Nestled along the banks of the Connecticut River you’ll find our family farm, a fertile piece of land (about 250 acres), upon which we live and work. Our heritage is deeply rooted in agricultural tradition, built and passed down by 14 generations, and driven by a steadfast commitment to responsibly balance what is right for the environment with what is viable for our farmland and our family. Over the years, the farm has evolved and innovated to remain sustainable in changing markets and helped to guide our focus on being hops farmers.
Our Hops History
In 2008, two of our passions (beer and farming) collided in a wonderful experiment that over time grew into a sustainable business model. From the beginning, we’ve had to be creative in our approach to growing hops; including everything from hop yard design to building our own equipment for harvesting, drying and packaging. With almost 13 years of hop growing experience, we’ve gained so much insight and knowledge that the quality of our hops speak for themselves.
We love what we do and it’s great to be hitting our stride in production, relationships with brewers, and quality. As we’ve continued to grow, we’ve become a regional supplier of hops to breweries across New England: wet/fresh hops, whole leaf cones, and pellets.
The name Four Star Farms comes from our surname, L’Etoile, which means “the star” in French. When we began farming our current location, more than 30 years ago, there were “four stars” working hard to make it succeed (Bonnie, Gene, Jacob and Nathan). Today, we’re thankful that our family continues to grow.
Bonnie and Eugene (Gene) L’Etoile began farming part time in 1977 on 11 acres of rented land that nobody else wanted. Over the next few years their acreage increased to 85 acres, but their farming remained part time as Gene worked full time as an engineer in advanced underwater combat systems and Bonnie taught at the University of Rhode Island. In 1986, Bonnie and Gene decided to continue generations of farming (from Bonnie’s side of the family) and go into agriculture full time. They bought a former dairy farm in Northfield, MA and started the current location of Four Star Farms, Inc. They continue the work they started in 1986 and are always eager to try something new. Together, Bonnie and Gene have raised two sons on the farm, Jacob and Nathan, both of whom live on the farm with their respective families and are actively involved in different aspects of agriculture.
Jacob L’Etoile is the eldest son of Bonnie and Gene and has been working on the farm, along-side his parents, since he was a small child. As a father himself, Jacob and his wife Robin look forward to raising their children on the farm in the agricultural tradition.
Liz L’Etoile married into the L’Etoile family and is our Director of Sales and Marketing. Using her social work background Liz strives to create strong and long lasting relationships with our customers; expand our sales potential across various industries; and educate consumers on the benefits of buying and sourcing products locally.
Our Farm Crew
L2R: Colin Jr., Layman, Gene, Colin, Ian, Jacob, and Cam.
We couldn’t do what we do without our hard working crew: Colin, Colin Jr., Layman, Ian and Cam! This picture is from the last day of our 2020 hop harvest, which is always an all-out group effort to complete. Cheers to the people that get the job done!