In the Connecticut countryside, a new culinary farm stay invites travellers to harvest, forage, and cook with the local bounty. By Samantha Falewée
On a blustery Saturday in early May, I stood in an open-beamed farmhouse in northern Connecticut, looking into a pot of steaming tea swirling with chunks of mushroom: Chaga, reishi, and rippled fans of turkey-tail. Across from me was Tracy Hayhurst, culinary director of Husky Meadows Farm, telling me about her stint cooking meals for hikers along the Appalachian Trail in her early 20s. It was then, working off the grid, that she developed her passion for food that, like my mushroom tea, is natural, creative, and waste-free.
I had come to Husky Meadows to experience the farm’s new program, Seed & Spoon, where visitors can sleep in one of four apartment-style suites, help out in the fields and greenhouses, and cook meals with ingredients grown just yards from the dinner table.
On a three-acre plot right outside the town of Norfolk, Husky Meadows is planted with some 100 varieties of herbs and vegetables in what farm manager Adam Buggy calls a “handworked, human-scale” operation. Owners Dominique Lahaussois and David Low (Lahaussois is originally from Corsica; both have a background in finance) bought the property 30 years ago and named it after the breed of their beloved dogs. Chef Steve Archaski started an on-site edible garden in 2014; six years later, Buggy joined the team to begin farming in earnest. A community supported agriculture (CSA) program launched in 2015 to serve the surrounding area.
Everyone I spoke to on the property was passionate about regenerative farming, which takes organic to the next level by rotating crops to increase biodiversity and improve soil health. In the future, Buggy hopes to start a community garden to welcome school groups to the property. “Farming is a public service, and I think many people don’t understand that,” he told me. “We all need small farms.”
On my first full day at Husky Meadows, I joined a small group of fellow food enthusiasts to traipse the grounds: harvesting arugula and Salanova lettuce; meeting Hereford Shorthorn heifers the colour of red clay and cream; and biting into white turnips pulled from the stony earth. Wandering the property’s 260 acres of hardwood forest, we touched budding shiitake mushrooms that grew from carefully stacked oak logs.
On an afternoon foraging and gardening expedition, Hayhurst had me plant ramps in soil so rich and dark it looked like chocolate cake, and harvest lemony stalks of Japanese knotweed—one of the lesser-known foods she loves to introduce to guests. “You have to be adventurous, but it’s also about trust,” she says. “I’m not going to feed you something I don’t like.”
Soon after, Hayhurst coached us through dinner prep, which began with smoked-maple mint juleps and ended with roast leg of lamb, a salad of foraged garlic-mustard greens, and hand-rolled gnocchi. Another highlight of the weekend: meeting Archaski, who is now the head baker and whose dandelion shortbread cookies were made with flowers so fresh the dough was flecked with vivid yellow and green. They paired beautifully with our mushroom tea.
Planning a culinary farm stay
United Airlines operates various direct and connecting flights to Norfolk International Airport from Indian cities such as Delhi and Mumbai.
Husky Meadows Farm offers two-night retreats from INR 1,60,022, all-inclusive, from May through October.