In 2010, Genevieve Trono’s father-in-law, Peter, purchased 85 acres of land off Bingham Brook Road in Charlotte. The land had not been farmed for some time, so cows were needed to take care of the overgrown pasture. Luckily, Trono knew where to find some bovines. Her grandparents kept cows in Huntington, and with her grandmother spending more and more time in Florida, it seemed natural to buy her Highland cows and bring them to Charlotte.
Although the land was purchased in 2010, Fat Cow Farm did not officially open until 2015. Trono said the family had been selling cows by the whole or half, but needed to expand the herd and meet a variety of regulatory requirements before opening their farm stand. They are now open three afternoons a week and Saturday mornings. “It’s been really great,” said Trono. “We wanted to take it slowly because it’s been a learning process for us.”
Fat Cow Farm is a family operation. Trono’s brother-in-law Zach does much of the work and grows the hay and GMO-free corn.
“When you choose a name it would be helpful to be able to look into the future,” said Trono, somewhat ruefully. In addition to bovines, Fat Cow Farm has pigs and chickens and hopes to add turkeys again in the fall. The farm sells whole and half pigs and cows, as well as any requested cut of meat. The poultry production is small-scale because the birds are pasture-raised and slower to grow than those who are confined.
A new addition to the farm is Wagyu cows, which produce Kobe beef. “People are interested more in what they’re eating,” Trono said “and Kobe beef is rich in Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids.” The Wagyu cows are about to have their first calves so the meat will be available this summer.
Fat Cow Farm has also partnered with Emily Eden of Emily’s Home Cooking to provide freshly prepared food for those who come to the farm stand. Eden has her own food preparation business, but she lacks a commercial kitchen so she will be using Fat Cow’s facilities to prepare food from the farm’s inventory, using additional ingredients from other Charlotte farms and businesses. Emily’s meals are prepared in individual servings for two people and frozen for take-out.
Trono said people appreciate that a portion of the Fat Cow Farm is conserved by the Vermont Land Trust. She noted that Charlotte residents felt strongly about not having the land carved up into houses and are happy to have it be used for farming.
“Driving my kids to school, I see more pastures than houses,” said Trono. “People are much more aware of things like that, even in just the last five years. They care about where food is coming from and how the land is being used.”
A graduate of St. Michael’s College, Trono took some time off when she had her two sons and is happy to be back at work and connecting with her community “The biggest thing people should know is that every animal we sell was born and raised on the farm,” she said. “I’ve met so many people who are excited about eating local healthy food. It’s been really great.”