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A One-Stop Shop for Shopping Local

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The Vernon Family Farm farm store is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Photography by Jenny McNulty of Wylde Photography

The minute that you pull into the driveway at Vernon Family Farm, you’re considered part of the family. Whether you’re doing your weekly shopping at the farm store, getting a tour of the farm from Jeremiah, or attending a Friday summer night live music and fried chicken event, this family farm focuses on creating a community space that serves as your home away from home — a mission that owners Jeremiah and Nicole Vernon have been passionate about since they founded their 33-acre farm in Newfields in 2014. “Family, community and connection have been the backbone of our farm since the beginning,” says Jeremiah. “Especially coming off of the last year that we’ve all gone through, it couldn’t be more evident that community is what holds us all together and keeps us going in trying times. We’re so grateful to give back and be able to play a role in that.”

The Vernons founded Vernon Family Farm (VFF) in 2014, but they came into their new family business with a decade of prior experience in farming everything from livestock to vegetables. It was during their time leasing property before buying their own that they were able to run a variety of farmers markets where Jeremiah and Nicole noticed a missing product offering — chickens. “We started our Newfields property raising anything from vegetables to dried flowers, but we put everything aside and used the chickens that we already had established from our past property to carry over and make our primary focus at the farm,” says Jeremiah. “We raised 1,200 non-GMO chickens on pasture our first year. Now we are raising around 20,000 a year. Fried chicken, rotisserie chicken and marinated drumsticks, you name it, we have it. Chicken is the name of the game for us.”

Chicken production isn’t the only area of growth that the farm is celebrating during their seven-year anniversary this summer. The farm went from one employee to 10 employees who are now year-round staff, and their store now supports over 30 different local growers and makers from the surrounding community. “The store started as a household freezer, and over the course of five years, we were able to build up to the store you visit now where we have glass display cases,” says Jeremiah. “We opened it daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. year-round and it’s stayed open ever since. It’s a one-stop shop for eating local food with an intentional focus on protein like pastured chicken and other grass-fed and pastured meats, fruits, vegetables, sauces and spices. It’s consistent with what’s available in that season. It’s a blast to be able to work with such a wide array of vendors now to keep a wide selection of products available, especially during the pandemic.”

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Jeremiah and Nicole Vernon and their VFF family work hard to provide local communities with local, healthy, nutrient-dense food that is grown and raised humanely. Photography by Jenny McNulty of Wylde Photography

Growing deep roots isn’t just essential for the produce being planted but also for the farms planting them — it isn’t a matter of if the storms are coming, but when. They are no strangers to weathering storms all their own, and the last year certainly tested the depths of their roots. “The last year was overwhelming and taxing for the farming community
as a whole, but it only solidified our resilience even more,” says Jeremiah. “With grocery stores closing left and right, our business exploded overnight. Walk-in freezers started breaking and dying as we tried to accommodate the need, but for better or for worse, we were still able to be a place of convenience and consistency amidst uncertainty. We had so many heart-to-heart conversations with customers in our driveway, and while I would never take that back, I am glad that we seem to be on another side of it all. All I ask of our community is that they would help us keep the momentum going that we started last year.”

Instead of going back to Shaw’s or Market Basket, stop by the farm store or visit them (and other local farmers) at your nearest farmers market. Jeremiah recommends taking time now to stock up your freezers for the holidays with VFF custom cuttings like a half a cow or a box of chicken. (And don’t forget to start planning for other holiday meal essentials like pies, breads, veggies and more. Thanksgiving is going to come sooner than we’d all like to admit.)

If you’re looking for a unique, special way to gather safely with your friends and family, their community events are perfect for you. They’re a great way to delight your senses and taste the freshest locally raised food prepared by Vernon Kitchen, hear the sounds of nature, farm and local music, and see your farmers and community. But that’s not all the Vernons have up their sleeves this season. “We are particularly excited about our wildflower meadow project this year,” says Jeremiah. “It was designed and installed by pollinator conservationist Jarrod Fowler, and focuses on regenerative agriculture. The habitat will take about three years to establish itself completely, but we’re looking forward to seeing how the acre will continue to grow and regenerate. We’re grateful to the Agrarian Trust and Patagonia for making it happen.”

After long days and seasons of dealing with the stress of owning and running a farm, it’s the community VFF has built that keeps Jeremiah and his family and farming staff going. “At the end of the day, we do this because of our passion for our farm and our family, and we love sharing both with you,” says Jeremiah. “Farming is difficult but incredibly rewarding. All of what we’ve experienced to date is an authentic example of how teamwork makes the dream work and how it truly takes a community to make amazing things happen. We can’t wait to welcome you to the farm.”

Categories: Family-friendly things to do, Food & Drink

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