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vermont’s

local banquet summer 2014 | issue twenty-nine

New School Food Seaberries Mid-Size Farms


SPRINGFIELD FOOD

Your prime desination for healthy, local, and organic food 335 River Street Springfield 802.885.3363 Open 7 Days a Week Monday–Saturday 8am–7pm Sunday 10am–5pm

FarmS • FooD • FUn It's all at the annual

Strolling of the heiferS June 6-7-8

BrattleBoro, Vermont

third annual

Slow living Summit June 4-5-6

2

www.slowlivingsummit.org

N E W H A L L FA R M I C E C I D E R , T h e N e w C l a s s i c Ve r m o n t F l a v o r E n h a n c i n g c o c k ta i l s , c h e e s e , d e s s e r t , or enjoyed as desser t itself!

www.StrollingoftheHeifers.com

w w w . n e w h a l l fa r m v t . c o m

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VISIT

BENNIN

GTON COUNTY’S

Farmers’ Markets

for fabulous locally produced food and crafts!

Manchester Farmers Market

2012 Best New Restaurant 2013 Best Bartender 2013 Iron Chef Vermont Winner

Bennington Farmers’ Market

“Best beer town in New England.” -Boston Globe Located in Waterbury, the food and beverage crossroads, we feature New England’s largest & best curated selection of craft beer, selected cocktails, eclectic wines with a full menu featuring barbeque, vegetarian and cozy American fare.

Thursdays 3pm–6pm Adams Park, Route 7A Downtown Manchester Center www.manchesterfarmers.org

Every Saturday, 10am–1pm River Walk Park Depot and River Streets, Bennington www.benningtonfarmersmarket.org

We’re now brewing in Coming this summer: the basement and our big brewery OUTDOOR is being built SEATING out back.

Dorset Farmers Market Every Sunday, 10am–2pm H.N. Williams Store 2732 Route 30, Dorset www.dorsetfarmersmarket.com

beers from Hill Farmstead, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, The 24Including Alchemist “Heady Topper” and our very

TAPS

own Prohibition Pig Pale Ale 23 South Main Street

Visit Our Farmstand

Fresh, Organic, and Local

90 VARIETIES OF APPLES

pears

jam

plums

jelly

grapes

honey

cherries

pumpkins

peaches

maple syrup quince paste

nectarines

Waterbury, VT

. . . Our Café uses the best ingredients Vermont has to offer! Sandwiches • Soups • Salad Bar Hot Meals • Specialty Coffees Baked Goods • Grab•n•Go Options and more!

our own fruit pies

white peaches

Join Our CSA

Heirloom Apple Cider quince, medlars, gooseberries, raspberries, blueberries

VACATION In One of Our HistoricHomes

TAKE CLASSES Hard Cider Making Tart or Pie Baking Pruning and Grafting

A Landmark Trust USA Property 707 Kipling Road . Dummerston, VT www.landmarktrustusa.org www.scottfarmvermont.com 802.254.6868

Open 8am-8pm daily 623 Stone Cutters Way, Montpelier, VT 802.223.8000 • www.hungermountain.coop

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For 68 years, we’ve kept it local. Experience the benefits of keeping your funds and your loans local. River Valley is your financial co-operative, designed to benefit the people who live here.

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rivercu.com 802-254-4800

Dayspring Farm Slow Food Snail of Approval Pioneering Vermont’s Farm to Table Movement since 1983

Katahdin and Dorper sheep Irish Dexter Cattle breeding stock and meat

Farm fresh Dinner Wednesday-Sunday & Sunday Brunch

217 Darby Hill Road • Rockingham VT 802-376-5474 • w w w.dayspringfarm.com

Shopping the co-op in summer is like subscribing to a local CSA -- except you don’t have to pay for veggies that you won’t eat. Oh, and there’s Ice Cream. :)

Focusing on Local and Organic Foods 7am-9pm 7 days a week 802.387.5866 putneyfood.coop #todayatthecoop

Just off I-91, Exit 4

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local banquet

1868 North 116 Road, Bristol, Vermont 05443 802-453-2432 ▪ baldwincreek.net

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7 Village Square Bellows Falls, VT

