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 Christopher of Fable Farm Fermentory
Our friends at Fable Farm Fermentory, located right up the road in Barnard, Vt., use locally sourced fruits, herbs, saps, and honey to make their delicious bottled ciders/wines and vinegars. Their wild-fermented ciders barrel- and bottle-age for up to five years in an underground cave.
Thank you, Christopher, for taking the time to chat with us about what’s happening at the farm right now.
Q. Can you tell us a little bit about the history of your business?
A. We started our farm in 2008 as a vegetable farm and began hosting people in the center of Barnard at our CSA. After five or so years, we transitioned up to the Royalton Turnpike to the old Clark Farm (that is preserved by the Vermont Land Trust) and worked with other stakeholders to evolve the CSA into Feast & Field. In 2015 we transitioned away from vegetables to perennials and cider/winemaking.
Q. What makes your product unique or special?
A. Time. Most of our apples are foraged from ancestor and wild apple trees within a 10-15 mile radius of our farm; our wines are made with native and wild yeasts; we don’t filter or use sulfites, so our products are Living and constantly evolving in bottle. We often age our ciders/wines, and our vinegars are barrel-aged for five years, and at this point are eight years old, so they have some time in them, as well. They are all dry and range from still to sparkling.
Q. How would you describe your customer base?
A. Inquisitive and intentional folks, not limited by dogmatic perspectives of what a “wine” is supposed to be. Those who appreciate dry wines, as well as Living whole foods.
Q. How has the Covid-19 crisis impacted your business?
A. Covid-19 shut down our tasting room and tasting dinners, as well as rocked our Vermont sales and wholesale accounts across the country. Feast and Field also had to be delayed and capped at 150 people this year.
Q. What changes have you made to adapt to the current situation?
A. We’re trying to increase our online sales and get people to come back to the tasting room through different means like offering rustic camping on the farm. (Check this page on their website for more info about camping packages.)
Q. What is your experience as a business owner now compared to before the crisis?
A. We’ve diversified a bit more (we’re establishing a u-pick perennial fruit zone, inoculated shiitake logs, etc.) and have returned to growing most of the vegetables for our dinners ourselves.
Q. Has there been a “silver lining” in this crisis for you and/or your business?
A. An increase in online sales, we’ve been able to put a lot more attention into the farm than in years past, and we’ve been forced to search for new wholesale accounts in different states….one being Texas, which looks really promising.
Learn more about Fable Farm’s farm-to-barn-to-cellar process here: https://fablefarmfermentory.com.