Dale Kroop, Director
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THE HAMDEN EXPERIENCE: HINDINGER FARM
The Hamden Experience: Hindinger Farm
By Alexander Basio
Hindinger Farm has been significant in the Hamden community for 126 years. Over that time, the 120-acre farm has evolved in many ways, while maintaining many of the core values it was founded on in 1893: Family, community, hard work, and most of all, fresh produce. Originally a dairy cattle farm, the business transitioned to growing fruits and vegetables in its second generation. Today, the farm is managed by Anne Hindinger (third generation) and her children Liz and George (fourth generation). They focus on different roles within the farm’s operations while maintaining the strong family traditions. Hindinger Farm is the exact opposite of what Americans fear in today’s world of produce, avoiding over-mechanization, heavy pesticide use, genetically mutated crops, and the corporate model. Instead, one can find honest work, delicious fresh food, and a unique farm experience that both locals and visitors are unlikely to forget.
The farm is located on a beautiful tract of land located in the hills of West Hamden, offering as much in the way of an experience as it does in fresh produce. A stunning view of the New Haven skyline and Long-Island Sound backdrops the scenic hills that stretch on both sides of Dunbar Hill Rd. “We really just want people to enjoy how beautiful it is up here” says Liz, which explains why the family farm has looked beyond just produce in consideration to what it can offer. An animal pen featuring friendly goats and chickens can be found in a children’s play area right near the main shop, and the annual strawberry festival (just this past June) was a great success for the public and the farm. When a family is fortunate enough to have such a beautiful property, it is wise to share it with the community.
“We really just want people to enjoy how beautiful it is up here”
As times and technology change, Hindinger Farm continues to evolve with it. Adaptation has been a major key to the longevity and success of the farm.Modernization does not always benefit the local farmer. “Times have been challenging recently” says George. “As expenses go up but food prices stay the same, it is important that farmers seek out ways to innovate and compete.” An example of this would be how Hindinger Farm moved away from wholesaling years ago and adopted more of a retail model. “Our innovation comes more with how we are going to sell our crops than how we grow them.” Explained George. What makes Hindinger Farm special is what it can offer: Farm-fresh produce, grown seasonally with minimal pesticide usage. Everything grown there is special, and the farm experience adds to the uniqueness. This business philosophy will continue to make Hindinger Farm stand out, especially as grocery delivery services and big companies continue to distance themselves from their customers.
Hindinger Farm has evolved through its overall community involvement. As people increasingly use technology to operate commercially and socially from their homes, community is sacrificed for efficiency. “I would like people to think globally and shop locally. It’s good to think of the huge picture, but it’s very important for us that people continue to be active members of their community and support local business.” says George. The spoils of the farm will always be a massive part of what the business offers, but don’t be surprised to see the farm continue to innovate in the services and experiences it can offer. Currently, George and Liz are examining how they can put on more events for the community and continue to grow the public outreach of the farm. Even through a century-plus period of evolution, some things haven’t changed. The family will always keep the doors propped open for visitors, as that is the Hindinger way.
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