Mary’s Restaurant event to benefit conservation of Bristol farms

BRISTOL — Mary’s Restaurant this Sunday will host a community event to benefit the Vermont Land Trust’s “Gateway to Bristol” project. The project will conserve the historic Fuller and Farr farms on Route 116 (just down the road from Mary’s) by purchasing it, then selling it at a significant discount to local farming family Trent and Abby Roleau with conservation easements.
“The gathering is a celebration that a little community can pull together to preserve the most beautiful entrance into town,” said Linda Harmon, co-owner of Mary’s.
In addition to a community gathering, the event (which runs from 4-6:30 p.m.) seeks to raise money to make the Gateway project a reality. Of the $550,000 needed to fund the conservation project, over 90 percent has already been raised. But $35,000 still remains to be raised, and VLT’s staff and volunteers hope the event at Mary’s will give the fundraising efforts a necessary boost.
People from Bristol and surrounding communities are invited to enjoy complimentary appetizers from Mary’s, a cash bar, “old-time” music, a live auction for several choice items including a custom-made Vermont Folk Rocker chair, and readings by Bristol writers John Elder and Christopher Shaw.
“That piece of land hasn’t changed since I was a kid 50 years ago, driving through on the way to go skiing or hiking,” Shaw said. “So it’s an honor to be invited to assist in raising money to help another young farming family preserve its agricultural and scenic character, especially when there is so much pressure to develop farmland.”
The Roleaus, who both were raised on Addison County farms, plan to make use of their many skills to start a diversified farm operation. They will expand the sugar bush currently operating on the Fuller farm, establish a farm stand to make use of the high-traffic road, and launch a beef and pork operation. Trent Roleau, a carpenter by trade, plans to refurbish the old farmhouse on the property, which is currently uninhabitable.
Elder echoed Shaw’s sentiment.
“I’m especially pleased that this event is in support of such a momentous conservation project,” he said. “It will guard the remarkable beauty of the eastern corridor into Bristol and also guarantee that the excellent soils along the road and the woodlands on either side will continue to be a part of Vermont’s working landscape.”
The event will be held on Sunday, Aug. 4, at Mary’s Restaurant at the Inn at Baldwin Creek, 1686 North Route 116 in Bristol. 

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