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Video: Barnard Farm Hosts a Weekly Agricultural Jam

  • Joseph Morel, owner of Eastman Farm in Barnard, Vt., cooks tacos in the kitchen at the Feast and Field market in Barnard, Vt., on July 21, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Nancy Pejouhy, of Bethel, Vt., gives a taste of her ice cream from Kiss the Cow to her grandson, Elias Williams, 6, of Bethel, Vt., at the Feast and Field Market in Barnard, Vt., on July 21, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Freshly picked swiss chard from Heartwood Farm in Barnard, Vt., is displayed at the Feast and Field Market in Barnard, Vt., on July 21, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Dancers enjoy the music of West African musician Daby Toure' during the weekly Feast and Field Market in Barnard, Vt., on July 21, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • In addition to live music the weekly Feast and Field Market in Barnard, Vt., also hosts cultural events, such as its annual "Art on the Farm sculpture show" on the farm July 21, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Bouquets of local flowers from Stitchdown Farm in Bethel, Vt., are among the wares on display at the Feast and Field Market in Barnard, Vt., on July 21, 2016. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • With an open food policy, the Feast and Field market in Barnard, Vt., attracts families and couples who bring picnic dinners and enjoy the music and camaraderie. (Valley News- Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 8/1/2016 10:00:20 PM
Modified: 8/2/2016 2:51:32 PM

A dusty drive down Royalton Turnpike in Barnard — miles from the hum of Interstate 89 and the villages of Bethel, South Royalton and Woodstock — leads eventually to an unobtrusive opening between trees.

A small wooden sign at the entrance to the Feast and Field Market alerts visitors that the gate closes at 10:30 p.m. It’s a farmers market, but the party often goes late.

Branches lean in over a narrow driveway, leading to a woodchip-covered parking lot. Farming-friendly bumper stickers adorn vehicles in the lot: “Farming is public service” and “FarmHer.”

Market-goers walk uphill, past composting outhouses, into a clearing. A birch archway welcomes them to a yellow and white striped tent shading the market’s vendors as they sell produce, meat, pottery, flowers, coffee, cider and prepared foods.

On the other side of the tent sits a stage for concerts, picnic tables and lawns perfect for picnic blankets. A sandbox edged with tree stumps and a firepit sit along a tree line separating the tent from the vegetable plots, which cover the hillside.

Each Thursday throughout the summer and fall, families, friends and neighbors both local and from away, come together at this place, seemingly in the middle of nowhere. Farmers markets are typically located at the center of a town or village, so as to reel in customers as they conduct other business. In contrast, Feast and Field Market brings visitors to the farm. To lure people into the woods, the market has to be as much a happening, with live music and public art, as it is a place to buy local food.

“There’s a little bit for everybody,” said Randy Robar, while standing behind his Kiss The Cow Farm ice cream booth one Thursday in July.

Robar’s ice cream is produced just out of view from the market, on the other side of the hill. Market-goers coming from Royalton and other points north pass Kiss The Cow on their way.

Along with Kiss The Cow’s ice cream, there are vegetables from Heartwood Farm, beef and pork from Eastman Farm and cider from Fable Farm Fermentory. The four farm businesses — the Fable Collective — host the market and share a lease on the nearly 500-acre former Clark Farm, which belongs to the Vermont Land Trust.

As part of an art tour in mid-July, a crowd of about 50 people gathered around Brownsville artist Lela Keen Jaacks and her installation Pipe Dream.

The copper and wood sculpture stands at the entrance to the market — just beyond the birch archway. It consists of a long rectangular wooden plank held about four feet in the air by three steel poles. Atop the wood sit copper tubes of varying heights and widths.

Jaacks told the crowd — women with babies in backpacks, men in jeans and baseball caps and children in shorts and strollers — that she is inspired by “patterning in the natural world.”

The copper tubes represent a cityscape as seen from the sky, she said. She looks forward to seeing the shadows the sun makes as it travels over the copper city.

Pipe Dream is one of the works featured in “Art on the Farm,” the second annual sculpture exhibition at Feast and Field Market.

Jaacks spoke on July 21, the night of the show’s opening. The exhibition will be up through Sept. 15.

As the crowd meandered uphill from the market tent; past the sandbox, firepit and the vegetable fields to follow the art and artists, vendors remained with their wares under and close to the tent.

Elizabeth Feinberg, of White River Junction, offered samples of her Vermont Amber organic toffee to people who opted to skip the art tour.

Feinberg is new to the market and was enjoying her second engagement as a vendor there.

“It’s lovely,” she said. “It’s like being at somebody’s wedding.”

With a crowd of people of all ages — babies, toddlers, children and adults; young and old — as well as fresh and prepared foods, beverages, beautiful views of a field- and forest-covered landscape, smiling faces and music, the market does resemble a wedding reception. It is as though the people renew their vows to the land each week.

Under the tent, vendor Megan Gray offered a sale on her pottery: Buy two, take $5 off.

Gray, a junior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine at home in Woodstock for the summer, said the pottery gives her a nice break from her studies as a biology major looking ahead to medical school.

In addition to offering her own work for sale, she offers a chance for children to paint their own pottery.

“Kids really like it,” she said.

She should know, as she got her start with a pottery wheel as a fourth-grader.

K.C. Niebling, of Waitsfield, Vt., sat on the grass with her children, Xavier, 4, and Quinton, almost 1.

It was the Nieblings’ first visit to the market and they were enjoying themselves. They bought some vegetables and a taco dinner and were taking in the evening’s music from Daby Touré, a Mauritanian who lives in Paris.

Some friends had recommended the market to her and it was living up to the hype, as a “true Vermont experience,” she said.

“Coming from so far away, you feel very welcome.”

Also on the grass — not far from the Nieblings — sat Kerry Morrison with her sons Campbell, 10, and Louis, 11, and nephew, Henry Campbell.

The Morrisons, of Andover, Mass., spend much of the summer at their camp in Barnard, not far from the market.

The boys spent the morning getting to know a newborn calf at Kiss The Cow, where they volunteer by collecting eggs from the chickens. They had also helped to taste-test and approve a new ice cream flavor, s’mores.

“We love it here,” Kerry Morrison said, of the market. “This is one of our favorite things.”

The market, which runs through Oct. 20, is open weekly from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., with live music from 5:30 to 8.

More information is available at feastandfield.com.

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at 603-727-3213 and ndoyleburr@vnews.com.




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