local banquet fall 2012 | issue twenty-two
Goat’s Milk Hydroponic Tomatoes Burlington Airport Goes Local
Together, Better Choices
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C ON T E N T S F
6 Publishers’ Note 8 Storing Your Harvest for Winter and Beyond
10 New Choices and Opportunities in Vermont’s Dairy Scene 12 Reflections of a Restaurateur Part lll: Meat
14 Hothouse Hydro 16 Making Peace with Plants 18 Airport Flies Toward Local 20 Neighbors Feeding Neighbors in St. Johnsbury 22 Winter CSAs 29 Farmers’ Kitchen 31 Calendar 34 Last Morsel Delivering Awe
Publisher Schreiber & Lucas, LLC
On a hot day in July we wrote a check for our winter CSA share. In a flash, images of squash and leeks and Brussels sprouts and carrots filled our heads. As thoughts turned to cozy fires and savory, hearty dishes, the temperature outside moved ever upward. It was an odd juxtaposition, but we were happy to know that our winter CSA would take the pressure off our summer gardening endeavors.
Editor Caroline Abels Art Director Meg Lucas Ad Director Barbi Schreiber
And there was pressure. This past May, a fierce hailstorm not only pummeled our car but also took out the early plantings in the garden—everything was flat, covered with golf-ball-sized ice cubes. We were able to replant some crops but others would have to wait until next year. And then in June, as we stood admiring our garden recovery efforts, we were horrified to see a pile of leaf matter where the broccoli once was. What exactly is the unidentified critter living under our shed? A woodchuck? We’re grateful for our backup plan: a second year with our winter CSA. We’re confident that, barring another tragedy like Tropical Storm Irene, which we remember so clearly at this one-year mark, the folks at Harlow Farm will be able to provide us with some of the yummy winter vegetables we just couldn’t grow ourselves (and more—our CSA offers meats, eggs, and preserved foods, too). We also know they will delight us with fresh spring greens and spinach much earlier than we can produce in our garden cold frames. We pick up our winter bi-weekly share at the farm. Every other Saturday morning we drive the short distance and are greeted by friends and other shareholders as we receive our order and discuss everything from the weather (of course), to politics, to the various ways to prepare our winter goodies. It’s always a bonus when our farmer is not out in the fields that day and has the time to chat and catch up. Again and again, food creates community! On pages 22–2 you’ll find a listing of winter CSAs, courtesy of NOFA-VT. Check them out, and maybe join one—it’s sort of like crop insurance, only better. Our garden has produced lovely greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, onions, and zucchini. We harvested several pounds of potatoes and winter squash, as well. Thanks to some old and new technologies, we’ll be able to enjoy the garden’s yield well into next year. And in this issue we share with you an article on page that covers different ways to store a variety of summer and fall crops. Nothing complicated here, no pressure cookers or correctly sealed jars, just simple techniques for putting food by. So with the help of our farmer and some uncomplicated practices for storing our own crops, we look forward to the (hopefully) snowy days of winter. Oh, and lest you think we’re jumping ahead a season—we wish you a great fall and a fine harvest! Meg Lucas Barbi Schreiber
Proofreader Marisa Crumb
Contributors Benjy Adler Lori Augustiniak Jeffrey Gangemi Robyn Greenstone Lauren Griswold Henry Homeyer Jesse Natha North Todd Parlo Suzanne Podhaizer Tatiana Schreiber Printed with soy ink on FSC certified 50% recycled chlorine–free paper Subscriptions, $22 Subscribe online or send checks to: Vermont’s Local Banquet PO Box 69 Saxtons River, VT 05154 localbanquet.com 802-869-1236 we welcome letters to the editor firstname.lastname@example.org vermont’s LOCAL Banquet Mission Statement The purpose of our publication is to promote and support our local communities. By focusing on fresh, local, wholesome foods grown and made in Vermont, we preserve our environment, grow our economy, and enhance our nutrition. Vermont’s Local Banquet (ISSN 1946–0295) is published quarterly. Subscriptions are $22 annually and are mailed in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. Please make checks payable to Vermont’s Local Banquet. Thank you. Copyright (c) 2012. All rights reserved. No part of this periodical may be reproduced without written consent. Opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publishers or editors.
On the cover: Elbrus, a doeling at Green Mountain Girls Farm; photo by Lauren Griswold Contents page: photo by Meg Lucas M E M B E R
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local banquet 7
Storing Your Harvest for Winter and Beyond by Henry Homeyer
Then the interstate highway system came along, allowing refrigerated trucks to bring tomatoes and broccoli and corn from Florida or California all year. Frozen foods became readily available, too, and many gardeners downsized their gardens, growing just for the summer’s enjoyment and buying vegetables fresh or frozen at the A&P the rest of the year. In recent years, it seems we’ve come full circle. More and more people are planting vegetables, and many of them want to store their own food for the winter, rather than participate in a long-distance food system. I grow most of my own vegetables and eat them all year. It’s easy, really, if you’re willing to put in a little effort during the summer and fall. There are four basic techniques for storing vegetables: canning, freezing, dehydrating, and storing under appropriate conditions. Let’s not focus on canning here: it’s a lot of work, and has the possibility of causing botulism poisoning if done wrong. But here’s a brief introduction to the other three practices.
Store The least work for you—and what consumes the least amount of energy—is to store vegetables in a 8
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cool cellar or spare bedroom, or to build a small “cold box” for storage. But there are strict guidelines to follow: some veggies need high humidity to store well, while others require low humidity. Let’s start with potatoes, carrots, beets, rutabagas, kohlrabi, and celery root. Those root crops store best between and 50 degrees, with high humidity. You can store them in 5-gallon pails for months, so long as you don’t let them freeze and you keep the mice at bay. I start by putting an inch of clean, coarse sand in the bottom of a bucket and water it lightly. Fill the bucket with carrots and it’s ready for winter. Screening it with hardware cloth (which has quarter-inch spaces that allow air flow) will keep rodents out. My basement gets below freezing (it has one exterior wall that is above ground and it’s not heated) but I don’t want my veggies to freeze. In order to moderate the temperature and help with the mouse problem, I made a cement-block cold box to hold the buckets. It’s two blocks high, three blocks long, and two blocks wide. The cover is a piece of plywood with Styrofoam insulation on one side and sheet metal on the others (to keep out those dang mice). I keep an indoor-outdoor thermometer in the cold box so I can monitor the temperature in the box and in the room. I also keep a drop light in the box with an incandescent bulb that I plug in when the temperature gets close to freezing; it provides a little heat. If you don’t have a cold basement, you might store veggies in buckets in a bulkhead or even in a garage if it is attached to the house and doesn’t get too cold. I also have an old fridge in the basement. The drawers work well for keeping produce cool and the humidity high. The main part of the fridge dries out things fairly quickly, although I’ve stored root crops there by putting them in plastic tubs with wet sand and covering them with cloth. You never want to store veggies without some air circulation or things will get moldy. I’ve not had great luck storing beets in my cold box— they soften up too much and sometimes go moldy, so I prefer to store them in a fridge or cook and freeze them. The perfect place to store garlic, winter squash and onions is in a spare bedroom with the heat turned off. They want low humidity and temperatures roughly 50 degrees. Les Cate, an old Vermonter (now, alas, gardening in the sky), once told me that you can store winter squash under the bed—so long as you don’t grow blue Hubbards because they sometimes get too big to fit there! I have a wonderful wooden storage rack I purchased at Gardener’s Supply that has nine pullout wooden drawers. They call it an orchard rack, and it’s made with wooden slats for good air circulation. I keep mine in my mudroom for much of the year, filled with garlic, onions, and winter squash.
Original photos by Henry Homeyer
Until the mid 150s, gardeners often slaved away at canning— or putting into jars—as much food from the garden as possible. Tomatoes, beans, carrots, peas…you name it, our grannies canned it. This was a time when fresh produce at the grocery store was expensive in winter and often limp and bedraggled.
Freeze Freezing vegetables is another wonderful way to keep food fresh and tasty. Some veggies require blanching (a quick immersion in boiling water) while others do not. Let’s start with those that require blanching: beans, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, corn, kale, peas, and summer squash. Blanching is important because it kills the aging enzymes in those veggies, so they don’t continue to degrade and get woody or tasteless. A few words about blanching; first, be quick. Older books generally tell you to blanch veggies for three minutes after the water returns to a full boil. That’s not blanching, it’s cooking! Sixty seconds is adequate for most things. Kale, for example, need not even come back to a rolling boil. Just watch it, and when the color changes to a lighter green, it is ready to be pulled out of the water. Cut summer squash into half-inch cubes and blanch for a minute or less to keep it from turning to mush. Use lots of hot water for blanching so the temperature stays high when you drop in your vegetables. You want some texture and firmness in the veggies you serve, so blanch quickly and immediately put them in a sink of cold water to stop the cooking process. I don’t add ice, although some cooks do. I use tap water and change it when it warms up. If you plan to freeze a lot, you should get a blanching pot. These consist of a large enamelware pot and a slightly smaller inner pot with drainage holes. This allows you to lift all the veggies out quickly to stop the cooking. I bought a nice small one at Dan & Whit’s General Store in Norwich for $25 or so. It’s also important to dry food before freezing. I use a Zyliss brand salad spinner with a pull cord. The cord lets me get it spinning fast, even when the load is heavy. After spinning, spread out the food on a counter covered with cloth tea towels and pat dry. After drying, place the veggies in freezer-grade (not storage grade) zipper bags and push out as much air as possible with the zipper almost closed. Insert an ordinary drinking straw, close the zipper up to it, and suck out the air. The plastic should cling to the food. Then pull out the straw and zip shut. No need to buy a special machine to do it for you.
berries on a cookie sheet and then put them in bags, though I’ve found that you can freeze them in bags if you don’t pack in too many. For instance, in a quart bag I put just 2- cups of blueberries. Very ripe raspberries, however, are so soft that freezing them on a cookie sheet is better than freezing in the bag. Peaches I like to cut up and add a little sugar to, in order to create some juice and keep them tasty, though some folks do blanch them.
Dehydrate Dehydrated cherry tomatoes are wonderful in stir fries and stews. I use a Gardenmaster Pro dehydrator from Nesco American Harvester to dry mine. There are a couple of different models, but I prefer model FD1010, which has the heating element and fan in the bottom of the unit. All have round trays that stack, easily drying trays, and allegedly up to 0. The dryer uses 1,000 watts of energy per hour and sells for $12. I cut my tomatoes in half and stack layers of trays in the dehydrator, drying 00 cherry tomatoes or more at a time. (I usually have 10 Sungold tomato plants each year). It takes roughly 2 hours to dry the fruit, and the dried tomatoes can be stored on a shelf, although I have plenty of freezer space so I store them there in zipper bags. I also dehydrate all my hot peppers so I can then grind them in the coffee grinder and store as hot pepper powder. Apples and pears dehydrate well, too, and are great for snacking. However you prepare your garden bounty for storage, remember that you should use your best fruits and vegetables for storage and eat the less perfect ones now. Freezing poorquality veggies does not make them better! Henry Homeyer is the author of four gardening books and, due in September from Bunker Hill Publishing, a children’s chapter book: a fantasy-adventure called Wobar and the Quest for the Magic Calumet. His website is gardening-guy.com.
Some veggies do not need blanching—so long as you are going to eat the food within a year, which you should anyway. I’ve eaten -year old squash, but that’s better fed to the dogs. I don’t blanch the following: leeks, peppers, tomatoes, and most fruit. Frozen whole tomatoes are great in soups, stews and stir fries. Just put them in Ziplocks and freeze. When you want to use them, run the fruit under hot tap water for a minute and the skin will easily rub off. As for fruit, blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are fine going directly in the freezer. Some people like to freeze
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local banquet 9
Caprine vs. Bovine New Choices and Opportunities in Vermont’s Dairy Scene by Jesse Natha North
The primacy of cow dairy in Vermont agriculture is undisputed, but goats are edging into the local dairy world. Abysmal cow milk prices paired with rising costs have farmers looking for alternatives or supplements in order to keep their farms profitable. And the ever-increasing vacant cow dairy properties provide excellent locations for new goat farms. The state is already home to one monolithic buyer of fluid goat milk, Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery (VBCC), which is now being forced to look out of state—out of the country, even—to meet its needs, leading some farmers to dabble in milking goats as a means to diversifying their income while taking advantage of this established but underserved local market. The decision to work with goats has its challenges, though, and the numbers remain tight; making or improving a living by transitioning to goats has not proven to be a panacea, despite the obvious benefits. Issues with scale, management challenges for year-round production, and VBCC’s complicated pricing structure that all but excludes small, seasonal herds all contribute to the growing pains inherent in producing commercial fluid goat milk.
