Millstone Farm up for sale
One of Wilton’s last working farms, Millstone Farm at 180 Millstone Road, went on the market Monday, Sept. 19, for $5.9 million.
Dedicated to sustainable agriculture, the 71.05-acre farm has served as an education outreach hub that supports farmers, community organizations, school groups and restaurateurs interested in learning more about the practice, its implementation and impact on local economies and food quality.
After purchasing the property in 2005, Betsy and Jesse Fink redeveloped it with the help of master farmer Annie Farrell.
Over the years, Betsy said, the farm has grown each year and today has barns, paddocks, fenced pastures, greenhouses, orchards, beehives, vegetable gardens, multiple trails, a dressage ring, equestrian course, and a four-bedroom stone and shingle home.
Millstone Farm has raised and sold various animals, crops and other items, including:
- Turkeys, pigs and lambs.
- Chickens and eggs.
- Honey and maple syrup.
- Carrots and pumpkins.
- Heirloom tomatoes.
- Baby new potatoes.
- Leeks and onions.
- Beets, kale and haricot.
Millstone has also grown vegetables for community-supported agriculture, local chefs and family-owned markets, and hosted annual Farm to Fork events with The Schoolhouse at Cannondale.
Jesse said he and his wife have decided to sell the farm and move out of Wilton.
“We’ve owned it for 10 years and lived in Wilton since 1987,” he said. “Our kids went through the Wilton school system and spent a lot of time working on the farm, but they have now moved to other parts of the country, so we’ve decided to move to other parts of the country.”
The Finks plan to travel and share their knowledge of sustainable agriculture with people around the country.
“We’ve used Millstone Farm as a working laboratory to understand the problems and solutions in sustainability and sustainable agriculture,” said Jesse, “and we will be sharing the knowledge we’ve learned personally and through our foundation.”
The foundation he’s referring to is The Fink Family Foundation. The Finks founded the organization to help move communities toward “a more balanced, sustainable relationship with the environment,” by supporting and investing in “innovative organizations that preserve and protect the better use of natural resources, biological diversity and enhance the health of humanity,” according to the foundation’s website.
Betsy said she hopes that whoever buys the farm will continue to operate it as such.
“It would be wonderful if whoever buys the farm continues to farm it and expand on what we’ve done,” she said.
Jesse agreed and said what his wife has done is “really create a model farm in sustainability.”
“We have heard from few people interested in continuing the same type of operation that we have, and maybe expanding into other areas,” he said.
According to Wilton Assessor David Lisowski, there is a permanent conservation restriction on the majority of the property that prevents future development. The Property valuation reflects one building site for the existing house and the potential for a second building site to be spun off of the same parcel.
Since purchasing the property and turning it into the farm it is today, not only have the Finks put “a lot of infrastructure into the property,” said Jesse, but have also gathered a “great farm team,” including three full-time employees and three seasonal part-time employees.
“In addition to our full-time and part-time employees, we have had internships for high school students from Wilton and surrounding high schools,” said Jesse.
“It’s been a wonderful way to give high school seniors an opportunity to learn and work on the farm, and that’s an example of just other types of activities that happen here at Millstone.”
Betsy said there is a lot she will miss about Millstone Farm, especially the strong community it’s established.
“CSA [community-supported agriculture] members come up every week to farm with us and take vegetables away; we have people who come for the Farm to Fork dinners," she said.
"We have interns and students that come from either Yale or high school, and people who just enjoy the farm when they come for fund-raisers here."
“It’s a very special community," said Betsy, "and I think that’s one of the biggest things we will miss."
Betsy said she will also miss “being in the garden, getting [her] hands dirty and growing food.”
“It’s a special connection to the land,” she said.
Jesse said Millstone Farm is “a very special property” and the Finks feel fortunate to have been “stewards of the property for the last 10 years.”
“I feel we’ve really made it a community asset that people have been able to come to and enjoy what we call ‘the Millstone experience,’ ” he said.
“We hope that the next owner will have the vision of being steward of the property and continue providing the same activities that we have.”
To learn more about the property, visit millstonefarmct.com.