Communications and Development Coordinator
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For Immediate Release
Berry Fun at Smitty’s Farm
Started in 2006, Sharon and Greg “Smitty” Smith, have grown Smitty’s Farm, formerly known as North Derby Organic Berry Farm, from 2,000 berry plants to over 35,000 today. They grow raspberries, black berries, and blue berries plus a few thousand asparagus that will be available next year. Sitting on 11 acres of land in Newport, Vt., Smitty says his land is being used to capacity and that he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“When we first started I did it alone and then my wife came on board,” he says, “Now we have two full-time employees (during the season) and hire about 20 pickers in the summer.”
For Smitty and Sharon, it’s about more than just the farm it’s also about sharing their love for the land and food with the community. They open up their farm for ‘pick-your-own’ during May and the summer months and make a concentrated effort to bring local kids onto the farm to help them work.
“It was really charming to see kids getting their hands dirty who didn’t know a thing about gardening,” says Smitty. “Some of them have really taken off and they love it and they are continuing to do it. I get a charge out of that.”
Smitty’s berries can be found across the Northeast Kingdom including in farm stands like Mountain View Stand, bakeries, and breweries. While Smitty’s Farm does distribute directly, they also work with Green Mountain Farm Direct which is Green Mountain Farm-to-School’s regional food hub. They say their relationship with Green Mountain Farm Direct has helped their business tremendously.
“It has a further reach,” says Smitty. “It’s the distribution feature, they can move (the berries) around.”
In addition to their farm, Smitty and Sharon both hold second jobs. Smitty is the school-to-work coordinator for Turning Points School in Morgan, Vt. and Sharon works as a paraeducator for North Country Union High School in Newport.
For more information on Smitty’s Farm and Green Mountain Farm Direct check out www.GreenMountainFarmDirect.org.