Family farms passed from generation to generation are a testament to the tenacity and dedication of Connecticut farmers through the ages.
Ed Kasheta Jr. says the bedrock of the farm’s survival and success has been the family’s ability to adapt to endless challenges and market fluctuations as the generations passed.
“You have to diversify,” Kasheta says. “On a farm you live through high interest rates, high fuel and labor prices, changes in the market and you’re always fighting the weather. But we just keep going.”
Kasheta Farms was founded in 1905 when Peter and Mary Kasheta purchased a long, narrow strip of land that spanned the Connecticut River to Main Street in South Windsor. The main crop at that time was broadleaf tobacco, but it was a total family farm that also sold milk, cheese, butter, eggs, and fresh-grown fruits and vegetables.
Today, the farm is run primarily by great-grandson Ed Kasheta Jr. and has expanded to include 400 acres of grain corn, 20 acres each of tobacco and giant pumpkins, and 100 acres of sod.
The family’s longevity and perseverance through myriad ups and downs over the last 112 years led to Kasheta Farms receiving the Connecticut Century Farm Award in 2017.
The Connecticut Century Farm Award is given to farms that have been in a family operation for more than 100 years and have the potential to be successful for at least another 100 years. The Connecticut Agricultural Information Council annually selects the recipients.
“Kasheta Farms has a rich history and has evolved with the times over the years. Ed and his family have been active members of our larger agricultural community and this recognition of them with the Century Farm Award is well deserved,” Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky says.
The Kashetas joined an illustrious list of more than 60 century farms, including 13 farms founded in the 1600s, 14 founded in the 1700s, 27 founded in the 1800s and five farms that started in the early 1900s. In some years, more than one farm received the award.
The first farm to receive the award in 1970 was Kendrick Brothers Farm in Windsor, which was founded in 1635 when trapper John Ayer bought the land from the Mohegan Indian Chief Uncas.
“The Kasheta family has put their heart and soul into farming for the last 112-plus years,” U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy says. “I am grateful to Ed for all that he’s taught me about how to be a better advocate for Connecticut’s farmers.”