Celebrating 25 Years of Open Farm Day at Sunny Valley Preserve

Saturday, September 23rd, 2017.

Stepping onto The Nature Conservancy’s Sunny Valley Preserve in New Milford is like stepping back in time. It is a picturesque setting of rustic, working farms that produce fresh, sustainable food for local residents and visitors alike. Once a year, the community joins to celebrate this special place during Open Farm Day—an event that is now in its 25th year.

“We look forward to this event every year,” says Sunny Valley Preserve director Wayne Woodard. “It’s a Conservancy tradition providing a chance for every member of the community to celebrate conservation and Connecticut’s agricultural history—and to see how agriculture will continue to play a role in the state’s future.”

There is evidence of farming here that stretches back almost a thousand years, and at Open Farm Day, visitors are treated to a host of activities inspired by this history: wool-spinning, maple syrup-making, pumpkin painting and more. Antique and new farm equipment are on display and there’s even a petting zoo for children to meet farm animals.

This year’s Open Farm Day there will be more attractions than ever before, including:

  • Pony rides
  • Petting zoo
  • Border Collie herding demonstrations followed by a meet & greet of the dogs and ducks
  • Kids “barnyard” where they can collect eggs from chickens and milk a cow
  • Oxen demos
  • Sheep-shearing demos
  • Chainsaw wood carvings
  • Pumpkin painting
  • Hayrides
  • And much more!

Visitors can also hike on trails and learn about nature, land management, and environmentally compatible farming at several observation sites on the property’s 1,850 acres of farmland, forests, wetlands and meadows.

The land, donated by George D. Pratt Jr. in 1970, was conserved under the condition that the farms be kept in agriculture as long as possible. Today, about 650 acres of the preserve are in active agriculture.