Vermont has lost nearly 500 dairy farms in the last decade, going from more than 1,500 to just over 1,000, according to the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. During that time, cow milk production has actually increased by approximately 1 million cwt (or “hundredweight,” meaning 100 pounds of fluid milk). Also during the last decade, the number of goat dairies that sell fluid milk to a processor or process their own products for sale has grown from a dozen or so statewide to 2 now, with a high of 0 in mid-2010. Clearly, goat dairying is still the proverbial drop in the bucket for Vermont farmers, although the number of farms has more than doubled as cow dairy continues to concentrate in fewer, larger farms. “I see goat dairy as a good fit for a lot of parts of Vermont,” says Dan Scruton, dairy systems coordinator at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Although there’s still an economy of 10 local banquet
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scale, he says, “You can make a reasonable living with a few acres,” with better cash flow potential per cwt of milk. A 50-head cow dairy is roughly comparable to a 150-head goat dairy in terms of farm size and milk volume. The average cow currently produces almost 1,000 pounds of milk a year; a goat only produces roughly 1,00. But the highest-paying national buyer of fluid cow milk, Organic Valley, currently pays approximately $0 per cwt, while the VBCC payment system nets a range of about $1 to $5 per cwt for raw goat milk. This price reflects the cost of hauling, shared between VBCC and farmers, which can have a major effect on price based on the volume of the pickup and a farm’s distance from the creamery. Considering these numbers, switching to or starting with goats begins to look like a no-brainer. “The beautiful thing is they’re tough, and they fit well into old, outdated cow facilities,” says Chris Dutton, assistant professor of agriculture at Vermont Technical College. For the past year and a half, Gwyneth Harris has been working independently by means of grant funding with farmers (primarily in the Northeast Kingdom) who are transitioning from cow to goat dairy. A lot of times, she says, these farmers switched from cow to goat dairy to take advantage of the open market and pricing that is not subject to the vagaries of commodity dairy production. But introducing a goat—or two or three—into the place of a cow seems a curious blend of art and science. With modern dairy farming focused so closely on cows, goat farming demands a re-evaluation of the skills and practices that have been the core DNA of Vermont dairying. Take feed, for example; goats may seem surprisingly picky to a farmer accustomed to feeding a cow, because the goat digestive system, or rumen, is “smaller and more temperamental than that of a cow,” says Dan. On the other hand, goats are browsers rather than grazers; that is, they relish prickers and thickets as much as pasture, so they can “clean pastures up while still making milk,” he says. But, as Gwyneth points out, goat farmers need to ask themselves, “How will I feed my goats to get the best protein production?” Maximizing the goats’ feeding habits while achieving optimum protein levels requires a new outlook on dairying—one that is not part of Vermont’s cow dairying past.
Photos by Caroline Abels
If you’ve ever raised goats, you know it’s next to impossible to keep them within their fences. Now more goats are getting into Vermont cow barns—but it’s because farmers are putting them there on purpose.
The greatest challenge to the commercial goat dairy farmer is the breeding cycle. Unlike a cow, which can be bred yearround, a goat has a seasonal breeding habit, with a pattern of breeding in early winter and kidding in the spring. This results in a drop in milk production at the same time every year— which is a problem for the demands of year-round cheesemaking at a large-scale operation such as VBCC. VBCC’s year-round demand is reflected in their pricing structure, which rewards farms that breed off season by setting the year’s price when seasonally bred does are ebbing in milk production. Goat dairy farmers can therefore reach their highest earning potential by “tricking” a portion of their herd into breeding off-season. This is accomplished by segregating does and inducing them to breed using artificial lighting, proximity to bucks, or even hormonal therapies. This issue poses a dilemma for some small-scale farmers whose husbandry and lifestyle preferences make it difficult for them to make the most of VBCC’s pricing schedule. To make a living, they may instead choose to process and sell their milk themselves, taking on the duties of marketing their products, rather than becoming less hands-on “farm managers” in a larger, year-round operation.
not in goats but in one particular human, Rene De Leeuw of New York’s Coach Farm. Rene comes to Randolph with years of experience that Allison hopes will help kickstart the process of maximizing goat farms in Vermont. “We’re starting with nothing,” she says, “We have no tools, no animals—all we have is intellectual property in Rene.” Among Rene’s tasks is determining the “sweet spot” for size of the operation, with the current vision being 500 goats. VBCC wants to build some benchmarks so that an aspiring goat farmer can hit the ground running with data for managing input and labor costs, off-season breeding, milk quality, and an improved genetic pool. “They will be able to show some of the tools that are out there for goat farmers” that are not based on cow data, says Gwyneth Harris. “Having some real information that’s close to home will help people realize there’s value to making changes.”
Indeed, not all fluid milk in Vermont heads to VBCC’s Websterville plant; a few farms sell their fluid milk to mid-size cheesemakers, such as Blue Ledge Farm in Leicester or Cornwall’s Consider Bardwell farm, and they find they can get slightly better prices than those who ship to VBCC. Another mid-sized farm, Windsor’s Oak Knoll Dairy, sells a portion of their milk to VBCC but also pasteurizes and bottles their own fluid goat milk and yogurt for sale under their own label. But success often comes down to scale. In her new Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy, small ruminant expert Carol Delaney writes of dairying in Vermont, “Fewer than 150 goats is usually not enough to support one person or a small family with fluid milk sales, based on most people’s standard of living…150–200 goats is the minimum needed to start providing a sustainable income.”
The Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery is about to learn for itself the challenges of producing fluid goat milk on a larger scale. The Ayers Brook Goat Dairy, operated by VBCC in partnership with Vermont Technical College, and in financial cooperation with the Castanea Foundation, the High Meadows Fund, and the John Merck Fund, will start milking this fall at—no surprise—a former cow dairy in Randolph. Allison Hooper, founder and owner of VBCC, says that one of the creamery’s biggest challenges is sourcing enough Vermont milk to meet their demand. “I’d like to see another 10 farms in the next 10 years,” she says. To help meet that goal, the creamery’s new large-scale operation plans to collect management, genetic, and business planning data to encourage more successful large-scale fluid milk goat dairies in Vermont. And in order to build that knowledge base, Ayers Brook Dairy is making its first stock investment
And by partnering with VTC, the Ayers Brook Dairy will be building relationships with Vermont’s next generation of farmers at their most receptive stage. “They will have full access to our students, and our students will have full access to the farm,” says Chris Dutton. Students may contribute up to 15 hours per week at the dairy, lending a steady stream of labor to the farm, and a steady stream of experience to the students. “For an ag school to point people in a direction that isn’t cow dairy is great,” says Gwyneth. The launch of Ayers Brook is a shrewd decision for VBCC, certainly, but one hopes that the biggest beneficiaries will be the dairy legacy in Vermont and the aspiring farmers who will have commercial goat dairying, if not in their DNA, at least on their résumé. Jesse Natha North lives in Randolph. Among other pursuits, she is currently working with Chris Dutton in the development of Vermont Technical College’s new Meat Processor Training course, which will launch next spring. Fa l l
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local banquet 11
It’s 102 degrees in the kitchen, and the chef at my Montpelier restaurant is making quick work of cutting up a chicken. He slides a razor-sharp boning knife along the breast, loosening the meat from the sternum. The birds he’s working on are smaller than we would have liked—barely more than three pounds each—but this week, they were all we could get. “We’re going to need to buy more chickens tomorrow,” he notes darkly. “I thought we might get four servings per bird, but we’re only going to get two.”
about how much room a given carrot had in its bed or how much affection a farmer dispensed to a particular head of lettuce. However, I do care if a calf is confined or a pig doesn’t get an occasional special treat and scratch on the chin. My values and those of the chef are reflected in the way we purchase meat for Salt. Our pork chops, beef roasts, and duck breasts come from farms that allow their animals to roam around in pastures, rather than keep them indoors their whole lives. Organic certification is not crucial to us, although some of our farms have it, but careful management of environmental resources, excellent treatment of beasts, and delicious products are the name of the game.
As the person in charge of the cash flow, I cringe. The petite poultry, which I had to purchase at farmers’ market retail price when the farm that sells to us at wholesale ran out of birds, cost nearly $20 per bird. Meaning that each serving of chicken—not including the Why does well-cared-for meat expense of labor or other ingretranslate into supply chain by Suzanne Podhaizer dients that ended up in the problems? For one thing, dish—cost $10 or so. Selling the many of the farms we buy from are mom-and-pop operations. The folks who run them entrée at $20, with fancy stuffing, wilted greens, and a decaaren’t in the business for the cash. They seem to embrace the dent sauce made with copious quantities of wine and butter, work because they’re passionate about it, and in some cases, we were going to lose money. want to provide good quality food for a growing brood of At times like this, I can feel pangs of envy for the ease with children. which some other restaurants meet the demands of their cusWhen a couple runs an animal farm without additional labor, tomers’ hungry bellies. Just one phone call to a distributor they invariably seem to be running themselves ragged. Unlike and uniform, carefully packaged cuts show up on the doorplants, which can occasionally fend for themselves, animals step the next morning—no feathers, fur, or fuss. need constant care. Sometimes they get sick and must be At Salt, on the other hand, we wrestle with whole animal tended unexpectedly. Sometimes they’re stubborn, and movcarcasses, and sometimes must beg suppliers to make lasting them, or milking them, takes longer than one would ever minute deliveries—when we have a run on goat, for examguess. As at a busy doctor’s office, one early-morning delay— ple, or when the beef we bought turns out to be more sinew a damaged tractor, a missing sheep—can mean spending an than meat and we’ve got fewer portions than we thought. entire day playing catch-up. Sometimes, these emergency supplies arrive just in time for Plus, when critters are out roaming the moors rather than us to turn the meat into a delicious stew or to smother it with chilling out in a barn, the farmer has a lot less control over spices and get it in the smoker. Sometimes they do not, and their activities. And animals that garner much of their nutrition on those nights, we have fewer dishes to offer our customers. from pasture simply don’t fatten up as quickly or uniformly as those fed copious quantities of grain. “The last cow we sent When a restaurant’s purchasing decisions are driven by ethfor processing was really small,” a lithe, blond farmer told me ics rather than economics, finding meat can get really tricky, when I pointed out that a particular package of short ribs was too thin and bony for us to buy. “But we needed [to sell] beef.” really quickly. Call me a meatist, but I’m not overly concerned
Part lll: Meat
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Dan Green, the chef at Salt, butchering a whole sheep: photo courtesy of Salt
Reflections of a Restaurateur
It’s also evident that different butchers have different levels of skill. Some cut neat, trim pieces, while others are somewhat sloppy, leaving on silver skin or creating pieces of different widths that don’t cook evenly. And then there are waterfowl, which are notoriously hard to work with. A few weeks ago, geese arrived in our kitchen covered in down. Armed with a pair of pliers, and with other tasks piling up around him, the chef spent four hours pulling slippery, oily feathers out of puckered flesh. By the end, he’d sworn that we’d never serve duck or goose again. Spending that amount of time preparing an ingredient for the pot increases its expense dramatically. And then there’s the actual cost. Smaller operations don’t get the benefits of efficiencies of scale and that translates into higher prices for us, and down the line, for our customers. The things that we rebel against in factory farms grew out of a desire to provide cheap food for the masses, and those operations have trained people to think about meat as a commodity, for which one ought not pay too much.
