Fort Hill Farms Thompson, CT
Kristin Orr and her eldest daughter, Kies, keep a lot of balls in the air to support their historic fourth-generation farm. Kristin’s beloved lavender business and gardens, a corn maze, an annual fall pumpkin festival and a small store with a scoop shop have landed the farm on Yankee Magazine’s “Best in New England” list. The Orrs are also part of a small group of farmers who process and market their own dairy products under The Farmer’s Cow brand. Sometimes at the store, Kies can’t help herself from approaching strangers. “It really melts my heart when I see people choosing our products,” she says. “I’ll walk up and thank them for supporting local farmers.”
Kies came back to work full-time on the family farm with her mother, Kristin, and father, Peter, after earning a degree in agriculture at SUNY Cobleskill. Her boyfriend, Jared LaVack, also works on the farm as their crop and shop manager. Much of the land they own today has been in continuous agricultural production for more than 300 years. “People always ask about the next generation,” Kies reflects, “and I say, ‘Yes, there’s a next generation and you’re looking at it.’”
Sadly, Peter passed away unexpectedly far too young and the family is more committed than ever to keeping the farm vibrant and vital in his memory. The Orrs also established a memorial scholarship fund to be awarded annually to a local Future Farmers of America senior planning to major in agriculture in college. It honors the tireless work that Peter did on behalf of Connecticut agriculture and dairy farmers as chairman of the co-op’s Sustainability Committee and member of Connecticut Governor’s Dairy Council, Milk Promotion Board and Milk Regulation Board.
Learn more about everything going on at forthillfarms.com from lavender fields to farm-fresh ice cream!