tours and tastings of its Connecticut-made spirits.
Westford Hill Distillers, Ashford — Guided Tours and Discounts: Reserve a tour of this 200-acre property, New England’s first craft distillery, and enjoy a 50 percent discount on a tasting. Picnic lunches are welcome, but pets are not allowed.
Paradise Hills Vineyard, Wallingford – Discounts – Paradise Hill Vineyards, in honor of National Rosé Day, is offering a 10 percent discount on the purchase of their of Rosé selection: Washington Trail Rosé and La Bella Rosa.
Museums and historical societies
Atwood Farm Museum at Joshua’s Trust, Mansfield — Demonstrations: Learn more about 19th century farming at this historic farmstead. Demonstrations are ongoing from noon to 4 p.m.
Blue Slope Country Museum, Franklin — Free Admission: Open 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Free admission. See historical agricultural tools and implements. Learn about the many aspects of farming and rural living from 1600s to 1950s. No dogs.
Brookside Farm Museum, East Lyme — Guided Tours: This museum gives a historical view of agriculture and domestic life between 1845 and 1955. On Connecticut Open House Day, it will be offering guided tours and a chance to meet the new curator.
Cheshire Historical Society, Cheshire — Strawberry Festival and Farming History: This house museum is located on the First Congregational Church Green, which will be hosting a strawberry festival on Connecticut Open House Day. Visitors are invited to see the museum for free and learn more about the town’s farming history.
Deacon John Grave House and Grounds, Madison — Antique Farming Equipment: Guided tours of this 1685 house, its gardens, and its Native Plant Walk will be provided between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The event will also feature a hearth cooking demonstration and display of Colonial farm tools.
The Dudley Farm Museum, Guilford — Visitors Welcome: This historic homestead maintains a small working farm with chickens, flower and herb gardens, and a community garden. Visitors are invited to tour the property and check out the weekly farmers’ market, running 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Friends of the Valley Falls, Vernon — Heritage Center Opening: A nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to improving Valley Falls Park and Valley Falls Park, Friends of the Valley Falls will debut its heritage center on Connecticut Open House Day. Explore the history of the “Gentleman’s Farm” and its historic buildings, including a stable, dairy barn, root cellar, piggery, and more.
Hands-On History & Free Family Fun, Lebanon — Agricultural Activities: Numerous hands-on activities are taking place at the Lebanon Historical Society Museum & Jonathan Trumbull Jr. House from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. These include agricultural activities like grinding corn and churning butter.
Harwinton Historical Society, Harwinton — Antique Farming Equipment: The Harwinton Historical Society will be opening their 1840 one-room schoolhouse and barn to visitors, with antique farming equipment on display at the barn.
Hilltop Farm, Suffield — Open Barn Event: The Friends of Hilltop Farm welcomes visitors to explore this farmstead and its enormous white barn. Activities include a beekeeping demonstration by the Hampden County Beekeepers Association, an agriscience program on caring for chickens from Suffield Chicks, a vintage baseball game, and a scavenger hunt.
Nellie McKnight Museum, Ellington — Barnyard Babies Farm Day: Get an up-close look at baby farm animals. The museum also includes an exhibit on the farming history of Ellington. No dogs.
Shelton Historical Society, Shelton — Plant a Pumpkin Patch: Free admission from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are invited to be a farmer for a day and help plant the pumpkin patch the old-fashioned way, then take home a seedling to nurture.
Stanley-Whitman House, Farmington — Garden Tours and Cooking Demonstrations: A historical interpreter at this c. 1720 historic house will present different styles of Colonial cooking throughout the day. The Dooryard Garden Society will also be on hand to talk about indigenous and colonial plants and how they were used for medicinal and culinary purposes.
Thankful Arnold House Museum, Haddam — Lavender Activity: Stop by this historic house and herb garden from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and learn how Widow Thankful Arnold used herbs, vegetables, and plants in her cooking, dyeing, fragrance, and medicine. Visitors will also have the opportunity to make a lavender sachet.
Windsor Historical Society, Windsor — Herb Garden Q&A: In addition to free tours, the Windsor Historical Society is presenting an “Herb Garden Q&A” from 10 a.m. to noon. Becky Hendricks, a culinary expert and herb gardener, will discuss commonly used herbs in early Connecticut.
A full list of this year’s participating organizations can be found on CT Visit.
Winter is coming in Connecticut. While some CT Grown farmers are continuing their growing seasons and attending winter farmers’ markets, others have closed their farm stands until next year and are focusing on other essential work like ordering seeds and maintaining machinery.
But your support for CT Grown products doesn’t have to stop at what’s in the refrigerator. The CT Grown product extends to all farm products originating in Connecticut, including several options that can help keep you warm and cozy on a dark and chilly evening.
Remember when your father told you to leave the thermostat alone and put a sweater on if you were cold? Well, why not join the growing number of knitters and turn to CT Grown producers for your next hat, blanket, or new pair of mittens or socks?
Many animals have natural fibers—such as hair or fur—which can be used to manufacture products. Wool is perhaps the best-known example, with more than 400 farms in Connecticut caring for a flock of over 6,000 sheep and lambs. Other animals raised in Connecticut for their fiber include alpacas, llamas, and Angora goats.
Collecting the fiber is just the first step toward a finished product. It must then be converted to yarn through a process of cleaning, carding, spinning, and dying.
Don’t have the time to make a new winter wardrobe? Stop by a fiber producer to see what they have in their farm store. Many go the extra mile by providing completed products like blankets, hats, scarves, sweaters, and mittens.
Relaxing in front of a roaring fire is one of those quintessential New England experiences, but it’s become less common as homeowners rely more on fuels like heating oil and natural gas to stay warm. Yet many properties in our region continue to employ wood as a secondary heating source — especially when fuel costs go up. Firewood and wood pellets are among the items that are produced locally, so you can make your home more inviting using a local fuel source.
Under an agreement with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, forest products can be labeled as CT Grown if the timber was grown, harvested, and the item was processed in CT. You can look for the CT Grown label for materials like fencing and flooring when undertaking your next home improvement project, or find unique gifts like furniture, cutting boards, and carved bowls.
Tobacco and spirits
For some folks, the best way to make a winter evening more enjoyable is to relax with a fine cigar and a glass of whiskey — both of which can be found locally.
Tobacco has been under cultivation in Connecticut since pre-colonial times, and it was once a major cash crop of the Connecticut River Valley. While the industry is much smaller than it used to be, about 2,000 acres are still dedicated to growing and curing shade tobacco. This tobacco is then destined for the outer layers of premium cigars, which can be found at local suppliers.
Two types of tobacco grow in Connecticut, and each variety is valued for its rich flavor profile. Connecticut shade tobacco offers a light, sweet smoke with notes like coffee, vanilla, and cream. The dark, thick leaves of broadleaf tobacco deliver bolder flavors like earthy minerals, spice, or chocolate.
Spirits have been on the rise in Connecticut in recent years, with a growing number of distillers taking on the meticulous task of producing bourbons, whiskeys, liqueurs, and more. As an added bonus, these distilleries often use local CT Grown products like apples and maple syrup to give their product a distinct flavor.
Winter brings chapped lips and cracked skin. Fight back against the season’s dry air with the same ally that helps CT Grown farmers during the growing season: bees!
While honey is the most common bee product produced by Connecticut apiaries, many also offer personal care products made from beeswax. This material, used to construct honeycombs and seal in honey, also offers a natural way for the skin to retain moisture.
For this reason, beeswax finds its way into a variety of personal care products. Look for the material in lip balms, body scrubs, moisturizers, and more.