Flint Ingredient Company started four years ago with the purchase of 9.75 acres of vacant County Land Bank property. We started selling our produce at the Flint Farmers Market a year round market. Flint Ingredient Company began with a flock of 20 chickens, 6 sheep and vegetable production in a 48 ft hoophouse. We now focus primarily on vegetable production in four hoophouses and outdoor fields producing product year round on 1.5 acres. Franklin Pleasant and Erin Caudell are the primary operators with several part-time staff joining during peak season. In December of 2015, we opened a Michigan focused grocery store named The Local Grocer where we stock our produce. Later this summer will add a mobile vegetable market (with other community partners) to bring fresh local produce into the neighborhoods of Flint.
Boston Post Dairy is located on 82 acres in Enosburg Falls, Vermont acres across from the scenic Missisquoi River with a view of beautiful Jay Peak mountain. Our dairy is named after the Old Boston Post Stagecoach Road which runs straight through the farm property. Our family has been farming in Vermont since 1960 and “Family” and “Quality of Life” have always been important to us. A key principle of our business is “Putting Family First.” Our farm is nicknamed “The Girls Farm” because we are four girls from a family of fifteen – yes we have eleven brothers - and together with support from our mother and father, Robert & Gisele, we run it. We started this venture without any boys, other than our Dad, involved at all…well OK our brothers did help with many of the tasks we had to get finished to get started but we really started the day to day operations as “the girls”. When the milking chores started to challenge cheese making hours we finally allowed our baby brother in to manage the cow herd. The names of our cheeses highlights further the importance of family to us. We have Gisele named after our Mom; Bon Pere named in honor of our Dad; Eleven Brothers named for our eleven brothers and our Mom told us in french that our Tres Bonne was “very good' and the name stuck. There is nothing named for the girls as this would have to be a “sharp” cheese. So how did we start initially- Two of us were working out of our homes, one of us producing maple products and the other goat milk soaps and lotions. We were both selling at Farmer’s Markets and Craft Shows. One day our Dad suggested that we needed a store. Our immediate thought was … how could we ever afford that- Soon after, in 2007, he purchased this farm and gifted us the barn and 82 acres. We knew that we couldn’t make the “farm” and the “farm” store survive with just soaps and lotions and maple products so we decided to add cheese making as another step in diversifying our farm. In 2009 the two of us that started with the initial products took cheese making classes at the Vermont Institute for Artisan Cheese and the University of Vermont and we added an artisanal farmstead cheese making facility with viewing windows, to allow visitors to watch the cheese making process and a small retail store where we sell our cheeses, goat milk soaps, maple syrup and bakery items made here at the farm. When we first bought the farm it was home to just 35 cows. We brought the goats to the farm in 2008 as babies so they could, in a sense, grow up on the farm. The goats started kidding in 2010 and we had the first goat milk produced on the farm. We immediately started making goat milk cheese and took our first award for our Onion Dill Chevre that summer! Our farm is home to 180 dairy goats – Alpines, Lamanchas, Saanens, Nubians, Oberhasi, and Toggenburgs; 95 dairy cows – Holsteins and Brown Swiss; 20 free range chickens, (raised for their eggs) as well as cats & rabbits. There are eight full-time and 7 part-time staff that help to keep operations running. All the milk used in making our cheese is produced right on the farm. The dairy makes goat, cow, and goat/cow blend cheeses and we have just introduced our first goat milk camembert style cheese and cow milk farmhouse cheddar curds to the market with more to come! We have six award winning cheeses, winning a total of twenty one awards since our first entry in 2010, something we feel is quite an accomplishment when we factor in the size of our operation.
We have a plaque in our living room that I live by it says, “Nature never betrayed the heart that loved her.” I have always believed that we are stewards of the land. Living in harmony with nature is our lifestyle so when we purchased this 48 acre farm 16 years ago in the heart of the Appalachian mountains of Western North Carolina, my husband and I pledged to return her to the natural beauty she craved to be. Not long after we bought the farm we adopted our two boys, Dmitry and Andrei, from Russia when they were 2 and 3. Now 16 & 17. Brothers On Farms was created in 2010 to keep our pre-teen boys off the couch that summer by drilling 100 Shiitake Mushroom logs and having them sell them at the local farmers market. The business grew with the desire to utilize our 48 acre farm to serve the community. We decided to raise sheep to sell lamb by the cut, purchasing our first breeding pair in 2011. In 2012 we purchased five more ewes. 2013 was our first year full year of lamb production. The public response was overwhelming. We are the only 'by the cut' lamb farmer in our area and at the local farmers markets. Everyone was excited to see us at the farmers market and we'd sell out almost every week. Since that time our herd has grown to 15 ewes and 28 lambs. The pastures are now up to 14+ acres. This fall to improve our bloodlines, we have contracted to purchase registered 5 Dorper ewes and a Dorper Ram from the Biltmore Estate, who has a fine line of champion stock. The Appalachian mountains are blessed with an abundance of natural springs. Last year with the help of the USDA conservation program, we installed a complete gravity fed watering system for six of our 11 pastures with the waterline ending at our new 30 X 72 foot hoop house. In the hoop house we have planted many fig trees, avocado trees, garlic, onions and seasonal vegetables, expanding our season and production reach. We also have a half acre garden and fruit and nut trees throughout the property. During this last 6 years, I have tirelessly promoted “local grown' agriculture and farming. I was a founder of a new Thursday evening market in our community, revitalizing the local downtown square. I just completed the intensive NC State and Tobacco Trust Fund Agriculture Leadership Development Program. A program where I was one of 32 farmers selected statewide learning skills needed to bridge the gaps between rural and urban interests, to participate actively in issues affecting agriculture, and to foster unity among agricultural interests. This two year training included trips to Washington to meet and talk with the Senate Committee on Agriculture, meeting with the Chinese consulate to learn the struggles and successes of the Chinese Ag markets. A trip to the boarder of Texas and customs to better understand the issues and challenges of keeping our food and farms safe from pest and contaminants, a 2 week trip to Brazil to study their huge Agriculture export businesses and how we as American farmers can compete.
Our farm began over 50 years ago when my great-grandparents settled in Clinton, NY from Poland. Over the years our family farm has transitioned from a roadside stand, selling sweetcorn with only a little pail for customers to pay using “the honor system”, to a fruit and vegetable farm with a brick and mortar farm market open seven days a week during the growing season. We grow our crops and sell directly to the customer. Our farm is approximately 125 acres and we grow a variety of crops including asparagus, rhubarb, strawberries, sweet peas, beans, sweet corn, pumpkins and more. This farm has stood the test of time and has changed a lot over the years. I know we need to find forward thinking ways of keeping the farm alive for years to come. I learned from my ancestors the art of growing crops and fixing machinery, but the most valuable lesson I have learned is a love of the land. Farming is in my blood and I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life or raising my family anywhere else.