BRATTLEBORO >> Things keep growing at Wild Carrot Farm, and not just the vegetables.
"We never had a real great retail space," said Jesse Kayan, co-owner of Wild Carrot Farm. "It was a limited space."
A new season for the farm's community-supported agriculture business began Tuesday. Last April, customers may have noticed Kayan and his father, Joe, starting construction on a new facility out front. The new 30-by-38-foot building has an insulated retail space in the front that will stay open in the winter. Meat, eggs, vegetables, raw milk, flowers and maple syrup will be sold there.
Twice a week, Tuesdays and Fridays, customers will come and choose from the harvest of vegetables in a room next to the retail room. In the back is a produce-washing station and storage facility. And there's a porch on the front, where people can sit and hang out.
More than a third of the project was funded with a grant from the Vermont Working Lands Enterprise Initiative, said Caitlin Burlett, Wild Carrot co-owner and Kayan's wife. The new facility, Kayan said, is going to bring improvements in accessing different markets, selling products wholesale, working with restaurants and storing food.
"We spent a lot of time thinking about how to process food safely and efficiently for this project," he said.
Posts in the front section of the building came from trees on the farm. The majority of the other wood was brought in from Tim Hamilton in West Brattleboro. He cut and milled it all. Besides cutting and milling all the wood, Hamilton assisted with excavating. The parking lot also saw improvements.
"Part of our goal with this project was to help spread this money around as sort of locally and thoughtfully as we could," said Kayan. "We don't usually have $28,000 to play around with."
Wild Carrot shares property and resources with Fair Winds Farm on Upper Dummerston Road. The land is owned by Earth Bridge Community Land Trust.
The Bailey Family, who own Fair Winds, has been "using draft horses for over 30 years for all their farming and they taught us how to use the horses," said Burlett.
Wild Carrot now only relies on horses for all of its production, meaning all the plowing, disking and cultivating. Horses are shared between the two families. No tractors are used on the property.
Making a space that is user friendly is looked at as a way to get more people at the farm and spark interest in this form of farming.
"This is something we really felt we needed for our farm when we got here about four years ago but we're going to share the retail space," said Kayan.
CSA customers can sign up for half or full shares. What items are available will vary week to week, Burlett said. This week, she estimated having 20 different choices for veggies.
People don't just grab their goods and go. They'll play with animals and use trails and a playground onsite.
"It's kind of a nice community space. One of the things about the old space is you could only fit a few people in there at a time," Burlett said. "No one could really stick around inside. You had to get out so the next person could get in. And in here, I think people will be able to not be knocking each other over."
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.