11th Annual “Tour de Farms” bike ride to take place in Vergennes

ACORN’s 11th annual Tour de Farms is happening on Sunday, Sept. 16. One of Vermont’s oldest cycling farm tours has released the list of farms for the Tour’s first-ever route in Vergennes. Riders will be invited to stop at Adam’s Berry Farm, Boundbrook Farm, Flower Power VT, Kimball Brook Farm, Nea Tocht Farm, Pelkey’s Blueberries/Charlotte Village Winery and Philo Ridge Farm for a day full of fresh flavors. There is also a shorter, kid-friendly 10-mile route for those who prefer a more relaxed adventure.

“We are thrilled with this year’s roster of farms. There will be so many different tastes, landscapes and food systems to experience, it really will be a feast for all the senses!” says Amelia Norris, the Tour de Farms Event Manager.

Boundbrook Farm is the first stop on this year’s Tour. Erik Andrus and his wife, Erica, began farming their land over 14 years ago. Originally interested in growing wheat and having previously lived in Japan, Erik realized that with its wet, heavy soil, the land would be better suited for rice. At under six acres, Boundbrook is much smaller than typical Japanese rice operations, but is considered large in New England. The Andrus family uses ducks for a unique system to manage its weeds and fertility. In addition to providing a natural pest and weed control, the ducks provide a rich source of meat and eggs for the farm. Boundbrook Farm is also home to Good Companion Bakery, which produces wood-fired breads, pastries and pretzels. Learn about the Andrus family while enjoying Good Companion baked goods and maple iced coffee brewed fresh from Middlebury’s own Vermont Coffee Company.

After Boundbrook Farm, riders will continue on to Flower Power VT, run by Anne Flack-Matthews and her partner, Ed. Using organic farming and permaculture methods to lessen the farm’s impact on the environment, Flower Power VT boasts over 100 varieties of perennials and annuals, as well as vegetables, herbs and eggs. At the farm, riders will get a beautiful flower to attach to their bicycles and will be sampling pickles from Pin Up Pickles as well as maple-glazed ham, cheese, crackers and mustard from Dakin Farm.

“I’m very excited to be a part of the Tour and share our beautiful valley with outdoor lovers. We will have thousands of flowers to enjoy, and the donkeys and llamas are looking forward to saying hello,” says Anne.

Adam’s Berry Farm in Charlotte, whetre Adam and Jessica grow organic strawberries, raspberries and blueberries, is the next stop on the Tour. Adam and Jessica will be serving up fresh strawberry lemonade alongside Agricola Farm’s sausages, bacon bites and torcetti cookies as well as baked goods from Nitty Gritty Grain. Berries, popsicles and other goods from Nitty Gritty Grain and Agricola will be available for purchase.

A Farm Van will enable riders to purchase products directly from the farms without having to worry about how they’ll get them back to their car. The Tour will start at 8:30 a.m. and end at 4:00 p.m.at the Vergennes Union High School, which is 20 miles south of Burlington.

The last stop on the ride is the Eat on the Green Festival in downtown Vergennes, organized by the city’s many restaurants. The festival features live music, kids’ activities, local foods and beverages from noon to 6 p.m. The Second Annual Eat on the Green is another chance to explore Addison County’s amazing local food providers with an added bonus of valet bike parking provided by Local Motion for riders of the Tour.

The terrain is hilly with a mix of paved and dirt roads, so a mountain bike or road bike with wide tires is recommended. The Tour de Farms is a rain or shine event. Advance registration is now open and will close on Sept. 7 at 5:00 p.m. The advance registration fee for those who sign up by Aug. 19 is $60 for adults and $35 for students and kids under 18. The on-site registration fee the day of the event is $75 for adults and $50 for students and kids.

The 2018 Tour is sponsored by Local Motion, Ben & Jerry’s, Earl’s Cyclery and Fitness, Vergennes Partnership, Middlebury Dental Group, IPJ Real Estate, Langrock, Sperry & Wool, The Skinny Pancake, Cabot Cheese and the Middlebury Rotary Club.