The modern way to get Fat Stone Farm products involves high-speed internet connections, e-commerce transactions, and a few UPS trucks (sorry, we're not open to the public) -- but our place here in Lyme, Connecticut is founded on ancient bedrock, Native American footprints, old farm paths, and lots of heritage stone walls.
Millenia ago, the geologic forces of the earth left behind a small piece of very old bedrock while the rest travelled far, far away to Africa. Fat Stone Farm lies on a corner of this bedrock, older than any other in Connecticut, and a keen traveller will notice this by the shapes of the rocks within the old stone walls. They change within a mile of the farm, indicating the underlying change of bedrock.
The glaciers covered New England a bit later. As the glacier scraped and pushed the surface of the land southward, it deposited a mass of soil and rock. Then it retreated, leaving the mound at its southern most tip: Long Island. A large fresh-water lake developed north of Long Island, and eventually the Atlantic Ocean breached this lake creating the Long Island Sound.
Here is the foundation of and influences on our sweet-tasting elderberries, our rich maple syrup, and spicy baby ginger.
More recently, a Native American tribe called the Mohegans traversed our fields. Our road (Joshuatown) is named for the chief's son, whose Anglicized name was Joshua. Legend goes that he sat upon a nearby cliff, a mile or so from our farm, and surveyed the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound from there. Deep in the undisturbed forest where our maple sap tubes run, we have found relics of their life -- old, stone-lined wells, arrowheads, axe heads. The Europeans arrived in the 1600s, and eventually cleared the native forests. Our land was most likely sheep and cow pasture, and our ancestor farmers piled the rocks into short walls to keep the animals together. They also planted sugar maples.
A hard-working Eastern European family eventually owned a large tract of land in town, of which Fat Stone Farm has a small part. They arrived in the early 1900s, out of New York City, in hopes that one of their children would get healthier in the country air. Land was cheap then, after the first wave of Europeans abandoned the fields, mills, boat yards, and small industry of Lyme. Throughout the Great Depression, the "new" family ran the local store, and would trade land with customers unable to pay for their purchases. In this way, they amassed several hundred acres. Their descendants sold the land in the 1980s, dividing it carefully into 5- to 20-acre parcels. One of these parcels eventually returned to farming -- our Fat Stone Farm.
Our product "line" isn't clever, trendy, or exotic. It tastes amazing, and is rooted in our soil. It sprung out of what we can make here, what we like to eat here, and what gives life to our family. The antique, beautiful corner store carries our Organic Maple Syrup and Elderberry Apple Shots, we wouldn't have it any other way. And, to keep up with modern times, we make sure that customers much farther afield can easily benefit from the healthy country air and ancient soils of Lyme with a few taps on a smart phone.