Torrey Farms

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Elba muckland onion fields

Torrey Farms is the name of a large family farm located in Elba (town), New York, with another farm located in Potter, New York. It is one of the largest vegetable-crop farms in New York.[1] The land is over 10,000 acres, and is primarily muckland, which is drained swampland.

The farm grows mainly specialty vegetable crops, which includes sweet corn, onions, carrots, cabbage, squash, cucumbers, and potatoes, which is generally what is produced on muckland. The main farm in Elba, which makes up about 8,000 of the total acreage, is located in Orleans, Niagara and Genesee counties.[2]

The 1,200-acre (4.9 km2) farm in Potter, New York, makes up the majority of a valley of muckland that stretches all the way from Potter to Gorham, New York along Flint Creek. It was a swamp until it was drained in the 1950s.[3] Not all of this is owned by the Torreys. The valley itself was close to being the 12th Finger Lake. The muckland in Elba is thought to be the largest continuous section of muckland in the world.[4]


In 1626, the Torrey family left England due to disagreement with the church. The family first settled in Connecticut, but later moved West in search of better soil. In 1803, John Torrey arrived in Bethany, New York. In the year 1948, Elbert Torrey purchased the Higley Farm in Elba.[5] Today, the Torrey family farms over 10,000 acres (40 km2).


The farm makes use of migrant workers. In October 1997, 25 migrant workers from Torrey Farms were arrested and set to be deported by Immigration.[6] This was one of the largest immigration raids in New York history and, along with other raids of the time, it caused a significant labor shortage on Torrey Farms as well as to agriculture in the area in general. Mareen Torrey, owner of Torrey Farms said, "I’m probably going to end up leaving $2 million worth of crop in the field and it’s adding up every day" [7]

Significant events[edit]

On May 26, 2009, at 11:07 am, about 14 tons of ammonia leaked from a bulk tank carrying about 15 tons. The ammonia was being transferred from the bulk tank to a smaller tank on a truck; however, a hose from the truck caught a valve from the tank and pulled several hoses off it, resulting in the spill. Ammonia, which is used as fertilizer, is poisonous and flammable.[8]

On July 2–6, 2009, the Tripoli Rocketry Association held the 28th annual LDRS (Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships) rocket launch event at the Potter, New York portion of Torrey Farms.[9]

On July 12–16, 2012 the Tripoli Rocketry Association held the 31st annual LDRS (Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships) rocket launch event at Torrey Farms [10]

On June 25–29, 2015 the Tripoli Rocketry Association is holding the 34th annual LDRS (Large, Dangerous Rocket Ships) rocket launch event at Torrey Farms [11]

On Thanksgiving Day, November 25, 2016, a large fire burned an equipment barn at nearby Big O onion farm, also owned by the Torrey family, causing millions of dollars of damage. The fire may have been started by a diesel tractor engine block heater. Crews from four counties fought the blaze. The fire took hours to put out due to low hydrant pressure and lack of water in nearby ponds due to the 2016 New York drought.[12][13][14]


  2. ^
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Elba Mucklands
  5. ^ Torrey Farms
  7. ^ IMMIGRATION RAIDS: Local farmers reeling from busts
  8. ^ "Ammonia leak reported at Torrey Farms", The Batavian
  9. ^ "LDRS28 Site", LDRS website
  10. ^ LDRS31 Site
  11. ^ LDRS34 Site
  12. ^ Dave McKinley (November 25, 2016). "Elba Onion Farmers Back To Work After Fire". WGRZ. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Big O Farms owner looking to move forward after massive fire". WHEC-TV. November 25, 2016. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 
  14. ^ Alecia Kaus and Scott Desmit (November 25, 2016). "Massive fire at Elba farm". The Daily News. Retrieved November 25, 2016. 

External links[edit]