Hand crafted hearth baked breads baked in a wood fired oven. Available throughout the region at: Harlow Farm Stand Walpole Grocery Springfield Food Co-op Putney and Brattleboro Food Co-ops or…
The fact is, even in pastoral Vermont, it’s pretty easy to find less expensive, local chicken. Most area restaurants that serve Vermont chicken buy their birds from Misty Knoll Farm in New Haven. That business handles 225,000 birds per year, and were I so inclined, I could buy package after package of chicken breasts, thighs, and drumsticks at Hunger Mountain Co-op for less per pound than I pay directly to our smaller farmers for whole birds.
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But I don’t. “Our chickens range free in spacious, specially designed enclosures,” the Misty Knoll website says. Compared to the birds at most U.S. chicken farms, the ones at Misty Knoll have it good: they enjoy cleaner facilities and more room to roam—but just 1.5 feet per bird, according to a 2010 article in Local Banquet. It’s a relief that the chickens are treated better than they would be at a Tyson plant in South Carolina, and without Misty Knoll, fewer restaurants would be able to sell local chicken at all, given that supplies are sparser than demand. But it’s still not the chicken that we want to offer at Salt.
Being this finicky doesn’t make things easy for us, and sometimes, not for our farmers, either. We often run out of the cuts of pork and beef that appear on our menu and end up braising tons of meats, even during the heat of summer, because we’ve made it our goal to buy and cook tougher bits that farmers have a difficult time selling.
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After more than a year-and-a-half running the restaurant, I’d say that buying meat is one of the more frustrating—and more rewarding—parts of the job. Although a few customers are shocked at how much fat they see on the pork we serve, or that the steaks we buy aren’t as tender and buttery as the cornfed versions, others tell us that the more flavorful meats from grass-fed, pastured animals bring them back to their childhoods, and still others are curious to try our more unusual offerings, such as goat and mutton.
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And then there are the fabulous farmers who make this whole approach possible. The other day, when she couldn’t sell us the number of chickens that we wanted in the size we needed to make money on them, one of our favorite farmers actually picked up birds from somebody else’s farm and delivered them to our doorstep, just to be nice. With suppliers who are willing to go out of their way for you like that, to help make another small business a success, who needs cheap?
info: (802) 353-3539 SHOP FRESH, SHOP LOCAL
Suzanne Podhaizer is the owner of Salt in Montpelier. She’s been obsessed with food since she was a youngster, designed her own degree in “Food Studies” at the University of Vermont, and spent four years working as the food editor for Seven Days.
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local banquet 13
Hothouse Hydro Vermont Hydroponics seeks to grow tasty local tomatoes in less space by Jeffrey Gangemi Islands have always had a local food problem. Granted, they’re often located in warm environments, have rich soil, and enjoy the kind of tourists who might want to sample an obscure local vegetable. But for many sun worshippers, lush green hills and mangroves make for a stark contrast to the dull and unappetizing non-local food on their plates. A similar problem is faced by many shoppers in our northern climate, where local, seasonal produce—and the flavor and nutritional value it contains—is lacking on most supermarket shelves beyond a few productive months. Grocery store patrons more often encounter flavorless (and some say nutrient-deficient) Florida- and Mexico-grown tomatoes, plucked when green and then trucked thousands of miles. “Why can’t (or won’t) modern agribusiness deliver a decent tasting tomato?” asks Vermont food writer Barry Estabrook in his book, Tomatoland. “And why can’t it grow one with a similar nutritional profile to the tomatoes available to any housewife during the Kennedy administration?”
They sprout upward from a bed of coco coir, which is essentially ground up coconut shells and husks. Scores of plants are grown in a controlled environment (a large, white, hot, and humid greenhouse) in dense concentration, arranged in long rows. There are clear advantages and disadvantages to this type of soilless growing. “One of the advantages of hydroponics is that you don’t get weeds and pests in that environment,” says Lynda Prim, the vegetable and fruit technical assistance advisor at Northeast Organic Farmers’ Association of Vermont. Also on the positive side, hydroponics produces faster growth in plants, and they use approximately one-tenth less water. However, Prim says diseases “could be more of a problem because of the proximity of the plants to each other in a
East Middlebury resident Jeff Jones, managing partner of Vermont Hydroponic Produce, the largest hydroponic tomato grower in the state, has spent a lot of time in the Caribbean— as well as most of his career—helping solve the island food problem for large grocery store chains. Now he is applying his island experience to Vermont, and has a strategy to answer Estabrook’s question.
That’s all grown in just under eight acres—not exactly industrial size. By comparison, Jones’s tomato-growing competitor Backyard Farms, a hydroponic operation in Maine, manages 2 acres of greenhouses, and another competitor, Eurofresh Farms, operates out of two greenhouse facilities spanning 1 acres in Arizona. So how does Vermont Hydroponic Produce create all that produce but still fit within the small-scale, decentralized local food system we enjoy in the Green Mountain State? Hydroponics uses mineral-nutrient solutions and water to grow plants without soil. Vermont Hydroponic tomatoes in particular are grown in a salt solution mixed with well water. 14 local banquet
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closed, controlled environment.” Managing nutrients is also challenging, and Prim says there is general agreement that hydroponics results in less flavor and smell. “A hydroponic tomato is what you feed it, and fertilizer is expensive, so the temptation is to not go that extra mile and give it all the nutrients it would need to develop a complex taste profile,” says Estabrook. Nutrients and management equipment for hydroponic production can also be very expensive and complicated, and the disposal of hydroponic nutrients and matter does not meet the federal organic standards. In fact, the National Organic Standards Board has concluded that hydroponic growing not be recommended for organic certification “due to their exclusion of the soil-plant ecology intrinsic to organic farming systems and USDA/NOP regulations governing them.”
Photos courtesy of Vermont Hydroponics
Vermont Hydroponic Produce operates two greenhouses— one in Florence, near Rutland, and a larger one in Quebec. The company’s Vermont production, which totals roughly six pallets of tomatoes a week, supplemented by 1.5 weekly pallets (10 cases) of fresh basil, is currently limited to those two products—beefsteak tomatoes and sweet basil.
The tomatoes grown at VT Hydro’s facilities are therefore not certified organic, but they are pesticide free, and Integrated Pest Management (IPM), which essentially gets bugs to eat other bugs, is used. This all begs the question: how does a Vermont Hydroponic beefsteak tomato compare with a local, soil-grown heirloom variety in August? Well, there’s really no comparison, and some people will always prefer buying and eating tomatoes grown in soil. However, it’s easy to imagine feeling quite pleased about getting a tomato of similar quality on a cold Vermont January day, knowing it’s pesticide-free and grown within a couple hundred miles.
transportation and therefore bring the cost of the actual produce down to the consumer.” Operating a small-scale hydroponic operation does have several drawbacks, though. “There are two downsides,” says Estabrook. “One is that these tomatoes can be costly.” (Jones agrees that his tomatoes cost a premium over most in the store.) “And two, you can get some very bland-tasting hydroponic tomatoes. Vermont Hydroponic is the exception here. Their tomatoes deliver some decent taste.” But in addition to taste, Jones wants to develop a stronger regional food system accessible to more people and to create local jobs. (Vermont Hydroponic currently employs 10 people in Vermont.) “The big boys all play at 0,000 feet,” Jones says. “Local is at kite-flying height, like 100 feet, and many who sell locally don’t want to work with the big guys. But if we don’t get that middle ground, how are we going to create jobs?”
Still, Jones’s willingness to work with big grocery chains is bound to ruﬄe the feathers of some local food purists. He says Vermont Hydroponic Produce has already been criticized for having one of its two growing facilities in Canada, about 00 miles away in Quebec.
But Jones says it’s all part of the plan. His In his career before joining the comgoal is not to sell to a couple of co-ops pany—which was founded by Barry Jeﬀ Jones of Vermont Hydroponic Produce or at local farmers’ markets. Instead, he Roche in 1 and bought by Jones’s aims to create a regional food network current business partner, Eric Frechette, that can serve what he says is the 0 to 0 percent of peoin 2005—Jones was a grocery store executive who worked for ple who aren’t shopping at such places—and to serve them a who’s who of large chains (Stop ‘n Shop and Roche Brothgood, fresh food grown within their region. ers are among his previous employers). Each time, he helped them solve the problem of keeping fresh produce on the “We’re working hard to get our products into places where shelves year-round in an island environment. the average customer shops,” says Jones, who has developed an innovative distribution partnership with Schenectady, NYbased Price Chopper. (Shaw’s also buys from VT Hydro). “And we’re working with these companies to lessen the costs of
Jones set A&P company sales records on Martha’s Vineyard by transforming the company’s logistics plan to help keep fresh Continued on page 7
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local banquet 15
Making Peace with Plants Ruminations on aliens, natives, and invasives by Tatiana Schreiber I spent a recent morning clearing “alien” species out of one of my garden beds. By “alien” I don’t mean “non-native”; I just mean plants that I didn’t want in there, which is often what the word alien connotes: beings that don’t belong where they are. I wanted an artistic arrangement of red and green shiso in that bed (shiso is a Japanese culinary herb—or weed, or medicinal plant, depending on your point of view— that grows wild in many parts of Asia). As I made space for the shiso, I pulled up jewelweed, feverfew, prunella, goldenrod, gill-over-the-ground, Johnny jump-ups, calendula, clover, chickweed, various grasses (creeping sneakily in from the border of the garden), and probably a few others whose names I don’t know. Many of these have medicinal uses, or are pretty, or both, but I didn’t want them in that bed, so at that moment, they were aliens to me. But sometimes I see these species differently. That morning, I carefully relocated the goldenrod to my orchard because organic apple guru Michael Phillips says that goldenrod is a beneficial understory species for orchards. I like it because its flowers attract a wide range of pollinators and beneficial predator insects. And it’s a good thing I like it because it’s everywhere in my backyard. It took over the edges of my pond, crowding out the various daylilies I had planted there; a huge clump sprang up in the middle of my raspberry patch, shading out the raspberries; and it seems everywhere I turn a new patch is growing with abandon. It’s one of those plants that is very good at colonizing any open available spot. And yet, I never hear anyone speak of goldenrod as invasive, despite its apparently “aggressive” behavior. And grass! Whose idea was the lawn anyway? Among the weeds in my garden, grasses with long white rhizomes are among the most pernicious—leave any little bit of rhizome behind and grass pops up again, threatening to crowd out the plants I want. I would call that “invasive.” So who gets to decide what’s invasive anyway? In this country we have a government agency, the National Invasive Species Council (NISC), that defines an invasive plant as one that is not native, and that causes some kind of harm—ecological or economic, or both. If it doesn’t cause harm, it’s not considered “invasive” (by this definition, I would say lawn grasses fit the bill—think of the harm caused by all those lawn chemicals getting into our waterways…) and if it is native, it’s not considered “invasive,” although many native plants will happily invade if given the opportunity—witness my goldenrod. NISC definition aside, many people think of “non-native invasives” as aggressive intruders that cause the extinction of native species and disrupt ecosystems; oftentimes any “non-native” plant is thought to have those characteristics. The furor over alien invasives is intense. A neighbor recently told me she’s prone to stopping her car on the highway in order to jump out and cut off the seed heads of purple loosestrife. Someone else recently noticed the goutweed in my yard and said, “I see goutweed is your nemesis.”“Not really,” I replied. “I’m trying to make peace with it.” The conversation didn’t go much further. People seem disinclined to engage for long with those who raise questions around the way “invasive” is defined, the actual harm caused by invasives, and the tactics deployed to respond to the presence of these plants. But I have had questions about these and many other aspects of this subject since I first learned about invasive plants, some 15 years ago. I had returned to graduate 16 local banquet
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school in environmental studies after many years focused on other issues, including anti-immigrant sentiment and the politics of the “English-only” movement. My first concern had to do with the idea of “native.” To me, the rhetoric deployed around non-native species seemed way too similar to arguments concerning the dangers of immigration—including the idea that immigrants to our country would “take over” jobs, reproduce rapidly, and disrupt the healthy functioning of our communities with their different languages and culture. Of course I realized that such analogies were only that, and that the science of conservation biology was focused on the actual impact of introduced species on ecosystems, not on fearmongering and bigotry. Or so I hoped. And yet, I did wonder if fear of difference or of change was playing a role in deciding both what a native species is and how we feel about them. After all, ecosystems are constantly changing, and plants have been migrating since they first evolved and began colonizing the primordial ooze.
