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Business Spotlight: Halfinger Farms

By Kathy Brown.

(August 29, 2018) — John Halfinger, who was born and raised in Haddam, and his wife Jennifer started Halfinger Farms on Candlewood Hill Road in the mid-1980s. It started with a pick your own strawberry farm, which they managed for 15 years, then they built a greenhouse in the spring of 1996, which was 1200 square feet. They have been growing and selling plants ever since.

Growing up in Haddam, John was exposed to a lot of agriculture. He was active in 4-H when he was young, then worked on a veal farm, egg farm, and dairy farm, as well as landscaping and logging. He attended the Vo-ag program at Woodrow Wilson High School (this was prior to the building of Haddam Killingworth High School)

The business has morphed many times in the last 30 years. They built the first greenhouse by the road, then expanded it. Then they built a greenhouse up on the hill, and would grow the plants there, then bring them down the hill to sell, which was labor intensive. In about 2005, they renovated and built two new greenhouses on the hill, and moved their retail area up there as well. They now have 13,000 square feet of greenhouses. Alden Halfinger, a sophomore at HKHS, helps out and recently started selling camp firewood.

Jennifer said that one of the things that makes them different is that “we grow what we sell,” which lets them price plants more reasonably. She said customers often comment about the variety and quality of their plants. Speaking of variety, on September 1, they will start their fall season with 20 varieties of mums. They have 2000 mums in their greenhouse and I can attest that they are lush and beautiful. I got to take a tour of their greenhouse, where John and Jennifer demonstrated their moving platforms, as well as their flood benches, which allow them to water the plants from below. It saves labor, produces nicer plants, and allows them to recycle their water!

The greenhouses are not open year round, but the Halfinger family is very busy all year round! They have an early Spring season which runs from approximately Easter to early Summer where you can stock up on perennials and annuals seven days a week, and the Fall season which runs September and October, where you can stock up on mums, corn stalks, and decorative Indian corn. See their website or their Facebook page for more information and hours.

Halfinger Farms provides work experience for special needs students at HKHS, as well as supports local organizations. Aside from the family, they employ three part time workers. Mary Hueg has worked there for 16 years and Jennifer said, “She’s amazing!” and an integral part of the business.

2000 mums

Since the Halfingers have a long history of growing their business (pun intended), it may not come as a surprise that they recently purchased Winmar Farm, where they plan to grow pumpkins and daffodils.

Visit Halfinger Farms soon for the best choice of colors for your Fall mums!

Spring photo by J. Halfinger. Halfinger family and mums photos by K. Brown

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