Business Profile: Joe Buley, Screamin' Ridge Farm

Joe Buley, owner of Screamin' Ridge Farm, at the Montpelier Farmers' Market.

Joe Buley, owner of Screamin' Ridge Farm, at the Montpelier Farmers' Market.

Joe Buley, whose Screamin’ Ridge Farm sits on a howling hill in East Montpelier, joined the burgeoning farming community a decade ago. With 20 years of experience in the culinary industry—as a chef at the New England Culinary Institute and as the previous owner of two fine dining restaurants—Joe wanted to take his gastronomic skill and apply it to his own farm.

A natural people person and business man, Joe has had great success marketing his products, selling at farmers markets, through a small CSA, and to Food Works and several local institutions. Joe is a mainstay at the Montpelier farmers market and is known for his winter greens, sauces and soups. He produces these culinary delights using the products he grows. During CSA pick-ups, members find Joe eagerly working on his computer next to his produce wash station, doing regular record-keeping and researching innovative farming techniques. As a newcomer to full-time farming, Joe finds his laptop absolutely essential to his business.

Even with such an extensive background in business management, in 2007 Joe turned to the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program at the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB) for business planning assistance. Using the business plan as a strong base to evaluate future plans for his farm, Joe was able to ensure his transition to full-time farming would be as smooth as possible, an accomplishment he is proud of in 2008.

With the assistance of a Farm Viability Program Implementation Grant, Joe bought a tractor and attachments, which resulted in improved efficiency and reduced expenses. Joe says the grant “has allowed me to purchase a tractor and further implement my original business plan. The second part of the grant will help me get my feasibility study and business plan done for the value-added processing that I want to move the farm into.” Joe adds, “Quite frankly I would not be able to do any of this without the assistance of VHCB. I have a tiny farm and resources and capacity are limited. The help from VHCB allowed me to get to the next level.”

The Vermont Farm Viability Program is a program
of the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board.