BRATTLEBORO —For those that have yet to milk a cow, this weekend may be the chance to do that.
This week, through Sunday, Aug. 21, is Vermont Open Farm Week, which features several farm throughout the Green Mountain state, including seven in Windham County. This is a chance for locals and visitors alike to get to know their farmers, plants and animals at the local farms that put food on their plate. All told, approximately 100 farms across the state will participate. What's the big deal? Many of them are not always open to the public.
"Open Farm Week offers visitors access to learn more about local food origins, experience authentic agritourism and build relationships with local farmers," stated a press release.
Aside from those who have milking a goat or a cow on their bucket list, others may have the opportunity to harvest vegetables, collect eggs, taste farm fresh food, participate in a scavenger hunt and enjoy hayrides, farm dinners and live music.
Local farms involved in Open Farm Week includes Adams Farm at 15 Higley Hill Rd., Wilmington, which will involve activities such as paintball in the sheep pastures or a guided trail ride on the horses. Wagon rides around the perimeter of the farm will occur daily, but paintball and trail rides require reservations.
Another featured farm in Windham County is the Boyd Family Farm at 125 East Dover Road, Wilmington, where the blueberry fields will be open for picking and an on-farm dinner will be offered.
As for Deer Ridge Farm at 4057 Hinesburg Road in Guilford, it will offer an educational spin on farming for its guests. Farmers will teach visitors about the flower, berry, and vegetable production. Other activities include a tour of the flower fields with over 100 varieties of flowers, observing the honey bees in action, or sampling maple syrup, honey or a variety of tomatoes.
Over in Jacksonville at 1631 Route 100 North, Sprague and Sons Sugarhouse invites guests into the Sugarhouse for detailed tours and delectable samplings.
Taylor Farm, the dairy farm located at 825 VT RT 11 in Londonderry, welcomes visitors to try cheese making, kite flying, farm tours and woodland hikes during Open Farm Week. The farm offers these activities during regular operating hours in the open season as well.
Over in Dummerston at 707 Kipling Road, the owner of Scott Farm requests the presence of guests to explore the 571-acre orchard. The Scott Farm tour will include a history briefing of its heirloom fruits, discussion around orchard ecology, how to manage pests and how grafting was used to create the orchard. The farm stand will be open and orchard-related items will be available for purchase as well.
Lastly, local to the area is the West River Farmers Market at the junction of Route 11 and Route 100 in Londonderry, which is home to 45 farmers, food producers and artisans "offering a bounty of the best of Vermont." The farm asks that dogs are left at home during the tour.
Open Farm Week is a collaborative statewide agritourism project organized by members of the Vermont Farm to Plate Network, including Vermont Farm Tours, University of Vermont Extension, Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Vermont Fresh Network, Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, Shelburne Farms and Farm Based Education, NOFA VT, and City Market. It is sponsored by the City Market/Onion River Co-op and the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing.
For more informational or a list of daily events, visit www.diginvt.com/openfarmweek
Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275