“I don’t really feel like this is work, I play for a living,” said Fred Monahan of the work involved in maintaining the business he shares with his wife Stacia, operating Stone Gardens Farm, located at 83 Saw Mill City Road in Shelton, Connecticut. The Monahans grow 50 acres of vegetables annually and raise poultry, pork, and beef.
Fred and Stacia Monahan founded Stone Gardens Farm in 1998, after expanding from a roadside vegetable stand where they sold vegetables and flowers at Shelton’s Dairy on Birdseye Road in Shelton. The couple steadily grew their business, planting more varieties of vegetables on mostly leased land.
Today, the Monahans grow a wide variety of seasonal produce, as well as raise grass-fed beef, pork, and poultry, which are processed and sold directly to customers. The farm also runs a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, where customers pay for a share of the farm’s produce harvest at the beginning of the year in exchange for a weekly box of veggies throughout the growing season. The seasons offer a wide selection of produce for customers at Stone Gardens, starting with spring greens, radishes, and bok choy, as well as vegetable seedlings for planting in spring gardens. In the summer, a sampling from their fields includes delectable varieties of tomatoes, squash, peppers, eggplant, beets, garlic, and of course, the farm’s famed sweet corn. In the fall, customers can purchase several varieties of winter squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, and potatoes as well as beets, turnips, and many types of greens.
While not an organic farm, Stone Gardens practices Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which means that Fred and Stacia, along with their employees, only spray crops when absolutely necessary, and after all other measures to save the crop have been implemented. If it is deemed necessary to spray, the Monahans try to use the most environmentally-friendly pesticide or fungicide possible, and rotate crops yearly, adding compost and manure to the fields every fall as well as planting cover crops to minimize the affect of any type of pesticide used.
“Our goal is to grow healthy plants without harming any beneficial insects, the soil, or ourselves,” said Stacia Monahan of their growing practices. “We love being able to grow real food for real people. We raise our family in these fields, and we want you to feel comfortable doing the same.”
Customers may purchase vegetables from Stone Gardens at their farm stand, located at 83 Saw Mill City Road, which operates daily from May to Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Stone Gardens also sells its products at the City Seed Farmers Markets in New Haven. Orders for chickens, Thanksgiving turkeys, or a full or partial share of a cow or pig may be placed by e-mailing Fred or Stacia Monahan at email@example.com.