With retirement from careers in the Postal Service looming, Craig and Sheryl Floyd began making plans to fulfill a dream. Their dream came true in 2002. At the top of Quoketaug Hill in Stonington, CT, Footsteps Farm takes visitors back into the past. And, Craig and Sheryl Floyd’s dream of starting a farm slowly became a reality in 2002, on land that goes back to the early 1700s to generations of Williams, from Craig’s mother’s side of the family.
A farmer, a storyteller and the keeper of history and tradition, Craig Floyd represents a link to a way of life long gone but not forgotten. That way of life is very much alive at Footsteps Farm where Craig, along with his wife Sheryl and their two boys Jeff and Kevin, cultivate and nurture the land and the animals entrusted into their care.
A footstep into the Floyd’s farm and homestead is truly a step back into a rich past, where animals and humans coexist peacefully and respectfully in the natural cycle of life. The animals are treated humanely and with respect. “With this in mind, we name all of our livestock and some of our fowl,” says Craig. “They will eventually give their lives to us and therefore must be treated with respect and honor.”
The Floyd’s dream was to farm as their ancestor’s once did and make it into a viable living in today’s modern world. Between shuffling the necessary paperwork and stocking his farm, Craig and his family farm in the best way possible, through hard work and planning.
Craig keeps an online journal on his website that details his journey into farming. In this journal, the Floyds share laughter and tears, the mistakes made and the lessons learned along the way. This is Craig’s way of sharing the wonderful and challenging experiences of becoming a farmer. His goal is to help future generations of farmers realize their dreams of revitalizing the family farm. Not only that, his journal serves as a way to connect with the people who trust him to feed their families.
It is this connection that draws visitors to the farm. And, it is the nostalgia that greets visitors at Footsteps Farm that they remember most. “I found the flavors of my childhood at Footsteps Farm,” comments Leslie McGrath.
Craig is always excited to share with others the value and importance of supporting local farms. It’s not just his customers that are drawn to Craig’s philosophy and stories, the local media has also taken note. He’s appeared on Connecticut Public Television and the local Fox News affiliate as well as other local newspapers, including The Hartford Courant and The Mystic Times. For Thanksgiving last year, Martha Stewart personally requested for his heritage turkey for her Thanksgiving meal.
Footsteps Farm received the Certified Humane Raised and Handled© certification for their turkeys, layer chickens and broiler chickens. “We are deeply honored to receive this prestigious certification and we look forward to meeting and serving the public with the finest humanely raised and handled pastured heirloom products,” said Craig and Sheryl Floyd.
What brought the Floyds to the Certified Humane program was a deep and personal sense of respect for the animals. The Floyds wanted to join a program that not only validated their farm management but were in perfect accord with their philosophy and personal beliefs about caring and respecting the land and the animals.
In addition, the Floyds received two grants. They were awarded a Connecticut Agriculture Viability Grant as part of the state’s effort to strengthen Connecticut’s agriculture industry. The Floyds received the grant to improve pasture and animal housing. Additionally, they were also awarded a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant to design and test an air chill system for process chickens.
In mid 2006, Craig launched the Farmer’s Market featuring local farmers and farm products, hosted and supported by the Denison Society and Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. He is a past president of the Denison Society, an organization charged with stewardship of the Denison family’s history and their contributions to the Stonington, CT area and educating the public about life in the 18th and 19th centuries.
The Farmer’s Market takes place each Sunday from June through October. This market is more than just a place to buy local produce though. It’s about building relationships and connections with the farmers and preserving a way of life for the ever disappearing family farm. It’s about getting to know and supporting the farmers. The Farmer’s Market held a very special holiday event last year where people in period clothing cooked a 18th century Harvest Dinner using 18th century tools, food recipes and cooking methods.
Through Footsteps farm and his other activities, Craig Floyd and his family gets a “heartwarming chance to maybe do some good to help others who farm as we do, from the heart, on the land, for the animals.”
To learn more, visit their website at: Footsteps Farm
For information on where to find other Certified Humane® products in your area, visit the “Shop” page of HFAC’s website.