Business Profile: Joe Buley, Screamin' Ridge Farm
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.”