History of the Farm

The McKnight Farm was established in 1796 by Lemuel McKnight, one of the original settlers of East Montpelier. Most of the original house and barn are still standing and in use today. The farm remained in the McKnight family until it was sold in 1982.

The property was acquired by Seth Gardner in 1992, and he continues the tradition of frugal stewardship of the land to this day. He has kept the name of the McKnight Farm out of respect to the original founders.

After starting with only ten heifer calves in the 1990s, Seth has built up the herd to about 600 head, most of which are dairy cows but with a small selection of beef cows as well. He has made many improvements to the original property, including solar panels, a milking parlor, a freestall, and a brand new shop.

A bird's-eye view of our farm.

Our Farm Today

We currently farm about 1500 acres of land total, spread across five different towns in the area. 400 acres of that land is used for rotational grazing for our cows, who have access to the outdoors and fresh air 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Our pigs are also pastured, and our chickens are free range.

All animals are fed USDA certified organic feed and given plenty of space to roam. Cows on our farm are grass-fed year-round to ensure the healthiest cows and the highest quality milk.

Most of Seth's profits are invested directly back into the farm. We are constantly trying to improve by investing in better infrastructure and equipment, healthier animals, renewable energy, and the best land around. The McKnight Farm is always progressing and moving forward, incorporating new techniques to make life better for both the animals and the workers.

Renewable Energy

The farm produces its own electricity, using a 100kw system of solar panels, housed in a field right next to the farm. A 100kw system means that the panels produce an average of 100 kilowatts of electricity per hour!

One section of our array of solar panels. Stop by to see the full field!

We currently net meter this electricity through Washington Electric, but the future may hold batteries with which we could store our own energy. The farm is always working on becoming more independent and sustainable, and we are dedicated to reducing our carbon footprint, both through solar energy and organic practices.

Seth talks about our renewable energy with former Governor Peter Shumlin.