Laurel Glen Farm: from the farm to your fork

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Peter Hamme and Alex Recker in front of the main field of crops at Laurel Glen Farm. (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

It may come as a shock to some and humorous to others, but the vegetables you or your parents purchase in the grocery store aren’t actually grown there. Those who appreciate the organic process in which the produce you enjoy makes its way to your plate might find interest in the local Laurel Glen Farm, which Randy Rogowski runs with a team of family members.

Harvesting the crops many take for granted is Randy Rogowski’s life.

 ‘Farm Day’

In order to raise awareness for the business and potentially gain more regulars, Rogowski and his family prepared the six-acre farm he inherited from his uncle, Peter Rogowski, back in 2012 for Farm Day on Aug. 27. The event provided both new and old customers the opportunity to tour the entire farm, taste dishes made with fresh crops, as well as meet the staff who keep the farm running.

The farm is open Monday through Friday from 2:30 to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 to 4.

Laurel Glen Farm mentality

Rogowski said he’s always been the type to get his hands dirty, and he caters to the people who appreciate fresh produce.

“You can just taste how fresh our crops are just by biting into a tomato,” said Rogowski.

The farm’s most popular crop this summer has definitely been the tomatoes. According to Rogowski they were distributing more than 500 pounds each week

“In school we learned about hydroponics where produce is basically mass vegetables to be more profitable,” said Alex Recker who is a volunteer on the farm and the only person involved who isn’t related to the family. “They end up producing 40 times the amount of vegetables than you would in a field but they end up tasting bland. Here, we take care of everything we plant personally and want to assure our customers that we are putting out vegetables that taste as good as they can.”

“We literally weed, wash, and pack every single thing we grow ourselves,” said Rogowski. “That’s one of the differences about our farm. We work really hard to give you guys the best product as possible and I feel like it shows and you can really taste it.”

Managing more than six acres of farmland can be a handful, according to the farm’s staff, but they all share the same goal of wanting to keep the business alive and continue to expand. Rogowski said he couldn’t keep the farm going without the help of his staff and he is even working another job to help make sure it runs smoothly.

Rogowski shows off one of the red peppers that are growing on the farm. (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

Rogowski shows off one of the red peppers that are growing on the farm. (Aaron Berkowitz photo)

“When my uncle passed away I had to figure out how to make the business profitable and make it my career, because I always wanted to,” said Rogowski.

The farm also offers a community supported agriculture (CSA) program, which allows customers to purchase a “full share” of seasonal vegetables, which helps the farm compete with some of the larger food providers.

“They pay up front, which is nice because it helps us purchase the plants and supplies needed for the garden,” Rogowski said.

Recker said the farm already participates in Shelton’s farmers market and looks to attend more in the future.

“We’d like to make our way to City Seed in New Haven,” said Recker. “They’re great because you can only sell what you grow, which eliminates a lot of the ‘competition’ who really just buy and resell products. A lot of people aren’t honest and we are so against that. It’s not really farming or fair. But it’s business.”

Rogowski said this summer is the first year that the farm used a greenhouse to grow crops before planting them in the fields. Since this is only his third year running the farm, he said he is proud of the steps he’s taken toward expanding the business so far.

“We started out as just one little field,” said Rogowski. “We’re going to keep growing, though. Fall should be a good season for us. We have some delicious crops for everyone to enjoy.”

For more information on the farm or its participation in local farmers’ markets email [email protected] or call 203-305-9179.

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