We're a family operation and have been raising sheep since 1963. We raise Connecticut Grown lamb and wool products - which ranges from tasty lamb to warm wool blankets. We also sell breeding stock and handspinners fleeces upon request. Visit www.SepeFarm.com to learn more.
Each spring, we also shear a few hundred sheep, llamas, and alpacas, and even a fiber goat or two. Want to see how the process works? Visit www.PirroFarm.com. You might even recognize someone you know!
Our original location is in Sandy Hook, where Farmer Pete and his wife Carol live. Daughters Hilary and Erin grew up showing sheep and raising lambs. When daughter Erin (the shearer) married Jonathan, she moved to Granby too. Jonathan and Erin recently purchased a piece of land in Granby and are working hard on a house, barns, and pastures for the sheep.
11 Questions for a Granby Farmer
Each month, the Granby Drummer publishes an interview with a local farmer from our town. Read on to lean more! 1) How did you get started in farming? Erin: Though I was born in CT, most of my childhood was spent on a 1,200-acre sheep and field crop operation in Eastern NY. That meant helping with farm chores from a very early age! There’s still a family joke about how we didn’t have a babysitter, we were put in the hay wagon to stack bales. When were in middle school, we moved back to CT and my sister and I joined the FFA in Woodbury when we got to high school. Raising sheep, shearing sheep, and showing them at local fairs was how we paid for school.
Jon (a man of few words): my girlfriend.
2) What's your favorite product/service that you produce? Sepe Farm lamb chops on the grill sure are tasty. Mrs. Sepe’s lamb meatballs are out of this world! But there were more than a few c-o-o-o-o-l-d nights this winter (we know, hard to believe with this weather) when we were really glad to have wool blankets made from the fleeces we’ve sheared.
3) What will your farm look like in 10 years? Right now, the sheep are at our family’s farm in Sandy Hook, and we get back there as much as possible to help with whatever is needed. We recently purchased a multi-acre base from which we can raise a larger flock year-round, on pasture as much as possible! We’re also working on a design for “the perfect sheep barn” which combines adequate weather protection and good ventilation with flexibility of the pen arrangements. That way, our handling and management practices are efficient and maintain a low-stress environment for the shepherds as well as the sheep.
4) What benefits does agriculture give the community? Lots! Good food, local jobs, productive open space, scenic views, a connection with the land…
5) Who did you learn the most from when you were getting started? Erin’s parents. Some of you have met Farmer Pete through the Granby Sampler, or at Lost Acres Vineyards helping to select the perfect Merlot blend. He’s been farming or teaching agriculture for over 40 years, and is a wealth of knowledge on subjects ranging from agricultural mechanics to animal husbandry. Erin’s Mom is also a great teacher, and a fabulous cook and knitter – and very good with the babies! Both of them believe in learning by doing.
6) What do you wish more people knew about farming? The risk involved. You can work hard all day, every day, and still see what you worked for wiped out because of something beyond your control. It’s not as easy as some people make it look. For example, domestic dogs and coyotes are not friendly to sheep or lambs. We have to maintain a constant, vigilant watch to protect our flock.
7) What's on your farm's wish list? That Mother Nature will bless us as we establish our pastures.
8) What's the biggest issue facing agriculture today? Because of the advancements made in agriculture, so many Americans have the opportunity to work off of the farm. But that means they’re farther and farther removed from how things actually happen on a farm, and the reasons for it. So, they see a documentary made by someone else who’s not involved in agriculture, think it’s the gospel, and then crusade to make new regulations that don’t necessarily make sense.
9) What's next at your farm? Easter, and Shearing Season! Every spring, we shear several hundred sheep, as well as llamas, alpacas, and fiber goats for folks all around Connecticut. These warm days have the phone calls and e-mails flying because everyone wants to have their choice cut ready for the big holiday. And spring is prime time for shearing, so the days fill up quickly. It’s hard work that we enjoy and we sure sleep well at night.
10) What's the most amazing thing you've seen on your farm? The lambs out playing in the pasture. Often they’re born on the coldest day of winter, in the ice and snow. Sometimes, that means long hours in the barn in the middle of the night with a difficult birth. Sometimes it means sick lambs that you spend a lot of time with to nurse back to health. But when things start to green up, and the lambs you worked so hard to keep healthy start tearing around and bouncing from one end of the pasture to the other, it’s pretty incredible.
11) What's the best thing about farming in Granby? Everyone we’ve met here has been very supportive of agriculture. So many people in other places say they love the rural atmosphere of agriculture, but when it’s decision time, they don’t necessarily want it in their backyard. But the folks in Granby do. Thank you!