2012 Tour de Farms Seeks Farmer and Restaurant Partners

The 5th Annual Tour de Farms is scheduled for Sunday, September 16th in Shoreham, Vermont. This popular event consistently draws 500+ cyclists who choose among three established routes, each of which have several designated stops for participants to sample the incredible bounty of food that is available in the area. The Tour is in search of some new faces, farms, and food establishments to add to the mix this year! Farms, as well as restaurants, caterers, and local food markets, from Addison and northern Rutland counties are invited to participate in this event.

The number of farm partners has grown each year, and the 2011 Tour featured eighteen farms and, for the first time, two restaurants. Farm partners are welcome to sample any food items that are produced or raised on their farm, and restaurants and market partners can sample food that is sourced locally. In the past, cyclists have enjoyed a diverse menu of what the area has to offer, including apples and donuts from Champlain Orchards, Oriental lamb chops from Doolittle Farm, a spread of heirloom tomatoes from Golden Russet Farm, drinkable yogurt from Millborne Farm, and turkey sausage from Stonewood Farm!

New partners will set up a booth at one of the designated stops and provide bite-size samples to between 200 and 500+ people, depending on the exact location, from late morning through mid-afternoon. For those who are unable to provide enough product or commit for the entire day, alternate arrangements may be available.

The benefits to farmers and restaurants include exposure through event publicity, face-time with potential customers, the opportunity for immediate feedback about a new product or recipe, and the option to sell product to a large crowd of local food enthusiasts. Farm partner Bay Hammond of Doolittle Farm said, “I have received countless praises and thank yous from bikers that shop at the Middlebury Farmers’ Market – I also noticed that some of them are not usual patrons of the market, but were drawn there because of the Tour.”

There is no fee for farms, restaurants, or local food markets to participate, but the deadline to sign up is Friday, July 13th.

For more information and to register, call Rural Vermont at (802) 223-7222 or email shelby@ruralvermont.org.

The Tour de Farms is co-organized by the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN), Rural Vermont, and the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and is a fundraiser for all three organizations.

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