Berry Creek Farm
When Gerard and Rosemary Croizet took over her mother’s sheep farm and began growing vegetables and strawberries organically, they spent as much of their time educating people about the benefits of organic food and farming as they did growing things, not to mention the time they spent working jobs off-farm to support their start-up operation.
“We were determined to grow organically because we did not want to eat or use pesticides, fungicides, and herbicides ourselves, or for our children, so why sell it to others? It just did not seem responsible morally, or environmentally,” says Rosemary Croizet.
Twenty years later, things have changed. Not only are the Croizets almost complete localvores (“we splurge on coffee, chocolate, certain fruits and oils, but otherwise we make a good stab of producing or sourcing everything locally”), but also more and more people are seeking out their offerings.
Rosemary suspects that the localvore movement has sprung out of protest over the current corporate food production system and people’s desire to reclaim their health and connection to food. “Our customers come from all walks of life. The one thing in common is their interest in healthy, tasty food.”
With five acres in crop production, six greenhouses, a dedicated CSA customer base (who now mostly shop for themselves at the farmstand rather than receiving a box), a thriving farmstand, and pick-your-own strawberry business, Berry Creek Farm also fundraises to dedicate large shares of produce to the Jay Area Food Shelf and the Troy Area Senior Meal Site.
Aside from their farmstand and CSA, Berry Creek Farm markets to Green Mountain Farm to School's "Farm Direct", Newport Natural Foods & Montgomery's Cafe, Mountain View Farm Stand, The Craftsbury Outdoor Center, and the Jay Village Inn.
Marketing to restaurants has proved more challenging. “I would imagine dealing with many different farms can be a difficulty when faced with the ease of getting everything you need from one order, one company, one truck, one day,” sympathises Crozet, “but we hope to market to more restaurants as the demand for local produce is on the rise.”
Not to mention, as Berry Creek Farm’s CSA customers discovered over the years, that there’s nothing more fullfilling than enjoying a delicious meal expertly prepared from local, seasonal ingredients and then heading out to the farm to see the animals, pick berries, stock up on delicious supplies, and meet the people who tended your supper from the ground up.