Last year, two friends combined their farming ventures to found Morse Brook Farm. They raise Cheviot Cross sheep, Boer goats, and beef, and produce their own maple syrup and hay. They are hoping to add their own honey to that list in 2020. In addition, Morse Brook Farm also has yarn from their sheep available and the farmstand is open daily year round.
Thank you to Farmers Katrina and Matt for answering some of our questions and sharing their farm with us for Open Farm Week.
Please share a little bit about the history of your farm and where it’s located.
Katrina: Morse Brook Farm is located in Westminster, VT. This land has been farmed since the mid-1800s. Morse Brook Farm was established in 2019 as a joint venture between myself, Liz, her husband, Al, and Matt.
How did you get involved with farming and what’s the most important thing you’ve learned along the way?
Katrina: I bring a life of farming with me. I grew up on a small dairy farm in Brattleboro that my brother still operates. He is the 4th (maybe 5th) generation to operate the farm. I have raised Boer goats for 13 years. I brought my goats and a few beef cows to the new farm last July.
Matt: I grew up sugaring with my great uncle Don Hazelton of Dummerston.
What is one of the most rewarding things about being a farmer here in Vermont?
Katrina: Having a community and government that are very supportive of agriculture is one of the best things about farming here.
Matt: There's nothing better than the taste of high quality maple syrup that you've had a part in producing, and having your 90 year old great uncle come to your farm and say "however you're doing it, keep doing it" (with regard to the flavor of our golden delicate syrup).
What is one of the most challenging things about being a farmer here in Vermont?
Katrina: Accessing USDA inspected processing facilities can be challenging.
Matt: The cost of production is always going up and the price for resale always seems to be decreasing.
What is your favorite product you grow or raise?
Katrina: Happy goats and cows!
Matt: Maple syrup!
Which Vermont farmers are you most inspired by?
Katrina: My brother and my father - my brother sustained an injury in a farming accident a few years ago and he lost all of the fingers on his right hand (his dominant hand) except for his thumb. You'd never know it, it hasn't slowed him down or stopped him from doing anything!
Matt: Don Hazelton.
What are your plans for Open Farm Week?
Morse Brook Farm in Westminster will be hosting tours and hay wagon rides Mon - Wed and Sat - Sun of Vermont Open Farm Week. Take in one of the best views in Southern Vermont while learning about what a day in the life is like for Farmers Katrina, Liz, and Matt! Contact them directly ahead of time to let them know you're visiting by calling 802-518-2155 or emailing [email protected].
Farmers Liz and Al have owned sheep since 2009. They first had sheep and goats on a Massachusetts Audubon Society property near Boston, doing invasive species management, and then bought a farm in New Hampshire in 2012. Last year they combined forces with friends Katrina and Matt to establish Morse Brook Farm. They are new to Vermont, but love it here. Liz manages the sheep with Border Collies. For Vermont Open Farm week, Liz and her dog, Poe, will be doing herding demonstrations. Learn about these amazing dogs, their history, how they are trained, and how they make sheep management easier on the farm! Contact them directly to reserve a time by calling 802-518-2155 or emailing [email protected] at least a day in advance.
Participate in a socially distant outdoor goat yoga class at Morse Brook Farm during Vermont Open Farm week, weather permitting. This event will not be held if it's raining. Please contact Morse Brook Farm directly to register by calling 802-518-2155 or emailing [email protected]. If you can't make the class in person, stay tuned on their Facebook page. They'll be posting the video after the class! Rain Date: Sunday, August 16, weather permitting.
Do you have a favorite recipe to share using products from your farm?
Matt: Anything with maple in it.