Wildstone Farm has been growing certified organic vegetables since 1989, making it the oldest certified organic farm in Bennington County, Vermont. Wildstone is located in Pownal, on the southernmost section of the Green Mountains at an elevation of 1,400 feet. It is owned and run by farmers Joy and John Primmer. The Primmers started farming Wildstone as an organic farm in 1984 (certification came five years later). In fact, they celebrated their farm’s 30th anniversary this year on March 23.
Wild Oats Market has been carrying Wildstone Farm’s greens and other produce since 1988. Many of our customers know Wildstone produce by the name of Joy’s. We are thrilled to have Joy’s organic spinach in the store now, in spite of the long, cold winter. We also have Joy’s garlic currently available. In the months ahead, we will be stocking kale, chard, lettuce and other organic greens from Wildstone Farm, followed by organic tomatoes, parsley, root vegetables, and more, as we get further into the growing season. Joy’s sunflowers are truly a joy to have in the store in the mid to late summer months when they are available.
The Primmers use intensive organic gardening techniques to produce a large quantity of produce on their 21 acre farm; and they use high tunnels and root cellars to make their produce available year-round. Double and at times triple cropping methods are used. For example, the Primmers will plant lettuce, which is a 60-day crop, in the early spring. Once the lettuce is harvested, they will compost and aerate the soil to get it back in shape, and plant a crop from a different family, such as radishes or beans. Depending on the season, they may go through a third planting cycle. This approach helps the Primmers to get the most from their efforts while minimizing the amount of soil disturbance.
The Primmers adhere to a way of life that centers around living sustainably within the natural world. They are forerunners in the field of organic gardening; and not much has changed about their farming practices in the past 30 years. When you see them at the Bennington Farmers Market or at the co-op, be sure to wish them a happy anniversary!