Luce Farm has deep roots in the Vermont soil. Founded by the Luce family in 1820 and farmed by subsequent generations for over 150 years, Luce Farm is a perfect example of New England ingenuity, imagination, and hard work. Now operated by Joe and Rebecca Pimentel, the 206 acres of field and forestland offer a picturesque example of biodiverse, organic family farming.
The Pimentels learned everything they know through hands-on work, volunteering at a numerous farms throughout the years, always with the dream of moving to Vermont and running their own farmstead. Prior to their arrival in the Green Mountain State, they spent a few years living in the suburbs of Massachusetts on the South Shore of Boston, farming and raising livestock. Joe was in the construction industry, and Rebecca spent her time restoring their farm, building a chicken coop, and planting vegetables. “Within six months we had three pregnant goats occupying the barn, twenty-five chickens in the hen house, and more vegetables than we knew what to do with,” said Joe. “Our farming career was born.”
After the birth of their first child, the Pimentels began spending many weekends at a friend’s cabin in Bridgewater, VT. Shortly after deciding to make a permanent move, they received a call from a childhood friend of Rebecca, informing them that the lease on a nearby Pittsfield farm had just become available. A few days later they hopped in the truck and headed north for a visit, and within three month’s time they packed up their farm on the South Shore, said their goodbyes, and headed to Vermont.
They spent three seasons in Pittsfield, working the land and operating the farm. In November 2015, they heard about Luce Farm and discovered that it was in need of stewarding. The choice was obvious, and so the Pimentels made their next move to Stockbridge and Luce Farm.
When asked why they chose to keep the original family name of the farm, Joe said, “We felt that we had no right in changing the name of the farm that the Luce family created. We are lucky enough to continue the tradition.”
Joe and Rebecca, along with partners Chris Condon and Tyler Wakstein, formed the Luce Farm brand in order to showcase the various products they planned to produce. Joe explained, “Rebecca and I are the farmers, managing directors, and primary shareholders of Luce Farm, LLC. Tyler and Chris have great networks and marketing/business backgrounds.”
They spent a year looking into all of the potential and possibility the farm had to offer. They considered goat dairy, maple syrup production, hospitality, livestock, produce cultivation and hemp production, among other things. “The fact is that I think we will do all of these things eventually, but we needed to dial in on one or two things to get the momentum going,” Joe said.
In the Spring of 2016, the Pimentels were approached by Evergreen Capital Management, a group of Vermont entrepreneurs, who were interested in partnering with a farm to cultivate a small trial crop of hemp for research purposes. All members of the Luce Farm team jumped at the opportunity to learn more about medicinal hemp, so they grew a small, successful crop. When it came time to harvest, no one really knew what to do with it, so they “started playing in the kitchen,” as Joe described. With the help of friends and a few trial recipes, ‘Hemp Honey’ was born.
Although the experimental hemp grow was a success, the Luce team wasn’t entirely sure how it might factor into the growth of their farm, or how it could be a marketable and sustainable product. They had just about crossed it off the list when a friend knocked on their door one snowy winter day, asking if they still planned to grow hemp. The friend went on to explain that he had some acquaintances in a local investment club who were interested in funding the project.
A few days later, Joe met with Stephen Aldrich, who was the president of the White River Investment Club; a membership-based group of Vermont residents whose goal was to invest locally in order to improve the quality of life in Vermont. They worked together to create a feasible plan for second, larger grow the following year. In 2017, the team cultivated a one-acre plot of land, which now sports a flourishing crop of 1,000 female hemp plants.
Currently, Luce Farm is launching their CBD-infused honey throughout the state, selling the product at a growing number of regional Vermont retailers. Luce Farm Hemp Honey is a non-psychoactive product, made with only three ingredients: Vermont honey, organic coconut oil, and hemp extract.
In addition, they recently partnered with Long Trail Brewing Company to create a CBD-infused beer, released over Labor Day Weekend at their brewery in Bridgewaters Corners, VT. The Luce Farm team was excited to work with Long Trail, a brand that has long been synonymous with Vermont’s brewing culture. For their part, Long Trail hopes to sell the beer locally, along with CBD honey-infused hops grown at Luce Farm.
When asked about the current endeavor, Rebecca Pimentel reflected, “It’s an honor to be able to partner with our favorite VT brands to collaborate on new products, and discover how best to introduce people to the benefits of CBD.”
For more information and to stay up to date with all of the exciting developments at Luce Farm, visit http://www.lucefarmvt.com.