Brian and Melissa Stroffolino moved to the Upper Valley in 2011 for Melissa’s job. Brian, who had apprenticed on a farm in Middlebury, was eager to find a piece of land and start building a farmstead. Selling the farm products through a CSA was a high priority for the community-minded couple.
The couple moved to a piece of land in Hartland, built a yurt, and started HeartLand Farms. Because the land had never been farmed, they had to start from the ground up by establishing cropland and building a greenhouse and outbuildings in addition to the yurt.
HeartLand Farms markets vegetables, poultry, and pork through CSA shares, at Hartland Farmers’ Market, and at the Upper Valley Food Co-op. They have plans to expand the vegetable operation and add eggs, and fruit and nut trees.
Melissa explains, “Our philosophy is based on permaculture principles, so we take great care and consideration in selecting, planning, and planting our crops. We want everything to work in harmony.”
Brian and Melissa are busy off the farm, too. Melissa works full-time as a high school teacher at Hartford High School, and Brian has put a lot of effort into revitalizing the Hartland Farmers’ Market as its manager. They also find time to volunteer in their community: Brian is a member of the Upper Valley Apple Corps, which plants and tends fruit bearing trees around the Upper Valley to provide free fruit for the community; and Melissa and Brian support Valley Food & Farm by volunteering at Flavors of the Valley each year.