An experienced farming couple have become first-time farm owners, thanks to the generosity of Anne Burling of East Warren. Working closely with the Burling family and VLT’s Farmland Access Program, Zeb Swick and Samantha Duchaine of Alpenglow Farm bought over 50 acres that they had been leasing from Anne since 2016.

Sam and Zeb will continue to grow organic fruits and vegetables that they sell locally and use for their smoothie business, Root Juice. They also keep bees and run a tree nursery on the land, which is located behind the East Warren Community Market.

Anne originally conserved the farm with VLT in 2000 to protect it from development. Before selling the land to Sam and Zeb, Anne expanded the conservation easement by adding four acres. She also strengthened the easement to ensure that the land will remain available and affordable for future generations of working farmers, and that wetlands and streams will be managed to support clean water and wildlife habitat.

“Purchasing this land has been a huge step towards making our farm successful,” said Zeb. “It is extremely difficult for new farmers to find access to land, especially in an area like the Mad River Valley where prices are high. Ownership now gives us the security to invest in our farm and make it more productive.”