Photos from morguefile.com
According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, native means “a plant that is a part of the balance of nature that has developed over hundreds or thousands of years in a particular region or ecosystem.” “Hundreds or thousands of years” is further described as plants that were here when Europeans first arrived. This makes some sense, since European colonization of this continent initiated much more rapid movement of species across greater distances than ever before. But under this definition, a huge number of plants now common (and often beloved) in New England are nonnative. For example, daylilies (native to Asia); lilacs (native to Eastern Europe, introduced sometime after 100); earthworms (most of our local earthworms arrived with the first European colonists); lawn grass (Kentucky bluegrass, for example, introduced from Europe); and apple trees (only crab apples were here when the colonists arrived—the center of origin for apples is central Asia). Oh, and honeybees, too, and just about everything we grow in our flower and vegetable gardens. Rhubarb? Comfrey? Not native. Tomatoes? Definitely not native despite that “native tomato” label you might find at the store. Corn? Actually corn was here at the time the Europeans arrived. It was first domesticated in southern Mexico, but it had migrated north, with the help of indigenous peoples and reached what is now Vermont by approximately 1100. Come July it certainly appears invasive, since monocultures of it cover large swaths of our farmland. But it turns out the NISC has this additional clause in its definition: “Invasive species are not those that humans depend upon for economic security, maintaining a desirable quality of life, or survival.” So, if we want a species in our neighborhoods, or on our farms, because it improves our quality of life, it’s not invasive. That explains the corn and the lawn grass…. Those who are most concerned about the presence of alien invasive species emphasize that these are species that were introduced by humans and that cause some kind of harm. But how do we decide what is harmful? Earthworms, here in the Northeast, are usually considered highly beneficial. At least we gardeners consider them beneficial, since they produce enriched soil conducive to growing our many non-native crops. But earthworms in forests consume the “duff ” layer on
the forest floor, and that may be harmful in the long run for some of our iconic tree species such as the sugar maple that rely on the nutrients in that duff. What to do? Clearly it would not make sense to try to eradicate earthworms—there are far too many of them and they indeed do a lot of good. But if the science were very clear that earthworms were radically altering the ecology of our forests and harming maples, it might make sense to try to keep people from bringing earthworms into forests. Unfortunately, the science is rarely “very clear.” Ecology is complex, and it’s not easy to tease apart what exactly has caused changes in population demographics in a given ecosystem. When an introduced species becomes dominant, is it the new plant’s behavior that is causing the problem or some change in the system that happened before the new plant arrived? And how do we balance what we might perceive as “harm” in a given moment, with the benefits some of these species bring, not only to us, but to the wildlife that feed on their seeds or gain a new source of pollen? And since climate change is likely to bring a huge number of unfamiliar species our way in coming years, are we to put up barricades to keep them out? Some voices have questioned some commonly held views about natives, aliens, and invasives. In his 200 book Invasion Biology: Critique of a Pseudoscience, David Theodoropoulos suggests that the rapid dominance of one species often occurs due to events prior to its arrival, such as fire or other
Some voices have questioned some commonly held views about natives, aliens, and invasives. disruption—often human caused—or the cessation of indigenous land management practices. He also questions the idea that introduced species often cause the extinction of native species, citing numerous studies suggesting otherwise. In 200, biologist Mark Davis published his book Invasion Biology, in which he argues that “alien” and “native” invasive species display exactly the same behaviors and that most “non-natives” are not harmful. In 2010, herbalist Tim Scott published Invasive Plant Medicine: The Ecological Beneﬁts and Healing Abilities of Invasives in which he suggests that invasive plants may be serving an ecological function, protecting disturbed land until other species can repopulate it. He also describes the many medicinal and culinary uses of some of these species. None of these writers are saying that invasion is inherently a good thing, but all of them emphasize that it is human behavior—the disruption of ecosystems (through building, mining, logging, and paving over the landscape) and global travel and commerce (through which we move countless species to places they would never arrive otherwise)—that most likely triggers invasions. They encourage us to shift our emphasis from militaristic crusades to eradicate invaders toward a Continued on page
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local banquet 17
Airport Flies Toward Local
Burlington International will soon have a local foods restaurant—actually, three of them
by Benjy Adler
Menus at our airport locations will feature grab-n-go sandwiches and snacks, as well as plated sit-down meals featuring our core product: hearty crepes made with local ingredients. We’ll also offer a bar with espresso, tea, and a full selection of beers, wines and spirits. All of our meats and cheeses will be local year-round, our veggies will be local seasonally, and local alcohol options will be prominently featured. At a bare minimum, we will ensure that at least 50 percent of our purchasing goes to local raw and value-added products, although we certainly expect to beat that number. In addition, the walls of each location will be adorned with images of our farmers and a map of our local foodshed. We will proudly celebrate the ripe and sophisticated local food movement here in Vermont and educate travelers about the importance of buying local. While there are local food enthusiasts pushing the envelope at a few other airports—a local foods pizzeria at the Martha’s Vineyard airport, an aeroponic vegetable garden at Chicago O’Hare—no airport eateries appear to have “gone local” to this degree. For a motley crew of post-collegiate bohemians, teaming up with a formal institution like BTV is an unlikely twist in a decade-long tale full of surprises. As our company philosophy has evolved from survival to success defined by multiple bottom lines, our growth is increasingly driven by purpose over profit, and the BTV project fits this intention like a glove.
The Skinny Pancake was born as a fledgling street cart on the streets of Burlington during the baking-hot summer of 200. She had a room in our rental apartment, packed with 18 local banquet
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dry goods and storage racks. We shared the kitchen with her and, it seemed, cleaned up after her constantly. Indeed, she was a colicky baby. Working at a rate immeasurably below minimum wage, we lived and breathed “The Pancake.” Surely, somewhere in the venerable halls of the School of Hard Knocks, there hangs a plaque commemorating those early years. At the time, our focus was on making it work, not on changing the world. As “The Skinny” developed from an infant into a toddler, a distinct personality emerged: fun, conscientious, purposeful, creative on the outside, determined within. We bought a bus, converted it to run on vegetable oil and adventured to fairs and festivals. In 200, we became the first food cart to join the Vermont Fresh Network. As our little brand gained a good reputation and developed reliable revenues, we looked to our idols—Ben & Jerry’s, American Flatbread, Patagonia— and with outsized confidence thought, “If they can do it, so can we.” Fast forwarding five years, The Skinny Pancake has now grown into a young adult, with bricks-and-mortar locations on Burlington’s waterfront, the Old North End, and in downtown Montpelier. We also operate an airstream trailer in “vendor ally” at UVM, our original cart on Church Street is humming along, and our forays into fairs and festivals have led to “Have Your Cake Catering,” which plans appearances at everything from weddings to corporate luncheons to county fairs. At our peak this summer, we will have more than 0 employees. Most importantly, after those early years of just struggling to survive, our social mission has grown to become the driving force behind our business. At its core is a deep-seated belief in the power of conscientious capitalism. We demonstrate the efficacy of this philosophy daily through the persistent act of buying local. In our last annual audit, we found that . percent of all food and beverage purchases went to local raw and value-added products. In other words, we spend over $500,000 annually within the local economy. And ultimately, the vast majority of all the revenues we take in go right back out the door (and very quickly, I might add). Whereas The Skinny Pancake could carelessly purchase food from major distributors and ship all of that cash out of state, we carefully direct our spending with the intention of having a positive
Illustration courtesy of The Skinny Pancake
In January 201, The Skinny Pancake will open what is likely to be the first-ever local foods restaurant in an American airport. In fact, we’re opening three of them at the Burlington International Airport (BTV): a Skinny Pancake in each of the two postsecurity terminals and a Chubby Muffin kiosk across from the check-in counters on the first floor. For those of you who don’t know us, The Skinny Pancake and Chubby Muffin are sisterconcept restaurants in Burlington and Montpelier with a mission to “change the world by building a safer, healthier, more delicious foodshed while creating everyday enjoyment that is fun and affordable.” We’re excited to be bringing our hyperlocal food philosophy and buying practices to BTV.
impact on Vermont farms, businesses, and communities. We believe our spending habits will “improve the view of the food S.C.E.N.E.” (Security, Community, Economy, Nutrition, Environment). Keeping local food consistently available and affordable has required us to develop additional infrastructure and unique skills. We now have a “local food systems coordinator” (Jeremy Silansky) who works directly with farmers. Each winter, Jeremy forecasts our demand for the following year and contracts directly with farmers for the needed supply. Consequently, the farmers have a reliable source of income and we get competitive pricing. And wherever possible, we buy bumper crops during harvest season; farmers avoid spoilage and we get a good deal. These techniques require a knowledgeable staff and a facility capable of receiving, processing, and storing produce for the late fall, winter and spring. In addition to our approach of “consumer power on a corporate level,” last fall we joined “1 percent for the Planet,” becoming the largest business in Vermont to take the pledge to donate 1% of all revenues to environmental nonprofits. With margins that are already a tad threadbare, this choice may strike people as misguided. In fact, this counter-intuitive commitment falls right in line with our philosophy. As Patagonia’s founder Yvon Chuinard explains, “Every time I’ve done the right thing for the environment I’ve made a profit.” In essence, we believe that in doing good, we will do good business. The goodwill we gain for having taken this pledge is demonstrable and measurable. Rather than sap us of our profits, it has strengthened our revenues and reputation.
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Live Music Saturdays EBT & Debit
Enter the Burlington International Airport. In the winter of 2012, BTV issued a 0-page “Request For Proposal” to take over and manage the food service there. The RFP emphasized “local food sources and Vermont-made products.” As we took in this behemoth of an RFP, we considered the landscape: in Burlington, we have extraordinary examples of local food innovation from impressive institutions including the Intervale, Fletcher Allen hospital system, and the Onion River Co-op (City Market). Their deep commitment to using local foods is built on decades of developing a remarkable network of farmers and food producers, local distributors, nonprofits, restaurants, co-ops, community awareness, and demand. We reasoned that if they can “go local” thanks to this network, then BTV could, too.
Vermont’s largest airport boasts 50,000 enplanements annually, including locals traveling abroad, tourists visiting Vermont, and business travelers. With spending at similarly sized airports averaging $. per departing passenger, we know we can help redirect hundreds of thousands of dollars back into the local food economy. Furthermore, we have a genuine opportunity to promote Vermont’s agricultural and working landscape, help educate travelers, and build on Vermont’s momentum as a hotbed of local food innovation. Successfully delivering local foods en masse to consumers at BTV will send a powerful message that local food need not be relegated to the realm of indulgence and luxury—it can be part of our everyday lives. Or, as we say here at the ‘Cake, “localvore is not haute-couture!” A decade ago, it would have been beyond our wildest dreams to have imagined collaborating with an airport on a localvore food service project. Now, it is an impending reality. We thoroughly understand that we will be the first and last impression of Vermont for many travelers, which is a great privilege and an even greater responsibility to everyone who lives in and loves our state. We hope to send a message beyond the borders of this back-to-the-land mecca: local food can be accessible, affordable, and fun. We will strive to make every Vermonter proud, every traveler welcomed, and everyone aware of the power of place in the food we eat.
