Community rallies for Bread and Butter Farm

Photo courtesy Corie Pierce
A greenhouse sustained substantial damage at Bread and Butter Farm after the October windstorm. Farmer Corie Pierce said they have fixed the damage, and that she was grateful for neighbors who alerted her to high winds this past week to prevent another incident.

Beloved for its burger nights and well known for its beef and vegetable CSA shares, Bread and Butter Farm on Leduc Farm Road in Shelburne is a community hub. Supportive of their neighbors in many ways, the proprietors of the farm, Corie Pierce and Chris Dorman, are now feeling that support come back to them after an unfortunate series of unpredictable events has caused financial and emotional setbacks for the farmers.

The list of mishaps both large and small that took Bread and Butter Farm by surprise this year includes coyotes killing their turkeys, a neighbor’s cows getting loose in and damaging their pasture, significant structural damage to their greenhouses from a severe late October windstorm, and an incident where e.coli was detected in two children who had eaten at their farm, though none of their beef tested positive for the bacteria.

All told, tens of thousands of dollars were lost. For a small farm, that is not a small amount.

First a customer and then a friend to Pierce and Dorman, Sheramy Tsai of South Burlington felt terrible for her friends, and wanted to help out. Knowing that many others wanted to lend a hand, too, she started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the farm. Her inspiration was simple: “We don’t have a lot that brings our community together,” she said. When she started the fundraiser, she said the feeling toward Bread and Butter was, “You’ve given so much to us, you grow our food and tend our land and take care of our kids, what can we do for you?”

And in just over three weeks, online fundraising efforts have yielded over $13,000.

Pierce said she is grateful beyond words for the support of her friend and community. “We’ve been blown away by Sher and this group of people, who incredibly have stepped forward in other ways, too,” she said.

Tsai, along with a group of concerned neighbors, has formed an ad hoc committee to assist Pierce with aspects of the business that have fallen by the wayside lately, such as marketing and public relations.

While crucial farm work like caring for the animals and tending plants has continued, Pierce said having support in these other areas has helped her business stay afloat. “My work life has been completely derailed the last two months,” she said, noting that she has spent a lot of time “putting out fires” instead of growing the business. Pierce said they are grateful for the help, both practical and otherwise. “It’s provided a huge emotional lift. This support has given us wind beneath our sails.”

Tsai said the community committee is planning to host a winter fundraiser and other events to both provide financial support to the farm and continue their work of bringing people together.

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