Farming for Quality Over Quantity

Pictured is Darrell, Colemann’s right-hand man, after a long, hot day pruning tomatoes.

This is part of a series of posts sharing conversations with our local farmers and producers. Our suppliers are working harder than ever as they navigate their way through the Covid-19 crisis. Each of their stories is as unique as the products they offer. And more than ever, we are grateful for their hard work, resilience, and ingenuity.

Q-and-A with Colemann at Fresh Roots Farm

Few people are as busy this time of year as our local growers. Between farm duties and delivery runs to the Farmers’ Market and other local businesses, Colemann at Fresh Roots Farm in Sharon, Vt. took the time to answer a few of our burning questions. Namely, how the heck are things going??? We’re glad to hear he’s plugging along and keeping the fresh local produce coming our way.

Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of your business?
A. I started Fresh Roots Farm 10 years ago, farming on two acres of leased land. Now I own and grow on 10.5 acres, including four greenhouses. The Woodstock Farmers’ Market was a purchaser of my produce that entire time!

Q. What makes your product unique or special?
A. Small-scale diversified farming allows my crew and I to set and maintain a high level of quality control. We can’t compete on quantity so we excel at quality.

Q. Who do you rely on as your customer base?
A. The Farmers’ Market store, area restaurants, and local people from the greater Upper Valley. I have found that word of mouth is the original social media.

Q. How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted your business?
A. Several of our restaurant accounts were shuttered, meaning I had to search for different avenues of wholesale.

Q. What changes have you made to adapt to the current situation?
A. Social distancing and masks at our farmers’ market and on delivery runs. Rigorous hand washing and employee inspections on farm.

Q. What is your experience as a business owner now compared to before the crisis?
A. With some adaptation and perseverance, life will go on.

Q. Has there been a “silver lining” in this crisis for you and/or your business?
A. Everybody needs to eat. And consuming nutrient rich foods from a sustainable, local source is the first step in staying healthy.

Want to learn more about Fresh Roots Farm? Check out last summer’s post, Fresh Roots Farm: Small and Mighty.

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