Melissa O’Brien, News Editor
The Philo Ridge Farm Market, located on the corner of Hinesburg and Mt. Philo roads, opened on July 6 and has been steadily and happily welcoming members of Charlotte and its surrounding communities since.
The farm, located on 400 acres of pasture and woodlands, was purchased by Diana McCargo and Peter Swift in 2012 from their neighbors, Jonathan and Linda Foote, who were the fifth generation of Foote farmers to caretake and farm the land.
Three years later Philo Ridge Farm came into being, and today the farm produces a great variety of products: pork, chicken, lamb, beef, wool products, certified organic hay, garlic, small grains and flowers. “Our goals are to sell what we grow and raise, support neighboring farmers and to support artisans both locally and worldwide,” says Food and Farm Director Francine Stephens.
“This is a really exciting time for us,” said Stephens, “as this was our first time inviting the public onto the farm. We’ve gotten amazing feedback on the food.”
Stephens and her staff believe that delicious food is the entry point for larger conversations around larger issues, like respectful animal husbandry, healthy landscapes and quality foods. At Philo Ridge, the Market is the starting place for this.
Adjoining the Market is a warm and welcoming room for sitting and eating and sharing in conversation; there is outdoor seating room on the terrace. “It’s easy to take in the beauty of the farm from here,” says Stephens, “Eventually the larger farm will be open, with access to trails that will take visitors to where the animals are.”
The Market offers a variety of breakfast items, including lemon and cheddar scones, buttermilk biscuits and chocolate chip coffee cake. There is oatmeal and granola that can be paired with Philo Ridge Farm almond milk. For lunch, grilled cheese, pressed corn beef and pizza made with Jasper Hill cheese. There are also a variety of prepared foods one can take home for later meals. “We make our own bagels and bread, and we are curing and smoking our own meats,” Stephens explains, “We use as many farm and locally produced ingredients as possible, and we have worked hard to make the pricing accessible.”
Currently the Market is open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. every day, year-round. Stop in and enjoy healthy local food in the company of your friends and neighbors. Stephens and the Farm crew will continue to grow, and the Farm will evolve over time. “The most important thing,” she says, “is that we are important to our community.”