During your stay at Longford, we welcome your questions about the organic sustainable farming operations around you and can schedule a time to give you a tour with your hosts or one of the farm managers. If you’re interested in our produce, our Hideaway guests can shop at our farmstand, open several days a week, or select from our available produce and purchase at your convenience. (You can check out ARTfarm’s website or like us on Facebook to see what we’re currently offering.)
Estate Longford has been in agriculture since at least the early 1700s. Cotton and indigo were grown here during the era of Danish colonial rule, and a thread factory was part of the infrastructure built at Longford by the Danish government in an attempt to turn around the ailing economy of the late 1700s. Many of the original buildings and structures are still standing, and most of those have been maintained and modernized.
In the 1940s, the Wall family of Oregon purchased large swaths of the South Shore of St. Croix. In the 1960s the Wall-Gasperi clan began using the property as pasture for grazing Senepol beef cattle as seed stock, under the name of Castle Nugent Farms. This practice continued through 2007, when the herd was donated to the local university research station. UVI’s AES continues to conduct research on the cattle and operates the Castle Nugent ranch operation here at Longford, in the pastures surrounding our property and in the stone pens along the road as you enter.
In 2008, Luca and Christina Gasperi moved their existing organic-methods intensive diverse vegetable production farm operation from Estate Southgate, on St. Croix’s north shore, to Estate Longford, and renamed it ARTfarm LLC. We irrigate using solar power and rainwater catchment ponds, fertilizing the soil with our own homemade compost. The ARTfarm produces over two dozen varieties of crops each season, which we sell to the public at our own retail farmstand at the entrance to the property, as well as to local restaurant chefs on St. Croix and in St. Thomas. These crops include many types of fresh lettuce salad greens, heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh herbs for cooking or tea, pineapples, papayas, fresh Mediterranean figs, many types of cooking greens, beans, carrots, radishes and other vegetables. We also raise some pastured meats and eggs, including turkeys, chickens and sheep.
Valeria has been known to bake fresh homemade foccacia and panini for the Saturday morning farmstands, and occasionally other products are also available, including fresh eggs, fresh lamb, local raw honey, bagels and bread, and locally made goat cheese and coconut-based vegan ice cream.
The ARTfarm also features a small art gallery at the farmstand with works by local artists for sale, including those by farm owners Luca and Christina. (You can see more of their artwork on their website, GasperiFineArt.com.) An actual building for the gallery was destroyed in Hurricane Maria in 2017, and another is being planned to replace it!