Douglas Orchard to preserve its farm
SHOREHAM — For so many Addison County residents, Douglas Orchards in Shoreham holds a special place. For generations the orchard has been a go-to for apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries cherries and cider. Now the 181-acres of agricultural land will be preserved thanks to collaboration between the Douglas family and the Vermont Land Trust. Together they created a conservation easement to ensure that the land will remain available to future farmers.
“The Douglas family orchard is an institution in Shoreham and Addison County,” said Al Karnatz, Champlain Valley farm director for the Vermont Land Trust. “Conserving the orchard is important because of its prominent location on Route 74, its excellent agricultural soils and the family’s devoted stewardship over the past 120 years.”
Scott and Bob Douglas are the fourth generation to operate the farm. “It’s unlikely that there will be a fifth generation to take over,” said Scott Douglas. “But before selling the property, we wanted to protect the land from future development. We’ve worked hard to maintain and adapt the orchard over the years. It feels good to ensure it will continue to have a role in Shoreham’s agricultural future.”
The family purchased the land in 1898 and milked cows through the 1920s and ’30s. Since then, they’ve grown into a thriving apple orchard that’s become an important tourist attraction and community asset, offering pick-your-own apples, strawberries and raspberries, as well as fresh-pressed cider, cherries and pears. “They’ve done an amazing job of adapting their farm to an ever-changing agricultural economy,” said Karnatz of the land trust.
“The Douglas family is very community minded,” added Karnatz. “For example, they recently assisted the Town of Shoreham by locating a new water tank on their land for the Tri-Town Water District.”
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