By Vera Moroney
ShakeyGround Farm on Converse Bay Road near the Charlotte Ferry is not shaky in any way. Started by David Beckwith, it is now run Megan Bookless and Becca Burke. Becca says the place spoke to her.
Megan and Becca’s farm stand is a cornucopia of wonders.
They raise “grass-fed meats, pastured poultry and certified organic produce…” They have Icelandic sheep, Belted Galloway cattle, free-range chickens, veggies, and cut flowers, among other offerings.
They work to use every part of the animals, so in the stand there are imaginative uses for horns, hoofs and hides. The horns and hoofs are turned into planters with bromeliads. The hides provide luxurious pelts of various colors that call out for napping on. There is yarn from the sheep for decorating or for knitting.
The stand also has large cutting boards made from local hickory that make you want to sharpen your knives and chop and slice, if you can bear to actually use these beautiful boards. This author has two of them.
The meat, which comes frozen, is sublime. It is hard to find the right cuts of beef and beef bones for stock, but they have that and it makes for outstanding stock. It will be cold for a while longer, and since we are all home it is an excellent time to cook.
When Megan was asked about happy surprises, she cited the support from complete strangers who knitted items for her and thanked her for the stand and all her hard work. She has also received help and support from other small farms in Charlotte.
A big challenge is the unpredictable weather. (We can all agree on that!) Megan cites great help and support from the Vermont Extension Service and the New England Organic Farmers Association, especially in the quest to use integrated pest management (IPM) for crops. IPM strives to minimize the use of pesticides through the introduction of beneficial organisms and constant scouting for harmful ones. This is particularly important in closed environments such as hoop houses and greenhouses.
Megan and Becca’s vision for the future is to continue to maintain the high quality of their products. They may be more expensive but will provide true value. This is a place to support by our patronage. You cannot go wrong.
You can find ShakeyGround meat and produce (in season) at the Shelburne and Vergennes farmers markets, Shelburne Market, Philo Ridge Farm and Rise ‘n Shine.
In order to keep our community safe, Megan and Becca are currently providing only online purchases for pick up. The ShakeyGround Farm website does a good job of showing their offerings, including fresh spinach from Unity Farm and goat and cow cheeses.