(802)732-8024 Salads, Sandwiches, Smoothies, Espresso, Sweet Treats. Like ValleyCafeVT on facebook for daily specials

Open: Tues - Sat 10-6 Sun 9-4


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issue twenty-nine

6 Publishers’ Note 8 Set the Table with… Seaberries

10 Garden Pathways Growing Unusual Veggies

12 Honey Homeyness 14 Getting One’s Goat 15 Mushroom Grower, Man of Peace 16 Farm-ecology 18 Cafeteria Cooking: A New Era in Vermont Schools 22 Seeds for Change Why Mid-Scale Farming Is Important in Vermont

29 Farmers’ Kitchen Sprouting Up

31 Calendar 34 Last Morsel A Vermont Pasture


Publishers’ Note We’re turning 7 this summer! It’s amazing to think that Local Banquet has had the privilege of chronicling the local and sustainable food movement here in the state as it has grown up. Of course we owe a tremendous amount to the folks who, in the 1970s, came to Vermont to start the work and give us a solid foundation: knowledge passed from one generation to the next. And nowhere is this exchange of techniques and skills more evident than at the annual winter conference held by the Northeast Organic Farmers’ Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT).

Publisher Schreiber & Lucas, LLC Editor Caroline Abels Art Director

Meg Lucas

Ad Director

Barbi Schreiber

We love attending this annual event (we’ve been a media sponsor for the past two years) but we never get to write about it because our publication dates don’t jive. This event in the deep of winter recharges and educates, delivering not only the nuts and bolts of what we need to know to grow our food, but most important, it renews our spirits—the why of what we do. The excursion to UVM each February from our home in southern Vermont is at times daunting if it involves a nor’easter (as it did this year), but is always rewarding. The conference begins with a mass gathering of the attendees at the Davis Center at UVM. Here, while munching on bread and sipping tea, you get a sense of the power of this movement; just to feel the energy of the many people who are building the food system is rejuvenating. The 2014 conference theme was Growing Outside the Box, “honoring the creative innovations of our farmers and their partners, who are continuously expanding the ways that Vermont foods can be grown and consumed year-round; the community leaders who work to ensure that everyone can afford and access local, organic foods; and the ways that the ’food movement’ has grown to encompass issues as varied as animal welfare, fair labor, and climate change.”  The conference officially opens with a keynote address, but for us the “official” opening is when Enid Wonnacott, the executive director of NOFA-VT since 1987, leads us in a song—a true NOFA-VT tradition. This year we heard from Equal Exchange co-founder Michael Rozyne about the challenge of forging alliances and partnerships with folks outside of the organic movement. We also heard about Farm Hack, an ”open source community for resilient agriculture.”  Co-founder Dorn Cox explained how innovation in agriculture could come from farmers and non-farmers alike, thus enriching the final outcome. Chris Dutton, agricultural programs director at Vermont Technical College, spoke on the importance of education for farmers, and Helen Whybrow and Michael Sacca debuted their short film Organic Matters. If you’re interested in seeing these talks—and we highly recommend them—visit NOFA-VT’s YouTube channel; they’re all there (as are past talks). And then there were all the workshops—close to 70! Here we found something for everyone, from the home gardener to the seasoned livestock producer. In short, the NOFA-VT winter conference is just what one needs in the dark days of winter. It provides us with “seeds” to be stored until the ground warms in the spring. See you there next winter?

On the cover: Pete’s Greens, rooftop garden on farm stand; photo by Caroline Abels. Contents page: Rice plant at Akaogi Farm, Putney; photo by Meg Lucas.

local banquet

Contributors Rebecca Beidler Alice Eckles Vera Chang Ela Chapin Liz Gleason Nancy Hayden Henry Homeyer Bonnie North Suzanne Podhaizer Andrew Simon 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 info@localbanquet.com 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) 2014. 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.

Meg Lucas Barbi Schreiber

6

Proofreader

Marisa Crumb

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M E M B E R

VERMONT BUSINESSES FOR S O C I A L RESPONSIBILTY


Brattleboro Area Farmers’ Market Saturdays 9-2

celebrating

Rte 9, Western Avenue May – October

years

H ARLOW F

A

Wednesdays 10-2

Market is now at the Whetstone Pathway by the Co-op. June 11 – October 15

R

M S T A and Café Loco

N

D

Bringing you the best local products including breads, cheeses, our own pork & grass fed beef, our own chickens & eggs, and certified organic produce.

