Our Story

Betty Ambler was the last of the Raymond-Ambler family to live at Ambler Farm. She lived there most of her life until her death in 1998. The following year, the Town of Wilton, with overwhelming taxpayer support, purchased 22 acres of this beautiful 200-year-old working farm as part of the open-space initiative. However, because the complex consisted of historic houses, barns and various out-buildings, this acquisition was unlike any other and prompted the town to appoint a steering committee to consider the farm’s future. From this committee, a non-profit group called the Friends of Ambler Farm was formed and a mission crafted to celebrate Wilton’s agrarian roots through active-learning programs, sustainable agriculture, responsible land stewardship, and historic appreciation.

Enthusiastic participation and support from town organizations and hard work from dedicated volunteers have made Ambler Farm the town treasurer it is today.

Friends of Ambler Farm has been deliberate and careful with the repair and restoration of the farm’s buildings. Work on the red barn, ice house and white carriage barn is complete, and the restoration of the Raymond-Ambler House is underway. 

After years of neglect, the grounds were cleaned up and made accessible to the public as open space. The farm is a beautiful place again.

Gardens were planted including the Production Garden, under the direction of our Director of Agriculture, Jonathan Kirschner. If you have visited our weekly seasonal farm stand, you have seen our great varieties of fresh produce and flowers, all grown using organic practices.

Our educational programming has grown substantially to include a range of dynamic offerings for all ages led by both staff members and volunteers. The goal of our programs — whether crafting or making maple syrup – is simply to learn by doing. All activities encourage engagement–whether it is with the land, with food, with animals, with history, or with each other.

And finally, our annual special events – many of which are now Wilton traditions – bring the community together to enjoy the best of what the farm offers and celebrate the cycle of the New England year. These events include Ambler Farm Day, Holiday Greens Sale, Valentine’s Tea, Farm-to-Table Dinners and the Winter Warming Party. New events are always in the works.

When the Friends of Ambler Farm first began, it had an expansive vision for the farm that at the time seemed almost unobtainable. That vision, filled with hopeful ideas, has become a reality. Ambler Farm is an established, active, living community farm and an integral part of Wilton’s identity.

Timeline

1794Josiah Raymond began buying land in this area, and soon after, he and his son Platt Raymond built two homes on the property and established a farm here. Under Lewis Raymond, son of Platt, the farm encompassed nearly 300 acres.
1799The large White house (the Raymond-Ambler House) was built by Josiah Raymond and was occupied by the Raymonds and their Ambler descendants until 1999.
1800Lewis’s daughter, Hannah, married Charles A. Ambler, and they eventually inherited the farm. Their two sons, Charles M. and Lewis Ambler, lived in the two houses until their deaths in the 1930s. The large yellow house at the exit to the Farm was built around 1800, and was occupied by the Raymond and Ambler families until 1937.
1880The white horse barn was built.
1899The red hay barn was built by local carpenter George Taylor.
1900The ice house was built by George Taylor. He also built the back wing on the white house, and remodeled the yellow house, taking out the center chimney and traditional front stairs, and adding the bow windows on north and south.
1918Charlie M Ambler married Anna Schuessler.
1919Elizabeth (Betty) Ambler was born to Charlie M and Anna Ambler.
1942Betty married Reed Shields, the first president of our Wilton Kiwanis Club.
1950Betty + Reed divorced. He moved to Ridgefield and she went back to live with her mother at the family homestead.
1998Anna and Betty continued to run the farm until Anna died in 1988 at 95, Betty continued on until she died in 1998 at 79.
1999The Town of Wilton, with overwhelming taxpayer support, purchased this beautiful 200-year-old working farm.