Philo Ridge Farm is a beautiful, productive, diversified farm at the forefront of innovation and conversation around our food. We support farmers and our local economy, managing our natural resources with a holistic and lasting system of regenerative agriculture, research, education, and inspiration. We want to support food, farmers, and the incredible bounty of the region. Learn more about our partners and allies on our Partners Page.
Livestock & Land Management
The livestock and land management plan of Philo Ridge Farm focuses on producing grass-fed and pasture-raised livestock, which is processed and sold in the market. The team manages over 200 acres of hay and rotationally grazed pastures as well as oversees the landscape maintenance. At this time we have planted over 1,200 native New England hardwood trees as windbreaks and pollinator corridors around our agricultural landscape. We produce Belted Galloway beef, heritage pasture raised pork, Kosher King broiler chickens, pastured eggs, pasture raised turkey, and Romney/Border Leister cross lamb. The mobile egg chicken coop follows the beef herd to help with reducing the fly population, allowing the hens to garner 25% of their feed intake from the pasture.
We practice management intensive rotational grazing. That means that we move our livestock daily, providing new areas of high quality pasture for the animals, followed by long periods of rest for the pasture. This requires farm team to move temporary fences every day to ensure the livestock are always getting the best quality pasture available. The key principle is managing the time between rotations so that the plants are able to fully regrow. Well-managed livestock systems improve fertility of the land and produce exceptionally flavorful meat.
The Market Garden is the certified organic vegetable, flower, herb and fruit production center of the farm. We have two acres in production growing everything from arugula and zucchini to gooseberries and currents, all of which goes into the market and processing facility. We practice a low-till style of agriculture. This is done without much machinery and involves primarily handwork and a walk-behind tractor. By tilling infrequently or not at all depending on the state of the soil, we are upholding the natural structure of the soil, maintaining healthy soil biology and decreasing our ecological impact. We also utilize a rotation of cover crops, annual compost application, and many regenerative practices to protect the health of our soils and our natural world.
The philosophy influencing our growing practices is rooted in our dedication to the ecological sustainability of the land. We see ourselves as caretakers of our natural and human environment – striving to produce nutrient-dense foods, provide an exciting learning environment for our farm team, and strengthen our agricultural economy all while upholding the integrity of the land. We practice regenerative agriculture, meaning that our end goal is to put more nutrients back into the soil than we take out.
Through events, classes, and field trips, we hope to share our growing knowledge with the greater community. Charlotte's elementary school is a stone's throw away from the farm, and we quickly established a foot path for students to take from their property onto ours. We hosted our first field trips with pre-k, first and second graders in the spring of 2015, and look forward to further cultivating this neighborhood relationship.
Our team is dedicated to developing and innovating ways to better understand where our food comes from. We are currently collaborating with University of Vermont Extension to enhance research and education for grass farmers in Vermont. The main goal of this project is to monitor and research soil health and pasture forage as they relate to the production of high quality grass-fed, grass-finished beef in Vermont.