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In the mid-1960s I realized that industry was leaving this area of Connecticut. It was during that time that I decided I would change my vocation from plant engineering. I stumbled into the line of farm equipment repair, fixing machines for the few farmers that were left. That made me get interested in raising farm animals and growing vegetables.

Farmer Johan and wife Barbara at the Farm MarketIn the early 1970s, I began gardening and raising a few pigs and chickens. Since the animals were producing “all natural fertilizer” for me, and since my wife and I liked nature and natural things anyway, I decided not to spend my money on manufactured fertilizers, but to just use the resources I already had for feeding my plants.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that “ORGANIC” foods really started to catch on and gain wide acceptance by more than just a small segment of farmers and consumers. When that happened, I joined “Connecticut NOFA,” the statewide branch of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. I also became “CERTIFIED ORGANIC” by Connecticut NOFA, and sold Certified Organic vegetables for many years until the USDA took over the certification process.

To become USDA certified is unfortunately a very complicated process, prohibitive for the small back yard farmer. But as it turns out, the word “Organic” is an American word coined by Mr. J.I. Rodale, and the rest of the world always has used the word “Biologically Grown.” Since the USDA change, I have started using the international Biologically Grown term for my produce. (This is where my website name, CTBIOFARMER, comes from.)

Vegetable Garden

I do not raise my animals on “certified organic” food, but feed them non-medicated and hormone free food as well as my own Biologically Grown greens. My animals always have been able to run around in fenced in areas, and they have to be locked up at night to protect them from predators. The egg yolks from my chickens are a bright orange, an effect of letting the chickens run outside in sunlight.

It is very rewarding to grow food using primarily your imagination, your labor, and the resources from your own farm.

Johan van Achterberg
Hidden Meadow Farm
359 Silver Hill Rd.
Easton, CT 06612
(203) 261-2156
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