At the end of October 2017, a strong wind storm swept through Vermont causing downed trees, power lines, and a variety of damage. At Bread and Butter Farm in Shelburne, the covers on two high tunnels were damaged, and a small propagation greenhouse was completely destroyed.
Elmore Roots in Wolcott, VT grows a wide variety of hardy perennial fruits and berries. With a Business Builder loan from the VFF, Elmore Roots will develop its fruit processing capabilities and markets, building a solar dehydrator, more freezer space, and a clean room for cutting and processing fruit.
Butterfly Bakery of Vermont applied to the Vermont Farm Fund for a loan to expand its hot sauce line to include specialty craft beer hot sauces created in partnership with local Vermont breweries. Owner Claire Fitts Georges plans to process over 17,000 lbs of Vermont-grown hot peppers this year in her new commercial kitchen in Montpelier.
lu.lu artisan ice cream is a small batch, hand-crafted ice cream business founded in Bristol in 2012 with a "farm to spoon" mission. A Business Builder loan from the VFF allowed lu.lu to purchase a blast freezer. This equipment allows them to freeze the ice cream product to -30 degrees in 3-4 hours. Not only does the temperature get colder than regular freezers, it does so much quicker. Both of these attributes help to make the ice cream product less icy and thus a better product.
Pigasus Meats is a diversified livestock operation in South Hero, VT raising pork and eggs. A Business Builder loan from the VFF helped Pigasus build out infrastructure for their new flock of 2,000 layer hens.
Ansel Ploog and Justin Cote founded Flywheel Farm LLC in Woodbury in 2013 with the goal to create a farm that primarily serves local wholesale and regional markets on limited acreage. Their VFF loan will allow them to purchase transplanters, a larger cistern, and build a small office cabin on the farm.
Kingsbury Market Garden came to the Vermont Farm Fund for a $10,000 Business Builder Loan to purchase a leaf separating machine for use in processing medicinal herbs. This machine will separate leaves from stems on crops like peppermint and nettle.
Calderwood Goat Dairy milks Alpine and Saanen goats, two of the top milking breeds. They came to the Vermont Farm Fund for a Business Builder Loan to build a 40'x104’ coverall barn to be able to expand up to 200 milking head.
Good Heart Farmstead is a certified organic vegetable and herb farm in Worcester, VT owned by husband and wife, Edge Fuentes and Kate Spring. They grow about 40 different crops and market their produce mainly through a CSA, and also sell salad greens to Montpelier restaurants.
Four Pillars Farm is a diversified Organic vegetable farm in Whiting, VT on 14.5 acres, using 4 acres for vegetable crops. Owner Peter Cousineau started the farm in 2012 to supply greens to wholesale accounts at the Middlebury Natural Foods coop, Healthy Living Market and City Market. This year, with the help of a Business Builder Loan from the Vermont Farm Fund, Four Pillars will expand to offer a CSA.
Vermont Cranberry Company grows and processes cranberries for fresh market sales. They also press 100% cranberry juice, and provide wholesale cranberries for wine, cider and beverage producers. The juice segment is growing rapidly and VCC is planning to double juice production in 2017. A Business Builder Loan from the Vermont Farm Fund allowed VCC to add berry transfer decks, a berry splitter, pumps and a higher capacity filler to their processing facilities.
A Drop of Joy works directly with local farmers and Vermont-based companies to produce custom juices and condiments from local fruits and vegetables. A $10k Business Builder loan allowed them to upgrade their juicing and mixing equipment.
Seeking to improve their herb dehydration capacity and efficiency, Melanie and Jeff Carpenter recently borrowed $30k from the Vermont Farm Fund to design and build innovative batch dryers to help them maintain the valuable medicinal compounds such as essential oils that their customers seek.
Cara and Jeremiah turned to the VFF for a $15k Business Builder loan to purchase some efficiency-gaining small equipment and continue work on their farmstand. The Tyrells will use their loan to get their farmstand buttoned up with a concrete floor, insullation, 4-season heat, and a sliding door cooler.
