I would like to share my story about my background in Plant Science and how I started the business of Lightfoot Farm.
Lightfoot Farm was established in 1988 by Carol Servetnick (now Noyes) on rented land in Plainfield, VT. The farm business began solely growing flowers. Some were marketed fresh to local restaurants. Carol dried the rest of the flowers on drying lines in a shed and designed wreaths, bunches and other dried floral arrangements for sale at the Montpelier Farmer’s Market, and other local shops. In 1990 Carol moved to Northfield and set up business there, again on rented land. In 1993 Carol bought a four acre hillside property in Northfield Falls, VT and moved perennial flowers over to that location. Carol began planting an orchard with plums, pears, Nanking cherries, grapes, elderberries, blueberries, jostaberries, red and black currants and nut trees to eventually expand the business beyond just flower production. The farm was doing business for ten years until Carol had a baby in 1998 and took a break from the business for twelve years (name changed to Carol Noyes).
The business started up again in 2011 and now the orchard is beginning to produce fruit. Carol is making jellies, jams, and sauces to expand the ability to sell into the winter. Disease resistant Liberty and Freedom Apples (developed at Cornell University)and chestnuts have recently been planted along with sea buckthorn, raspberries, and apricots. Next year more raspberries will be planted. Carol is also planting herbs to expand production of dried herbs and herbal teas. With such a diversity of crops, Carol can more easily manage the farm without the need for spraying toxic pesticides and fungicides, although the farm is not presently certified by the Northeast Organic Farming Association. Carol uses Surround and Serenade to spray some of the plants to protect against disease and insects. Surround contains 95% kaolin clay and other inert ingredients. Organic fertilizers, including greensand, bone meal, dolomitic limestone, North Country Organics fertilizer, fish emulsion, and kelp are used to maintain soil fertility. Compost from Grow Compost of Vermont in Waterbury is used as topdressing in the gardens and orchard. An effort is now being made to lay down weed mats and wood chips to suppress weeds. In three years Carol hopes to get organic certification. Use of natural weed suppression methods is very labor intensive and will eventually result in increased prices.
Carol has a bachelor’s degree in Plant Science from University of New Hampshire (1979), with a minor in Business Administration. She also has an MA is Social Ecology (with studies in Biological Agriculture and Holistic Nutrition) from the Institute for Social Ecology. She studied dried flower production in Maine with Mark and Terry Silber, authors of The Complete Book of Everlastings. Over the past thirty plus years she worked at Johnnys Selected Seeds, Littlewood Farm, LeGare’s Farm, Flower City, and various local flower shops doing floral design. She has taught classes in Ecological Agriculture, Holistic Nutrition, and floral design with everlastings. She recently studied Dendrology and Plant Taxonomy through Norwich University in Northfield. For more information contact Lightfoot Farm, P.O. Box 31, Northfield Falls, VT 05664 or call 485-7444.