A shared love of farming first brought John and Ashley Collins together, and helped continue the tradition of Collins Powder Hill Farm. “Ashley and I first met at a 4-H meeting,” says John, “and immediately realized we had so much in common.” Today John and Ashley are partners in farming and life, caring for the farm, the cows and their son, Levi and daughter Riley.
The Collins family has farmed Powder Hill for five generations. Jack and Mavis, John’s parents, are still involved in daily operations. John’s sister and brother-in-law, Michelle and Tony Bellafronte, run The Collins Creamery, a popular ice cream shop located on the farm. Another sister and brother-in-law, Tracey and Josh Clague, manage an on-farm compost business and the farm website. Ashley has a large role with the family finances and works as a registered nurse. John runs a successful breeding program in partnership with his father-in-law, Morey Miller. “We’re doing a lot of different things here on the farm, which has been key to our success over the years,” says John. “We’re all working together to ensure this place is here for our grandkids.”
“I have been the luckiest person in the world to grow up on this farm, and to live here now with my family,” says John. Life is busy, but John and Ashley still make time for the organization that brought them together. Together they lead the Merry Mooers, one of the oldest 4-H clubs in Connecticut. “These kids are learning about farming, about animals, and they are having a great time,” John says. “You need to make time for the things that matter.”