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Shaftsbury, Vermont - Town of Shaftsbury

Farm to Table – Farms and Farming in Shaftsbury

“Shaftesbury… (note the incorrect spelling) is a rich flourishing town… admirable for raising every kind of grain, pulse, and vegetable. It also produces the finest apples, peaches, pears, plumbs, cherries, and quinces in the whole state. Nor is their beef, mutton, pork, butter, and cheese, inferior either in quantity or quality to their other productions.”

— John A. Graham, Descriptive Sketch fo the Present State of Vermont, published 1797

Maple syrup production was one of our earliest industries, and continues today with a number of maple sugar producers around the town. Each March features a Maple Sugar Open House Weekend where visitors can sample maple products and see the syrup being made at different sugar houses throughout the town. In a fascinating conversation between Moses Robinson and Thomas Jefferson in 1791, Jefferson commented to Robinson that Vermont would do well to develop it’s maple sugar industry as an alternative to molasses from the West Indies (as described in Robert A. Mello’s book “Moses Robinson and the Founding of Vermont”). How prescient a comment from one of our founding fathers on what has become Vermont’s most famous export!

In the 1797 book called a “Descriptive Sketch for the Present State of Vermont” quoted at the top of this page, the author John A. Graham continues “It also produces the finest apples, peaches, pears, plumbs, cherries, and quinces in the whole state. Nor is their beef, mutton, pork, butter, and cheese, inferior either in quantity or quality to their other productions.”

Much of the credit for Shaftsbury’s beautiful bucolic scenery is due to this partnership between our farmers and our natural environment that has continued right through today.

It’s wonderful to see this agricultural heritage continue today with numerous farms throughout the town providing many of these same products over 200 years later. Travelers are encouraged to sample our locally grown fare at farms such as the Clearbrook Farm with it’s fully organic produce, large farm stand, and pick your own berries in their respective seasons.