Family-owned Blackmer Farms brimming with plants, vegetables
Jessica, Michaela and Daniel, part of the welcoming team at family-owned Blackmer Farms.
by JANET STOICA
The Blackmer family’s fifth generation is carrying on the family name and business while being proud to do so as they look forward to providing their home-grown plants and vegetables to the local community for many years to come.
“We offer our customers what they like and are happy to do so,” said Michaela Kelley, wife of Dan Kelley whose grandparents worked the land. “This working farm was originally a dairy operation. In the 1960’s a decision was made to close the dairy operation and transition to a fresh vegetable and greenhouse business. Sweet corn was the first product offered and the expansion to where we are today has just flourished. Lots of the family’s hard work has produced wonderful plants, vegetables, and our own farm-raised cuts of USDA beef, pork, and chicken.”
This bountiful and palate-pleasing agricultural marketplace is just a short hop over the Connecticut state line and you’ll be happy you took the short scenic ride to their greenhouses.
Blackmer’s opened for the season to its loyal customers in April and on Memorial Day weekend will offer beautiful cemetery baskets as well. There are plenty of annual and perennial plants for the public to pick from whether in attractive hanging baskets or plastic six-packs for your home garden. The greenhouse will be open for customers in May and June for those wanting decorative plants such as superbell petunias (a hummingbird favorite), impatiens, and Dragon Wing begonias (a robust and heat-tolerant variety producing abundant flowers all summer). Also in the mix are geraniums, verbena, and fuchsia.
Their vegetable plant offerings are many with over forty varieties of tomatoes and peppers. “Every customer has their own personal favorite of plants that they come here for,” said Ms. Kelley, “but some of our tomato varieties are Big Boy, Roma, Sunsugar cherry tomatoes, and super-sweet cherry tomatoes. We grow and seed everything ourselves in February and work the greenhouses for three months growing everything from seed. When the plants come in they’re the size of your thumb. We nurture the baby plants. We do buy seeds from various seed companies and grow our plants from those.”
Their pepper varieties include jalapeño and Carolina Reapers which Guinness World Records declared to be the hottest chili pepper in the world. The Carolina registers 1,641,183 SHU on the Scoville Scale of heat pungency. That’s enough to make you sweat ‘til January! Of course, Blackmer’s also carries a nice selection of bell peppers of many colors as well as banana peppers. Additional vegetable plants include Marketmore cucumbers, pickling cukes; summer, zucchini, butternut and acorn squash; classic eggplant; candy and red onions; leeks; Bravo and Blue Lagoon cabbage; broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussel sprouts. All of these vegetable plants are available through May and June or until they are sold out. Get ‘em fast and while they last!
Of course, no vegetable listing would be complete without mentioning that when the time is right, their own sweet corn is available for us to relish in the good ol’ summertime! Two varieties of sweet corn that patrons enjoy are butter and sugar (the white and gold kernels) and Silver Queen (white kernels). Other items for summer purchase are their own tomatoes, summer squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, and fresh fruit from other local farms that includes apples, peaches (if available, as the frost this past year hindered the peach crop), blueberries, and sweet plums.
In 2017, the farm began selling itsr own pasture-raised USDA-certified beef (including porterhouse and other steak cuts, tenderloins, boneless sirloin, ribeyes, and roasts); non-GMO pork (chops, sausage, ribs, and bacon); and non-GMO free-range chicken (whole and half-cuts).
The fall will bring live seasonal decorations in addition to corn stalks, mums, pumpkins, jack-o’-lanterns, and gourds for your home’s embellishment. The farm also sells hay (round and rectangular bales) to horse farms and anyone else in need of the product.
Blackmer Farm, 441 Quinebaug Road (Route 131), North Grosvenordale CT 06255
(860) 576-2191. Hours: Mon-Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sat/Sun 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. They accept cash, check, and credit/debit cards.
“Agriculture is the greatest and fundamentally the most important of our industries. The cities are but branches of the tree of national life, the roots of which go deeply into the land. We all flourish or decline with the farmer.” Bernard Baruch