Still caught in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene five years hence, Lisa Kaiman of Jersey Girls Dairy applied to the VFF for a second $10,000 Emergency Loan. This time the loan helped to complete the approved river embankment repairs to stem the continual loss of land from the initial storm.
An organic, grass-based dairy, Kiss the Cow Farm wanted to move from selling raw milk off the farm to making ice cream from their lightly pasteurized milk. A $15k Business Builder Loan went toward the purchase of pasteurization and ice cream making equipment, helping the Robars jumpstart their frozen treat business.
The Butterfield brothers turned to the VFF for a $20k Business Builder Loan to startup a yogurt-making operation after researching value-added options for their 50-head dairy. David and Christopher are enthusiastic about selling their new cream-on-top yogurt to local grocers. . .
With the help of a $10k Business Builder Loan from the Vermont Farm Fund, Dave opened his roadside sugar house with upgraded production equipment and stepped-up promotion. The sugar house will help Hartshorns improve its bottom line with increased direct-to-consumer maple syrup sales, including tasty maple confections.
Beth and Bruce were far along rebuilding their barn after a fire burnt it to the ground in 2014. They contacted the VFF for a $30k Business Builder Loan to help them upgrade their poultry processing, cooling and freezing equipment, a marked improvement over their previous facilities.
Adam and Christine faced a choice, either expand the land of their diversified, organic family farm, or scale down and farm more intensively. They chose the latter and sought a Business Builder Loan to help them to transition to a more efficient, no-till permanent raised bed system.
Ashley and Erin Farr have a philosophy of working smarter on their Richmond, VT dairy farm. A $30k VFF business builder loan will enable them to build out their infrastructure, including low-heat pasteurization, milk bottling and gelato making equipment.
Tangletown Farm is one of a handful of repeat VFF borrowers. Dave and Lila’s new loan will help them increase their flock of layers, improve their management of the birds and even make the retired gals available as ground pet food. Yes, pets can eat local too!
Included in the first round lending for Tropical Storm Irene recovery, KBMG was the first borrower to pay back their loan in full. A $30k Business Builder Loan is now helping Aaron Locker make his recently purchased farm more efficient and profitable with new equipment and construction.
With their range of offerings outpacing their available building space, Corie and Adam found themselves having to rotate business functions out of a single facility. A $20,000 Business Builder Loan helped Bread and Butter Farm fund a combined renovation/addition of their existing facilities.
The Webbs replaced their smaller loan with a $30,000 Business Builder loan from the VFF to implement an environmentally sound nutrient recovery / irrigation system that they are hoping will be a model for other Vermont farms.
After paying back their Emergency Loan early, the diversified organic farm came back to us for a $30,000 Business Builder Loan to help finish up the construction of their new barn with wash, pack and cold storage facilities.
Looking to jumpstart their fruit nursery business, the Haydens applied for a VFF Business Builder loan. The funds will enable The Farm Between to build their inventory for sale and propagation and more.
"Cranberry Bob" sought a VFF Business Builder Loan to outfit a new white room to FDA inspection standards. The improvements will enable Vermont Cranberry to expand wholesale production, pressing for more days per year and incorporating other fruits and vegetables like carrots into the mix.
A Vermont Farm Fund Business Builder loan helped Joe Bossen take advantage of a grant from Vermont Farm Viability to build Vermont Bean Crafter’s infrastructure for aggregating; cleaning and storing dry beans and other staple crops.
After losing their leased processing facility to fire, Paul Lisai appealed to the VFF to help him rebuild a new creamery on his family's land. He is now selling his gently pasteurized, grass-fed milk to local retail outlets including the Capitol City Farmers’ Market in Montpelier.
Nicole applied for a VFF Emergency Loan when the farm's lease was unexectedly cancelled, essentially leaving the farm with no property to grown on. The loan enabled Seedfolks to locate water and drill a well, prerequisites for farming their new piece of leased land.
After repeated flooding at the Intervale, Rob Rock decided to diversify Pitchfork Farm, relocating and downsizing his growing acreage. A Business Builder Loan is helping kickstart Rob's ag machinery and fabrication business, a bonus for Vermont farmers in need of his custom farm equipment and metal working services.
