They say that the Jenne Farm is the most photographed farm in North America. Why is this so, what brings hordes of photographers to take countless pictures of what some Vermonters might call just a couple of "farm buildings?" Well, of course, it's not just a couple of buildings, it's delicate fall colors, wonderful composition and a feeling that just breathes Vermont! It's got a lot of what photographers want in their pictures.
The Jenne Farm is in central Vermont, about a 15 minutes drive south of Woodstock on Route 106. If you are driving south on 106, go through South Woodstock, then follow the road up Reading Hill. After it crests and you start to go down, slow down and look for a small sign on the right hand side. (There will also be a sign for the Jenne Farm Road) See our road map of the area.
According to Floyd Jenne "Junior", one of the current owners, the photography craze began about 50 years ago when a photography school in South Woodstock discovered its unique setting. Once the photographic word was out, so to speak, it was a natural progression to the big time with Life magazine photo contests, pictures on the cover of Yankee magazine and Vermont Life. Corporate America even got into the act with full color spreads on the front pages of their annual reports. Eventually, Jenne hit the big time, appearing in a Budweiser commercial, and in two movies; Forrest Gump and Funny Farm.
With all this fame, you'd think that the location fees would have brought riches to the Jenne family, but this has not happened. "Budweiser was generous," says Floyd Junior, though he declines to reveal the figure. Junior is not so well disposed to the producers of Funny Farm who spent more than a day on the farm. "Chevy Chase only gave us $200-$300," he complains. Asked why he doesn't charge for "location shooting," the Vietnam vet replies; " It's not the way we do things here in Vermont." However, there is a collection box at the "shooting" area and the hordes of photographers are encouraged to buy some Jenne Farm maple syrup. (Just imagine the location being California - there would sure to be genuine Jenne Farm Maple Syrup by now).
Photographers are awed by the early morning light on the buildings and meadows surrounding the farm in the fall. Mornings with a clear sky are best for the shots. Experienced photo buffs always check their frame, but just in case you're an amateur reading this, there's a satellite dish that will spoil your picture, mounted in a field on the left side of the farm buildings.
In the early years it was mostly New Jerseyites and people from New York City who came, but now Jenne Farm draws photographers from all over the world. It is one of those "MUST GO SEE AND TAKE A PICTURE" places for foreigners. They come with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment and carefully set up in the tripod marks of the previous photographer.
Written, photographed and produced by PB Publishing, Morgan, VT