On a warm, sunlit afternoon at Sport Hill Farm in Easton, Patti Popp’s market at Sport Hill Farm was abuzz. Wood crates overflowed with textbook-quality produce like leafy Swiss chard and purple-veined bok choy – providing shoppers with plenty of tasty choices.
Patti and Allan, a landscaper couple, raise organic vegetables while also raising chickens and pigs for meat production. They supply local restaurants with food and host events related to sustainable agriculture while offering a CSA membership service, summer camp services, and summer camp programs for local youth.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
If you are in Easton, CT, and looking to add freshness and variety to your diet this summer, check out Sport Hill Farm’s Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). With their 20-week organic summer CSA program, they provide delicious heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peas, and berries, as well as supporting local farms that work tirelessly during pandemic outbreaks to keep our region’s food supply safe.
CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is an age-old agricultural model that bridges customers and farmers. Members pay upfront at the beginning of every season in exchange for receiving their weekly share of seasonal vegetables. This arrangement helps farmers fund production while giving consumers access to fresh local produce.
Patti Popp ’86, of Sport Hill Farm near Notre Dame’s main campus in Connecticut, is one of Connecticut’s most celebrated organic farmers and champions of CSA programs. I often frequent her stall at Westport Farmers’ Market, where she sells a mixture of her produce alongside locally sourced goods like meat and eggs as well as cheeses and bread made locally.
Sport Hill Farm also hosts a full-service market on its premises and participates in several local weekly farmers markets, like one started by Karyn Leito from Notre Dame’s Class of 1986 in Black Rock. Furthermore, it runs an Unquowa School District Summer Farm Camp, which gives children hands-on experience learning sustainable farming and seasonal cooking techniques.
Dillner Family Farm of Gibsonia offers another family-run CSA in addition to selling at several local farmers’ markets and offering gourmet salad greens and culinary herbs for their CSA share, as well as cut flowers, potted plants, and vegetable starts. Their year-round cultivation of mushrooms also makes an appearance at various farmers’ markets throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Their first week-long subscription runs until mid-October, with multiple pricing options available.
If you’re in search of some fresh local produce to spice up your meals this summer, visit one of Connecticut’s many farm stands. Most are open throughout the summer season and offer everything from berries and peaches to squash and eggplant – as well as products raised without hormones and additives.
Patti Popp, founder of Sport Hill Farm since 2023, has developed an educational yet enjoyable place for all visitors – especially children. Her program of Crop Cash Choice supports sustainable farming while she runs summer camp at Unquowa School, as well as offering wholesale produce sales to nearby restaurants.
Farm stands are ideal for picking up dinner necessities for families. Offering fresh veggies, meats, and eggs, as well as an on-site bakery selling bread and cheese products as well as local honey and jams, make this spot so beloved by visitors of all ages.
You can taste their dedication in their fresh, flavorful produce. Raising their beef naturally and responsibly allows them to offer it directly to consumers as sausages, steaks, smoked bacon, and more – no hormones or other artificial products used; animals roam freely across their farm’s greenery!
The Farm Stand at Sherwood is open from May to October and provides a selection of organic tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, squashes, and kale grown organically, fresh eggs from local chicken farms, local honey maple syrup sweet corn, as well as an impressive array of herbs and other plants for purchase. Pick Your Apple season begins around Labor Day; their variety of apples, including McIntosh Jonamac Cortland Empire Ida Red varieties, are ready and waiting.
Summer Farm Camp
Sport Hill Farm, as a relatively new farm, has already made a remarkable difference to its community. Patti Popp is passionate about organic food production – both growing it herself and eating it herself – and shares her bounty with neighbors through summer camps for children.
Sport Hill Farm’s Summer Farm Camp provides children with an educational experience about the food they eat and its production. Each week, the children explore different aspects of the farm, such as composting, sustainability, and seasonal cooking, while spending time with animals on site. Finally, children prepare a luncheon made entirely from foods they have harvested themselves!
Easton, CT-based Patti Popp runs her family-owned farm with great passion and enthusiasm, having self-taught herself. Patti’s dedication to organic food – both growing it herself and eating it herself – led her to open her farm up to the public, as well as host educational classes, internship programs, field trips, and birthday parties for visitors. Patti also sells her produce to several restaurants like The Whelk, Artisan Restaurant Match L’Escale, and Jessup Hall, among many others.
Sport Hill Farm also provides an innovative new program called Crop Cash that allows members of the community to purchase shares of its CSA at discounted rates, giving customers access to SHF market credit that can be spent as they please throughout the season and allowing them to continue receiving peak-season organic produce weekly.
Farm to Kitchen Camp offers older children an unforgettable weeklong learning experience at one of Connecticut’s finest small farms, exploring and learning all about food they grow, prepare, and consume themselves. Kids will visit educational gardens, interact with animals at the coop, explore 170 acres of trails, as well as design a meal in the Almshouse Haybarn to further their knowledge about farm-to-table dining!
Sport Hill Farm Educational Center provides children with an insight into our food system while giving them hands-on experience in gardening, animal husbandry, composting, and seasonal cooking. Students learn these skills at Sport Hill Farm while providing local organic produce for sale by volunteers and staff members alike. Run by a dedicated team of staff members and volunteers alike – Sport Hill Farm students participate in activities designed to foster leadership and responsibility as part of Hillside School’s mission of developing all boys in mind, body, and spirit by equipping them with valuable life skills – this program supports Hillside’s mission by providing boys with lifelong knowledge about themselves – not only in school.
Patti Popp was never expected to experience the success of her small, family-run operation 19 years ago, yet today, they grow over 100 varieties of non-GMO vegetables on 40 acres, raise chickens and pigs, manage a farm store, manage Crop Cash Choice CSA membership programs for restaurants as well as offer summer camp programs designed to promote agriculture education.
Sport Hill Farm stands out as an exceptional learning environment, hosting field trips, interns, birthday parties, and offering Summer Farm Camp for children. Through these programs, Sport Hill Farm enables children to gain a better appreciation of eating organic produce from local sources while encouraging boys to use academic subjects in new contexts while working at the farm, emphasizing respect for nature, and cultivating critical thinking skills that will support success in school and beyond.
As a result of their hard work, Sport Hill Farm is making more extraordinary charitable efforts in their community. They regularly donate produce to homeless shelters and host an autism camp that allows children to plant seeds, pull weeds, and harvest crops themselves!
When visiting the area, be sure to stop by this market from mid-May through mid-December for fresh vegetables, milk, bread, and honey while supporting local family farms.