Custom Tours year-round Pies for People in November 2012 Local Authors’ Reading in December 2012 Community Garden Re-opening April 2013 802.472.5840 www.hardwickagriculture.org
A program of the Center for an Agricultural Economy
Incubator Kitchen, Co-Packer, Value Added Processing & Business Services
Third Thursday Mini-Open House 4:30p Monthly ServeSafe Classes On-going workshops open to the public
So please wish us luck, and next year when you visit the airport, say hello! Benjy Adler is the founder and co-owner of The Skinny Pancake, Chubby Muﬃn, and Have Your Cake Catering. He lives within walking distance of the company commissary in the Old North End of Burlington. Fa l l
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seeds for change
Neighbors Feeding Neighbors in St. Johnsbury by Robyn Greenstone
As my fourth year of residence in the Northeast Kingdom draws to a close, I am recognizing that my transformation into a loyal localvore has been greatly assisted by the St. Johnsbury Area Local Food Alliance (St. J. ALFA), which also launched four years ago. At the time, vibrant grassroots concern about having gone beyond “peak oil” led to active community discussion and the founding of St. J. ALFA. Member-
Local students and Bill Half of Harvest Hill Farm (third from left) at the St. Johnsbury Community Farm, June 2012. ship in this alliance is free and open to all. The core group of members represents local farmers and other citizens who believe in the alliance’s mission of making more local food available to a greater number of local people. Impressed by the vision and the enthusiasm of the group, I joined, and now attend meetings and work parties to help its various subcommittees. St. Johnsbury’s environs are not unlike other regions of Vermont. There is a rich agricultural bounty, honesty boxes at numerous welcoming farms, and a longstanding tradition of farmers producing food for their neighbors. But two projects run by St. J. ALFA are turning out to be quite unique. 20 local banquet
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In 2010, a local citizen donated three acres of tillable land on Old Center Road just outside St. Johnsbury’s town center. This land became the all-volunteer Community Farm, first run by a conglomeration of religious groups called Faith in Action. St. J. ALFA got involved in 2011 and assumed full management this year. It’s called a “community farm” rather than a “community garden” to highlight its unusual modus operandi. Individuals do not adopt individual plots of soil for their own use and benefit, as typically occurs in a community garden. Instead, individuals work side by side with neighbors and new friends on one large plot of land follow a suggested protocol that adapts according to need, imagination, and the initiative of its volunteers. In exchange for hoeing, planting, watering, or thinning, local citizens are invited to take home whatever produce suits them. The surplus is donated to neighbors in need. The Community Farm is a true community project, relying on generous donations of money, time, services, seeds, plants, and products by local businesses, organizations, and individuals. The vision is to expand the farm beyond its current productive state and make it a site for educational programs run in conjunction with local schools and institutions such as the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, which is working on curricula involving the science of growing things. One active member of St. J. ALFA who is a teacher brings her high school students to the farm for many hands-on adventures studying and working on projects involving soil testing, soil preparation, farm layout, and planting. At local meal sites this past summer, members of the Community Farm also offered “Eating Local” food workshops that featured food tastings and the sharing of recipes. Some of these highlighted the value of growing and eating beans as part of St. J. ALFA’s receipt of the Bean Grant, which is designed to promote beans as an important source of good, local, plantbased protein. The grant was co-written with UVM Extension and is a Specialty Crop Grant funded by the USDA and administered by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. Work is underway for the acquisition and installation of a bicycle-powered bean thresher that St. J. ALFA hopes to house at the farm. This human-powered machine would be converted from an old chipper thresher and would provide further opportunities for active involvement (literally!) in the local food movement. St. J. ALFA also oversees the St. Johnsbury Online Farmers’ Market, one of only a few online markets in Vermont that offer citizens the opportunity to order products and pay for them in advance online. Twenty-seven vendors from 1 towns throughout the Northeast Kingdom are currently registered in this market, and they’re not all farmers. The roster includes herbalists, bakers, jam and jelly makers, coffee roasters, and candy creators. To make the online market more convenient for customers with tricky schedules, there are now three different pick-up locations and times: Wednesday afternoons at the St. Johns-
Photo courtesy of St. J. ALFA
Standing in a local supermarket last August, scanning the shelves for a lemon to complete the ingredient list for my mother’s celebrated cucumber salad, I felt like a complete foreigner. I realized, as I surveyed the rows of coolly aligned produce, that it had been a full five months since I stepped foot inside a grocery store. This is because in the warmer months, the fruits of my own garden are frequently supplemented with produce and condiments from a variety of farm stands in the St. Johnsbury area and three local farmers’ markets. And like many of my neighbors, I embark on a weekly pilgrimage to several different farms within a 10-mile radius of my house for eggs, cheese, yogurt, goat’s milk, jam, relish, grass-fed beef, lambs, and free-range chickens.
bury House, Friday afternoons at the Lyndonville Farmers’ Market, and Saturday mornings at the St. Johnsbury’s Farmers’ Market. Consumers appreciate the Online Market because of the wide range of vendors and items, and because they can place and reserve an order for popular items that often sell out in the early hours of the outdoor farmers’ market. Their strawberries, spinach, peas, pies, and yogurt drinks will be waiting for them even if they arrive in the later hours of pickup. Some customers want the opportunity to pick up their orders quickly rather than taking the time to walk around and shop. Direct-to-your-door delivery service is also available for a fee. The Online Market is in its second year, and there are some challenges involved in its maintenance. Its first-year trial was possible thanks to a modest grant and the phenomenal energies of a core group of 5 to 10 committed volunteers, all of whom had full-time day jobs. One of the volunteers, a farmer with an incredibly busy schedule, drove around to all the farms with coolers in his truck to collect every order and deliver the aggregation to the pickup site. This year, another modest grant has allowed the hiring of a part-time manager, but the difficulties of minimizing cost and maximizing convenience remain. To pay for itself, the Online Market must gross $2,000 to $,000 a week; the customer base is not yet broad enough. Some of last year’s grant money was used to hire a marketing consultant, but the implementation of the proposed strategies requires yet more volunteer hours and additional financial resources. An application for nonprofit status is pending; if approved, it would allow tax-free donations and access to many more grants, as well as helpful free services such as web page platforms. As part of its role promoting a local food economy, St. J. ALFA also publishes an online Local Food Resource Guide listing all the CSAs and all the winter and summer farmers’ markets in the region, as well as resources for news and information on current farm policies, activities and events, local and natural food and gardening, and healthy nutrition. It holds panels and workshops, screens documentaries followed by discussions, and brings in representatives of other food-related organizations in the area.
Raised Garden Bed Kits and
The success of St. J. ALFA’s most unique programs, though—the Online Market and the Community Farm—will particularly encourage more people to become loyal localvores. I may already be one, but I will celebrate it all by making more of Mom’s cucumber salad. And this time, some lemon balm or lemon basil ordered from a local producer online or clipped from the Community Farm will provide that coveted suggestion of citrus. Robyn Greenstone lives in Danville. She teaches at St. Johnsbury Academy and writes a regular column on herbal lore for The North Star Monthly. For more information on St. J. ALFA, or to participate in its online market, go to www.stj-alfa.org.
• Easy to assemble and use • Exceptionally durable • Improve garden production • Lengthen growing season • Many stock sizes and options • Affordable pricing
An order from the St. J. ALFA Online Farmers’ Market might include… Spicy cashew brittle Organic rugelach Lavender–peppermint goat milk soap Crabapple elderberry butter Onion-garlic-chive chèvre Rhubarb chutney Garlic scape pesto Tamworth pork raised on beechnuts and acorns
Artisan granola made with maple syrup Dandelion blossom jelly Boysenberry goat yogurt 1” farm-raised brown trout
Fire-roasted poblano and honey BBQ sauce
W-Itch Away herbal insect spray
Complete details and prices on our website
Numerous local fruits and vegetables
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This winter you don’t have to go without your favorite farm food. By signing up for a winter CSA you can support your local farmer and have farm-raised vegetables, eggs, and meats—and in many instances other farm-made foods, too, such as breads and canned goods. There are a wide variety of sign-up options with each CSA, so find one near you and contact them to learn what they’re offering. Thanks to NOFA Vermont for providing this list.
Akaogi Farm 27 Earthbridge Road Putney 802-387-2540 email@example.com
Serving Windham County
Alchemy Gardens 66A Russellville Road Shrewsbury 802-492-2087 firstname.lastname@example.org alchemygardensvt.com
Serving Addison, Bennington, Rutland, and Windsor County
Applecheek Farm 567 McFarlane Rd Hyde Park 802-888-4482 email@example.com applecheekfarm.com Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden, Lamoille, and Washington Counties
Blue Heron Farm 34 Quaker Road Grand Isle 802-372-3420 firstname.lastname@example.org blueheronfarmvt.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties
Cedar Mountain Farm 25A Linden Road Hartland 802-436-1448 email@example.com cedarmountainfarm.org Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
Dwight Miller and Son Orchards 511 Miller Road East Dummerston 802-254-9111 vtfarmsorg.com Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Windham County
Fable Farm PO Box 1112 Barnard 802-234-5667 firstname.lastname@example.org fablefarm.org Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Orange, Rutland, and Windsor Counties
Fair Food Farm 34 Moscow Woods Road East Calais 802-456-0060 email@example.com fairfoodfarm.org 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Washington County
Family Cow Farmstand 2386 Shelburne Falls Road Hinesburg 802-482-4440 firstname.lastname@example.org familycowfarmstand.com
Serving Addison, Chittenden, Lamoille, and Washington Counties
Fat Rooster Farm 354 Morse Road South Royalton 802-763-5282 email@example.com fatroosterfarm.com
Serving Windsor County
Serving Orangeand Windsor Counties
Central Vermont Food Hub
Field Stone Farm and CSA
170 Dillon Road Montpelier firstname.lastname@example.org centralvermontfoodhub.com
Serving Washington County
Clear Brook Farm Historic Route 7A Shaftsbury 802-442-4273 email@example.com clearbrookfarm.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Bennington County
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793 Gib Lane Northfield 802-485-3349 firstname.lastname@example.org fieldstonefarmvt.com
Serving Orange and Washington County
Four Pillars Farm 2452 Cutting Hill Road Whiting 802-989-0083 email@example.com fourpillarsfarmvt.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
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Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Addison and Chittenden Counties
Full Moon Farm 2083 Gilman Road Hinesburg 802-598-1986 firstname.lastname@example.org fullmoonfarminc.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Addison and Chittenden County
Gildrien Farm 490 Delorm Road Leicester 802-247-4699 email@example.com gildrienfarm.com Vermont Farm Share Program
firstname.lastname@example.org intervalefoodhub.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden County
Jericho Settlers Farm 22 Barber Farm Road Jericho 802-899-4000 email@example.com jerichosettlersfarm.com Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden County
Lewis Creek Farm PO Box 123 Starksboro 802-453-4591 firstname.lastname@example.org lewiscreekfarm.com
Serving Addison and Rutland Counties
Serving Addison and Chittenden Counties
Green Mountain Girls Farm
Luna Bleu Farm
923 Loop Road Northfield 802-505-9840 Farmers@EatStayFarm.com EatStayFarm.com Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Orange and Washington Counties
Groundworks Farm 697 Elm Street Pittsford 802-310-4951 email@example.com GroundworksFarm.com
Serving Addison and Rutland Counties
Houde Family Farm 697 Kitchel Hill Road St. Johnsbury 802-748-2835 firstname.lastname@example.org houdefamilyfarm.com
Intervale Community Farm 128 Intervale Road Burlington 802-658-2919 email@example.com intervalecommunityfarm.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden County
Intervale Food Hub 180 Intervale Road Burlington 802-660-0440 x 111
96 Boles Road 96 Luna Bleu Road South Royalton 802-763-7981 firstname.lastname@example.org lunableufarm.org Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Orange and Windsor Counties
Maplewood Organics 3550 Gore Road Highgate 802-868-5083 email@example.com maplewoodorganics.biz Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden, Franklin, and Grand Isle Counties
New Leaf Organics 4818 Bristol Road Bristol 802-453-6160/4300 firstname.lastname@example.org newleaforganics.org 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Addison County
Mighty Food Farm 549 Cedar Hill Road Pownal 802-823-0102 email@example.com mightyfoodfarm.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Bennington County
North Branch Farm & Gardens PO Box 265 East Middlebury 802-388-2059 firstname.lastname@example.org greenmountaingrown.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps)
Serving Addison, Chittenden, Rutland, and Washington Counties
Serving Windsor County
2087 Dorset Hill Road East Dorset 802-362-2290
The Smiling Snail
536 Schenkar Road Pownal 802-823-0141 email@example.com wildstonefarm.com
PO Box 364 Charlotte 802-870-0858 firstname.lastname@example.org thesmilingsnail.com
Serving Bennington and Rutland Counties
Tangletown 516 Shady Hill Road Middlesex 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Bennington County
Serving Chittenden County
True Love Farm
1190 U.S. Route 5 Dummerston 802-254-2051 email@example.com walkerfarm.com Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden, Lamoille, and Washington Counties
925 Cross Hill Road North Bennington 802-447-1472 firstname.lastname@example.org
55 Adams School Road Grand Isle 802-372-8922 Tom@mrharvest.com mrharvest.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program
Sugar Mountain Farm
Serving Bennington County
252 Riddle Pond Road West Topsham 802- 439-6462 email@example.com SugarMtnFarm.com
Serving Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties
2246 Tyler Bridge Road Monkton 802-453-2847 firstname.lastname@example.org lastresortfarm.com Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
MR Harvest, LLC
Pete’s Greens 266 S. Craftsbury Road Craftsbury 802-586-2882 email@example.com petesgreens.com Vermont Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden, Franklin, Lamoille, Orleans, and Washington Counties
182 Lafirira Place Marshfield 802-426-3361 firstname.lastname@example.org wellspringcsa.com 3SquaresVT (formally food stamps) Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
The Last Resort Farm
Serving Washington County
Valley Dream Farm LLC
Serving Addison and Chittenden County
Sunrise Farm 270 Orizzonto Road White River Junction 802-295-1456 sunrisefarmvt.com
Serving Windham County
Wood’s Market Garden 93 Wood Lane Brandon 802 247-6630 email@example.com woodsmarketgarden.com Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Addison and Rutland Counties
5901 Pleasant Valley Road Cambridge 802-644-6598 firstname.lastname@example.org valleydreamfarm.com Vermont Farm Share Program Senior Farm Share Program
Serving Chittenden, Franklin, and Lamoille Counties
Serving Orange and Windsor Counties
Local or Organic? In Vermont, you don’t have to choose.
