Valley Bounty: Season’s last crops in at Sapowsky Farm

  • The Sapowskys, who offer their produce for sale at their farm stand, have a variety of squash on offer.

  • The Sapowskys, who offer their produce for sale at their farm stand, have a variety of squash on offer. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Tammy Sapowsky

  • Tammy and Stephen Sapowsky have stuck with the big summer crops of corn, potatoes and strawberries since taking over from Stephen’s parents in 1984. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO/Tammy Sapowsky

For the Recorder
Published: 10/28/2020 8:49:11 AM

Right off Route 202 in Granby sits Sapowsky Farm, a second-generation family-run farm growing between 50 and 80 acres of vegetables, depending on the year. While they are most well-known for their sweet corn, strawberries and tomatoes, the farm also grows a variety of fall crops including winter squash, pumpkins, cabbage, gourds, corn stalks, straw and peppers.

Sapowsky Farm was founded in 1947 on about 40 acres of land. Current owners Tammy and Stephen took over operations from Stephen Sapowsky’s parents in 1984 and have kept growing many of the farm’s original specialties, including potatoes, sweet corn and strawberries, along with new crops, including four acres of pumpkins.

The pumpkins are planted by seed in June. As they begin to grow, Sapowsky will cultivate the plants, pushing soil up against the base of the plant, which helps suppress weed growth by burying smaller weeds growing there.

Additionally, the pumpkin plants form a canopy of leaves that help kill off weeds by blocking sunlight.

“Weeds are the biggest threat to getting a good yield for us because they steal nutrients from the soil and can really keep the pumpkin plants from thriving,” Stephen Sapowsky explains.

As with all field crops, the weather also plays a big role in the success of the pumpkins. To avoid having to irrigate, the Sapowskys plant their pumpkins on “heavy” land, where the soil is naturally more wet and better able to retain water. The risk is that in very wet years, too much water can drown the seedlings or lead to disease. With hardly any rain this year, the gamble paid off, and the Sapowskys were glad to have their pumpkins on heavy land.

As with most vine crops, the biggest pest facing the pumpkins are deer. Deer will eat the leaves off the pumpkin plants through the summer, as well as the fruit in the fall. “We’ll certainly scare the deer off if we see them, but my general rule has always been to just plant extra so there is enough to go around,” Sapowsky says with a laugh.

Harvesting begins in early September. The pumpkin stems are cut from the vine, and the pumpkins are placed in rows. From there, they are picked up in large bins and brought back to the farm on a forklift, or low bed trailer.

All of Sapowsky Farm’s products are sold at their farm stand, located at 436 East State Street, Route 202 in Granby. They will be closing for the season on Nov. 1. To find other local farms open near you, visit buylocalfood.org/farmguide.

Emma Gwyther is the development associate at Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture.




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