FLOWER POWER VT FARM
A farmer follows her passion
and is living her dream
BY TRACEY MEDEIROS,
PHOTOS BY ANNE FLACK-MATTHEWS
nne Flack-Matthews’ passion for farming began as a child. Her grandmother, an immigrant from Prussia, taught her how to garden and became her inspiration. Anne grew up helping out in her family’s vegetable garden and raising a lot of her own food. For her, the satisfaction of being outside and seeing things grow was magical.
The love of gardening was in her blood and continues to be a strong presence in her life. Throughout her younger years Anne somehow always managed to have a garden, beginning with 4-H Club and continuing with a college community plot.
When Anne moved to a rural area in Pennsylvania, she bought 20 Araucana chickens at an Amish auction. This breed, native to Chile, lays eggs with light blue shells. Anne’s three young children very much enjoyed taking care of the pear-shaped chickens with tufted “ears.” The family just loved them!
Ten years ago Anne and her family moved to Vermont, where they bought a defunct llama farm, located on a south-facing slope in Ferrisburgh. She chose to name the farm Flower Power VT. To Anne this name symbolized what the 1960s meant to her: peace, love and understanding. Soon she bought a tiller and began planting flowering perennials, herbs and vegetables. The farm’s main focus was growing organic flowers, which were sold at various farmers markets. Creating flower arrangements for weddings and local events also kept Anne very busy. Still, she felt that something was missing: her beloved Araucana chickens.
Following her dream, Anne purchased 100 Araucana chicks. Using chicken wire, she sectioned off part of the farm to create a large area for the chicks to eat grass, bugs and worms. Eventually, certified organic blue eggs were added to her onsite, year-round milk house farm stand and farmers market offerings. Loyal customers couldn’t get enough of the delicious dark golden yolks! Flower Power VT has also added Americana chickens to their happy group. This American breed is mixed in to add intelligence, health and laying power to the flock.
The farm’s organic certification reflects that the hens are fed organic grains, which are free of genetically modified grains, toxic insecticides and lake-polluting fertilizers. Presently, the farm has 450 laying hens, which range in the fields during the summer. Anne says, “Never give up, follow your dreams and believe in yourself—that’s me! My community is becoming what I envisioned. The interaction has been the most rewarding part, by far. I have muscles, sunburn, sore shoulders and a smile.”