2340 Route 5 North Fairlee 802-291-2282 email@example.com yourfarmonline.com
Choosing local and organic is good for you, good for the land, and good for Vermont! Organic foods can improve your health, they taste great, and they are grown without GMOs, persistent pesticides or artificial hormones.
Look for this logo when shopping for Vermont certified organic products. Learn more at nofavt.org/why-organic or call 802-434-4122
Vermont Organic Farmers, LLC, the certification program of the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT), is a USDA-accredited organic certification agency.
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subscription Get Vermont’s Local Banquet delivered 4 times a year for $22 name address city, state, zip Enclosed is my check made payable to Vermont’s Local Banquet mail to: PO Box 69 Saxtons River, VT 05154
Our own backyard eggs, our own lettuce, local raised beef, & classic diner specials.
real Authentic Organic Fair Trade
Fine custom designed furniture and woodenware Made from Vermont Hardwoods and Burls p
Handmade in our Farm Workshops Please visit our Gallery!
1.800.653.2700 Or visit us online
www.rockledgefarm.com 24 local banquet
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MAKING PEACE Continued from page 17
more thoughtful effort to change our own invasion-causing behaviors, make peace with many of the invasive plants in our environment (using these abundant plants for food and medicine is one approach) and, in those cases where there is clear evidence of harm, choose the least damaging method of reducing that potential harm. When I see one species dominating a landscape, I become as anxious as the next person. I recognize that some species do cause the decline of other species, or carry with them serious diseases that could, for example, radically transform the configuration of our forests. But, except in cases where there is danger of widespread disease or other serious ecological damage, and the numbers of an introduced species are still very small, it seems both arrogant and unwise to attempt the complete eradication of any species from a certain place. Once a species is eradicated, there is no possibility that other species might adapt to it or evolve so as to render the invasive species less problematic. Chances are good that over time, the problematic species will return in high numbers yet again.
Photo of purple loosestrife from Wikimedia Commons
And removal of a dominant species—which, unless replanted with other species, leaves bare ground and empty niches behind—is likely to have its own ecological consequences. Wouldn’t we be better off trying to work with nature to restore more diverse habitats in regions where these plants have become dominant? Wouldn’t it be better if we tried to prevent habitat disruption in the first place? I don’t claim expertise in invasion science, but I would want to look at all the evidence before I accepted that an eradication program was the best approach. Reducing the numbers of an invasive species (short of complete eradication) may be warranted at times, but that must be balanced against the harm that could be caused by the methods used. A recent survey of those who are experts—for example, scientists whose main focus is the study of invasive species—found that habitat loss and degradation, human population growth, and global climate change were rated as greater threats to biodiversity than alien species, with over-hunting and commercial exploitation of species coming in fifth. Forty-one percent of the respondents agreed that the ambiguities of the science are often glossed over in order to sound the alarm of a crisis. Sixty-five percent agreed that “there should be less emotional xenophobia regarding invasive species.” I’m not certain whether the division of species into “native” and “non-native” is helpful, but I’m pretty sure that describing specific plants as “evil,”“aggressive,”“intruders,” or “enemies” is not. Even if people don’t intend it, this language reinforces the idea that “foreignness” is dangerous and suspect. Why not focus instead on evidence of harm in specific cases of introduced species and, in the absence of such evidence, consider the possibility that we humans have much to learn from nature, not least that defining what is “native“ may be more a matter of our own prejudices and anxieties than of nature’s design. And that “balance” in nature is precarious at best. Tatiana Schreiber grows a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and fruits—both native and nonnative—at Sowing Peace Farm in Westminster West, where she attempts to use the most ecologically sound methods of agriculture possible. She remains in awe of the complexity of ecosystems and hopeful that nature will prove resilient in light of the relentless invasiveness of the human species. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Fa l l
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• oVer 500 wine LabeLS • LocaL anD importeD artiSanaL cheeSeS • Gourmet fooD proDuctS • wine acceSSorieS • KnowLeDGeabLe Staff • exceptionaL quaLity in aLL price ranGeS
The Wine & Cheese DepoT
46 Depot Street, LuDLow, Vt 802-228-4128 wineandcheesedepot.com
local banquet 25
Putney Farmers’ Market
Sundays, 10–2 • May 27th thru October 7th I-91 Exit 4 Across from the co-op on Carol Brown Way We accept EBT and Debit Cards, and new this year, Farm to Family coupons.
Live music every week, Shop with the Chef and special events. facebook.com/putneyfarmersmarket ■ http://putneyfarmersmarket.org
These businesses proudly support the Putney Farmers’ Market
J.D. McCLIMENTs Pub
Creating Community Building Social Capital Educating the Public Growing the Local Economy
I-91 exit 4 · open 7 days
It’s how we roll.
Our Patio Is Open For Outdoor Dining
Thyme to Cook a kitchen store
Check Our Web Site For Live Music Dates
Cookware, bakeware, gadgets, chef utensils, and cook accessories
Pub opens at 4:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday
Wedding Gift Registry
Dinner is served from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm Rt. 5 Putney, VT email@example.com • www.jdmcclimentspub.com 802-387-4499
etitiv 802-428-4077 are comp s e c i r p www. thymetocookvt.com l–our a c o l Rt. 5 Rockingham, VT Buy at Exit 6 off I-91
For Everything Maple Hidden Springs Maple Farm Store Family Owned and Operated Visit us for a real taste of Vermont! Summer Hours (Jun-Dec): Tues-Sun 10-6 pm Winter Hours (Jan-May): Thurs-Sun 11-5 pm
Free Maple Syrup Tasting Table Bulk Syrup $5/lb—B.Y.O. container Hand-Dipped Ice Cream! From Walpole Creamery
Order Online: hiddenspringsmaple.com Store: 802-387-5200 Customer Service: 888-889-8781
I-91 N to exit 4, take Rte. 5 to Putney Village (½ mile) and turn left at the Putney General Store. Take Westminster Road for 1/2 mile.
162 Westminster Road, Putney, VT 05346 133 Main Street Putney, VT 802-380-4651 www.thegleanery.com www.facebook.com/TheGleanery firstname.lastname@example.org A restaurant for gathering and celebrating the handmade life
HYDRO Continued from page 1
of the year. Instead, they’ve kept it to 10. Their final harvest occurs the second week of December, and local salsa maker Gringo Jack’s comes and gleans the green tomatoes.
produce stocked during the busy summer season. He followed his time there with stints in Bermuda and in the Turks and Caicos islands, where the local stores would ship in fresh produce from the mainland. Jones helped organize scores of local growers and producers in the Turks and Caicos and eventually began the first organized local sourcing program. As he did in the islands, where he helped start a governmentsponsored farmers’ cooperative, Jones has launched a system in Vermont to aggregate supply from smaller than industrialsize Vermont growers. It’s called Grower’s Hub and serves as an online platform where mid-size growers can list the products they have for sale each week. Vermont farmers log onto the site and input the amounts and types of produce they have available for sale to a supermarket. Produce buyers for supermarkets log on and browse what’s available from the 5 to 10 suppliers offering product at any given time. If there’s a match, the grower drops off his or her wares at a designated hub. The produce is kept there until supermarket trucks pick it up and distribute it to regional stores. “Large chain buyers are used to looking at two or three computer screens and punching in numbers, not calling small growers to see what they have available,” Jones says. “This frees up the farmer to do their own thing.” Last year, Grower’s Hub facilitated $50,000 in sales, with buyers paying a fee to Grower’s Hub for the service.
Even though VT Hydro works in a heated greenhouse environment, it’s still been cost-prohibitive to grow all 12 months
45 Vermont Vendors offering fresh produce, meats, cheeses, herbs, flowers, wines, honey, maple syrup, baked goods, breads, specialty foods, and unique artworks.
Celebrating our 20th season Saturdays 9am - 1pm, Rain or Shine May 26th - October 6th Jct. Rtes 11/100 Londonderry, VT
Then, Jones and his growers plant again at the end of January, transplant seedlings in February, and harvest at the end of March. Vermont Hydroponic’s beefsteak tomatoes grow in batches, as opposed to fruiting all the time. “We’re not saying don’t eat tomatoes from January to March,” Jones notes, “but we’re saying we haven’t been able afford to grow tomatoes in the northern climate 12 months.” Still, experimentation continues. VT Hydro is in a new partnership with Burlington-based Carbon Harvest Energy to take hydroponic produce to another level. Carbon Harvest specializes in aquaponics, which raises organic tilapia fish in a controlled aquaculture environment. A Carbon Harvest facility in Brattleboro is slated to open imminently and VT Hydro will be experimenting with growing produce there using gray water from the aquaponic operation (although not tomatoes, which don’t do well in the nitrogen-rich water). If it’s successful, the project will be fully replicable. “We want to build a 10-acre facility in Manchester, NH, and an even larger one in Monticello, NY,” Jones says. “This is the golden door. It’s a closed loop, completely sustainable and a renewable food-production model.” It also has the potential to create hundreds of new jobs in the region. “I think it’s absolutely great that people are creating serious businesses and serious jobs where there were none by growing good stuff locally,” says Estabrook. By bringing state-of-the-art hydroponic growing together with renewable energy, closed-loop systems, and a webbased selling platform, Jones and Vermont Hydroponic are making the pleasure of eating fresh, healthy produce all year a reality—and making some “island waves” in the local food system. Jeﬀrey Gangemi is the director of partnerships and communications for FarmPlate.com, the largest directory of sustainable food businesses on the web. He is currently working on a book about how entrepreneurs are changing the food system. He lives in Burlington and can be reached at jeﬀgangemi@gmail.com.
SHARE A TASTE OF VERMONT Savor the experience of inspired American cuisine, thoughtfully prepared with locally sourced food.
EBT, Debit, and Farm to Family Coupons Accepted
Enjoy the candlelit ambiance of The Old Tavern restaurant (open nightly), or choose the Phelps Barn Pub for casual dining (Thurs-Sun). 92 Main Street, Grafton, VT 05146
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C O M M O N F A R M E R S’ M A R K E T
Thursdays, 3:30–6:30 PM Market runs weekly June 7 through 11 October Farm to Family Coupons will be accepted, and we will be able to process EBT card transactions. Located at the intersection of Route 30 & Route 35 in the heart of the West River Valley
These businesses proudly support the Townshend Farmers’ Market
FOREST & GARDEN
F O RE S T & GA R D EN EQU IPME N T
Ron Greenwood Sales & Service 104 Riverdale Road Townshend, VT 05353
Tel. Bus: (802) 365–9778 Te n t s Ta b l e s Ta b l e w a r e Chairs Dance Floors Lighting Restroom Services
In State (800) 635–9778
Green Mountain Tent Rentals Townshend Park, Route 30, Townshend, VT 05353
Ross • Luke • John Evans www.greenmtntents.com email@example.com
Local Not-for-proﬁt Financial Co-operative Joining River Valley Credit Union is the most “Local” thing you can do with your ﬁnances. You get unbeatable service, and your money gets used to help other local residents achieve their dreams. Join now! ®
The future of banking...now.
