CRAFTSBURY — Pete Johnson, owner of Pete’s Greens, purchased 245 acres of farmland in Craftsbury and then conserved it with the Vermont Land Trust. Pete’s Greens is a four-season organic vegetable farm that has been a fixture in Craftsbury for 16 years.
Pete purchased the former Ryan Farm on Route 14 to add land to his growing business. The property had been put on the market in late 2012 following the death of co-owner Willie Ryan.
“We’re grateful to the Ryans for selling us the farm and for the Vermont Land Trust for a smooth conservation process,” said Pete Johnson. “It’s a challenge to find land for our growing farm and with the Ryan farm we’re excited to have acquired some beautiful fields adjacent to our home farm. And we’re pleased that this land will be used for agriculture for generations to come.”
The farm has 12 full-time, year-round employees and seven additional employees during the growing season. Pete’s four-season CSA delivers to more than 25 locations and has 500 members.
The farm is able to offer year-round products by having specialized storage facilities and four acres under greenhouse cover.
Before a catastrophic barn fire several years ago, Pete had been diversifying into pastured livestock. After scaling back during the recovery, Pete is now looking at opportunities for the business to grow. The new land is part tillage and part pasture; its purchase will help Pete’s Greens diversify its offerings and will create new jobs.
The sale of the conservation easement allowed Pete to purchase the land at its agricultural value. The conservation easement ensures that the land will remain affordable to future farmers as well. Funding for the conservation of the land was generously donated by the Freeman Foundation.
“The Vermont Land Trust has worked with many other farms in the area that are known for their innovative approaches to expanding the local-food market,” said Tracy Zschau of the Vermont Land Trust. “We were thrilled to have an opportunity to help Pete’s Greens expand its land base and continue our support for the growth of Vermont’s agricultural products.”Are you on Instagram? Cool. So are we. CLICK HERE to follow us for a behind the scenes look at Newport Dispatch.