When Tom Moreau's plants began looking funny last week, he thought he had a pest problem. But when his neighbors plants weren't curling up and dying like his were, he realized the culprit was his compost.
"I came to the conclusion that, you know, the pest doesn't care if it's my beans and 20 feet away is my neighbor's beans who look really healthy," he said.
Moreau is also the general manager of the Chittenden Solid Waste District, which sells Green Mountain Compost, and he thinks his bulk product has been contaminated.
"We think this is episodic or a batch type of thing," he said.
The company has stopped the sale of the bulk-size product, but says bagged versions sold in stores are still safe.
Right now they warn you not to eat any crops that may show signs of contamination. Scientists think a chemical grade herbicide is to blame.
"This is something that would have been used on a pasture in a horse pasture situation to control bedstraw or thistle," said Cary Giguere of the Vt. Agency of Agriculture.
It's a professional grade chemical used to stop dandelions and other broadleaf plants, so grass clippings or waste from a horse who ate the grass could be to blame. More testing is still needed to figure out the exact source. Giguere says labels on those chemicals warn they aren't for composting, but it will be hard to determine who is to blame.
"Some of these risk mitigation measures go beyond the applicator and go to the farmer, the manure hauler, the composter," Giguere said.
Moreau says there's no way yet to tell how many customers may be affected, but so far he's received about 50 complaints. He says if you bought in bulk from Earth Day to Memorial Day, you could be at risk.
"It is frustrating when somebody may have either inadvertently or just wrongfully done something that impacted not only us, but more importantly it is very significant for all those gardeners who bought our product and now are very disappointed," Moreau said.
Right now the soil is at a lab for testing, once the chemical is identified, they hope to trace it back to the source.
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:52 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:52:04 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:01 GMT
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington. Police say Grace Maddaloni, 88, disappeared Wednesday after what they called a "disagreement." Because of her age and being in theMore >>
A missing elderly woman from Rutland has been found safe in Burlington.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 7:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 23:07:19 GMT
IBM and chip production may soon be parting ways. The Wall Street Journal reports that Big Blue is looking to unload three chipmaking plants-- two in upstate New York and its Vermont plant in Essex Junction.More >>
With indications IBM may sell off its chipmaking plants, we talked to the company experts say may buy them. GlobalFoundries already has employees working at IBM in Essex Junction through a partnership, and experts say that could help the company decide whether the plant is a worthy investment.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:04 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:04:45 GMT
Darn Tough appears to be making a darn good profit. The high-end sock manufacturer out of Northfield reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever, with revenues up almost 80 percent over theMore >>
Vermont sock manufacturer Darn Tough reports the first quarter of this year was its best ever.More >>