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Exciting Things Happening at Kingsbury Farm

robinMany people know that Aaron isn’t just one of my bosses with Muddy Boots but he is also a good friend.  I have enormous respect for him and am excited about his vision for Kingsbury Farm now that he has purchased the property from the Vermont Food Bank.
Eight years ago I worked on the team that helped conserve Kingsbury Farm.  Aaron looked at the farm then and determined it would be difficult to make a living as a vegetable farmer with just eight acres of land that could be used for growing.  As an organic farmer, you would need to set aside a portion of the acreage each year for cover-cropping to allow it to naturally replenish nutrients that are used to grow vegetables.  This diminishes the growable land to just 4 or 5 acres each year.
It is a bit ironic that now, after leasing the land from the Vermont Food Bank for six years, Aaron has bought the farm he saw so little future in back in 2008.
There are many reasons Aaron feels confident he can make Kingsbury Farm work despite it’s small size, but it all comes down to being smart about the farming he is doing.  While his ultimate fate as a farmer is in the hands of Mother Nature, he is always thinking about ways to become more efficient and effective with everything he does.  Take just one acre of land at Kingsbury Farm…he can tell you how many pounds of carrots, salad greens or peppers he can grow in that space and then translate it into income after factoring the different levels of labor each would require and the market demand and price he can get for the crops at various times throughout the season.
Domingo! (Sunday in Spanish) started when Aaron identified an unfilled niche in the local market for roasted chili peppers.  Freshly harvested peppers are a commodity in the peak of the harvest season and what he could make on them is dictated by the going market price.  But, roast those same chilis and you have a product no one else in Vermont is offering.
Of course, roasting takes time and Sunday afternoons is the only free time for Aaron during the growing season so that is when he decided he would do his roasting – Domingo!  Last year he tested the market and found a few food service accounts that loved his roasted chili’s and this year he decided to expand his offerings by growing and roasting more peppers.
 There are two more Domingo’s this year – September 13 and September 20 from 4 to 8.  It is a fun “Valley” experience.  Aaron will be roasting his chili’s which you can buy for $2 on a stick – delicious with a sprinkle of salt and a cooling Sip of Sunshine or PBR that you can also buy there.  You will be able to purchase fresh corn tortillas from Vermont Bean Crafters who also offers a limited menu of Mexican specialties including tacos, burritos, pasole and chili.
Domingo is just one of Aaron’s strategies to make his farm profitable and sustainable.  He is a fascinating guy to talk with.  If you make it to one of the last two Domingo’s of this season and have a chance to chat with Aaron, you will probably coax out of him some of the many other fascinating and interesting ideas he has planned for Kingsbury Farm in the coming years.

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