Tue. Sep 26th, 2023
    Young Farmers Find Supportive Environment in Vermont

    Dan and Elyse Wulfkuhle, Massachusetts natives, recently purchased Wood’s Market Garden in Brandon, Vermont after a long search for suitable farmland. Dan’s love for farming began at age 17 when he worked on a farm in Barnet, Vermont. The couple, who had spent the past decade in Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, decided to return to the East Coast to be closer to family and to take advantage of Vermont’s supportive environment for farmers.

    Wood’s Market Garden, a well-established organic, diversified vegetable operation, had been owned by the Wood family for a century. After the untimely death of owner Jon Satz in 2021, Dan reached out to his wife, Courtney, expressing interest in purchasing the farm. Thanks to the Vermont Land Trust, the sale price was reduced significantly through conservation easements. Additionally, the couple received financial support from various institutions, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency, Vermont Economic Development Authority, and the century-old Lotta Agricultural Fund.

    Mike Ghia from Land for Good, a nonprofit organization that supports land access for farmers, helped the Wulfkuhles navigate the complex farm transition and loan application process. Ghia noted that Vermont sees a high demand for farmland due to the support and resources available to farmers. Organizations such as the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board’s Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program and the Intervale Center contribute to the success of the state’s agricultural industry.

    Despite facing challenges such as excess moisture, lack of sunshine, and pest problems, the Wulfkuhles remain enthusiastic about their new venture. They have plans to expand into the flower market and are grateful for the opportunity to farm in Vermont, where they feel supported and encouraged.

    – Caleb Kenna
    – Wood’s Market Garden, Brandon, Vermont