May 122008

Check Out What’s Happening – babies, apple blossoms, more!!

Apple blossoms at Allenholm Farm

Apple blossoms at Allenholm Farm. Photo: Chris Gordon

MONTPELIER, VT — Spring has sprung; the earth is coming alive. Nowhere are signs more evident than on the farm. Most of us know four Vermont seasons; some of us swear to seven or eight. Farmers know each day is a new season.
Vermont Farms! Association, working farms open to the public, invites you to enjoy the sights, sounds, and experience of Spring, and of all the great days of farm life.
Spring’s first season, maple sugaring, has just ended, but pure maple products are available all year, and maple creemee season has barely begun! Vermont’s singularly delightful maple syrup and other products now grace the shelves of farm stores, waiting for children, chefs and other maple lovers to take them home. About 35 Vermont Farms! members have farm stores where visitors can find pure maple, plus award-winning cow, goat and sheep cheeses; farm fresh meats and produce; maple, grape, blueberry, apple, cranberry and other wines; fiber and hand-woven creations, artwork, farm toys and books. Carman Brook Dairy and Maple Farm in Swanton, Robb Farm in Brattleboro and several others specialize in custom wedding favors made with their own pure maple syrup. Boyden Farm and Boyden Valley Winery have both a farm store and wine store on the family farm.  Sam Mazza’s Farm Market, Green houses and Bakery and Labour of Love in Glover are great sources plants for creating beautiful flower gardens and for feeding the family.
It’s time to welcome new babies to the farms. Calves, lambs, ducklings and chicks, new kids on the block, colts kicking up their heels, all are part of the work and fun on farms in spring. Falkenbury Farm has 27 baby goats so far; Billings Farm invites visitors to marvel at the sheep triplets, from Allenholm in the northern Vermont islands, to Adams Farm just off Route 9 in the south, there are lots of baby bunnies to cuddle. And, farms are great places to see wild bird babies; working with nature every moment of every day brings farmers a familiarity with wild creatures, their habitats and life cycles, too. Farms provide nesting spots and nesting materials, food sources and ideal bird habitat. Spring warblers will keep ones head spinning to catch sight of them. Farmers know what trails are best, what to wear to be comfortable and to take care of the earth in each season. Many are along the Long Trail, near the Green Mountain National Forest, and have fishing access, too. Bring camera, binoculars, hiking boots, a sense of wonder and fun. Boisterous babies and delicate bird mating dances are a great way to spend days.
Don’t forget the spring foliage season. While not as publicly touted as its bright autumn counterpart, it’s equally beautiful and enthralling. Like much of life on a farm, spring foliage is better if one stops and takes time to look around. It changes daily, often in subtly delicate lacy steps, from the first rosy, green and silvery hues glistening at branch ends, catkins and other flower buds, to the fully developed leaves that burst into summer canopies. In mid-to late May, orchards, lilac and other fragrance gardens, produce beautiful flowers and aromas that seem to wrap one in a feeling of well-being.

Vermont farm experiences are as natural as can be, yet as varied as bird or tree species. Enjoy Lake Champlain views: wander a country road and enjoy the antique tractors at the Parent Farmhouse; look through and wander orchards while at Allenholm’s b&b; walk fields and enjoy sunset over the lake at Champlain Valley Alpacas. The long driveway offers a panoramic view of Apple Ridge Farms bison, orchards, Clydesdales, and a private view from their secluded ridge overlooking the valley and Lake Champlain. Elegance along the lake, stewardship of lands, cheese making and lots of animals and education programs are Shelburne Farms specialties. Hike into the hills; wander the valleys: Learn the history of Shetland Sheep at Bryn Meadow; plant a Christmas tree with Rich and Steph at Redrock Farm, then return to watch it grow. Gather the eggs at Falkenbury Farm; hold a reunion in their quiet 100-acre setting. Learn farm history at Billings Farm. Explore cow to cone at Ben & Jerry’s and water buffalo to Mozzarella di bufala at Vermont Water Buffalo Company. Help gather your own food as farmers share daily chores; then enjoy meals provided by excellent cooks. Enjoy one or more of the 20 Vermont farm lodgings featured in our brochure or website,  Just Delicious Catering, our fine pie makers and bakers will be happy to feed body and soul as well.

Vermont Farms! Association, a statewide agritourism organization founded in 1998, provides educational opportunities about agriculture to the public, to sustain and support the working landscape that characterizes Vermont and to provide opportunities for Vermont farmers.

Contact Information:
Diane Konrady
Agritourism Coordinator
Vermont Farms!