Live Music Saturdays· EBT & Debit 802-254-8885 brattleborofarmersmarket.com

Open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Community Connections Share the harvest, and the knowledge. Learn more at your local, independent Coop.

Cultivating

Cultivating

We also have a wide selection of bedding plants, vegetable starts, and herbs.

PO Box 260, Route 5, Westminster, VT (802) 722-3515 (1/2 Mile North of Exitthe 5 / Interstate Share harvest,91)

Share the harvest, and the knowledge. Learn more at your local, independent Coop.

vermont’s

Cultivating

Community local banquet Connections Now in our seventh year of publishing!

Cultivating

RURAL VERMONT Community

Community Connections

193 North Main St. WRJ, VT (802) 295-5804 ~ uppervalleyfood.coop

Connections can help you and your farmer.

Share the harvest, and the knowledge. Learn more at your local,working independent We're the only organization to Coop.

remove barriers that limit access to local 193 Vermont, North Main GMOs St. WRJ, VT food. Because of(802) Rural will 295-5804 ~ uppervalleyfood.coop be labeled in 2016 and raw milk will be delivered at farmers' markets this year! We've got the experience. We've got the guts. Community

We just needConnections you.

A quarterly magazine devoted to covering local food, sustainable farming, Share the harvest, and the many people building the Vermont food system.

and the knowledge. Learn more

Thank You toat All Our Advertisers! yourOf local, independent Coop. vermont’s

winter 2013 | issue twenty-three

spring 2013 | issue

www.ruralvermont.org

(802) 295-5804 ~ uppervalleyfood.coop

Cranberries Pollinators in the Garden Vermont Hospitals Go Local

Goat’s Milk Hydroponic Tomatoes Burlington International Goes Local

A “Spirited” Issue: Local Distilleries Maple Mixed Drinks Winemaking in Barre

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ting

ting

Community

Ruralnt Vermo

Share the harvest, and the knowledge. Learn more Today! at your local, independent Coop. 193 North Main St. WRJ, VT (802) 223-7222 (802) 295-5804 ~ uppervalleyfood.coop

twenty-four

fall 2012 | issue twenty-two

Small-Scale Dairying Eating Invasive Species Vermont Smoke & Cure

Join

vermont’s

local banque vermont’s t banque local banquet loca local Main 193 North St.t WRJ, VT l banq uet summer 2012 | issue twenty-one

and the knowledge. Learn more at your local, independent Coop. 193 North Main St. WRJ, VT (802) 295-5804 ~ uppervalleyfood.coop

Cultivating

Cultivating

193 North Main St. WRJ, VT (802) 295-5804 ~ uppervalleyfood.coop

vermont’s

Community Connections

7


Set the Table with…

Seaberries

I’d never actually seen a sea buckthorn plant or eaten any of its berries until I moved to Vermont. Already familiar with sea buckthorn in my skincare products, I was inspired to learn more. And when I did: zing, zest, tang! I was struck by sea buckthorn berries’ complex, passionfruit, citrus-like flavor. It was like nothing I’ve tasted. Palatable when made sweeter, sea buckthorn has been called a superfood and a miracle berry, with the potential to match pomegranate and acai’s popularity among health devotees. Native to Eurasia, and also known as seaberry, sallowthorn, and sandthorn, sea buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) has been used as a food and a pharmaceutical for centuries, with medicinal records of it dating to as early as 800 AD. With nearly unparalleled nutritional and environmental benefits, the ancient plant has long been popular in countries such as Russia, China, and Germany. Over the last decade, it has gained attention from niche growers, health advocates, and even culinarians in Vermont. Elmore Roots Nursery (Wolcott), Vermont Edible Landscape (based in Jericho), and the Vermont Seaberry Company (Huntington) are just a few businesses pioneering sea buckthorn production in Vermont. It was even planted on the Vermont State House lawn in 2009 when an edible garden was put in. But sea buckthorn is not widely known in the United States, and how it will fit into Vermont’s working landscape over time is yet to be determined. uuu It’s easy to understand why sea buckthorn’s agricultural characteristics are appealing to growers. With only some exceptions, like cranberry and crab apple, sea buckthorn’s level of hardiness is rare in fruiting plants. Sea buckthorn and its berries can withstand extreme ranges of temperatures—down to -40 °F. “They wouldn’t mind a year that would take out annual vegetable crops in Vermont,” says permaculturist Ben Falk of Whole System Design in Moretown, the largest producer of sea buck8

