Family Farm, LLC
Jim worked on the farm from the time he was seven and always felt a part of it. The farm, then called Futtner Brothers, was run by Jim’s father Ray and uncles Lou and Blacey. In the mid 1960’s they expanded the business to include a variety of vegetables for retail and wholesale. That’s when the stand on Silver Lane was born. All of Jim’s family members made various contributions of time and effort. The flower business was added in the 1970’s after Jim graduated from UConn’s College of Agriculture and entered the business officially.
Eventually, the older men retired and Jim took on his wife, Honora, as a partner in the business. Honora came from an ordinary suburban background, worked as a registered nurse for a few years and learned about farming as she went along. She has been active in the business since 1981.
Jim & Honora’s four children have played active roles on the farm and in the stand since they were little. They all still lend us a hand when they can, Maggie most recently. And many cousins and in-laws have helped us, too. The three grandchildren visit regularly and take an active interest. The tractor rides with Grandpa are a highlight of their day.
The "off-season" is when we deal with many different companies for purchasing all kinds of plant containers, seeds, plants, labels & the equipment it takes to get everything ready for the upcoming season. There is seeding of perennials, vegetables and annuals that will later be transplanted into packs and pots when they are large enough. We take great pride in the design and preparation of our patio pots, hanging baskets and other delightful treats.
We make an effort to provide the home gardener with essential information in the display area for the spring season. The labels in most of the packs and pots indicate whether they go in sun or shade, and other planting information. In the herb area, we have signs that indicate how the particular herbs are used. The vegetable and perennial signs give much specific information also about planting, height of the plants and use. All of this information is specific to the particular varieties that we grow. We do the research and make the signs over the winter. Also, we try to keep the herbs and perennials in alphabetical order (mostly by Latin name because some plants have numerous common names) so they can be found easily.
With our retirement from the vegetable business comes the question of what to do with the land we were farming which is owned by a generation of several cousins. We have collectively submitted an application to the State of CT Department of Agriculture’s Community Farms Preservation Program. The soils in the CT River valley are among the finest in the world and the United States Department of Agriculture’s (UDSA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) plays an active role in assisting in preserving fine farmland in perpetuity. The CT Farmland Trust is also working toward the same end & has been very helpful in these efforts. Over the past several years, there has been much success in saving land that can produce local food. Not only is that good news for fresh food availability, it means greater nutrition and excellent flavor. We are proud of the wonderful vegetables we’ve been able to produce over the years & want generations to come to have the same opportunity.
(L – R) daughter-in-law Deb, son Joe, Gov. Malloy, 3 daughters: Maggie, Carrie & Elaine, (front) grandsons Jimmy & Chris
Maggie & Jim’s brother Rob
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