Welcome to the Heckscher Farm!
Heckscher Farm is a living resource where visitors can experience our rural heritage through recreational and educational activities. Explore our farm, and discover the sights, sounds, and smells that reveal the nature of farm life, and watch the staff conduct the daily chores that maintain this active farm.
The Heckscher Farm is a 10 acre rural oasis, where visitors can relax and enjoy a slower pace of life. The picturesque backdrop is dotted with barns, a maple sugar house, organic vegetable garden, open pastures, and dozens and dozens of farm animals. During your visit take the opportunity to experience aspects of life on a small New England Farm.
In 1955, the Museum received its first Heckscher Foundation for Children Grant to build the Farm. The farm opened that year with a dairy barn, creamery, stalls for three cows, a silo, barnyard, and two small paddocks. Since then we have expanded to include, a chicken coop, pig pen, larger pastures, shelters, and multiple barns including the Cheshire Barn built in 1750, an organic vegetable garden, maple sugar house, and many heritage breeds of farm animals.
The goal of the vegetable garden is to educate within the context of a working organic garden. In 2005, the vegetable garden was doubled in size, which provided the opportunity to grow a more diverse variety of fruits and vegetables. In addition, educational programs were expanded and created to use the vegetable garden as a classroom, bringing school children onto the farm to experience a working garden, learn basic botany including the life cycle of a plant and the major parts and functions of a plant, and gain a greater understanding of where their food comes from. SMNC summer camps and educational programs also use the garden as a place where students learn skills and methods needed to grow a successful garden.
Today, the garden is cared for by a dedicated group of Museum employees and volunteers. Each spring rows of onions, carrots, beets, spinach, and lettuce are planted. Cucumbers and pole beans are grown on trellis and towers, and a perennial favorite, grapes provide a bountiful harvest year after year. Started by seed indoors, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon, and muskmelons ripen in the warm summer sun. Potatoes, pumpkins, and summer squash are given room to run free in the "field". Herbs such as basil, dill, chives, cilantro, and sage are harvested and add a spice to summer dishes. Garlic is planted in the late-fall for a summer treat. Annual and perennial flowers provide bees, butterflies, and humming birds with a feast throughout the growing season.
Maple Sugar House
Each February, at the top of the hill on the Heckscher Farm, the maple sugar house starts to begin to bustle with activity. Late winter/early spring is the maple sugaring season here at the Stamford Museum & Nature Center.
A member of the Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut, the Museum's sugarhouse is the closest public sugarhouse to New York City. Annually, over 2,000 people visit the sugarhouse including over 750 school children. We have school programs, adult programs, and open house events including Maple Sugar Festival Weekend.
During an average season the farm produces over 60 gallons of pure Connecticut maple syrup. We tap over 300 maple trees on site and use a 2x6 wood fired evaporator to boil down the sap.
Stop by for a visit during the season and pick up a pint or two of our pure maple syrup.
For more information, contact our Director of Education, Lisa Monachelli at firstname.lastname@example.org.