Morristown Gains New Farm Owners and Wetlands Protection
The Stowe area welcomed the conservation of the Valcour farm in Morristown and its sale to new farm owners. The 175-acre farm was conserved in mid-April by family members and sold to long-time farmers Jesse and Marlene Hursh, with assistance from the Vermont Land Trust and support from the Stowe Land Trust.
Assuming stewardship, growing a farm business
The Hurshes have rented a dairy farm and operated a popular farm stand on the other side of town for over 20 years. They will grow corn and cover crops on the new farm, which has excellent agricultural soils. They also plan to use the former Valcour barn for raising young cattle.
“Assuming stewardship of this farm is special to us as we fondly remember Andre Valcour. Sr. Andre was a friend and mentor who went out of his way to help us succeed in agriculture,” said Jesse Hursh. “The location is ideal for expanding our retail sales of produce, fruits, and dairy products.”
The property also includes a maple sugarbush and access to the Catamount Trail, a haven for wildlife and cross-country skiers. A 20-acre wetland protection zone harbors a well-known heron rookery.
Protecting the working landscape
The Valcour family is thrilled that Jesse and Marlene can own the farm after renting for many years, and that the land is protected for wildlife and future generations.
“The Hursh family has rented fields from us for more than 12 years. We know that they work hard and respect the land and the animals,” said Simonne Eisenhardt, one of seven Valcour children. “It is with great pride and pleasure that we conserve the land for agriculture and pass it to their capable hands.”
“’We see how land is getting more and more expensive and particularly out of reach for farmers and we want to keep the working landscapes of our Vermont home,” added Simonne.
A partnership effort
The farm’s conservation and affordable transfer to the next generation of farmers would not have been possible without support and funding from the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Stowe Land Trust.
“Local farms and food are so important to the Stowe area community,” said Kristen Sharpless, Executive Director of the Stowe Land Trust. “We were pleased to help make this important conservation project happen.” The Stowe Land Trust also helped the Valcour family conserve a rare bog on their land next to Joe’s Pond in Morristown in 2007. Both the bog and pond are conserved with the Stowe Land Trust.