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photo by vera chang

by Vera Chang


thorn in the state. “No plant that I know of is as climate adaptable, in that it thrives in south central Italy and also thrives in northern Canada.” What’s more, sea buckthorn is able to fix nitrogen, essentially producing fertilizer for itself and the plants around it; unsusceptible to most pests and diseases, meaning it can grow easily without pesticides; salt and drought tolerant; resistant to erosion because of its strong root system; and able to grow quickly, making it an excellent protective hedgerow and windbreak for farmland and farm animals. It is also sought out for its high nutritional and medicinal value, which mirrors its impressive environmental attributes. It is rich with flavonoids, lycopene, carotenoids, and phytosterols and is high in vitamins A, C, E, and K, and omega fatty acids, including many that are rare in the plant world e.g., omega 7. High in antioxidants, sea buckthorn berries contain seven times more vitamin C than lemons. And with tissue-regeneration properties, the oil from sea buckthorn seeds can treat a variety of skin diseases and injuries. Cosmonauts, for example, use it for radiation burns. Chinese healers add leaves, bark, and berries to more than 200 food and medicinal products to treat ailments such as ulcers and eye and heart problems. It is even being investigated for its ability to prevent or reverse the growth of cancers. Sea buckthorn can also be an inspiring culinary ingredient. Called the “Siberian pineapple” in Russia, sea buckthorn has berries that have long been used in sauces, jams, juice, wine, liqueur, candy, and ice cream. In the U.S., people are enjoying its distinct flavor in vinegars, salsa, and even beer. In Vermont, sea buckthorn is starting to appear on menus, including at the Inn at Shelburne Farms, where I ate sea buckthorn for the first time as frosting atop a chocolate beet cupcake. (Full disclosure: I work at Shelburne Farms, where we recently started experimenting with sea buckthorn as a crop.) uuu But sea buckthorn’s non-native status is of concern. Other non-native species introduced to Vermont, such as Japanese knotweed and barberry, have multiplied within our ecosystems at alarming rates. While sea buckthorn should not be confused with the pernicious common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), there is still reason to be wary. Chuck O’Neill, senior extension associate and coordinator of invasive species programs at Cornell University, points out that sea buckthorn has the generic capabilities of any highly invasive plant: the ability to grow in highly erodible, low-nitrogen soil, which gives it an advantage over native plants; possession of a rhizome shoot system that allows it to spread and potentially compete against plants that do not sucker; rapid speed of growth; and resilience to wind and cold. Sea buckthorn is on Environment Canada’s invasive alien species list, although it’s not on the noxious weed lists of the United States Department of Agriculture or Vermont Agency of Agriculture. O’Neill cautions that not being on a list doesn’t mean much, since assessments are constantly growing, shifting, or shrinking. But likewise, being officially invasive in Canada does not necessarily mean sea buckthorn will become an invasive in the United States. “There are lots of plants out there,

SEA BUCKTHORN

Oxymel

This is a potent way to preserve sea buckthorn’s medicinal qualities. At the first onset of feeling sick, take 1 teaspoon oxymel, 3–5 times a day. Recipe courtesy of Whole Systems Design. XX

Crush freshly harvested sea buckthorn berries into a glass or stainless steel bowl so that you are left with only juice. (You may save the pulp and seeds to make fruit leather. To do so, mix in honey and spread out in a dehydrator.)

XX

Mix roughly 1⁄3 parts honey to taste.

XX

Mix 1⁄6 parts apple cider vinegar.

