In its 30th year of production, Dutchess Farm, owned and operated by Stephen Chamberlain, is another farm we love, and one that greatly contributes to the richness of our agricultural landscape in southwestern Vermont.
Located in the Castleton/Poultney area, the Chamberlain family farms ten acres, half of which are used for vegetable production, along with nine greenhouses used in season extension. Participating in the Rutland Farmers' Market, as well as retail, wholesale, and CSA shares, Dutchess is actively engaged in providing quality produce throughout our area.
The core practice of Dutchess Farm can be summed up in a single word: sustainability. With extensive utilization of cover crops and crop rotation, Stephen focuses on maintaining proper soil and plant health to ensure good vegetable quality and sustainability by rotating production between two fields each year, and planting a cover crop on the field that is not in use for vegetables. His primary strategy is to seed winter rye and medium red clover in the fall, and create a cover that lasts through the next growing season. Cover cropping provides a replenishment of organic materials to the soil, which the vegetables deplete.
In addition to his careful attention to soil health and sustainability, Stephen partners with RAFFL's Glean Team program, allowing the Glean Team to capture excess and buffer crops that would normally be left in the field or plowed over. The Glean Team is then able to donate that produce to charitable organizations throughout the community, providing fresh, nutritious food to low-income individuals in need. In 2015, 5,179 pounds of produce were captured from Dutchess Farm.