by Alice Levitt
Vermont farmers will be in our thoughts tomorrow as we tuck into our Thanksgiving meals. And just in time for the holiday, Amanda Andrews and Mike Betit of Burlington's Tamarack Hollow Farm have something to be thankful for — they're moving to higher ground.
In a story last summer about the pitfalls of farming on the Burlington floodplain, Andrews articulately outlined the “urban farm adventure" on which she and her husband embarked after moving their farm from Wheelock in 2010. As of August, Tamarack Hollow had lost more than $100,000 this year alone to the flooding that crippled the growth of both plants and animals from the start.
Andrews was at her limit, even considering a career change. “What does seven years’ farming experience get you in the real world?” she wondered at the time. “You look through the job postings, and what you’d be qualified for is pretty slim.”
Now, after daily online searches, the couple has found a 20-acre piece of farmland in Plainfield, where they plan to move operations if all goes well with the property's scheduled December 10 closing. "Mike will be there all winter clearing some of the trees while the ground is frozen," says Andrews. "We will start prepping soil next year."
It won't be easy to convert the fields that have been home to nothing but hay for the past quarter century, but Andrews says that by autumn 2014, she and Betit plan to be planting solely on the new property and officially saying bye-bye to Burlington.
But Queen City shoppers needn't worry about missing out: "We'll still be at Burlington Farmers Market," Andrews says. They'll also continue to sell at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City.
Want to give the little farm that could an early Christmas gift? It's got a Kickstarter going here.