Bike Tours in the Champlain Islands and Shoreham Support Vermont Farms | Food + Drink Events | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Bike Tours in the Champlain Islands and Shoreham Support Vermont Farms


Published July 12, 2022 at 3:28 p.m.
Updated July 13, 2022 at 11:23 a.m.

2019 Champlain Islands Farm to Fork Fondo - COURTESY OF CAPTIVATING IMAGES
  • Courtesy Of Captivating Images
  • 2019 Champlain Islands Farm to Fork Fondo

After retiring from professional cycling and moving to Vermont, Tyler Wren realized just how much cyclists and local farmers cross paths. Because they spend so much time riding along rural roads, often surrounded by farmland, Wren said, cyclists have a responsibility to support the farming community.

Eight years ago, Wren, 41, launched Farm to Fork Fitness Adventures to help cyclists meet farmers and learn about their challenges.

The company offers its flagship event, the Champlain Islands Farm to Fork Fondo, this Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 17. Up to 1,000 participants will gather at Snow Farm Vineyard at Crescent Bay in South Hero to partake in various events, including a gourmet farm dinner on Saturday, guided bike tours with a post-ride barbecue on Sunday, and a weekend getaway package that includes a Friday warm-up ride.

The Farm to Fork Fondo offers four guided routes of differing mileage – 67, 41, 28 and 12 – for cyclists with different levels of experience. Cyclists may alternatively take a self-guided tour anytime before October 30.

"[We are] seeking out beautiful, iconic farmland areas to tell this story and educate participants on the pressures that farmers are facing," Wren told Seven Days.

All four tours stop at Dreamwalker Farm, an egg and meat producer in Grand Isle. The longer tours feature additional local farms, including Sunset Lake Craft CBD, a hemp and dairy farm in South Hero; Kraemer & Kin brewery in Alburgh; and Isle La Motte Vineyard.

At each stop, cyclists will receive a "small catered bite," highlighting ingredients grown on that farm, Wren said. Dreamwalker Farm will serve up freshly made quiche, for example. Sunset Lake CBD will offer CBD products and Ben & Jerry's ice cream because it's part of the Ben & Jerry's Caring Dairy network.

While the tour does not pay the farms for participating, it connects them with the generally affluent cycling population, said Cy Kupersmith, director of sales and sustainability at Sunset Lake CBD.

"They help us try to drive business to the farm and to our website," Kupersmith said.

This fall, 60 miles south, on Lake Champlain in Shoreham, the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN), an organization devoted to revitalizing local land and food systems, will hold its 14th annual bike tour in support of local farms.

Held on Sunday, September 18, the Tour de Farms has 10.2-, 12.2- and 29.6-mile loops that stop at between two and seven farms in the Shoreham area. The tour finishes at the annual Shoreham Apple Fest with apple pie, apple cider and pulled pork on the town green.

"It is really a way to celebrate the harvest and connect our community with producers in a fun, joyous way that people don't often get to experience," said Lindsey Berk, executive director of ACORN.

Stops include Golden Russet Farm & Greenhouses, an organic vegetable and flower farm; Rolling Bale Farm, which produces pastured meat, blueberries and butter; and Champlain Orchards, which grows apples, pears, peaches and other fruits.

Cyclists will receive featured foods at each stop, and they may purchase additional items from the farms and guest vendors, Berk said.

The tour is ACORN's largest fundraiser of the year, based on ticket sales to participants. The organization pays a stipend to each farm, and, through the tour, farmers have the opportunity to market their products to cyclists.

Capped at 400 people, the event typically attracts families and experienced cyclists. "It is a full day of local food," Berk said.

The original print version of this article was headlined "Tasty Ride"