Tolland residents Mike and Megan Grogan are shaping their home, Autumn Oak Farms on Buff Cap Road, into a local source for fresh vegetables and eggs, as well as a center of knowledge for their Tolland neighbors about local farming.
"It's not something that the public always thinks about consciously," Megan said of how some consumers automatically purchase processed or non-local products. "It's starting to get that way, but lots of people still think that their food comes from the grocery store. Knowing where your food comes from is a big deal."
The Grogans, who moved to Tolland two years ago, are still in the early stages of transforming Autumn Oak. They are currently in the process of tearing down a portion of the old barn on the property and building a new one.
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One section of the barn will be brought to the front of the 21-acre farm so that they can sell vegetables, eggs, honey, cut flowers, candles, soap and more this summer.
They also plan on clearing land for an orchard and perhaps expanding their livestock to include cows.
Additionally, Autumn Oak Farms will always include a strong focus on education.
"We have an open door policy," Mike said. "When it's a full running operation, come and see the chickens. Come and find out where your eggs come from."
The Grogans, both full-time teachers, hope to start bringing the message about healthy eating and locally grown food to summer school programs this year. For Mike and Megan, it's a way to share a lifestyle that they grew up in, either living or working on small farms.
"By starting at a young age, we can educate people and give them life skills," Megan said of their curriculum on healthy eating.
Mike plans on devoting his energy to the farm full-time, starting next year.
And for Autumn Oak Farms and the Grogans, the curriculum is only one of the many steps planned to create a center for local produce and agricultural education in Tolland.
Keep up with the latest Autumn Oak Farms developments by visiting the farm's Facebook page.