A Sustainable, Functional and Beautiful Farm
Our farm is a typical Vermont hillside farm, a diverse landscape that is appealing to not only the eye but to the stomach as well. Here we grow as much of our own meat and produce as the land can healthfully sustain.
We raise milk cows, pigs, sheep, goats, laying hens, meat chickens, and ducks. All F&W animals are lovingly cared for throughout their lives, and all but the chickens and ducks are given names. Each animal plays a role in keeping our fields fertilized and our gardens weed-free. The goats eat weeds, so we don’t have to use machines. The sheep and cows change pastures frequently or are “rotationally grazed.” This maximizes food for animals while helping the soil health and fertility of our pastures. We pasteurize our own cow milk in a state-approved facility right on the Tamarack Farm campus, which allows our campers to see the full cycle of a dairy.
We have acres of gardens planted by our year-round and seasonal staff and cared for by our campers during the summer. The produce that can be eaten fresh is used in our kitchens throughout the growing season, while the rest is stored for the long winter through canning, drying or freezing. We are a certified organic farm, which means that we do not use chemicals that would be hazardous to the plants, the soil, our animals or ourselves. We practice organic techniques such as cover crops for green manure, crop rotation, raised beds, nutrient recycling/composting and hand weeding.
In addition to the gardens, we also have a variety of berries and fruit trees, including apples, pears and plums. We do a fair amount of wild harvesting, including fiddleheads, leeks, and harvesting some of our weeds as forage for our dining room tables. The final product that adds great fun and a bit of sweetness to our farm is our sugar bush. In the beginning of March we tap about 350 trees and boil the sap to make maple syrup. We use a single “health spout” per tree. These make a smaller wound in the tree while letting us get almost as much sap as the regular spouts.
We try to buy from organic farms and local businesses the things that we cannot grow ourselves. We grow and bale most of our hay to feed our animals year-round, and augment as needed for our alpacas and other animals with certified organic hay. We also maximize our grain storage so that we make as few trips to pick up grain as possible.