Longtime farmers move from leasing to owning
After farming on leased land for decades, Matthew Kurek and Maggie Wood were looking for a farm of their own. Their search led them to Springfield, Vermont.
“When we saw this property we were immediately captivated by its magical energy, its rich soils and mountain and river views,” said Maggie.
Matthew and Maggie run Golden Earthworm Farm in Long Island. Their organic vegetable operation serves a 2,100-member CSA, one of the largest in the northeast.
“We’ve been farming organic vegetables for over 25 years on rented land with no option to purchase,” explained Maggie. “[Not] having the security of ownership often left us wondering what the future would bring. We… always dreamed of cultivating our own land and leaving a productive farm to nourish the next generation.”
Farm will transition from Christmas trees to organic vegetables
They bought the Vermont farm, then worked with VLT and the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board to protect 70 acres of farmland on the banks of the Connecticut River. Matt and Maggie have aptly named the property Farm on the River.
The land has been owned by Peter and Sandra Mollica, who grew Christmas trees there. Maggie and Matthew will continue to sell Fraser firs from the existing plantations. They will gradually transition harvested areas into organic vegetable production.
“Over the next few years… we look forward to cultivating diverse vegetable crops to fill gaps in the local food market in Vermont and to supply our CSA membership in New York,” said Maggie.
State and local partners make farm conservation possible
This project was funded by the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. In partnership with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Maggie and Matthew are restoring wetlands. This work will reduce the impact of damaging storms, support clean water, and improve habitat for pollinators and birds.
Vermont Housing & Conservation Board Executive Director Gus Seelig said, “VHCB is very pleased to support the conservation of this farmland, allowing Matt and Maggie to secure ownership after 25 years of operating on leased land. The scale and success of their business demonstrates that they are well positioned to bring their enterprise to Springfield to the benefit of area residents while continuing to serve their established customers. The associated water quality and wildlife habitat protections provide additional benefits.”