Event venue

Whately’s Quonquont Farm blends old and new as an orchard and event venue: Perspectives 2022

Quonquont Farm has something traditional but also modern.

“At Quonquont Farm, we carry on the traditions of farmers who worked the land before us,” said Leslie A. Harris, farm manager.

Whately’s historic farm buildings are being used for new purposes such as the farm shop, which was a chicken coop in the 1930s, and the event barn which once housed teams of Percheron workhorses.

Fruit trees and blueberries planted 50 years ago continue to produce, alongside new crops like raspberries, flowers and vegetables. The event venue combines the historic barn with contemporary amenities like a full bar, landscaped stone patio, and free Wi-Fi.

Farm manager Leslie A. Harris in the orchard with her dog Wake at Quonquont Farm in Whatley on November 10, 2021. (Dave Roback photo)

“The event location allows us to have a more consistent income while preserving the land in agriculture,” Harris said. “The erratic weather patterns coupled with climate change make growing perennial fruit crops a challenge. Drought, excessive rain and extreme fluctuations in winter temperatures can all wreak havoc on a farm. But a stable source of income that allows people to enjoy the richness and beauty of the farm reduces the economic risks of growing food.

At the same time, inviting people to enjoy the farm at an event creates a clientele for farm products.

“Because we invite people to come to our farm to see how the food is grown and participate in harvesting their own fruits and flowers, we are able to discuss our growing practices and share the importance of walking lightly on this beautiful land,” Harris said. , adding that providing locally grown food to local families reduces the carbon footprint associated with buying food shipped from other parts of the country or the world.

Outlook 2022-Quonquont Farm in Whatley

The event barn at Quonquont Farm in Whatley on November 10, 2021. The barn housed Percheron working horses in a previous life. (photo Dave Roback)

In addition to orchards and flower gardens, Quonquont Farm has meadows, a forest, a spring-fed pond and a stream.

Quonquont (or Quan Quan) was a 17th century Native American chief who lived along the Connecticut River.

The first building on the farm property was a roadside tavern built in 1759.

The farm now hosts around fifty events from May to October. The room can accommodate up to 200 guests.

“Quonquont Farm is quintessential New England scenery,” said event manager Jenelle M. Wilkins. About 75% of customers come from outside the Pioneer Valley.

Outlook 2022-Quonquont Farm in Whatley

Looking out the rear windows of the event barn on the Quonquont Farm property in Whatley on November 10, 2021. The barn housed Percheron working horses in a previous life. (photo Dave Roback)

“The agricultural property has so much to offer – three historic barns, unusual tiled Firestone silos, an elegant 18th century farmhouse, lush flower gardens, beautiful old orchards and spectacular views in all seasons,” she said. declared, noting that customers and diners appreciate the authenticity of being on a farm worked for centuries.

Quonquont Farm is taking reservations for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.

Harris is also excited about the upcoming farming season, which will see diversification to include organically grown vegetables, the transition of apple and blueberry orchards to organic farming practices, and the introduction of laying hens and broiler chickens. raised in orchards.

The farm will expand its popular fruit and flower farm subscription program to include vegetables, eggs and meat.

The farm store is closed for the season but will reopen in July at the start of blueberry season.

Outlook 2022-Quonquont Farm in Whatley

A stray apple hangs on at the end of the season at Quonquont Farm in Whatley on November 10, 2021. (Dave Roback photo)