Delicious foods, delightful bicycling, and spectacular scenery are in store for all who participate in the Sixth Annual Tour de Farms! Scheduled for Sunday, Sept. 15 in Shoreham, the Tour de Farms offers two loop rides (approx. 10 and 30 miles) and a very mellow two-mile “tricycle route” for walking or biking with young children. At frequent designated stops, family farmers will treat bicyclists to tasty samples of local foods such as fresh and aged cheeses, make-your-own chicken soup, many different kinds of apples, organic beer, lots of vegetables, and much more. Because the event is a tour and not a race, the pace is low key, allowing ample time to chat with farmers and relax with friends in the beautiful Champlain Valley. The Tour attracts approximately 600 bicyclists from Vermont, northeastern states, and Canada. Roger Frey of Earl’s Cyclery captured the Tour experience when he said, “The Tour de Farms is a benefit ride unlike any other. You sample fresh farm foods while pedaling through pristine Vermont countryside. What could be better than that?”
The Tour de Farms is co-organized by the Addison County Relocalization Network (ACORN) and the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and is a fundraiser for both nonprofit groups. Each year, the Tour is enhanced by the addition of new features, such as wood-fired pizza for sale and a stop at a quirky art gallery. This year’s Tour will offer a handful of new farmers and food producers and slightly different routing on the 30-mile route, as well as a short (one-mile each way) route to a special farm-to-school stop for families with young children. Participants can expect to sample from Vermont Trade Winds Farm, Doolittle Farm, Golden Russet Farm, many local school gardens, Champlain Orchards, Neshobe Farm, Bridport Creamery, Petal Fall Acres, and many more!
Those not interested in bicycling may wish to consider volunteering! Volunteers are needed to assist with various aspects of the Tour de Farms, including registration, parking, farmers’ helpers, sign set up, and ride marshalling. In return for a three-hour time commitment, volunteers will receive a free Tour de Farms t-shirt and one free registration to the event. Those who volunteer well in advance of the event are more likely to secure assignments of personal interest.
Advance registration fees for the Tour de Farms are $28 for adults and $13 for kids 16 and under. Day-of registration fees are $50 for adults and $20 for kids 16 and under. Children in trailers and bike seats ride free and don’t need to be registered, and participation in the two-mile “tricycle route” is $5 the day-of, no advance registration necessary. Advance registration is now open at www.acornvt.org and stays open until 5 pm on Sept. 9. The Tour de Farms will be held rain or shine; no refunds will be issued. All routes begin and end at the Shoreham Town Green. On-site, day-of registration runs from 9:30 until 11:30 am on Sept. 15. For more information or to volunteer, please contact the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition via Nancy@VTBikePed.org or (802) 225-8904, or ACORN www.acornvt.org (802) 382-0401.