Brattleboro, Putney, Townshend, Bellows Falls and Springﬁeld, and now at the Windham Career Ctr. at BUHS. • 802-254-4800 / rivercu.com
W I N T E R FA R M E R S M A R K E T
Fire Grilled. Organic. Amazing. Outdoor Dining, Take Out, Catering. 802.874.0321 #1 Route 30 Townshend, VT at Kindle Farm
Every Saturday 10–2 pm (Open til 3pm between Thanksgiving and Christmas)
November 3 through March 30 at the River Garden 153 Main St. Brattleboro Local Fruit, Produce, Meats, Eggs, Wine, Preserves, Baked Goods, Lunch Cafe, Live Music, Hand-Crafted Holiday Gifts & More.
EBT & Debit Cards Welcome More info: 802.869.2141 or firstname.lastname@example.org
w w w. P i z z a H i p p o . c o m
A Family Feed Company
Pet Food, Bird Seed, Equine, Pet and Stable Supplies, Tack, Hay & Shavings
Open Monday—Friday 9:00-5:30 Saturday 10:00–2:00 802–365–7800
Located on Riverdale Road, Townshend behind the
Local food and the warmth of community
Lunch and Dinner Menu - Homemade Desserts - Kid’s Menu Vermont Microbrews - Rick’s Famous Pizza
Live Music on Saturdays www.rickstavern.net Route 30, Newfane, VT 802–365–4310 Closed Tuesday
The Townshend Dam Diner “best homemade food by a dam site”
Eat in or Take out 2 m i l e s n o r t h o f t h e d a m , To w n s h e n d , V T 802–874–4107 • email@example.com Locally owned and operated, offering the West River Valley a full service meat & seafood department, fresh produce, store made salads and lunch specials from our deli, and a complete selection of beer, wine & groceries.
Open 365 days a year! Rte 30, Townshend 802-365-4600
We s t R i v e r Fa m i l y D e n t a l Jared V Rediske DDS Jeffrey W Wallace DDS
74 Grafton Rd Townshend, VT 05353 802–365–4313
f a r m e r s ’
Breakfast Pie by Lori Augustiniak and Todd Parlo Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard
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“You know what I could go for?” our 10-year-old son asked this morning. “A warm slice of apple pie.” He knows that apple pie is the only dessert he is allowed to have for breakfast. And those breakfast pies are always a treat, filled with apples that are a mixture of new varieties and century old heirlooms, all grown on our farm and harvested at the exact moment of perfection. We’re a small family operation in Walden Heights, in the Northeast Kingdom. We grow a great diversity of fruit species—apples, grapes, currants, gooseberries, cherries, blueberries, pears, raspberries, blackberries, and more—using organic methods and hand tools. When we considered our mission at the farm, we decided on one that reflected what our culture and family needed and deserved: choices and independence.
Photo of Lori, Todd, and Leo courtesy of Walden Heights Nursery
Choices? In 100, a national survey estimated the number of apple varieties (trees available at U.S. nurseries) at approximately 1,000. That is not a typo—1,000! Compare that with the paucity of choices at the contemporary grocer.
Recipe for one -inch apple pie:
And independence? Growing your own food is one of the most healthy and independent acts you can perform. And when you choose an heirloom tree, you’re providing an already ancient part of our culture a place in the future.
First carefully select your apples. If you want your pie to be special, use an assortment of interesting apples. Experiment until you find the perfect combination.
Now back to baking an apple pie. It begins for us by walking through our heirloom orchard and arboretum of more than 00 apple varieties and selecting different varieties for our breakfast pie. It’s early August as we write this, and the Yellow Transparents, Norlands, and Duchess of Oldenburgs are ready. In a few weeks our choices will include Beacon, Alexander, and Walden Golden. Fall brings Haralson, Wolf River, and Sweet 1.
Combine in a large bowl: 2 ¼ cups of pastry flour 1 tbs. sugar 1 tsp salt Cut in ½ pound of butter (2 sticks) or lard. When mixed well add ¹/3 cup cold water, just until the dough holds together. Roll out on a well floured surface until ¼” thick. Cut dough to fit bottom of ” pie plate, fit bottom crust into pan. Fill with prepared apples (see recipe below). Attach top crust, press edges together and trim off excess. Cut slits in top crust for heat to escape. Cook at 25 °F until bubbles appear through slits in top crust, about 0 minutes.
When you bake this recipe (at right)—our favorite—you may not be able to start by picking apples from your own orchard, but if you want your pie to be special, varieties you might try include: Haralson or Northern Spy, which keep their shape when cooked; Wolf River and Macoun, which turn soft when cooked and add body to a pie; Lodi and Duchess, which add tartness; Sweet 1, which offers a cherry flavor; and/or Beacon, which brings a hint of anise flavor. And remember that all pies began with the planting of a tree. Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard grafts, grows, and sells certified organic fruit trees, plants, and bushes, as well as fresh and frozen fruit. Classes, consultations, and trainings for those wishing to grow organic fruit for their families and community are also oﬀered. For more info visit waldenheightsnursery.com.
Simple and Pure Apple Pie Filling: 2½ pounds of apples (about ) ¼ cup flour Slice apples and mix with flour in bowl. If you must, add sugar, maple syrup or cinnamon to taste. We prefer to leave our pie “naked” and let the apples express their own flavor and personality. Fa l l
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These busnesses proudly support the
LIVE MUSIC, FAMILY-FRIENDLY GREAT READY-TO-EAT FOOD LOCAL PRODUCE, MEATS, CRAFTS FRIDAY AFTERNOONS MAY TO OCTOBER, 4 TO 7 PM ■ VISITORS CENTER DOWNTOWN
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Full menu available with daily food and drink specials. More than 35 beers to choose from. Extensive wine list.
Harlow’s Farm Old Athens Farm LMC Ranch Hope Roots Farm Pete’s Stand
THURSDAY OPEN MIC 8 PM PM MON –FRI • 4 PM till 11PM SAT • 2PM till 11PM SUN • 12PM till 11PM
802– 869 – 4602
FULL MENU EVERYDAY AT 5 PM
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Junction of Rte. 5 and 123 Westminster Station, VT 05159 802–722–9852 firstname.lastname@example.org A Family Feed Company
8–5 Monday–Friday 8–2 Saturday Closed Sunday
free interpreter services available. If you need interpreter or other accomodations please let us know.
32 The Square, Bellows Falls, Vermont (802) 463-9404 Store Open Daily Full Service Independent Bookstore - Books, Gifts & Toys
order Books & e-Books 24/7 at
Preserving Food? Check out our Cookbook section
4th Annual Growing Local Fest
Two Rivers Farmstead Montpelier Hosted by Food Works at Two Rivers this is the best of the best of central Vermont in a one-day celebration. 229-2226, foodworksvermont.org
September 8–9, 8:30am-4:30pm
The Stone Trust—Outdoor Dry Walling Workshop
The Scott Farm A Landmark Trust USA Property 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston A typical workshop is designed to teach homeowners and tradespeople the structural techniques involved in building and rebuilding stone walls with no mortar. Fee: $300. Space is competitive. Space is reserved upon receipt of fee. To register: contact Zon Eastes. 380-9550, email@example.com
September 14–16, 12pm Northeast Animal Power Gathering & Draft Animal Power Network Annual Meeting
Perry Farm, 509 Dutton Brook Lane Brownington A gathering of folks who use and appreciate draft animal power to learn, share, and discuss the practice and theory of animal power applications on farms and woodlots. Families are welcome and camping is available. 754-2396, nealperryfarm.com
September 16 (All day)
5th Annual Tour de Farms
Shoreham Green Shoreham This annual event draws over 500+ participants and offers three bike routes and one walking route, each with designated stops along the way where farms and restaurants provide samples of locally produced foods. The tour is co-organized by ACORN, Rural Vermont, and the VT Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and is a fund-raiser for all three organizations. 223-7222, ruralvermont.org
September 18, 4–6pm
Planting for the Seasons and Root Cellaring (followed by a NOFAvore Social)
Green Wind Farm, 1245 Northrop Road Enosburg Falls Learn tips on how to plan a garden to keep you and your family eating homegrown produce through the seasons, with a focus on timing, quantities, and varieties that store well. The workshop will include details on canning, freezing, root cellaring, and drying. The NOFAvore social to follow will feature products from Green Wind Farm. Come and share a feast, a swim if you like, and provide input on NOFA-VT’s strategic plan. 434-4122, nofavt.org/sws
September 21–23, 11am– 5pm
The 5th Annual Vermont Life Wine & Harvest Festival
Mount Snow Resort, Rte. 100 West Dover A weekend showcase for Vermont wines, Vermont specialty foods, and artisans of all types. A celebration of the
rich uniqueness, quality, and ingenuity of Vermont producers. 888-8888, thevermontfestival.com
September 22, 10am–4pm
Plymouth Cheese & Harvest Festival
President Calvin Coolidge State Historic Site, Plymouth Celebrate the bounties of the harvest! Cheese sampling by members of the Vermont Cheese Council and guided tours of the Plymouth Cheese Factory; wagon rides, historic farm and craft demonstrations, cheese recipe contest, barbecue, and other activities for the entire family. 672-3773, historicsites.vermont.gov/ coolidge/
Wild Edible, Medicinal, and Poisonous Plants
Justin Morrill State Historic Site Strafford On this walk we’ll share colonial and Native American folklore and information to learn about the myths and realities concerning the use of wild edible, medicinal, and poisonous plants. We will also sample many of these delectable treats. A 1.5-hour walk, including stories and sampling plants in the field as well as prepared wild edibles. $10 adults – $5 under 14. 765-4484, historicsites.vermont.gov/ morrill/
September 28 (All day)
VT Law School Conference on Agriculture and Food Systems
Vermont Law School, 164 Chelsea Street South Royalton This conference will bring national experts and leaders in the field together to address the major legal and policy issues related to agriculture and food systems. The conference will feature speakers with diverse backgrounds, specialties, professions, and points of view on issues concerning food and public health, sustainable animal agriculture, public regulation of genetically modified organisms, agriculture and water quality, localizing food, and the future of agriculture production nationally and here in Vermont. 831-1000, vermontlaw.edu
September 29–30, 10am–5pm
Vermont Sheep & Wool Festival
Tunbridge Fairgrounds Tunbridge Knitting workshops, shearing and dogherding demos, knitting, spinning, and weaving. Local fresh foods and cheeses, local yarn and fiber, local sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, and rabbits. 223-2456, vtsheepandwoolfest.org
October 4 (All day)
Share the Harvest Statewide Fundraiser for Limited-income Vermonters
Join NOFA-VT for the 18th annual Share the Harvest fundraiser to benefit limited-income Vermonters. Generous restaurants, co-ops, and stores donate part of their sales on this date to the Vermont Farm Share Program. Donations support subsidized CSA shares for limited-income Vermonters with the help of participating farms. Eat out at
or shop at participating Share the Harvest businesses on Thursday, October 4, and part of your bill will be donated to the Vermont Farm Share Program, helping limited-income Vermonters access farm-fresh produce and connect with their community farms. 434-4122, firstname.lastname@example.org
October 6, 3–11 pm
Orchard Hill Farm 9th Annual Harvest Fire
121 Old Settlers Road Alstead, NH Beautiful farm setting, stone soup cooked over an open fire, live music into the night. 603-835-7845, orchardhillbreadworks.com
October 7, 4–10pm
10th Annual Pumpkin Festival at Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center
225 Pavillion Road, off Rte. 5 East Thetford Celebrate the harvest with everything pumpkin! Family fun on the farm: ongoing horse-drawn wagon rides to the pumpkin patch, pumpkin picking, cider pressing, bean threshing, children’s entertainment, and activities. Live folk rock under the tent by The Wall-Stiles from Vermont and a special performance by internationally known singer/songwriter David Rovics. Good food concession and wood-fired pizzas. A green event. Rain or shine. Parking $5/ car 785-4737, CedarCircleFarm.org
October 7, 10am, 12pm, and 2pm Heirloom Apple Day
