WHAT'S YOUR "LOCAL"?'
Becca and Nathan Webb
When Nathan and I met serendipitously in 2008, it didn’t take us long to realize we shared a vision for a rural lifestyle as potters. On our first date, he spoke about his dream to sell goat cheese he had made in his own pottery crocks. I was beyond smitten.
Just months later, we were engaged and dreaming up plans for a life together on a former dairy farm in central Vermont. We had both been interested in the unique look of pottery fired for days in wood burning kilns. Such work reflected the mineralogy of the area where the trees grew, as well as the textures and colors of glazes sourced from nearby quarries and rivers. So we set out to build such a kiln, fed with scrap slab wood from local sawmills. We built a large pole barn to house the kiln, constructed a studio, renovated the farmhouse, and started a family.
We quickly discovered we were well situated to utilize the nearby resources of other local businesses. From rough sawn boards made in the next valley over, to countless other needs from the treasured still-downtown hardware store, to one of the nation’s oldest building suppliers, hydro-powered and located in the heart of Bethel. When we built a chicken coop, we were pleased to find that New England’s premier organic granary, owned by a local family, was right in the center of town.
We fired pottery in our wood-kiln, and brought our new work to nearby shows and farmers markets. We realized that our busiest season for selling pottery coincided with the height of gardening season. Fortunately, there were plenty of local farms to help us fill in the gaps. We discovered the Green Mountain Girls Farm in Northfield, and learned about their Omnivore Share – a full-diet, full-choice, year-round CSA.
It’s been 3.5 years that these farmers, now good friends, have supplied us with the pasture-raised meats, dairy, vegetables, and canned pickles, salsas, and sauces, that have kept us eating so well – and so locally - year-round while we work full-time at our business and care for our family. Our daughter, who recently turned 2, knows this as THE farm, and we love that to her, it’s simply where most of our food comes from.
We are so fortunate to live in an area that values locally grown and locally produced goods; handmade pottery links so beautifully to local food. Not a day goes by that we don’t appreciate being to be able to be making a living largely from this place, rooted in this community and geography, where we can welcome folks to visit, tour the kiln and workshop, and perhaps leave with a piece from our kiln with which to enjoy- and perhaps enhance the experience of their own local foods and beverages.
Becca and Nathan Webb