Fruits and Vegetables Add to Collection

Pete's Greens roots - cleaned and ready for soup. Photo: Pete's Greens.

Vermont’s small size, relatively short growing season, and topography (which is more suited to small-scaler scales of production) have been barriers to generating the large volumes of non-dairy products (e.g., fruits, vegetables, grains) needed to access larger markets. There is a lack of fresh, local products in the larger supermarkets, where the majority of consumers shop.

Fruit, vegetable, berry, and nut farms in Vermont range in size from ¼ acre to 1,000 or more acres. The majority of these farms are under 100 acres. Most smaller vegetable farms sell to direct markets: CSA shares, farmers' markets or farm stands. Some mid to large scale farms (e.g., apple orchards) sell their products in smaller grocery stores, schools, institutions, and even larger grocery chains.

Apples are one of Vermont’s few commodity products. They are processed, packed, shipped and sold throughout the Northeast.  Improved atmosphere-controlled storage facilities have enabled some innovative orchards to sell apples throughout the year. 

An abundance of berries can be grown in Vermont, including cranberries, high bush and low bush blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, currants, gooseberries, and strawberries. Nuts are a relative new-comer to the scene, but they're gaining popularity. Elmore Roots Nursery, which offers a full section of nut trees, says "If it can grow in Elmore, it can grow where you are." 

The Aggregation and Distribution Working Group is helping food producers thinking about scaling up production familiarize themselves with institutional procurement protocols and building relationships with category managers.

We are currently working on this section. If you would like to contribute to it or serve as a reviewer, please contact VSJF Research & Evaluation Director Scott Sawyer.


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Resources

Kale harvest at Good Heart Farmstead in Worcester, Vermont
Photo: Good Heart Farnstead

NOFA-VT Farm Share Program

Written by Kate Spring In 2013, writer Kate Spring and her husband started Good Heart Farmstead with the mission to make local food more accessible. Not only did they aspire to make it easier for people to find local food, but they wanted to make it easier for them to afford…

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Greenhouses at new Mighty Food Farm location in Shaftsbury
Photo: Mighty Food Farm

Mighty Food Farm Finds New Home in Shaftsbury

Written by Nadine Berrini In 2006, Lisa MacDougall and a business partner started Mighty Food Farm on five leased acres in Pownal with a 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee and an old Troy-Bilt rototiller. She now has 200+ members in her year-round CSA and 10 employees. Lisa spent six years searching for…

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Wellspring Farm
Photo: Corey Hendrickson

NEK Farms Rooted at Local Schools

Written by Shane Rogers Green Mountain Farm Direct, a food hub run by Green Mountain Farm-to-School, is working to connect local farmers with schools, restaurants, and institutions across northern Vermont to increase the farm’s sales and boost consumption of local food in institutions and the overall region. Those partnerships have created…

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A loan is helping kickstart Rob Rock’s agriculture machinery and fabrication business, a bonus for Vermont farmers in need of his custom farm equipment and metal-working services.
Photo: Farm Fund

Five Years of Funding Farms

Written by Caitlin Gildrien Published in Vermont's Local Banquet Early on a January morning in 2011, Pete Johnson of Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury heard a funny noise. When he looked out his window, he saw his barn engulfed in flames. The building and all of the equipment and product inside was in…

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Bread & Butter Farm
Photo: Erica Housekeeper / Happy Vermont

Complex Dough

Prepared by Carrie Abels for the Financing Cross-Cutting Team Bread & Butter Farm, which straddles the South Burlington/Shelburne border, sells an array of farm products and experiences—everything from grass-fed beef to fresh-baked German bread to winter vegetables to farm-fresh burgers served on Friday evening “Burger Nights.” But the diversity of Bread &…

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Hoop house at Little Village Farm.
Photo: VFF

Little Village Moves from Recovery to Growth

You know things are moving in the right direction when you see a farmer whose fields were completely underwater a few years ago going on to invest for growth in their business. A 2-acre family vegetable farm dedicated to bringing the benefits of a CSA to their tight-knit Proctorsville community, Little…

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Vote with your dollars.
Photo: Anna Svagzdys

The Thorny Issue of Farmer Pay

Written by Mari Omland Read more in Vermont's Local Banquet Spring 2014 issue. At a wedding last summer, I sat next to a neighbor who buys her Thanksgiving turkey from our farm. She described her daily drive-by dose of the farm, and her ritual of slowing down to see where the goats, pigs,…

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Trout fry.
Photo: Cheryl Herrick

Brown trout thrive on Mountain Foot Farm

On a sunny spring day earlier this year, steam was pouring out of sugarhouses, calves and lambs and kids were being born, and greenhouses were teeming with plant starts. And on Curtis Sjolander’s Mountain Foot Farm in Wheelock, in the barn just behind his house, hundreds of brown trout were…

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Taylor and Nick Meyer in a field of sunflowers at North Hardwick Dairy.
Photo: Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

North Hardwick Dairy

Everyone in the Hardwick area knows the North Hardwick Dairy —“it’s the one on the hill with the wind turbine.” The turbine is evidence of farmer Nick Meyer’s focus on meeting his goal of greater self-sufficiency. “I want to produce everything the farm needs on the farm.” The higher and relatively stable…

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Grazing cattle on a cloudy day.
Photo: Maple Wind Farm.

Maple Wind Farm

At Maple Wind Farm in Huntington, the beef cattle “harvest their own feed,” as farmer Bruce Hennessey likes to say. They’re grass-fed cattle, meaning that for six and sometimes seven months of the year they eat grass on pasture, using their own energy to walk around and fatten themselves. Bruce, who…

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The Central Boiler Maxim 250 boiler installed at River Berry Farm in Fairfax, VT. These boilers may look like outdoor wood boilers common around Vermont, but they are EPA Phase II qualified due to improved emissions controls.
Photo: Chris Callahan

On-Farm Heating with Biomass

Highlights: 220,000 BTU/hr biomass boiler ● $13,000-21,000 installed cost ● 12-14 year payback period ● 5,910 pounds of CO2 avoided ● Advanced pollution controls in new boilers reduce emissions Download the pdf. David and Jane Marchant of River Berry Farm—an organic vegetable and fruit producer in Fairfax—were early adopters of biomass heating…

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