The Somers Family Farm and Farm Stand is located in the small town of Barnet, Vermont. For more than a quarter century, the farm has been in the Somers family, originally purchased by Hezzie Somers in 1983. Now under the direction of Hezzie’s son Brian and his wife Kathleen, the farm is known locally for its high quality milk and bustling farm stand, where the Somers sell locally grown produce and flowers, as well as homemade jams, jellies, relishes and pickles. For them, encouraging others to buy local and support Vermont agriculture is more than just a business decision, it is a way of life.
“Farm stands go hand in hand with farms as a great way to diversify when you want to remain small,” says Kathleen. “While the farm stand is a great business, we do it primarily because we want to stay a small family farm. And unfortunately, they are becoming much too uncommon. That is why buying local and supporting your local farmers is so important.”
Maintaining a family farm of 140 acres and operating a busy farm stand is a lot of work, and the Somers are up to the task. As a fourth generation farmer, the long days are nothing new to Brian, who took over management of the farm in 1993. Kathleen didn’t grow up on a farm, but thanks to a lot of time spent on a best friend’s when she was young, she learned to love the life and quickly embraced it when she married Brian. Their daughter Elizabeth helps the couple tend to their 50 jersey milkers and 34 young stock during the summer when she is home from college. Brian and Kathleen have two more daughters – Mattie, a missionary in Peru and Emily, who lives in Ohio.
The Somers are fortunate to live in a community that recognizes the difference in quality between locally grown food compared to food that is shipped in from hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. The Somers take pride in the grade of their goods – even their hay is top tier, recently winning 2012 Best of Show at the Vermont Farm Show. Their mission is to provide great tasting and healthy local food for local families, and judging by how fast their blueberries and strawberries, jams, jellies and pickles, flowers and maple syrup fly of the shelf, we’d say mission accomplished.