Stamford's Fairgate Farm Takes Root, Hosts Free Organic Veggie Event

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Fairgate Farm Manager Bill Callion points at raised garden beds at Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," on Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.
Fairgate Farm Manager Bill Callion points at raised garden beds at Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," on Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Stamford Hospital's new addition looms over Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., the is farm having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.
Stamford Hospital's new addition looms over Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., the is farm having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Fairgate Farm Manager Bill Callion with vegetables growing behind him at Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.
Fairgate Farm Manager Bill Callion with vegetables growing behind him at Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
Corn grows at Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.
Corn grows at Fairgate Farm. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern
A new batch of lettuce grows in Fairgate Farm's greenhouse. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m.
A new batch of lettuce grows in Fairgate Farm's greenhouse. Located at 129-143 Stillwater Ave., it is having a free public event called "It Isn't Easy Being Green," Saturday from noon until 2 p.m. Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern

STAMFORD, Conn. -- Fairgate Farm in Stamford is throwing open its gate Saturday and welcoming everyone to attend "It Isn't Easy Being Green," a special event highlighting organic vegetables.

The free event will be from noon to 2 p.m. and will be held at the farm located at 129 to 143 Stillwater Ave., with Stamford Hospital's new addition looming in the background.

Farm Manager Bill Callion, the former public safety director for Stamford, said the event is part of its series of educational events that began with "Farm Jam" and ends with the "Harvest Festival" on Oct. 18.

The farm and the events grew from the cooperation among the community, corporate sponsors, Stamford Hospital and Charter Oak, the landowner, Callion said. Eastern Land Management is one of corporations involved: The company donated and installed an irrigation system, Callion cited.

The site covers 2 acres, he said. The farm was initially temporary plan until a decision could be made about developing the property, he said.

"We had three options: a meadow, a pocket park or a community garden or farm," Callion said.

They decided to go with the garden option, and volunteers set to work creating a garden in 2011. 

The first seeds were planted on a blazing hot July 15, Callion said. Within weeks, the seeds blossomed, turning into tomatoes and other hardy hot weather vegetables, he said.

That first year saw 800 pounds of produce as the farm built the foundations for years to come. In 2012, a ton of food was produced, while 2013 saw 3,000 pounds produced, Callion said.

He's excited about how far the farm has come and what they have produced.

"There are the sweetest sweet peas in the world in that row right there," Callion said proudly.

A decision was made to leave the garden in place and not develop the site for housing, he said. Callion and fellow volunteers built what was supposed to be temporary vegetable beds as an example of how things have changed.

"We are building things more permanently now that we know this is sticking around," he said.

It wasn't until the early 1970s, and a bit later in his life that Callion gained any experience with farming.

"I grew a tomato plant that I bought on sale at K-Mart," he said with a laugh.

That first experience led to an interest in gardening and growing his own food until now when he oversees the farm.

Participants at Saturday's event will receive a tour of the site, enjoy cooking demonstrations and get recipes, food samples and seeds, Callion said. There will also be children's crafts and music.

For more information, visit the farm's website

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