Thursday April 07, 2016
Traveling along Hinesburg Road, one can see a real mix of open land, scenic vistas, and burgeoning residential and commercial development. What may be less apparent is that in the midst of this changing landscape, an operating family farm is flourishing on nearby Cheesefactory Road.
Bread and Butter Farm was started in October 2009, when after a competitive application process spearheaded by the Vermont Land Trust, Corie Pierce and Adam Wilson were chosen to take over the LeDuc Family property. The Leduc family owned and operated the farm for over 100 years prior to Pierce and Wilson. Until 2004, Maurice Leduc operated a dairy business at the farm he had taken over from his father. The history that accompanies this property is not one that Pierce and Wilson have taken lightly.
But as the seasons change, so will the farm’s ownership.
In March, Wilson, who was responsible for both pasture management and baking at the farm departed the property to begin his own bakery, Running Stone Bread, in Huntington. Pierce is currently working with the Vermont Economic Development Authority to buy out Wilson’s share and intends to continue the great tradition of the farm as a community gathering place. According to Pierce, the Vermont Land Trust wanted the land to be a community farm that would engage with the community and find ways to bring people to the farm via educational opportunities.
This change catapulted Pierce into taking a pause for self reflection, asking, “What does this mean for the farm? How do we re-introduce ourselves to the community without a bakery?”
Pierce concluded that the farm will continue to produce highly nutritious food in the form of meat and vegetables and the newly renovated on-site Farm Store will continue to grow and offer tender greens and veggies year round, 100 percent grass-fed beef, pastured pork, local organic chicken, dairy, and a more diverse variety of breads and baked goods.
With the bakery’s departure, Pierce and her husband Chris Dorman have been able to focus on several ongoing initiatives. One is that the dairy component of the farm will be returning. Two years ago, they stopped dairy production; which was a tough decision for Pierce since the history of the farm is based in dairy. The decision to stop dairy production stemmed from a number of factors, not the least of which involved time and money. We wanted to grow our beef production while remaining a small farm and beef and dairy herd management are very different...the dairy side needed an update and we needed a break from big projects,” Pierce said.
But in May, one of the farm’s original employees, Henry Cammack will be returning to the farm under the auspices of his own business, Henry’s Dairy. With his return, the farm has been able to update their dairy barn. Cammack will be milking 4 cows initially and plans to grow the herd. He will be offering raw milk shares from the grass fed jersey cows who reside on the farm. Weekly pickup in the farm store will be available around the first week in May!
In addition, the education programs are expanding. The farm’s partnership with The Schoolhouse’s food, forest and farm program will continue as will Chris Dorman’s Music for Sprouts classes. South Burlington resident Bekah Gordon will be taking on a larger role this summer as director of Camp Bread and Butter which will offer 5 weeks of programming for children ages 5-12 on a variety of topics including athletics and farming.
And of course, the ever popular burger nights will be returning. Every summer, typically beginning in May, the farm invites the community to come out to the farm for Friday Burger Nights. The farm serves a meal where everything was grown, raised, and made on the farm, from the grass fed beef, to the buns, to the veggies used in the variety of salads. The food is accompanied by beautiful scenery and a variety of musical entertainment for adults and children alike, including a kid’s parade led by the farm’s own Mister Chris.
“We’ve been here seven years and it [the farm] has changed and evolved during that time. What will it look like in ten or even fifty years? Will our kids (ages 5 and 9) take over? We just don’t know. We feel so honored that the the land trust conserved this land in a time where it might have been easier just to develop open space. We are carrying on the legacy of the LeDuc family; that’s what guides Chris and I on such a deep level. It’s been a year of intensive reflection and has just re-deepened our commitment,” Pierce said.
The newly renovated Bread and Butter farm store is open Monday-Saturday 8-6. In addition to their farm fresh items, baked goods and specialty coffees and teas will be available. Check out the farm’s website for details.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent