CT farms, animal sanctuaries asking for donated pumpkins after Halloween

In the weeks following Halloween, millions of pumpkins move from the front porch to a local landfill. Each year, this accumulates to an average of over 1 billion pounds of waste, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. In landfills, the pumpkins decompose and release methane, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change.

As a sustainable alternative, environmentalists and officials have recommended eating pumpkins or composting them in a garden. Another option is to donate the fruit to local farms and animal sanctuaries, where they can satisfy the animals' voracious appetites.

Not only are donated pumpkins a healthy food source for many animals, but they can also help the farms save money and reduce waste. 

Here are several farms in Connecticut accepting donations:

Lone Oak Farm in Southbury

The year-round poultry farm is home to about 100 animals, the farm's co-owner Yvonne Cosacchi said. 

People are welcome to drop off pumpkins and corn stalks in the driveway of the farm, she said. Cosacchi said the donations would served as compost and as a healthy food source for her four pigs, one of which is pregnant. The seeds also serve as natural dewormers for the chickens, she said.  

"It gives them a little variety instead of just having grain all the time. And it cuts down on my expenses too a little bit," she said.

The farm is located at 227 Bates Rock Rd., Southbury and visitors can contact Cosacchi at 203-725-6128. She will accept carved or uncarved pumpkins as long as they aren't painted. 

Aussakita Acres Farm in Manchester

The farm is accepting both carved and uncarved pumpkins, as well as water-painted ones, the farm's Tracy Longoria said. People can leave their pumpkins by the garage and walk around the farm if they wish, she said.

Dropoff is open weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and weekends from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

She discourages bringing small gourds, as they can be a choking hazard to the animals. 

Longoria asks local residents for donations every year because they're popular among the animals, which includes the 30 goats, 20 pigs, four horses, 15 sheep, three cows and two emus, she said. 

"Everybody eats them. The pigs love them. The goats love them. The cows love them. The alpacas will eat them. We have ducks and emus that will eat them. Even horses will nibble on them, as well. There’s a huge variety of animals that enjoy them," she said. 

Aussakita Acres Farm is located at 555 Lydall St. 

Aussakita Acres Farm in Manchester, Conn. not only has goats on site, it also has alpacas and other farm animals that guests can interact with.

Aussakita Acres Farm in Manchester, Conn. not only has goats on site, it also has alpacas and other farm animals that guests can interact with.

Courtesy of Aussakita Acres Farm

Lil’ Rascals Farm in Colchester

Lil' Rascals is accepting donations of carved and uncarved pumpkins to feed its pigs, cows and goats, the owner Timothy Francis said.

"Its just good to reuse and feed them to the animals as opposed to throwing them in the compost pile," he said. He said the donations would help the farm save money on food, as each pig can eat up to six pumpkins a day. 

To donate pumpkins, people can message the farm's Facebook page and visit the farm at 596 Deep River Rd.

JP Farm Animal Sanctuary in Litchfield

Founded by Litchfield couple Oscar Janssen and Lynn Printy, the animal sanctuary is accepting donated pumpkins for their six pigs and hens, Britt Janssen, the farm manager, said. 

To arrange a dropoff or pickup, residents can call the sanctuary at 860-689-5954 or message the staff at jpfarmsanctuary.org. 

Road to Refuge Animal Sanctuary in North Haven

The nonprofit sanctuary, which has rehabilitated more than 70 farm animals, is accepting pumpkins and other fresh vegetables for its pigs and goats, Megan Pereira, the rescue's founder, said. 

Pereira said the rescue is not open to the public, but people can arrange a dropoff through the website.

The nonprofit spends around $200 a week alone on fruits and vegetables, she said.  

"And that’s all donated money," she said. "So anytime we have an opportunity to have fresh vegetables and fruits donated, that’s such a big opportunity for the sanctuaries."

Clover’s Pig Preserve in Wolcott

Residents who want to donate pumpkins can contact founder Cara Hennessey, who founded the sanctuary and named it after her first pig, Clover. The nonprofit is located at Pillwillop Therapeutic Farm, where she and her fiancé Chris are the sole caregivers of the pigs. 

People can contact Hennessey via FacebookInstagram messenger  or email at cloverspigpreserve@gmail.com. The preserve is located at 1089 Woodtick Rd, Wolcott

Locket’s Meadow Farm in Bethany 

Kathleen Schurman and her husband, David, have owned the animal rescue and sanctuary in Bethany since 2002. Since then, they have rehabilitated hundreds of horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect situations. The 15-acre non-profit farm also houses pigs, sheeps, goats and llamas, according to the website

Pumpkins can be left in front of the sanctuary's garage at 755 Litchfield Turnpike, Schurman said. 

Flamig Farm in West Simsbury 

The family-owned farm, known for its backwards EGGS sign, is accepting carved and uncarved pumpkins, according to the manager. The 100-year old farm also has a petting zoo with various types of animals, including pigs, goats, rabbits, turkeys, horses, cows, sheep and llamas. 

The farm asks that people call before dropping off pumpkins or leave them by the pig pen. 

The staff can be reached at 860-658-5070 ex. 2 and the farm is located at 7 Shingle Mill Rd. in West Simsbury

Abbotts Hill Farm and Rescue in Newtown

Residents can drop off pumpkins at the bottom of the property's driveway near the farm stand behind the rock wall, founder Naomi Ribeiro said. She asks that people do not donate moldy pumpkins or those that have not been sprayed with chemicals.

Ribeiro, a clinical social worker, offers classes and a summer camp to children that features rescued animals.

The farm is located at 5 Abbotts Hill Rd. in Newtown and Ribeiro can be reached at abbottshillfarm@gmail.com .