Cherry Tree Farm, an iconic Bethany landmark, has been preserved as a farm forever.
Cherry Tree is one of the last remaining farms in Bethany, which was once a thriving agricultural community. The farm has been in the same family for over 150 years. The owners of the property – widowed sisters-in-law Edyth and Joan Carrington – were married to Carrington brothers and lived on the farm in the same house where they raised their families. Although Edyth has recently moved, Joan remains on the farm, where her son Bob raises Belted Galloway cattle, a favorite of his father. A local farmer also hays several of the farm’s fields.
Several years ago, Bob approached Connecticut Farmland Trust about preserving Cherry Tree Farm. Connecticut Farmland Trust identified funding partners and shepherded the complex project.
“It’s been a great pleasure working with Edyth and Joan as well as their children. Their collective commitment to protecting their farm is inspiring,” said Elisabeth Moore, Executive Director of Connecticut Farmland Trust. “We were excited to have the opportunity to work with our public partners and the Carrington family to protect an iconic farm in a rapidly growing part of the state.”
The voluntary land agreement between Connecticut Farmland Trust and the various funding agencies and the family allows the Carringtons to continue farming as they have for decades while preventing the farm from being developed into a housing subdivision or for non-agricultural commercial use.
Funding for the project was made possible by the United States Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Connecticut Department of Agriculture, and Town of Bethany.
“I am thankful the Carrington family decided to permanently protect their farm, and I congratulate the Town of Bethany and Connecticut Farmland Trust in partnering with the Connecticut and United States Departments of Agriculture on this meaningful project,” state Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky said. “The preservation of this farm is another example of what can be accomplished by federal, state and local governments in partnership with CFT.”
Derry Gorski, Bethany First Selectman, added, “This is the town’s first project protecting farmland, and Connecticut Farmland Trust made a complicated process easier because of their expertise. We are also grateful to the Carringtons for their patience during the long process.”
The 133-acre farm has a high percentage of prime and locally important farmland soils, which made it a high conservation priority for protection. Carrington Farm was one of the original applications in the pilot of Connecticut Department of Agriculture’s Community Farm Preservation Program (CFPP). The purpose of the program is to encourage locally supported farmland preservation on smaller farms that have excellent agriculture soils and contribute to local economic activity but may be ineligible for other protection programs. Carrington Farm is the second CFPP project in New Haven County to be preserved.
Joan Carrington stated she was “very happy and thankful to the public agencies, Connecticut Farmland Trust, and First Selectman Derry and the townspeople for making this happen. Hallelujah, it’s done!”
Edyth echoed those sentiments. “My husband, Gordon, loved farming and I am sure he would be pleased to no end that the land will always be used for agricultural purposes.”