DEEP RIVER — A paradise of 60-plus acres of farmland and wooded trails, a small herd of rescue goats, 30 laying hens with another 250 approaching laying age soon, an abundance of locally-grown food — Deep River Farms is full of summer surprises.
Owners Marissa Mathews and Kelly Simpson-Angelini have been hard at work ramping up the offerings at their community farm, which was incorporated in 2015.
“The response from the community has been positive and extremely supportive,” said Simpson-Angelini, who is excited and proud of all that the farm has accomplished and is doing. “We love our community in Deep River. Our neighbors stop by and are curious about what is happening at the farm and what we are planning next. We listen to them, take their ideas and try to incorporate them into the farm plan.”
This year the farm has planned a bevy of agro-tourism events, programs and educational opportunities, farm-fresh food and the opportunity to hike, play and fish on the property.
With crop production in full swing, Deep River Farms Stand is offering farm-grown vegetables and produce from more than two dozen farms in southern Rhode Island, western Massachusetts and northeastern Connecticut, including meat, maple syrup, organic dairy, cheese and fruit.
New this year, the farm stand is also offering prepared food from a certified farm kitchen at Deep River Farm’s satellite location in Old Lyme, where Katie Castleberry and James Daly Jr. have 40 raised garden beds of potatoes, peppers, asparagus, greens and herbs.
Castleberry, a native of Arkansas, and Daly make bread, cinnamon sticks, garlic-scape butter, arugula-rabe pesto, rhubarb BBQ sauce, sweet and spicy pickled radishes and organic FRMsicles in a variety of flavors including honey mango, vegan strawberry and blueberry creamsicle.
“I have never met someone who doesn’t like popsicles in the summer,” said Simpson-Angelini. “It was a simple treat I always loved growing up. I have always found the commercial options lacked real flavor. We found that we could incorporate so many fun, fresh ingredients that both adults and children can enjoy. All of our FRMsicles are made in small batches and we use all fresh organic ingredients.”
Deep River Farms is also offering a slate of new farm programs, including an “Introduction to Bee Keeping class” will be held on July 8th at 6:30 p.m.
“We are opening up agro-tourism with classes such as animal, vegetable and soil science education and we are just starting to investigate the possibility of ‘overnights at the farm,'”, said Simpson-Angelini.
The farm is also offering the opportunity to become a “Friend of the Farm” member, which will allow first available sign-ups to farm events, festivals and upcoming classes and the opportunity to use the property for walking, hiking, and visiting the farm animals or fishing in the ponds.
“When you become a ‘friend’ you’ll have the first availability of certain harvests or limited items prepared in small batches from the kitchen as a ‘friends only’ edition and the membership fees will continue to support soil conservation, our rescued goat herd, our ponds, fish stocking, and forestry of our back hill of 60 acres,” said Simpson-Angelini.
Simpson-Angelini said that the farm will also be used this summer for events like the upcoming first annual Cornhole tournament, which will be held on Sunday, June 28, with 24 teams competing for a prize.
Deep River Farms artist-in-residence Kelly Milukas will use the scenic backdrop of the farm for her painting workshops. A free, Plein Air, meet-the-artist demonstration will be held on July 11 and 12, with ongoing, all-day demos. Two-day workshops will be taught by Milukas on August 1 and 2 and August 8 and 9.
“We are already planning to have some festive fall activities and we are working with local sustainable orchards to offer some unique and native fall fruits, cider and pies. Our chefs are already mastering fall cider donuts in the kitchen and at the farm, our pumpkins are starting to take off in the fields,” said Simpson-Angelini. “Since we don’t know yet what the future will be like in the fall, we continue to think of ways we can have fun in safe socially distant ways.”
For more info about “Farm Friend Membership,” to register for classes, or to shop online visit www.deepriverfarms.com