Unanswered Questions, Unreleased Documents Hamper Efforts to Explain Lyme Horse’s Death

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The cause of death and burial location of a Lyme show horse that died under unclear circumstances at a Marlborough boarding barn nearly three months ago remain a mystery to the horse’s owner as she awaits the results of an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture. And requests made more than three weeks ago to the department by CT Examiner for public documents under state Freedom of Information laws have gone unfilled. The requests are for reports of any previous inspections, complaints or investigations involving the Marlborough barn and the horse transporter that removed the horse’s body from the barn

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A Restoration Effort to Support Shellfishing off Guilford

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GUILFORD – Shellfisherman Kim Granbery chose winding Hoadley Creek to grow seed oysters because of what he calls its exceptional mix of near-pristine salt and fresh water, flowing over a bed of fertile silt deposited for millennia among the Thimble Islands. “The oysters like brackish water as opposed to higher salinity,” Granbery said on a recent afternoon as he steered his skiff around the rocky islands to check on his underwater crop. “Marine biologists tell me this is one of the cleanest estuaries in the state, and that’s what creates the unique character and taste of these oysters.” Restoring and

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Mysterious Death, Missing Body Spark Department of Agriculture Investigation

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The mysterious, bloody death and burial of a show horse owned by a Lyme woman at a “luxury” boarding facility in Marlborough early this month has led to an investigation by the state Department of Agriculture. Dana Ramsey Maxwell says she has had nothing but unanswered questions about the fate of her 7-year-old registered Hanoverian, Beatrix, since she received a text message on Sept. 3 telling her the horse had died that morning. Calls and messages to the stable have not yet been returned. “I just want answers,” said Maxwell, who has raised and shown horses since she was a

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Middletown Eases Restrictions on Small Farm Businesses

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MIDDLETOWN – In an effort to give local farmers more opportunities for additional revenue, on Wednesday night the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission approved easing restrictions on small farms looking to open a farm stand – and the commission is considering regulations for on-farm wineries and breweries. Under Middletown’s existing regulations, permanent, year-round farmers markets were permitted in residential areas by special exception, but only on properties of at least 20 acres that abut a state highway. The change made Wednesday would allow farmers markets by special exception on properties of at least 5 acres, and would not require an

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Mobile Clinics Organized to Vaccinate Farm Workers for COVID-19

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Connecticut farms will have the opportunity to host mobile clinics for farm workers who want to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a press release by the Department of Agriculture.   The program is being run through a partnership between the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Public Health and the Department of Labor. Joan Nichols, executive director of the Connecticut Farm Bureau Association, said she had received phone calls from farms asking if there was a way they could get their workers vaccinated on-site.  Nichols said that some of the associations’ member farms will host between 200 and 400 seasonal

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The Future of Connecticut Farming

“We started out as a dairy. We will always be a dairy,” said Kies Orr, 27, who co-owns and operates Fort Hill Farms in Thompson where she has 210 milking cows and just under 500 cows total.  Orr is a fourth generation farmer but before her parents fully bought the dairy farm from her grandparents, they bought land adjacent to the dairy farm and started a nursery.  “My mother does lavender. My mother does plants. She has over 72 gardens that you can walk through and she’s gotten into offering exercise classes and giving nature walks. She’s trying to diversify

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Small Farms in Lyme and East Haddam are Building Barns and Moving Online

As consumers, pressed by food shortages and fearing the spread of COVID-19, turn to buying local produce, some Connecticut farmers are using the internet to connect remotely with local residents seeking safer ways to shop for groceries. Cold Spring Farm in East Haddam has been offering food deliveries for several months, and recently started offering weekly food subscription packages that include meat and produce from the farm and other products like cheese, milk and honey from local vendors.  Long Table Farm in Lyme started an online version of its farm stand last week, allowing its customers to make contact-free produce

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Hunts Brook Farm Rethinks the Small Farm Model

QUAKER HILL — The era of the country farm stand by the side of the road where farmers left fruits and vegetables and customers paid by the honor system is over as long as the pandemic continues.  “We have a lot of people who just pull in thinking that our stand is open,” said Robert “Digga” Schacht, who owns Hunts Brook Farm with his wife, Teresa.  He has set up an on-site, socially-distanced farmstand twice a week to provide for customers who once shopped at his honor stand as well as his booths at a number of farmers markets.  “That

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Deep River Farms Plans a Bevy of Programs and Produce this Summer

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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

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Farmers Markets in Lyme, Chester and Ivoryton are Set to Open in June

June is celebrated each year, not just because school lets out and summer is beginning and the weather is mostly beautiful, but also because it is the month when farmers markets kick off and again we can shop for fresh-from-the-earth produce, planted, harvested and sold all within our community borders. And in recent weeks, in an effort to help people afford to take home more fruits and vegetables, the Fair Food Network has doubled food stamps –Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits — if they are used at farmers markets. The so-called Double Up Food Buck program means that local

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Healthy Sales Boost Nursery Business in Connecticut

Early on in the pandemic, Karen Scott, owner of Scott’s Yankee Farmer in East Lyme, had been nervous about whether customers would return. “When we ordered the plant material back in November and we started planting in March, I was thinking, are we going to be able to sell this when it’s ready?” she said.  But, Scott has seen an upswing in sales in the past two months. .  “We’re having a hard time keeping up. I will start some lettuce today. But people may not get their first choice of tomato variety. Vegetable seedlings have mostly sold out and

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Connecticut Dairy Farms Look to Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to Stem Losses After Disastrous Spring

After four years of falling milk prices, 2020 was predicted as a rebound year for the dairy industry. Instead COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain, resulting in even lower prices that jeopardized an already unsteady economy for Connecticut dairy farmers.  “We had to cut back. We have 1500 milk cows and we’ve had to stop milking some early and we’ve had to market some … We’re down 200 animals, unfortunately that still hasn’t got us down to the base that was set,” said Paul Miller, co-owner of Fairvue Farm in Woodstock. Miller, 74,  said he plans to apply for financial assistance

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