Farming has always been an important industry in Vermont. From self-sufficient farms in the 1700s to sheep farming in the early 1800s to the growth of dairy farms just before the Civil War, much of the state’s land was put to use as farms. Although farming as a primary source of income has been in decline for many years, there are still a large number family-owned farms throughout the state. Open Farm Week, scheduled for August 13-19, is a chance for visitors and locals alike to learn about the Vermont farms of today. About the farmers’ respect for the land and the animals they raise, and about the responsibility they feel toward sustaining the land for future generations.
Participating farms include everything from dairy farms to farms with miniature horses to organic farms. You can meet the farmers, learn about their farming techniques, get up close and personal with some of the animals, and generally build a better appreciation of what it takes to get food to your plate. Some farms will offer activities such as hay rides, pick your own, milk a cow, or special children’s activities. Plan early to reserve a seat at one of the special farm meals being offered.