Corie Pierce remembers her first day working on a farm. She picked strawberries, weeded for hours, and by day’s end thought: “I get this.” She ended up working on that farm for seven years.
Corie grew up in New Hampshire and often visited family in Vermont. She went to school here and ultimately fell in love with farming. She knew this is where she would try to make her dream of owning a farm happen, if she could.
Then, in 2005, a few years ahead of schedule, Corie and her business partner Adam Wilson came upon the LeDuc family farm which sits along Cheesefactory Road, the connection road between Dorset Street and Hinesburg Road. “It was perfect in so many ways,” Corie said, “we just knew in our gut that this was the spot.” Therefore, they bought the land from the LeDuc family in September of 2009. Although, they own the property outright, the development rights fall under the jurisdiction of the VT Land Trust meaning that there are limits to how much development can occur. However, they were able to make the improvements they felt necessary including getting the barn set up and building a bakery.
Two winters ago, she came up with the idea of having a community burger night where people would have an opportunity to gather to enjoy the farm’s food as well as live music. They passed out flyers at their farmer’s markets and received a tremendously positive response; serving 150 people the first night. Coming off of last year’s success, this season, they have decided to add a Monday burger night which began June 4th from 4:30-7:30 in an effort to take some of the pressure off of Fridays and give restaurant professionals, who are frequently off on Mondays, a tasty and economical dinner option. “It’s a great option for families,” Corie said, “since it’s a reasonable night out. There’s no tax, no tip, free admission, and every ingredient is 100% local and organic.” They offer their own beef burgers, pork and beef hot dogs, and bean burgers from VT bean crafters, salads, and cookies. Frank Pace serves as their grill master and on a recent Friday continued cooking up the burgers in torrential rain until everyone was served!
“One of the unexpected things that came out of doing the burger nights last year was that people began asking us to do private events. We did a hand full last year and they all went well! Frank Pace and Amy Bacon really helped guide us through the service portion and the marketing” Corie said.
The farm also offers their version of a CSA (community supported agriculture) called the Local Food Club. For $300, members receive a $330 swipe card which they can use as often or as seldom as they like. The card can be used for burger night, purchases at their farm store (open M, T, F and Sat. 9-6 and sells whole grain, naturally fermented German breads, raw milk, grass fed beef, greens, and pasture raised pork), or for produce ordering from Corie via e-mail and pick up each Monday and/or Friday. In contrast to a CSA, this gives the consumer a little more control over their purchases and helps Corie know how much to harvest.
Chris Dorman, Corie’s partner is a professional musician with Silo Music. He is part of the Earthwork music collective which is a Michigan based musician and activist organization that works mainly on issues of water use and the great lakes. He and Corie both believe in the importance not only of nourishing your body with healthy, local, organic foods, but also on feeding one’s soul. “Music is one way to feed your soul,” Corie said, “farming and music are community building.” Last summer, after they witnessed the popularity of the live music at burger night, they decided to hire Chris and Silo Music to organize the music for all of the burger nights. During the winter, Chris has developed the “Silo Sessions,” which entail more intimate, sit down performances on the farm. Another one of his specialties is working with children. He will be launching kids music workshops beginning this fall and winter. Corie said, “He is passionate about working with kids.”
In addition to the farm’s second year partnership and participation as a host site in UVM’s farmer training program, there are a slew of projects they would like to set in motion over the next couple of years. “I always wanted to raise my children on a farm” Corie said, “I was thinking about what I would do educationally, ways to get the kids intimately familiar with the farm, hard work, and real work.” Now that Corie and her partner Chris have two young children of their own, they have been thinking about ways to get their friends with kids engaged in the farm on a more regular basis. Next year, she would love to have an actual farm camp, but seeing that this is her second full year on the farm she is trying to focus primarily on “getting the farm started, learning what to expect from season to season and showing that the farm is a farm first, then, think about how we can help contribute to teaching people who want to get into farming. I think that could play in nicely to our established program.”
You can see the burger night schedule, local food club details, and stay updated on all of Bread and Butter Farm’s exciting developments by visiting their website at www.breadandbutterfarm.com or better yet, go check them out live for a burger and music and start your weekend (or your week) right!
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent