Coronavirus (COVID-19): Relief options and Additional Resources

High Mowing Seeds owner named VT Small Business Person of the Year

Release Date: 
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

MONTPELIER, Vt. – The Small Business Administration announced the 2016 Vermont small business award winners today.

The top prize, the Vermont Small Business Person of the Year, is awarded to Tom Stearns, High Mowing Organic Seeds founder and owner. He is being recognized for growing his company, increasing sales, employee growth and contributing to the local community.

High Mowing Organic Seeds is a farm-based company that produces and distributes vegetable, flower and herb seeds throughout the U.S. and Canada. High Mowing Organic Seeds is the first organic company guaranteeing all of its seeds are non-genetically modified organism verified.

Stearns launched his company in 1996, and in its first year sales were $2,000.  By 2001, business had grown to such an extent Stearns began to contract with other local farmers to grow his seeds. Twenty years later his company has grown to be one of the top organic seed companies in the U.S., and today has more than 60 employees.

"It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of all the work done by our team for the last 20 years since this hobby was born.  It has been a joy to see it grow and to know that we are just getting started," said Stearns. "I get to do what I love every day and the work is diverse, challenging and creative.  There is nothing more rewarding than bringing an idea to life in a way that serves health in the world, and it means a lot to me to have the work of our team recognized in this way."

The other 2016 Vermont winners are Mansfield Heliflight as the Exporter of the Year, Shat Acres Highland Cattle as the Family-Owned Small Business of the Year, Sweet Crunch Bakeshop & Catering Company as the Woman-Owned Business of the Year, Power Play Sports as the Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Snug Life as the Micro-Enterprise of the Year and Desai Management Consulting as the Minority-Owned Business of the Year.

Each year since 1963, the President of the United States has issued a proclamation announcing National Small Business Week, which recognizes the critical contributions of America’s entrepreneurs and small business owners.

“Small business owners represent the best of the best and showcase daily their entrepreneurial spirit and what it takes to be successful in today’s evolving and competitive business environment,” said Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Stearns and the 49 other state winners are invited to attend the ceremonies in Washington, D.C. May 1 to 2 where they will be awarded their individual awards, along with the naming of the 2016 National Small Business Person of the Year. 

"There are more than 28 million small businesses serving as the economic engine of our country, employing half of the private sector and creating two out of three net new jobs. If our small business sector was a country, its output would rank number three above Germany and Japan. I'm looking forward to welcoming these talented entrepreneurs to their nation's capital and celebrating their stories to shine a light on American ingenuity and innovation," said Contreras-Sweet.

In June, all of the Vermont small business winners will receive their awards during the 2016 Vermont Small Business Awards Ceremony cohosted by Vermont Business Magazine. The ceremony is open to the public and registration will be available in May.

For more information about the 2016 Vermont small business award winners, call 802-828-4422.