The Montonis were an average Westport family until they took the job as caretakers of Wakeman Town Farm. In January 2019, John and Jennifer started volunteering for Wakeman after an event they attended. In July 2019, the Montonis moved into the residence at the farm, and since then, their lives have been anything but ordinary. From morning until dusk their day revolves around their duties.
The Montoni’s have two dogs of their own, Fifa and Chauncey. The dogs are good with the other animals and love the open land the farm offers.
Both Jennifer and John grew up in Norwalk and moved to Westport about a decade ago. John’s family back in Italy has a farm and when Jennifer was little she lived on a farm; they have both always dreamt of living like they once did as children.
“We love being outside. It's just peaceful, really peaceful,” Jennifer said. “When I’m out here, it's very stress free. I feel like I’m in the middle of nowhere, but we’re not.”
The sixteen chickens lay eggs which the Montoni’s enjoy for cooking and they also donate eggs to Crumb Together
a bakery in Norwalk which is non-profit that employs people with special needs.
Being the caretakers requires many responsibilities, so there are many volunteers who help. Asia Sinkford, a farmer, comes in every morning and gets the animals started for the day; she mucks the stalls, feeds the animals, and lets them out.
“The job may be a bit dirty, but the time spent with the animals and doing what is needed for them makes it all worth it,” Sinkford said.
Chase and Marshall, the two goats on the farm. “They're really cool. Their mischievous they get into everything, he [chase] tries to get into here and eat the chicken food,” Jennifer said.
Something that was new for the Montonis is that now they have sixteen chickens, four ducks, three rabbits, two goats, two sheep and one alpaca as neighbors. The chickens provide the family with eggs every morning. The two goats, Marshall and Chase, are especially endearing to the Montonis.
“They’re very friendly. They’re kind of like dogs. They’re super smart,” Jennifer said.
Everyday is something different. As the farm is town property sometimes Jennifer and John wake up with surprises in their backyards, as people come, eat breakfast and hang out.
A.J. is the farms one alpaca. A.J stands for Autumn Joy, she has been at the farm for sixteen years. In the back are the one of the two sheep at the farm.
Tim’s Kitchen is a utilized space at the farm for entertaining. “There is always something going on here which is nice too,” Jennifer said. There is a commercial kitchen for cooking classes and parties as well.
“I love seeing all the animals and the food they are growing,” Avery Tucker ’22 said.
The farm is very involved with the community. It hosts many events in the recently built Tim’s Kitchen where proceeds are used as a fundraiser. They host cooking classes, personal events, and camps in the summer for locals.
The Montoni’s grow a variety of vegetables in the garden. They sell the vegetables at the Farm Stand on Saturdays, use them for cooking classes in Tim’s Kitchen and donate to the Food Rescue Program.
From picking fresh vegetables to caring for the twenty-eight animals, the Montonis are kept busy. Their transition from living in a rental house to taking care of a farm was something new, but with time they learned and adjusted.
“It's a whole new world,” John said, “because It's something completely different than what we're used to.”