The UVM Horticulture Research and Education Center (HREC) was purchased in 1952. This 97-acre property is a hub for research and education through a productive vegetable and fruit farm. Catamount Educational Farm (Cat Farm) is a division of HREC whose mission is to model sustainable farming practices. Farm plots include eight acres of vegetable and cover crop fields, five acres of apple orchards, and just under one acre of grapes. The Catamount Farm initiative was launched in 2014 to facilitate improved teaching, research, and outreach activities. All produce on the farm is grown under Cat Farm direction to provide for long-term soil fertility, crop planning, and integration with teaching and research. Students in associated programs help to coordinate and carry out the weekly and seasonal farm tasks in this experiential learning setting.
Produce is sold to the UVM and Burlington community through: summer and fall CSA (community-supported agriculture) shares delivered to campus and picked up on-farm; a weekly farmer's market in Burlington's Old North End (Tuesdays, June through October); a weekly Farm Stand at the farm (Fridays, late August through early November); and institutional sales to UVM Dining's Sodexo food service.
The farm is also used by professional plant organizations and gardening groups. For over 50 years, University horticulturists have been testing new and unusual plants for their adaptation to the Vermont environment, especially to our cold winters. In addition, the HREC hosts collections of ornamental plants of significance to the green industry, including legacy plantings of crabapples, rhododendrons and azaleas, flowering shrubs, shade trees, lilacs, and ferns. The HREC facility is located four miles south of the main UVM campus and is accessible to numerous programs across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and other colleges.