When a fire destroyed the neighbor's barn that Good Heart was using for storage and seed germination, Katie and Edge lost both their belongings and much needed space. A VFF Emergency Loan helped the couple recoup their material loss, as well as contributed to a new planned facility.
Will Ameden of Under Orion Farm leveraged a $10,000 VFF Business Builder Loan in combination with a payback grant to accomplish $18,000 worth of improvements, positioning Orion and tenant incubator farms for expansion.
Made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Scout's Honor Ice Cream was the hit of the Waitsfield Farmers' Market. Owners Johnny Vitko and Sarina Guilisano turned to the VFF for a Business Builder Loan when they were ready to expand their sales channels and take their business to the next level.
A $10,000 Business Builder loan from the VFF made it possible for the Tyrrells to undertake a season-extending greenhouse project this spring. They promptly payed off the loan four months later when they got their check from the NRCS.
Tropical Storm Irene nearly destroyed all that Lisa Kaiman had built at Jersey Girls Dairy over the previous twelve years. An Emergency Loan from the Vermont Farm Fund helped stabilize the farm and enabled Lisa to continue with plans to install a pasteurizing system.
As demand for locally sourced, certified organic medicinal herbs has grown, the Carpenters have been consistently selling out of their harvest. A $10,000 VFF Business Builder Loan is helping the farm procure new equipment, increasing both their efficiency and production.
The floods of Tropical Storm Irene dealt Arethusa a potentially devastating blow, covering all of their crops under silt and water. A VFF Emergency Loan helped the farm pay its bills while it regrouped for the 2012 growing season.
Just before the peak sales season for Elmore Roots, Tropical Storm Irene washed out their entrance road, rendered their orchard inaccessable and mangled a greenhouse that protects vulnerable young fruit plants from freezing temperatures. Recovery from their $85,000 loss needed to begin immediately and an interest-free emergency loan from the Vermont Farm Fund helped that effort.
A powerful late May hail storm took out the majority of Andy's spring crops, as well as summer transplants ready to go in the ground. A VFF Emergency Loan aided the farm's recovery and positioned it for growth by providing funds to invest in equipment and a greenhouse.
When the Connecticut River overflowed its levies the morning after Tropical Storm Irene, a makeshift damn couldn't stop the flood waters from ruining all the crops at Harlow Farm. A fast Emergency Loan from the VFF helped get the farm through the winter.
When William reached the maximum for on farm processing of his pastured meat birds, he sought a VFF Innovation loan to grow his flock of layers. The loan enabled Hillside to both purchase additional layers, as well as the infrastrure to keep them on pasture.
Joe's Brook actually suffered two major flooding events in 2011, the second of which was Irene. With decreased income and extraordinary expenses, a VFF Emergency Loan enabled Eric and Mary to purchase supplies, seeds and propane so that they were in a position to start fresh in the spring.
When the Connecticut River flooded the MacLennan's fields, it took out their crops and left behind an insideious disease that would prevent them from planting vine crops on the land for 4-5 years. A VFF Emergency Loan helped them manage their debt and expenses, enabling them to stay in business.
Family-owned and certified organic, Stony Pond Farm found that its expansion and innovation plans had outpaced their ability to generate income from their investments. In a bind, the Webbs applied for a VFF loan that helped them turn the corner and see their innovations begin to pay back to the farm.
This small community farm was devastated by Irene. With 100% of their crops lost, the Tyrrells were emotionally and financially drained by the storm. Unable to qualify for a conventional loan, the VFF stepped in with a 0% interest, no hassle loan in time to buy cover crop seed and other supplies.
My main reason for seeking the loan from the VFF is keeping the funds I pay back revolving around our great Vermont farm community.
Cranberry Bob , Bob Lesnikoski, Vermont Cranberry Company
Keep Up With the Farm Fund
The Vermont Farm Fund is a program of The Center for an Agricultural Economy. In partnership with Pete's Greens, we provide no-hassle, friendly-term loans to local farmers and food producers. A true revolving loan fund, as the community of recipients pays back their loans, funds are replenished for the next cycle of borrowers.
Vermont Farm Fund
PO Box 1213
Montpelier, VT 05601