March Farm is a quintessential New England family farm located in Bethlehem, CT; one that has found its niche in Litchfield County and is determined to keep farming at least for one more generation. Innovation, specialization, and land preservation are all elements of success if a farmer is going to be able to provide to hospitals on a local scale.
Ben March was born into farming, but explored other options after college. After a short stint in the corporate world, he was back farming. Since 2004, Ben has committed himself to working at March Farm alongside his father, cousins, and other family members. Ben's vision of a successful farm today is simple; create a brand name. Keep it consistent, simple, and catchy.
March Farm sells most of its produce wholesale, although they do have a roadside farm stand where they sell retail hence there is lots of competition. When March Farm was approached to supply New Milford Hospital through Plow to Plate®, the answer was obvious. Plow to Plate® was a great program that would provide a good opportunity for the farm to reach even more people locally. Ben sees this as a symbiotic relationship. "It benefits the farmer and the patients."
Being part of the local community is essential for farms today if they are going to have an impact. In order for farms to be successful on a large scale and reach as many people as possible, Ben says there is a need to "specialize" in the crops that are grown. Hospitals and schools work on a limited budget and therefore cannot afford the prices many small farms must charge in order to survive. Having farms in the area that focus on several crops and grow a large quantity of these crops will make local food more available to local institutions (and consequently more people). Open space, keeping farmland as farmland and selling development rights, which March Farm recently did on a portion of their farm, are some key steps towards having more farms in the area.
Last year March Farm provided tomatoes and strawberries to New Milford Hospital and are excited to provide a greater selection and quantity this year.