Farmer Spotlight: A Visit to our Local Producers
Throughout the year, City Market staff members make the rounds to visit our local producers and get a behind the scenes look at their operations. With over 2,700 Local and Made in Vermont products, we have plenty of incredible vendors to choose from. This past week, a group of us visited Miskell’s Premium Organics in Charlotte and Besteyfield Farms at their new space in Hinesburg.
The day began with a tour of Miskell’s Premium Organics’ half acre organic greenhouse farm led by farmer and owner, Dave Miskell. The greenhouses were filled mostly with Bok Choy, Chard, and Basil, though Dave shared that he got his start with a focus on premium organic tomatoes. As one of the first certified organic farms in Vermont, Dave has seen the market for local and organic food evolve over the years and has been able to set himself apart with the help of season extension and a focus on long-term relationships with a handful of local partners including City Market. In 2016, we purchased almost 13,000 pounds of chard from Miskell’s Premium Organics! While we purchase the majority of Dave’s chard crop, most of his basil is sold to the Skinny Pancake for use in their house-made pesto.
You’ll find Dave’s produce featured on our hot bar daily and in a variety of dishes from our Prepared Foods department. My favorite anecdote from our visit was when Dave shared that his wife often swings by City Market when she’s looking for a quick bite and grabs some garlicky chard grown from their very own greenhouses (and prepared by our talented staff)! Before taking off for stop number two, Dave generously sent us on our way with some baby bok choy. Check out some of our favorite bok choy recipes here and be sure to check out Miskell’s chard on our hot bar this week!
Our second stop of the day led us to Ben Butterfield and his flock of 1,800 birds. Ben recently moved his operation to a plot of leased farmland in Hinseburg after starting out at Burlington’s Intervale Center as an incubator farm. Ben has grown from 400 chickens to his current 1,800 with plans to expand even further this fall. With shoppers purchasing over 105,000 eggs from Ben’s farm in the past year, this expansion will allow him to keep up with the increasing demand.
Earlier this year, Besteyfield Farms received a Local Farm and Producer Investment Program Loan from City Market in order to fund their expansion and grow their business. This zero percent interest loan has helped Ben to increase his flock size as well as purchase key equipment including a Cool Bot storage unit for his eggs and an egg washer to increase efficiency. We’re looking forward to having a steady supply of his tasty eggs in both of our stores!
Thanks to Ben and Dave for hosting and providing our community with high quality food year-round!