SHELBURNE Moriah Cowles, daughter of Shelburne Orchards owner Nick Cowles, was busy at work last Wednesday. However her work had little to do with preparing the orchard grounds for the many visitors expected to pick away this fall.
Cowles was making parking signs for the 2007 Small Farms Food Festival. And theres nothing small about it.
Last year we had a couple thousand people show up, said Moriah. I think this years festival will draw even more.
On Sunday, Sept. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the festival drew a large crowd despite the poor weather.
The whole idea of the festival is to share local food with the community, said Nick. Theres 35 different small farms bringing a prepared dish that represents the food they produce and sell. We want people to get to know the folks that are selling these local foods. Its a celebration of those farms.
Nick noted that the festival has doubled in size every year since it was first held six years ago. The festival featured hay rides, a donkey cart, a hay bale maze, doughnuts, face painting and apple picking.
The festival also kicks off the pick your own apples season, noted Moriah. The season unofficially began a week before the festival, but that was only for the early varieties.
Nick said that those in attendance often come from all over that state and that small farms are becoming stronger. Vermont boasts more cheese makers per capita than any other state in the nation.
Supporting local foods is getting popular throughout the country and particularly in this state, added Nick.
Shelburne Orchards is a certified organic apple orchard that sits on over 80 acres of land near Lake Champlain. Up coming events at the Shelburne Orchards include the 6th annual Pie Fest and Cider House run on Sunday, September 23 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Truckload Saturday on October 20 from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.shelburneorchards.com .