Susan Mitchell is the farmer and owner of Cloverleigh Farm a beautiful farm located in Connecticut's quiet corner. For more information on Cloverleigh Farm, check out their buyCTgrown profile
Tell us a little bit about Cloverleigh Farm
I grow mixed vegetables using organic growing practices for sale direct to the consumer via a CSA program. During the growing season, local CSA members come weekly to the farm in Storrs to pick up their share of the harvest and Hartford residents have the opportunity to pick up a CityShare at the Dirt Salon in the Parkville neighborhood. The focus of the business is being able to provide fresh and flavorful vegetables to those interested in high quality produce and looking to support a young farmer. In doing so, this helps to keep Connecticut's working lands in active production.
When did Cloverleigh Farm begin?
The farm business began in 2014 when I decided to start my own business after having managed farms for private individuals and non-profits for four previous years.
Where is the farm located?
The farm just recently relocated to Twin Ponds Farm in Storrs, where I lease field space and outbuildings. The farm is located in southern Mansfield in an area that is very agricultural and has wide sweeping views and beautiful vistas, in large part because Mountain Dairy is a neighbor. The space and the views are simply amazing and there is a wonderful opportunity for long-term growth here. I plan on putting down roots and becoming very involved in the community.
Who inspired you to get into farming?
I started growing food with kids when I was teaching high school environmental science in New York State. I really enjoyed it and the kids did too. I was living in the Hudson Valley at the time, an established hot spot for small-scale sustainable agriculture in this country, and knew a couple farmers. There was a great sense of community among both farmers and those who appreciated locally-grown food. I guess you can say it was the whole agricultural community that inspired me. I started volunteering every Saturday on a mixed vegetable and pastured livestock farm and soon thereafter left my teaching career to start apprenticing on that same farm.
Was there one defining moment in your life when you knew that you wanted to have a farm of your own ?
It was more of a gradual evolution. As I worked on different farms, learned more of the art and science of soil health and plant propagation, and gained more experience in different facets of vegetable production, I felt that I had the capability to farm on my own. That sense, coupled with very supportive family and friends, made the idea a real possibility.
What is your favorite vegetable to grow?
I have a real love for cabbage. It is such a non-glamorous vegetable but it is a powerhouse. It's no heirloom tomato but amazing in its own right. The fact that a little tiny round seed turns into a large leafy plant with delicate and intricate leaves wrapped around a core is magic. The different varieties, sizes, and colors make it interesting and cabbage stores quite well through the winter, making it a great vegetable to have year round!
What is your favorite dish to make for a summer potluck? Will you share the recipe?
I cook very simply. I leave the really unique and interesting flavor combinations to the chefs I work with. For me, simple is best, letting the flavor of the fresh produce stand out. I basically only cook with what is in season (or what I have frozen or canned) so I have to work with what is available. Based on my soft spot for cabbage, there's nothing like a summer coleslaw. There are so many ways to make it, but this "recipe", if you can even call it that, is one option.
1 head cabbage of choice
1/2 onion (optional)
rice wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice
salt & pepper
dried cranberries (optional)
Quarter the cabbage, remove the core, and finely chop.
Use a vegetable peeler to peel the carrots so you have thin strips, similar to the cabbage
Dice up the onion.
Drizzle in the oil and vinegar and mix thoroughly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Coleslaw is often better the next day or after a couple hours of sitting in the fridge.
Finish off with some dried cranberries, nuts, or anything else you feel like adding.
438 Browns Rd.
Storrs-Mansfield, CT 06268
CSA Distribution Address
@ Twin Ponds Farm
483 Browns Rd.
Storrs-Mansfield, CT 06268