Welcome to Root 5 Farm
Root 5 Farm is a certified organic vegetable farm located on 28 acres in Fairlee, Vermont, along the CT River. The fertile river bottom soils provide a rich environment for growing over 140 different varieties of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The land opens to views of Cottonstone Mountain and Blackberry Hill, across the river into NH. Root 5 Farm is owned by Ben Dana and Danielle Allen.
The farm has been certified organic by Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) since 2006. We are dedicated to growing practices that use a holistic approach to soil fertility, pest control and plant and animal health. We build our soil through crop rotation, cover cropping, and spreading compost. We do not use any chemical pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.
Products from Root 5 Farm are sold through local farmers’ markets, CSA memberships, local restaurants and small local grocers.
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The farm is beautifully situated on 28 acres of terraced land above the Connecticut River. The farm consists of four terraces above the river and it has excellent sandy loam soils for growing vegetables. Our lowest field, adjacent to the river is kept in hay. The upper fields are used for annual vegetable production. We have 1/2 acre planted to perennial asparagus, rhubarb, and raspberry crops, with plans to expand our perennial crop production in the coming years.
Many of our vegetable seedlings are started in a heated greenhouse before they're transplanted by hand into the fields. We use a wood pellet furnace to heat our greenhouse and seed into soil blocks made with rich potting soil from Vermont Compost Company to make healthy transplants. The greenhouse is started every season in early March with onions, leeks, scallions, tomatoes, and peppers first in line. It also serves as an excellent space to dry and cure onions, garlic, squash, and sweet potatoes in late summer and fall.
We take great pride in the freshness and quality of our product, and we carefully harvest our crops at the peak of ripeness. During the height of the season, we harvest three times each week to ensure our customers receive the freshest produce possible. We also work closely with Willing Hands and the Bradford Senior Center to donate extra wholesome food to neighbors in need.
We keep several bee hives at the farm year-round. They do an enormous amount of work for us by pollinating many different fruiting crops like summer squash, winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and cucumbers.
Season extension is important for farming in our northern climate. We have two 30' x 98' unheated high tunnels at the farm. Early spring crops can be sown inside our high tunnels while there is still snow on the fields outside. Heat loving crops like tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers can be grown in the tunnels during the summer to get an earlier harvest and to protect plants from heavy rains and diseases. Hardy greens, like spinach, can be grown in the high tunnels to ensure a fresh supply of greens during the winter months.
A good, clean water source is essential for vegetable growing. Our irrigation system is necessary because of the farm’s light sand loam soils and regular watering is important for healthy plant growth. We irrigate primarily in the spring and early summer, as we are seeding and transplanting many new crops in the fields. We draw our irrigation water from the Connecticut River and also from our well. Well water is tested annually.
WASH and PACK
Immediately after crops are harvested from the field, they are brought to the cool, shady barn to be washed. Produce is washed with clean cold water from our deep well, which is tested annually. Once washed, produce goes into a large walk-in cooler to ensure the freshness and quality.
We have a small flock of laying hens that we rotate around our fallow fields, helping with fertility and pest management. Our girls are fed organic grain and they have plenty of space to roam. Our fresh eggs are for sale at our Farmers' Markets. Our eggs are not certified organic.
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Ben got his start on a blueberry farm in Maine and then returned to Burlington, Vermont, to start Arethusa Farm at the Intervale in 2001. He and his friend, Thomas Case, rented 24 acres of river-bottom land from the Intervale Center, and they successfully grew certified organic, mixed vegetables, dry beans, and herbs for local wholesale and farmers’ markets.
Eventually Ben and Danielle crossed paths when Danielle began working at the Intervale Community Farm in 2003, just down the road from Arethusa. Danielle was intrigued by Ben’s unusual hat collection, Ben thought Danielle had a nice smile, and the rest is history.
Danielle gained valuable experience working at four different organic vegetable farms in the Burlington area. In 2006 she took a year off from farming to study Landscape Design at the Conway School, and shortly after joined Ben and Thomas to help manage Arethusa Farm. Ben and Danielle were married in 2009. After working together to run Arethusa Farm for four years, they became interested in a longer-term investment in the land, and started a search for a farm to make their home.
A devastating flood at Arethusa Farm caused by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 intensified Ben and Danielle’s search for farm land, and they were lucky to find and purchase Your Farm, from Kevin and Laura Channel, in March of 2013. They moved to Fairlee just in time to get started seeding in the greenhouse and working the land for the 2013 season. In 2015, Ben and Danielle re-named the farm to Root 5 Farm. They're thrilled to continue farming the rich soil of the Connecticut River Valley and to be part of a community that supports organic farming.
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2016 Farm Crew
2015 Farm Crew
2014 Farm Crew
2013 Farm Crew
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