The Scott Farm, A Landmark Trust USA Property 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston The Scott Farm will host its annual Heirloom Apple Day, a celebration of our heirloom apples, fresh, baked, and squeezed. Visit our apple-packing barn for a free tasting and listen to the enlightening history of some of our 90 apple varieties with wonderful names such as Esopus Spitzenburg and Ananas Reinette. Heirloom apples and cider will be on sale after the tasting. 254-6868, scottfarmvermont.com
October 7, 11am–4 pm Harvest Fest
2955 VT Route 74 W Shoreham Join the entire Champlain Orchards family as we celebrate the bounty of the fall harvest on the Sunday of Columbus day weekend. We’ll be serving Champlain Orchards BBQ pork, our own applesauce, apple cider, and freshly baked apples pies, and great side dishes. A fun and delicious way to celebrate the fall season! Live local music, too! 897-2777, champlainorchards.com
October 14, 10am–12pm
An Introduction to Making Hard Cider
The Scott Farm, A Landmark Trust USA Property 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston The Scott Farm and instructor Jason MacArthur will host an introductory class on how to make hard cider in the apple-packing barn. This class will cover what equipment you will need, what you need to know about cider, and the
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steps that lie between fresh juice and a bottle of your own homemade elixir. 254-6868, scottfarmvermont.com
October 20, 9am–2pm
Orchard Hill Breadworks Open House
121 Old Settlers Road Alstead, NH Celebrating 15 years of bread baking at Orchard Hill. Free samples, meet the bakery crew, bakery tours, and woodfired pizza. 603-835-7845, orchardhillbreadworks.com
October 20, 10am–2pm
From Orchard to Oven: An Apple Pie Workshop The Chapel, 2 Main Street
Grafton Join The Nature Museum at Grafton for an apple-pie-making workshop and take home two apple pies to bake or freeze. All pie-baking materials will be provided, but feel free to bring your own rolling pin and pie dishes if you wish. Please pack a brown bag lunch. Pie will be served. This workshop is $18 for Nature Museum members and $20 for non-members. Pre-registration is required. 843-2111, nature-museum.org
October 20, 6pm
On the Farm Heirloom Apple Harvest Dinner
The Scott Farm, A Landmark Trust USA Property 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston The Scott Farm and Vermont Fresh Network will co-host our fifth annual harvest dinner at the farm’s renovated apple packing barn. The 5 course meal will showcase our delicious heirloom apples along with many other local foods. Dinner is $35.00 per person. There will be a cash bar with beer and wine. Make your reservations early—it sells out fast! 254-6868, scottfarmvermont.com
October 20–22 & 27–28, 11am–4pm
Free Horse-Drawn Rides to the Pumpkin Patch at Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center
225 Pavillion Road, off Rte. 5 East Thetford Turn your search for the perfect pumpkin into a fun family outing! See educational displays, take a self-guided farm tour, and visit the coffee shop and farm stand. Kids can play in the sandbox and meet the horses and chickens. 785-4737, CedarCircleFarm.org
November 10, 10am–2pm Holiday Pie Workshop
The Scott Farm, A Landmark Trust USA Property 707 Kipling Road, Dummerston The quintessential holiday pie, made with an abundance of the best Scott Farm has to offer: crisp apples, sweet pears, and tart quince that has been poached in cider and honey—all tucked into a flaky pastry crust. The $40 price of this workshop includes the pie you bake, the dough you make, and a take-home tote of heirloom baking apples, pears, and quince. Reservations required. 254-6868, scottfarmvermont.com
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• • • • • • • • •
Wood, Gas and Pellet Installations Fireplace & Chimney Cleaning Chimney Relining & Rebuilds ChimScan Video Equipment Restoration & Maintenance Stainless Steel Custom Caps NFPA-211 Standard Inspections Insurance Claims & Documentation CSIA, NFI, F.I.R.E Certified • Fully Insured • Est. 1986
Weekly markets through October 27 in Bennington, VT
Building Community Supported by Community ~ Some of our Fresh, Locally Sourced Product Vendors: Oak Knoll Strafford Creamery McNamara Butterworks Neighborly Farms Flourish
Deep Root Cedar Circle Farm Killdeer Great River Farm Green Mountain Flour Rootings
~ NFCA’s Farm to Freezer Program Participant ~ Offering Healthy Options and Information Come talk to us. Our staff is knowledgeable and friendly. ~ White River Community Garden Sponsor 193 North Main St, WRJ, VT (802) 295-5804
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“A recipe has no soul. You, as the cook, must bring soul to the recipe.”—Thomas Keller The Book Nook — proudly feeding the mind since 2006.
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136 Main Street, Ludlow VT 05149 • 802–228–3238 email@example.com • thebooknookvt.com
LISAI’S MARKET R o u te 1 0 3 Chester Depot
Travelers, check-out a fourth generation, family Vermont store. In our deli--expect–quick, fast, friendly, and fresh service.
Open 7 days a week 8am – 8pm
Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard 400+ apple varieties and other fruit trees & plants. Vermont grown. Certified Organic. Cold hardy.
VT Locations: Waitsfield, Middlebury, Burlington
Find planting tips, growing instructions, cultivar descriptions, pest management techniques, workshop descriptions & more at
120 VT Route 215
“Feed the Mind, Feed the Belly” 767-4258 * Open 7 days * 7:30 am–6 pm
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ring. As dusk set, Tacamba prepared to give birth, something she had done five times before, and I watched on, mystified.
by Lauren Griswold
When I arrived at Green Mountain Girls Farm in April for a yearlong apprenticeship, one of the many animals Over the course of her labor, I I met was Tacamba, a stocky ran to get Liva (a more expebut relatively skittish Boer rienced farmer) for a cougoat, new to the farm. She ple of false alarms, thinking was markedly more uncomLauren (left) and fellow apprentice Melissa, on the night of Tacamba’s birth Tacamba was actually deliverfortable with us two-leggeds ing when in fact she was still than her herd mates were, so Mari and Laura, farmers-in-chief, in the seizes of early contractions. I felt so anxious, in a posihad spent some extra time socializing her with human intertive way, wanting to give her all the resources I could. When action, hand-feeding her alfalfa cubes and petting her when she finally began to deliver, Liva and I quickly noticed that she would let them. To continue Mari and Laura’s efforts, I the kid was presenting in the most dangerous position—a gave Tacamba some special attention, too. I would stand near breech. Instead of diving out, forelegs and head first, the kid her, talking to her to familiarize her with my presence and was backward, which meant Tacamba would have to push sounds. She would come to me on her own time, sniff me out, the widest part of the kid out first—a task that has claimed and sometimes stay for a brief scratch behind her (big, floppy) many doe and kid lives alike. I racked my brain, trying to piece ears. After a month or so of these sessions, I felt like she was together the all-too timely tips I had just learned at a kidding finally warming up to me, if just slightly. She began to surprise workshop two weeks prior—when intervening, how do you me with longer stays by my side, enjoying back scratches in re-adjust the kid? Do you turn it upside down? Reach for its the sun. hind legs? Liva donned an elbow-high glove smeared with lubricant and readied herself to go in, while I ran to get the Then came kidding season. Of the three Boer goats at the farm, Tacamba was the first to show signs of impending labor. vet’s phone number, just in case. Her udder grew heavy with milk, but her due date came and went, and farm chatter began to revolve around one running joke: Tacamba’s imminent but never-underway labor. We all checked on her often, sometimes as frequently as every couple of hours, looking for tell-tale signs, such as contractions, or the “glazed eye” that does in labor often exhibit. Day after day, our anticipation rose, but Tacamba provided no release.
By the time I got back to the barn, the first kid was lying in the bedding I had prepared days before, breathing. Breathing! Tacamba had managed to deliver a breeched kid by herself, with only a slight hand from Liva. A physical sense of relief swelled in my chest, and deep glee settled in for the night. I was so proud of her. Twenty minutes later, she delivered a second kid: a floppy-eared doeling.
Of course, when Mari and Laura went off-farm for a seminar, Tacamba decided it was time. While the cat’s away, the mice will play…or give birth, I suppose? That afternoon, I waited with her, assessing her status and hand-feeding her hay. Sure enough, I noticed that she soon began to pause every couple of minutes, turn away, and look off into the distance without focus—the glazed eye! In my makeshift seat within a stack of square bales, I grew increasingly anxious and excited about the proximity of this long-awaited event. Not only was this impossibly long and suspenseful gestation about to come to a close, but like being with a loved one in the waiting room, I was on pins and needles anticipating that age-old, thrillridden act of labor.
Tacamba cared for her kids beautifully, licking them clean, nickering to them as they made their first vocalizations, letting them nurse. Mari and Laura returned from their seminar, pizza leftovers in hand, and we recounted the evening to them. For the next couple of hours, we all sat around the barn, eating pizza under its dim lights, watching the two kids stand for the first time.
I watched as Tacamba, the cautious doe I had come to know, went through a series of seemingly predetermined, primal steps. She sat and stood in odd positions; she huffed regular, laborious exhalations; she stretched her neck upward; she curled her upper lip. She was mysterious to me, and awe-stir34 local banquet
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Diablo and Tamalpias (named after mountains in California) are now two of the best-looking kids in our goat herd. With shiny coats and sturdy frames, it’s clear they’re off to an excellent start. Their company is an honest reward for the daily pasture moves we execute for them, and the heavy water we haul. What a joy to plop down alongside them, watch them caper about the browse and, in a timid manner reflective of their mother’s, slowly approach. Lauren Griswold is an apprentice at Green Mountain Girls Farm in Northfield (EatStayFarm.com), where she helps produce organic vegetables, pasture-raised meats, eggs, and raw goat’s milk.
Photo courtesty of Green Mountain Girls Farm
De live ri n g Awe
local food, larger good
Farm stand or Pick-your-own
Over 50 ecologically grown varieties of Apples! please see our website for harvest dates
Hard & Ice Cider Tastings Daily
Vermont fruit grown with a conscience Rte 74 West, Shoreham, VT 802-897-2777 WWW.CHAMPLAINORCHARDS.COM
Pfister Farm Feed your body, mind, and community with the help of our friendly staff and wide selection of local products.
wagon & sleigh rides
Springfield 335 River Street, Springfield, Vermont www.springfieldfoodcoop.com 802.885.3363
Call for reservations 802-824-4663
Author Ian Knauer, a cook in the Gourmet test kitchen, brings you fresh, modern spins on American classic recipes that make the most of your market, garden, or CSA. Make great food from simple ingredients you have on hand. ($30 hc) open 10 am-7 pm daily, Thur/Fri/Sat till 9 pm
802.362.2200 Manchester Ctr, Vermont
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Pick for Your Neighbor
**Find the wooden apple and win an iPod! You can pick and purchase extra apples at participating orchards to donate to the Vermont Foodbank. Adams Apple Orchard, Williston Allenholm Farm, South Hero Burtt’s Apple Orchard, Cabot Champlain Orchards, Shoreham Chapin Orchard, Essex Junction Cortland Hill Orchard, Brattleboro Douglas Orchard, Shoreham Green Mountain Orchards, Putney
Hackett’s Orchard, South Hero Hall’s Orchard, Isle La Motte Happy Valley Orchard, Middlebury Liberty Orchards, Brookfield Mendon Mountain Orchards, Mendon Shelburne Orchards, Shelburne West Swanton Orchards, Swanton VT Technical College Orchard, Randolph
www.vtfoodbank.org A Hunger Action Month Event and a partnership of: **At select orchards, win a free iPod through the Vermont Department of Marketing and Tourism
Published on Sep 3, 2012
Published on Sep 3, 2012
Vermont’s Local Banquet is a quarterly magazine that illuminates the connections between local food and Vermont communities.