Stuck in Vermont: Vermont Land Trust’s Christmas Tree Drop-Off for Dhaurali Goats at Pine Island Community Farm in Colchester | Stuck in Vermont | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Stuck in Vermont: Vermont Land Trust’s Christmas Tree Drop-Off for Dhaurali Goats at Pine Island Community Farm in Colchester

Episode 681

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Published January 12, 2023 at 7:30 a.m.
Updated January 18, 2023 at 10:17 a.m.


For about eight years now, the annual Christmas tree drop-off at the Pine Island Community Farm in Colchester has been a favorite tradition for families. About 500 people bring 700 to 800 trees to the farm to be eaten by hungry and photogenic goats. The 230-acre parcel of land is owned by the Vermont Land Trust and farmed by new Americans, people who came to Vermont as refugees, many of them with farming roots. Started in 2013 and originally called the Vermont Goat Collaborative, the project began because the new American community had difficulty finding fresh goat meat locally.

Chuda Dhaurali is Bhutanese and has been with the farm since its founding. He has increased his herd of goats to 440. Chuda and his family live on the land, and they have a state-sanctioned slaughter facility on-site to process the goats which cost between $450-500 each. Families pick out goats for graduation, wedding and funeral celebrations, sometimes they butcher the animals themselves. Volunteers from the City Market, Onion River Co-op member-worker program help out at the farm year-round, and they were on hand on Saturday to facilitate the Christmas tree drop-off, manage an endless line of cars, and help families feed and take selfies with the goats.

Filming date: 1/7/23

Music: Bad Snacks, “Mizuki”

This episode of Stuck in Vermont was supported by New England Federal Credit Union.