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Farming Update

When it’s mid-winter, and the skiing is as good as it gets, farming isn’t the first thing one thinks about- but there’s a lot happening in spite of the wintry weather. While the garden is dormant under a bed of snow, the greenhouse stays active with fresh flowers to decorate the hotel and bulbs preparing to burst forth in the spring. The cattle, still among the most photographed in Vermont, still show their shaggy selves to viewers from the road, but if the winds pick up they wisely head for the cover of the trees at the bottom of the field- it’s amazing how 60 large creatures can disappear so effectively! They have also been in a recreational mood this winter though, and multiple times they’ve decided to explore along Skater’s Waltz ski trail. One day my father Johannes was skiing along when he looked up to find the whole herd in front of him, blocking the entire trail! Luckily he was the right man to encounter that situation, and it didn’t take him long to get them back in their pasture again. A bit of expert grooming by our trail crew the next day and the skiing was perfect again.

Our laying hens spend winter in a greenhouse style “hoop house”, which allows natural light in all day long (and the days are getting noticeably longer already!) Amazingly, we are averaging about 95 eggs per day from around 110 hens. We’re primarily getting brown-shelled eggs from the young Red Star hens, but a small number of Araucanas continue to add color with their blue-green eggs. 24 young Maran hens, raised right here on our property since they were tiny chicks, should start laying soon, and we look forward to the variety provided by their dark brown eggs in time for Easter. We’re currently planning for the spring-summer season when the cattle will rotate through their pastures, the laying hens will move around in their egg-mobile, and pigs, sheep, turkeys, and broiler chickens will continue to decorate our fields and entertain guests young and old. But before the lushness of spring, in less than a month our sugaring team will prepare to hang buckets to harvest the sweetness of our majestic Sugarmaples We’ve heard a lot of great feedback from our guests as we’ve expanded these programs over the past few years- thanks for the support! – Sam von Trapp

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