BRISTOL — Anne Myrick’s sprawling property off of Route 17 west of Bristol village is covered with intricate gardens, wide fields and a pond.
In recent years, her son Tony Myrick has added to the view. Myrick, 39, has been farming on a few acres near his childhood home and selling what he produces at the Bristol Farmers’ Market for four years. Yore Fare Farm, as he titled the enterprise, is turning a profit this year for the first time.
The old-fashioned name came out of a brainstorming session with wife, Leah Jamieson. The duo wanted a name that “brought to mind the food from the times when everyone had a garden, when nobody used chemicals because they weren’t there.”
What began as a gardening hobby has evolved into a small, profitable farm with pigs, ducks, chickens and a strutting turkey. He also grows produce and feed plants, rotating the animals throughout the pasture. In the winter, the birds that weren’t slaughtered move indoors to the greenhouse, which on a recent midsummer tour was home to peppers and cucumbers.
“It’s expanding by baby steps,” Myrick said. “It’s a time thing. You need to be able to do it in a way where you’re still doing everything well.”
But after the first season when not all the money is going back into the existing operations, some expansion is on the horizon.
“The next way I would expand would be with vegetables,” Myrick said, noting that while Yore Fare has sold exclusively at the Bristol Farmers’ Market until this point, demand for local produce is such that selling to stores and restaurants would be feasible, he said.
Moving back to work the family’s land, which the Anne Myrick's Cousino relatives have owned for generations, was not always a done deal for Myrick. He went to college in Iowa, taught in Taiwan for two years, and has also lived in Maine.
But Vermont is hard to beat.
“This is a really sweet area,” Myrick said. “You’ve got the river and the mountains.”
And the influence of a childhood spent tending to the ground clearly planted some seeds.
“I always had to weed and plant my mother’s garden and do the work for that,” Myrick recalled. “But it was like a ‘Go out and do that’ kind of situation.”
It gave him a foundation of knowledge and a love of growing food.
These days, Myrick works as a carpenter in the Five Town Area and lives on East Street in Bristol with Jamieson. He goes to the farm a couple of times a day to check up on things and get work done.
Would he ever want to transition to farming full-time?
“Oh, definitely,” Myrick said.
But there is a reason, he says, that small-scale operations have taken off in the area, particularly on old family properties.
With the financial hurdles that farmers face in Vermont, “the idea is not to put much money into it,” Myrick summarized.
“There’s a bunch of people doing small-scale,” he said. “It’s just less risk. To do it full-time would be great, I could do so much more. That’s a dream.”