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Butter tasting for the VLT’s Bragg Farm project

The Vermont Land Trust (VLT) is in its final fundraising push to protect the Bragg Farm in Fayston and bring artisanal butter making to the Mad River Valley.

With just $85,000 remaining in the campaign to protect the Bragg Farm, the Vermont Land Trust and Cork Wine Bar invite the public to taste an array of butters of the world and celebrate the Bragg Farm with hors d’oeuvres and a raffle at Cork Wine Bar and Market on Wednesday, April 10, in Waterbury, beginning at 6 p.m.

The event will be free and open to the public. The Vermont Land Trust and Marisa Mauro, selected to be the next owner of the Bragg Farm in Fayston, will share information about VLT’s campaign to conserve the Bragg Farm and Mauro’s plans to re-establish her Ploughgate Creamery with production of fresh cheeses and artisanal butter.

While most Vermont homesteads once had a dairy cow and a churn, butter making is largely a lost art. Mauro, who began making cheese as a 17-year-old apprentice at Shelburne Farms, has always dreamed of making butter. When Mauro submitted her proposal to purchase the Bragg Farm from the Vermont Land Trust, she designed a business plan to achieve her dream and fill a largely unoccupied niche in Vermont’s market for value-added dairy products.

“I am grateful for this opportunity to buy the Bragg Farm at its agricultural value and restore it to a small dairy focusing on artisanal butter. I have been working with small dairy processors since I was 14. It has not only been my passion but focus and look forward to providing the community with quality products,” Mauro said.

As a new enterprise in the Mad River Valley, Ploughgate Creamery will join dozens of other farms and agricultural entrepreneurs currently influencing The Valley’s reputation as a place to grow, market and eat local food. Investing in the conservation of viable farmland is an important way to support resiliency and economic development of The Valley’s agricultural sector,” said Joshua Schwartz, executive director of the Mad River Valley Planning District. “The Bragg Farm project will bring a new value-added agricultural enterprise to the Mad River Valley and ensure our historic hill farms contribute to the future local food system,” he said.

As Mauro focuses on her plans to restore the Bragg Farm’s dairy facility and add a creamery, the Vermont Land Trust, in concert with the Mad River Watershed Conservation Partnership, is seeking charitable contributions to complete its fundraising campaign to protect the Bragg Farm.

VLT purchased the farm for $760,000 with bridge financing and will sell the farm to Mauro for $175,000, subject to a conservation easement. With more than $395,000 already pledged by project supporters, VLT has just $85,000 remaining to raise by May 1, 2013.

VLT’s community campaign for the Bragg Farm project will provide essential leverage for $20,000 dedicated to the project from Fayston’s Conservation Reserve Fund and over $300,000 in grants sought from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. Donations to the Bragg Farm project will be used to place a conservation easement on the historic farm property and ensure the perpetual protection of the scenic farmland and the affordability of the farm to future generations of farmers.

“We are very pleased to be working with the community to conserve the Bragg Farm and enable Marisa Mauro to purchase and carry the farm forward with an exciting business plan,” said Liza Walker, Mad River Valley director for the Vermont Land Trust. “With every charitable gift, we are one step closer to permanently protecting a farm that is a very special part of our agricultural heritage and future.”

For more information about the Bragg Farm project, contact Liza Walker or visit www.vlt.org/bragg.

 

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