Farms & Food
Walk along any of the trails in forests near the Byway will reveal stone wall testimonials to land-clearing and pastures dating from the nineteenth century. Farms in Vermont produced much of the wool, grains, and dairy products that clothed and fed early settlers and served as cash crops.
Early Subsistence Farming
Had you been standing in the vicinity of the Little River Historic Area in the late 1800s, you would have been in the midst of a thriving farm community. At that time, families raised crops and livestock on the hillsides, since valleys were prone to flooding.
Self-sufficient farming was important to early settlers though it eventually gave way to commercial agriculture, the rise and fall of “sheep mania”, and the dairy industry.
Lumber and agriculture have been the essential industries of the Green Mountain Byway during most of its history. In particular, dairy farming has been the principal way in which the cleared land has been used.
Though many farms have been sold, there are still several working farms along the corridor. The four working dairy farms in Stowe currently produce more milk than any other time in history.
Local Food Resurgence
Though a variety of economic and social factors continue to threaten local food sourcing that was common in the past, new economic and social forces have shaped a renewed role for local food production. Farmland conservation has contributed to the long-term viability of agriculture along the Byway, bolstered by the work of Stowe Land Trust, Vermont Land Trust, and farmers/property owners committed to preserving the working landscape into the future.
Unique Vermont food products and establishments have emerged to create a distinctive sense of identity in Waterbury and Stowe. Famous Vermont products can be seen in production at stops along the Byway. Farmer’s markets in Waterbury and Stowe and local food stores along the Byway, such as Pete’s Greens, feature an array of locally grown and produced products for sale.
World-renowned breweries and local wineries producing nationally-recognized products have emerged as popular attractions along the Byway. Other authentic local products are featured along the Byway including specialty chocolates, fresh Vermont apple cider, cheeses and maple product.