Freak Of The Week - Charlie Paley

Charlie and I met waaaay back, in 1989.  As a matter of fact, Charlie is my son, Ben’s dad, and, dear friend of the family.

Charlie is a farmer, and has been since he sold corn off a card table on the side of the road when he was 14 or 15 years old.  His dad was a dairy farmer, so Charlie grew up in a pretty traditional farm family setting - eight kids, barn full of cows, lots of hard work, great homemade meals, laughter, family, crops and the great outdoors.

Today, Charlie runs Paley’s Farm Market The Good Earth Farm, located on Route 343 in Sharon Connecticut.  Formerly a hayfield for The Morris Paley Farm, his 40 acre piece of land stretches from Connecticut across into New York State.  Ten Mile River runs through the peaceful, gently rolling fields pushing up early crops of lettuces, and peas with all manner of summer to follow - corn, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans, a rainbow blaze of cut flowers, fresh culinary herbs and perennials.   Not only does Charlie plant and harvest this multitude of crops, he has a lively shop packed full of the fruits of his hard work along with other locally grown foods, gardening tools, seeds, unusual perennials, bedding plants and supplies.  There is really good coffee sold by the cup and locally produced baked goods from the area’s best suppliers.

Every spring I make the trek south with an empty car to load full of all sorts of starts for Alchemy Initiative’s cutting flower garden.  Giant zinnias, nasturtiums of all sorts, extra tall snapdragons, foxglove, amaranth, cosmos, and so many more are available to the early bird shopper with a hankering for unusual varieties.

Long hours of hard work, all dependent on Mother Nature wear on the body, mind and business after years so Charlie is planning his next endeavor.  He is available as a hands on New Farm/er Consultant.  This season he is working with Hotchkiss School on their newly acquired, former John Blum Dairy and Breeding farm in Salisbury Ct.  He laughs out loud when he realizes that he is now the ‘old-timer’ with the wisdom and knowledge sought by greenhorns.   Full of valuable knowledge, ranging from suppliers, technique, to reading weather patterns, and soil content, Charlie is an asset to his community and inspiring to many.  If you are in his neck of the woods, stop in and support natural, local, second generation farming and our heritage.

Paley’s Farm Market is open 8-5 seven days a week from April – September at 230 Amenia Rd, Sharon Ct, 06069, 860-364-0674