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I was nervous in the present economy to get a loan, but it was nice to have the Loan Fund there.  I didn't realize how necessary their work is in Vermont, especially to the child care industry.

Christine Tullgren
Little Feet Children's Center

Longtime VCLF Borrower Wins for 3rd Consecutive Year

In November of last year, longtime VCLF borrower High Mowing Organic Seeds of Wolcott was the recipient of Vermont Business Magazine and KeyBank’s annual 5 x 5 x 5 Growth Award. Winning the award is an honor acknowledges the company’s founder and Head Seedsman Tom Stearns, but 2015 marks the third consecutive year that this leading producer of organic seeds has won. “It’s pretty exciting,” says Stearns. “This kind of recognition is a huge accomplishment for our whole team.”

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The 5 x 5 x 5 Growth Awards are presented annually to Vermont’s five fastest growing businesses in five categories: family-owned, food producers, manufacturing, technology, wholesale. High Mowing has been a regular winner in the family-owned category.

High Mowing Organic Seeds has seen annual sales of their organic and heirloom seeds grow consistently over the past few years, from $2.7 million in 2010 to $6 million in 2014. The number of Vermonters working for High Mowing has also risen from 44 in 2013 to 58 in 2015, making them the largest employer in town and one of the largest in the region. High Mowing recently purchased a 255-acre farm in Hyde Park to accommodate new and future growth.

“When we first worked with VCLF back in 2005, we used a loan to purchase equipment. There were only eight of us at High Mowing back then,” Stearns laughs. At that critical point in their development, High Mowing couldn’t afford to be saddled with a short-term loan requiring larger monthly payments. “Because of VCLF’s flexibility, we could afford to invest in additional equipment we really needed, which absolutely fueled our growth,” he said. “And we’re expecting even more for 2016!”

Since its founding in 1996, High Mowing has been an international leader in the development and sales of organic seeds. The company has also helped launch the Safe Seed Pledge, Slow Money Vermont and the Open Source Seed Initiative.