By Kathy Brown.
Daffodils are coming to Higganum. Dancing Daffodils. Pick your own daffodils. Eight thousand daffodils in 10 different varieties. And they’re all coming to Halfinger Farms. The Halfingers purchased the dormant 12-acre Winmar farm at 15 Jacoby Road, Higganum three years ago, and renamed it “Halfinger Farms on Winmar.” They have put in a lot of work to clear the fields and renew the Winmar property. It was named after the previous owners Winifred and Marjorie, and was originally established in 1790.
John and Jennifer started Halfinger Farms back in the mid-’80s and have been growing and changing ever since. From strawberry fields to pumpkins to greenhouses plants and flowers. They are known far and wide for their hanging baskets in the spring, and their mums in the fall.
Dancing Daffodils will be the first Pick Your Own daffodil farm in Connecticut. “The only other PYO daffodil farm we could find is our mentor farm, U Pick Daffodils, in Oakatie, South Carolina,” said Jen. “We love everything about daffodils. Daffodils are deer and rodent proof, and they thrive in average soils. They don’t require irrigation, and they are perennial. They fit in perfectly with our greenhouse schedule: they will help to fill in our early spring season, a time before greenhouse sales begin in May. They are beautiful, especially en masse.”
In October 2019, they planted 8000 bulbs for picking early spring 2020 in a one-and-a-half acre field on Winmar. They started with that field because it is visible from Jacoby Road. “We focused on March and April blooming varieties,” said Jen. “We planted 10 varieties of daffodils including scented, doubles in yellow and in mixed, white with orange trumpets, yellow with orange trumpets, mixed trumpets, mixed split trumpets (butterfly), and classic yellow trumpets. We plant bulbs at a high density; rows 2 feet by 175 feet hold about 1,700 bulbs.”
In March, there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony at Dancing Daffodils. The ribbon cutting will also herald the start of the Halfingers’ 25th season. “John and I wanted to celebrate the start of this new daffodil journey in a meaningful way. We hope that everyone will see the potential of this property and pick your own daffodils at Dancing Daffodiles. We are so appreciative of the support our customers have given us over the years. It’s exciting starting something new.”
Since daffodils are part of nature, temperature and sun will determine when the daffodils bloom. Nature can be fickle here in New England. Halfinger Farms will update their Facebook page and their message machine (860-345-4609) daily with dates they will be open. There will be pre-picked bunches for sale, as well as PYO.
And of course, it won’t stop there. “We are planning our expansions for the next two years,” said Jen. “We are working with daffodil experts from Cornell University and the Netherlands to pick the best varieties for growing and cutting in Connecticut.”
On Saturday, March 14, 2020, at 11:00 a.m., the ribbon cutting ceremony will be open to the public, rain or shine. While there, you can enjoy some snacks, tour the daffodil fields, hear the history of the property, the story of Narcissus, see local artists painting daffodils, and hear a reading of I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud (by William Wordsworth).
“While some prefer to tiptoe through the tulips,” said Jen, “we prefer to dance in the daffodils!” Please join the Halfingers at the Ribbon Cutting ceremony on March 14. And if you can’t make it that day, swing by Jacoby Road and see the beautiful daffodils. You’ll be glad you did!