Diana McCargo, Philo Ridge Farm
Spring in Vermont means many things, including muddy boots, late snowfalls, budding apple blossoms and the first plantings for farmers and gardeners around the state. It marks the beginning of a new year for growers, and here at Philo Ridge Farm, it also ushers in many exciting changes.
We recently welcomed a new team member, Jane Engelman, to our growing farm staff. Jane is our market garden manager and joins us most recently from running her own organic farm in Maine. Our farm stand will open in mid-June, and this summer we’ve planted greens, carrots, beets, tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn, herbs, cut flowers and much more.
This past fall we completed building a new livestock barn to overwinter our Belted Galloway cattle and our heritage pigs. This new barn will help us grow our livestock operation and keep our animals warm and dry over the winter months.
With the completion of the livestock barn, our focus is now on the renovation of another farm barn at the corner of Hinesburg Road and Mt. Philo Road. This newly renovated barn will be home to a year-round farm market and small farm processing facility where we will be able to process fresh produce into shelf-stable products so the summer bounty can be enjoyed and available throughout the year. We’re hoping to turn our fruit into jams and shrubs, our beef into charcuterie and bone broth and our vegetables into pickles and preserves.
At the core of this barn renovation project is a 150-year-old pine post-and-beam, braced-frame barn with a mortise and tenon construction, joined with oak pegs. Crafted in the English hay-barn style, it has pine-plank floors, entrances in the front and the back (originally made for hay wagons) and three bays. It was built for hay storage but more recently was used for sugaring production.
We plan to open the new market with limited hours this fall and fully open next spring. We’re looking forward to opening its doors to our neighbors and friends. Stay tuned for an open house this fall to see what progress we’ve made, share a delicious meal and meet our team.