Vermont Open Farm Week

kids and chicken

Merck Forest Schedule


Vermont Open Farm Week, 8/15 through 8/21, promises to be a busy one at Merck Forest & Farmland Center, with special demonstrations, workshops, tours and family-fun activities scheduled all week long. Visitors may join in the organized activities, or design their own Merck adventure — picnicking on the hillsides, checking on the animals, hiking through the forest and enjoying spectacular views of the Southern Adirondacks.


Monday, 8/15

Farm Manager’s Tour (for Adults), 2 – 4pm, $5, limited to 10. Jonathan Kilpatrick, the Farm Manager, will conduct a tour of our farming operations; Jon can speak knowledgeably about the specifics of Merck practices as well as larger issues and current trends in sustainable agriculture.

Children’s Farm Tour & Farm-Fun Activities, 2 – 4pm, $2.50. We have designed a tour with farm-related activities and games for youngsters. They’ll meet the flocks, view the piglets and check out the chickens.


Tuesday 8/16 and Friday 8/19

Work with the Draft Horses – Workshop for Teens, 12:30 – 3:30pm, $40. Call to Pre-register, limited to 4 participants. Visitors aged 12 to 15 years old may enroll in a workshop to learn how to work with Fern & Arch, our Suffolk Punch draft horses. Customer Specialist Katie Connor will give participants an overview of heritage horse breeds, training on how to care for our two gentle giants, and perhaps an opportunity to harness and drive the team.


Wednesday, 8/17

Farrier’s Demonstration, morning and afternoon (call for times), free. Fern and Arch, our draft horses, need new shoes. The blacksmith will shoe one horse in the morning, one in the afternoon. It’s a fascinating demonstration of an old-time skill.

Fleece Skirting Demonstration, 10am to 3pm, free. Visitors may try their hand at skirting (or cleaning) a sheep’s fleece in preparation for spinning it into yarn.


Thursday, 8/18

Farm Chores for Children, 2 – 4pm, $2.50. This hands-on/hands-dirty workshop is suitable for children aged 3 and up (must be accompanied by adult).

Celebrate Your Farmer Pizza Social, 5:30 – 7:30pm, suggested donation $10. Co-Hosted with the Northeast Organic Farmers Association (Vermont) Wood-fired pizzas will be made fresh from locally-sourced ingredients. Suggested donation of $10 per person benefits NOFA-VT.


Friday, 8/19

Work with the Draft Horses – Workshop for Teens, 12:30 – 3:30pm, $40. Call to Pre-Register, limited to 4 participants.


If you go:
Saturday 8/13, at 8 p.m., at Merck Forest and Farmland Center, 3270 Route 315, Rupert, Vermont. For more information about the week’s activities, call the Visitor Center at 802-394-7836, or visit the website at