Eat Fresh and Local from our Human Powered Farm in Old Lyme, Connecticut
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About Upper Pond Farm
Upper Pond practices sustainable agriculture on Sill Lane in Old Lyme, and on Beaver Brook Road in Lyme, Connecticut. We grow seasonal vegetables and fruits on our six acre plot of land adjacent to Upper Mill Pond, and on our 5 acre plot located at New Mercies Farm in Lyme.
We use ecologically based agricultural practices to manage our farm holistically. Top priorities are enhancing biodiversity, soil health and structure.
Upper Pond Farm recycles nutrients, encourages composting on and off farm, and builds resilient systems. We use preventative methods by building systems that are plant positive to avoid synthetic chemical treatment of disease and pests. When your soil is healthy, your plants are healthy.
Upper Pond Farm invests in Lyme-Old Lyme's community. We feed our community directly. We educate our community by connecting them with the earth and food system
Upper Pond Farm donates produce to the Shore Line Soup Kitchen.
Farm Crew 2015 Left to Right: Courtney Jean Perry, Brendan McGuire, Baylee Drown and Ryan "Quinn" Quinn. Maria in the front.
Baylee and Quinn market their produce under her LLC name, Upper Pond Farm. The name Upper Pond Farm was already associated with the land on Sill Lane in 2014, when she incorporated. Now produce comes from both the land in Old Lyme (Upper Pond Farm) and in Lyme (New Mercies).
The original Upper Pond Farm is located on Sill Lane in Old Lyme. We grow vegetables and fruits on 6 acres of land bordering Mill Brook and Upper Mill Pond. Our land has been farmed for well over 165 years and, in addition to farming, was once the site of several water-powered mills, part of the early industry in Lyme/Old Lyme.
In the 1600’s a gristmill was in operation here and later a paper mill, iron mill, sawmill, and other small mills were added. Oliver Lay, for whom the Laysville area is named, operated a woolen mill in the large granite building just across from our farm. The picturesque mill and dam, believed to be built in 1702, can be seen from Sill Lane just near the entrance to our farm.
Most recently, our small acreage was part of a 120 acre dairy farm owned by John and Jessie Roberts, whose farm included the land now owned by High Hopes, the Senior Center and Town Woods Park.
Baylee moved to Old Lyme in the winter of 2013/2014, and began growing produce with the intention of marketing it to the fantastic vegan restaurant in Chester, Six Main. She found a strong demand for a CSA project shortly after starting her business, and now markets produce to CSA members, farmers markets, restaurants and grocery stores.
We are proud to continue the long tradition of farming this rich land and hope you will take the opportunity to enjoy our fresh, local produce we supply to our community.
A history of our growing area at New Mercies:
New Mercies is a hub of all sorts of farm endeavors. Baylee and Quinn have lived at this farm since 2015.
Rod and Debby Hornbake purchased the land and developed it into a vegetable farm in 2013, with the help of Michael Melillo. For two seasons Farmer Mike ran New Mercies with the help of Rod and Debby, certifying the land as organic, creating a CSA and developing the infrastructure we still use today. In 2015 they took a break and cover cropped the farm.
In Fall of 2015 Baylee and Quinn moved into New Mercies and started farming in both Lyme and Old Lyme. They love the farming neighborhood and were married on the property in the fall of 2016. In 2017 the rights to split and develop the land into housing lots was donated to the Connecticut Farmland Trust, and in the spring of 2019 we anticipate the farm being transferred from the ownership of Rod and Debby to Baylee and Quinn.
We (Quinn and Baylee) appreciate all of the help and support that we have received. Thank you!!!
Baylee Rose Drown was raised on her families' Holestien dairy farm in Michigan. She earned a Bachelors of Science from Michigan State Universities' College of Agriculture and Natural Resources in 2009.
Baylee picked up the organic farming bug in Vermont, where she worked at Green Mountain College's diversified farm from 2009-2013. During Baylee's time at Green Mountain she qualified the farm as Animal Welfare Approval and was active in the greater community by serving as a board member for the Stone Valley Food Coop. Baylee earned her Masters of Science in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College in 2014, as she was incorporating Upper Pond Farm as an LLC and turning the soil in Old Lyme for the first time.
Baylee loves feeding people and being really tired and dirty at the end of a workday. She also loves to teach, hike, fish, brew beer and cook.
Ryan Quinn, known as “Quinn”, graduated from Lyme Old Lyme high school in 2003, then earned his BS in Biology and MA degree in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is Baylee's partner in farming and in life. He has a rich and diverse background as a chemistry teacher, farmer, outdoor educator, carpenter, handyman and even as Chief Steward aboard the Kalmar Nyckel, a tall ship sailing out of Wilmington DE.
At the farm Quinn loves finding the most efficient way to do everything. He is constantly innovating and driving the farm forward. He is responsible for maintenance and infrastructure development. The farmers appreicate his sense of humor and comittment to community camaraderie.
Brendan McGuire was born in Manchester, New Hampshire, but has lived in Farmington, Maine since he was four and considers it his hometown. His enthusiasm for farming and gardening stems from a lifelong interest in plants, animals, and natural systems, coupled with a strong interest on personal and community level self-sufficiency.
Brendan has had experience in a wide variety of agricultural pursuits, from vegetable production to dairying to beekeeping (his favorite!). He worked and volunteered at Green Mountain College’s Cerridwen Farm for three years before graduation, as well as working on several other small farms in Maine and Vermont, and he was a summer intern at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Missouri during the summer of 2013. Brendan graduated from Green Mountain College in May 2014 with a double major in Sustainable Agriculture & Food Production and Environmental Studies, and joined the staff at Upper Pond Farm immediately afterwards. In addition to his agricultural experience, Brendan’s skills include foraging, construction, and folk music.
It didn’t take Brendan long to fall in love with the farm and the Old Lyme area. He was an apprentice at Upper Pond Farm for the entire 2014 growing season, serving as the resident beekeeper and seed saver as well as taking part in all kinds of vegetable chores. He is excited to be returning for his fifth season as a farmhand in 2018!
Farmer Maria hails from down south. We think she is half Carolina dog and AmStaff. She came north by way of an organization called Three Diva's Dog Rescue. The Divas' helped her raise 14 fabulous puppies in Fair Haven, Vermont. Maria and her pups have an annual birthday party in Vermont.
Maria's job is to keep the farm free of vermin and geese. She welcomes human visitors with a smile and wag, and will power lean in for a hug and pets. She is great with kids of all ages. She has worked as a therapy dog in the past, and Baylee is being trained to take her into more situations where she can be petted while brightening everyone's day.
Maria welcomed home Luca, a cattle dog, Husky, Great Pyrenees and probably something else too, southern rescue dog. He kicks birds of prey off the farm, and keeps us laughing with his antics. Maria taught him how to hunt last year and now he is a proficient Vole Eradicator. He has learned many manners in the last year and a half.