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“Most people don’t realize we have so much land right here in the center of town. They see horses up front and watch us teaching lessons and summer camps, but they don’t realize we have 50 acres here, with about half in hay fields, pasture land and light woods,” said Kate Bogli, owner of Maple View Farm. “When you stop by our Farm Store it can be a little tricky to see all the animals as well.” That’s because the Boglis run a pastured-based livestock farm where animals rotationally graze the fields.
“You never know where they’ll be,” she comments. “I move the cows every 2–3 days. They tour a big loop of the farm all summer long, then they lightly graze the hay fields before they get covered with snow.” For winter, all of the animals are housed in paddocks closer to the barn where water and electricity are more easily accessible.
The newest addition to the farm is vegetables. “We’ve had a garden on and off through the years, but we’re really trying to kick up the production to have a constant supply of veggies for our Farm Store.” The Boglis opened the Farm Store at 192 Salmon Brook Street in 2013 as an outlet to sell their cuts of beef and pork. It was a big upgrade from selling the meat out of the freezer in their garage. “People would have to call and make an appointment with me in advance. It just wasn’t convenient,” says Kate.
“I always wanted to capitalize on our location,” Bogli’s husband, Jason commented. “That’s why one of the first enterprises we started when we took over the farm from my father was selling Christmas trees from the front paddock,” he continued. “That has proved to be an invaluable business, providing income for the farm through the end of the year.” Making the farm financially viable hasn’t been easy. “We’ve tried a few different enterprises that haven’t worked well for us,” explains Farmer Kate. Meat goats was one. Though they were loved on the farm, they were just taking up too much time in maintaining fencing. And when they escaped, it was disastrous. “I can’t even count how many fruit trees they destroyed,” Jason explains. So it was a hard decision, but they decided to sell their small herd this spring. Meat chickens were also a struggle. The high expense of raising them combined with the lack of USDA processing facilities meant they didn’t raise any meat chickens this year. “I’m not saying ‘no’ forever to anything. I’m just saying ‘not right now’,” added Jason To make the farm viable, they constantly assess what is working and what is not.
Right now what IS working is their Farm Store. It has grown since 2013. In addition to their beef and pork, they are now selling milk, yogurt and cheese from Sweet Pea Farm in Granby, eggs from local producers, honey from Alba Apiary, maple syrup from Sweet Wind Farm and jams and jellies from Lost Acres Orchard. They also stock cans of crushed tomatoes from Holcomb Farm and a selection of cut flowers grown in the paddock next to the store. As for the selection of vegetables, Farmer Kate notes: “We kept the crop plan pretty simple this year. We focused on crowd-pleasing veggies like tomatoes, peppers, salad mix, kale, peas and beans. We’re still finding our footing in the veggie world both in production and marketing. It’s a tricky mix to produce enough to make customers interested and also get enough customers to buy the veggies since they have a short shelf life.” But no worries: nothing is wasted on the farm. Any unsold veggies are fed to chickens or pigs who don’t complain if a tomato is a little over ripe or green beans aren’t crisp.
“Our hope is that people will love the convenience of having all of this local food in one place,” added Kate. The Farm Store is open to the public every day 8 a.m.–8 p.m. It is self-serve, so bring cash, check, or your PayPal login info. Just pick out what you want, record it in the log book and pay. It’s that easy. Come tour the farm on Sept. 9 for Granby’s Open Farm Day. Check out Maple View Farm’s website or Facebook page for more information. Mapleviewhorsefarm.com