More than a Farm

Upinngil is a place and a business, but it is also a great deal more than that. It puts into action the belief that the key to regaining and maintaining environmentally sound farming practices is to re-establish the connection between consumers and the land that produces their food. When people visit a farm to buy locally-produced food , they not only re-educate their tastebuds, but they also begin to grasp the fragility and complexity of the process that puts healthful food in their stomachs. Our pick-your-own crops (strawberries, raspberries, peas, flowers, herbs) maximize the benefits to both the consumer and the farm: consumers enjoy a lower cost and absolute freshness by picking fruit themselves, and it reduces labor for the farm during the busy season. We welcome our local community to come hang out in the backyard, enjoy a picnic, or a walk out back to visit the cows.

The Land

We farm about 100 acres total at 411 Main Road and several locations scattered around Gill. Our location in the Connecticut River Valley, the terminus of the glacial ice sheet during the Wisconsin Period, is one of the most fertile places on earth. Much of the land at Upinngil has been in cultivation or used for grazing continuously for more than 300 years. We manage our land intensely and attentively, always striving to maintain a healthy, productive, interconnected and diverse ecosystem.

The People

Some of the winter crew 2024: From left to right Katherine, Beth, Anne, Malcolm, Simon, Cynthia, Sorrel, Isaac, Cliff.

Clifford Hatch comes from a tradition of New England family farming that reaches back to the early seventeenth century. Cliff grew up on his family’s farm in Granby, MA. He founded the farm on Center Road in Gill with his wife, Patricia Crosby, in 1987, raising his three children (Sorrel, Rhys, & Malcolm) in the farming tradition. Cliff’s vision and fortitude saw the farm through the early days before our valley was excited and supportive of local agriculture. In 2000, Clifford’s family sold the Lyman family farmstead in Granby and Upinngil was able to expand to the land at 411 Main Road where the business operates today.  Cliff manages and oversees all aspects of farm production: the planting, cultivating, and harvesting of the field crops, tractor driving and equipment maintenance, payroll, bookkeeping, herd management, & cheese making. He is active in local and regional farming organizations and serves on the boards of the Greenfield Farmers’ Cooperative Exchange, the Northeast Organic Farmers Association/Massachusetts, the Franklin County Technical School, and the Greenfield YMCA. During the precious moments he’s not farming (usual during the winter months) you’ll hear his “whistle blowing” above the store, where his model trains run.

Sorrel Hatch, “The Farmer’s Daughter”, has been with the farm for 30 years (since its founding when she was four years old). Sorrel is the linch pin that holds us all together. Many distinctive features of the farm Sorrel conceived, developed, and then taught to employees: the Little Red Hen Bakery, the Market Garden, the Farm Stand, Upinngil’s much sought after salad mix, the CSA program, the chickens and their many magical moving coops, Upinngil’s self-check-out and honor system, the pick-your-own flower garden. Sorrel works non-stop juggling her three boys and all that is Upinngil, which at this point can’t be done without the support team we now have. She and Isaac were married on the hill behind the farmhouse in 2013 and are raising their children (August, Everett, and Wilder) on the farm.

Isaac Bingham has been with the farm since 2013. He builds infrastructure, milks cows, places orders, pays bills, coordinates visitors & volunteer groups, and connects the farm to the wider community in countless ways. He is a carpenter, designer, ceramic artist, and timber framer whose works you can see all over the farm. His favorite product developments for  the  Farm are:  pastured raised Upinngil Pork,  Shiitake mushrooms, and the much-sought-after, year-round Upinngil Salad Mix.

Simon Eaton has been with the farm since 2009 and has become Clifford’s right-hand man. There’s not much that Simon doesn’t know how to do. He is production and harvest manager for market garden, hoop house and field crops. He grows and harvests the winter greens crops. He drives tractor, plants and cultivates field crops, maintains equipment, manages the potato cave, milks cows, and mills flour for the bakery.

Sarah Porrovecchio has been with the farm since 2014 . There’s some debate as to whether she should be called the cow wrangler or the cow whisperer, in any case she does both. Sarah is the farm herdswoman. She milks cows, bottles milk and makes cheese. She also manages cow health, breeding and calving; maintains and rebuilds fences; manages pasture rotation and mowing; and helps hay.

Phoebe Mathews grew up in Gill and lives nearby. She has been with the farm as a Baker since 2022, bringing her talents for creative flavor combinations to many Little Red Hen recipes and applying here artistic talents to the bakery signage. She walks the 1/2 mile to work at 6am most mornings regardless of weather and is a avid reader – she can even read while she walks to work!

Malcolm Hatch Crosby grew up on the farm the youngest of three, caring for the heifer calves and the Center Road homestead after Rhys and Sorrel had gone off the college. He’s apprenticed with masonry builders and worked many seasons as camp counselor and now maintenance staff at Friends Camp in South China, ME. He now works seasonally for the farm in the winter on building projects and pitches in milking cows and working in the bakery as as needed.

Katherine Bordner lives in Northfield  MA with her husband Stefan and two year old son Thomas. She grew up in NH and learned to cook/bake from scratch at a young age, she spent 10 days backpacking through Ireland, where the places and people she visited inspired her culinary journey. Katie won a King Arthur Flour sponsored baking competition with her Boozy Irish Soda Bread Bundt Cake. She has worked at Upinngil since 2023 as both Storekeeper and Friday Baker.

Sadie Miller has been a florist with the flower garden since 2022, making market bouquets for the store on Fridays and Saturdays. She loves sharing local, beautiful, affordable flowers with the community and teaching visitors to cut their own bouquets.

Anne Hartheimer has worked at Upinngil as storekeeper and baker since 2022. She enjoys reading and learning new things. She works a storekeeper 3 days a week but has great versatility and often cheerfully jumps in on short notice when other store and baking shifts need covering.

Adeline Riley has milked cows at Upinngil since fall of 2023. She lives in Gill and is a student at GCC. She does the Sat & Sun morning milking & bottling and enjoys spending time with the animals.

Rhys Hatch grew up in Gill and was feeding the animals before he could read or tie his shoes. He graduated from Brown University in 2008 with a degree in Literary Arts. On a trip home from Rhode Island in 2009, he decided to help out a little. A few months later, he was putting the finishing touches on Upinngil’s new post-and-beam barn. He now lives in DC with his wife Ayesha and two boys Felix & Dante, but still comes home occasionally to help with infrastructure projects.

Upinngil Team, Fall 2016