XX

Drink immediately or store it several months in the refrigerator.

listed by other states, countries, federal governments, that are not on our lists specifically, says Tim Schmalz, plant industry section chief at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. “What makes it a noxious plant in one area might not mean it’s a noxious plant somewhere else.” Horticulturalist and Vermont Garden Journal host Charlie Nardozzi has an explanation for why sea buckthorn has not yet become a problem in Vermont and why it might remain benign: Being shade intolerant, sea buckthorn seedlings would have a difficult time thriving as an understory plant in Vermont’s woodlands. In addition, while mature plants are drought resistant, sea buckthorn seedlings require consistent moisture, which makes it hard for them to get started on their own. For those considering growing sea buckthorn, Charlie recommends planting it somewhere where shoots can be cut back and mowed easily. Since sea buckthorn is fairly new to New England, abandoned farm fields and other open, sunny places should be monitored for new seedlings over the coming years, as invasive traits can become pronounced over time. Thus, it is prudent to remain cautious, with fingers crossed that sea buckthorn remains unproblematic in our working landscape as we continue learning about growing it, harvesting it, and incorporating it into our medicine cabinets and culinary creations. And, if sea buckthorn does become invasive— which would be highly undesirable—at least we’d be left with nitrogen-rich soil and a tasty, nutritious experience while eradicating it. Vera Chang is the public relations and marketing director for Shelburne Farms, where she oversees media and messaging for its educational programs, 1,400-acre farm, award-winning cheese, and internationally recognized restaurant. Vera’s food and agriculture writing has appeared in Bitch Magazine, Civil Eats, and Triple Pundit, and her photographs have been published on CNBC, NPR, and Seattle Magazine. Twitter: @veralchang.

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garden pathways

Growing Unusual Veggies Just because we live in northern New England doesn’t mean we have to subsist on carrots and potatoes. These familiar vegetables grow well for us despite our cool nights and relatively short summers. But so do tomatoes, a warm-climate vegetable, and other frost-sensitive vegetables like summer squashes, beans, and cukes. What we grow is largely what we know—and what our Grannies grew—but it doesn’t have to be this way. I grow artichokes, piricicaba, kohlrabi, and plenty of other less common veggies that are more commonly found in California—or at a farmers’ market in New York City. You, too, might like to try a few new flavors in your garden this summer. uuu

By now (early June) it’s too late to start artichokes from seed. I start mine in February, as they take a long time to reach maturity. But some garden centers sell them already started and ready to go in the ground. Artichokes are big plants that require as much space as tomatoes; I plant them 24 inches apart. They need plenty of moisture and deep, rich soil. Before planting an artichoke, I work in a heaping shovel of compost and half a cup of organic bagged fertilizer. And if we get a dry spell, I water my artichokes to be sure their soil stays moist. Artichoke leaves are a grayish-green, making artichokes pretty enough to plant in a flowerbed. The artichokes we can grow here will never be as large as the grocery-store varieties,

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though. Be sure to harvest before the petals on the buds get dry and tough. After you pick the first one, you might get three or more smaller ones as side shoots. Perhaps the first President Bush, who stated his aversion to broccoli, would actually enjoy a couple of the broccoli relatives that I grow—piricicaba and Happy Rich. (Actually, I think he probably just suffers from OBS—overcooked broccoli syndrome.) Both of these broccoli relatives are sweet and delicious, and can be eaten straight from the plant—unlike broccoli raab, which is bitter if eaten raw. They are fabulous lightly steamed or sautéed. And the nice thing about them is that the leaves and stems are tasty, too. You probably won’t find either for sale as plants, but they are fast growing and start easily from seed, either in the soil or in 6-packs in the house. Piricicaba seeds are found through Fedco Seed Cooperative . Happy Rich, like piricicaba, does not form a big head the way broccoli will, but its flowers are plentiful and produce well into the fall, shrugging off frost. I get seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Essentially, both of these plants forgo the head and start producing what we would call side-shoots on broccoli. But even if you miss harvesting some florets on time, they do not get bitter. Just pick them, eat them, and you’ll get more. I’ve never had much luck growing celery. It has gotten tough and woody, or else the slugs have gotten to it. But a celery relative, celeriac or celery root, provides the same flavor

Illustration by Meg Lucas

by Henry Homeyer


Happy Rich, kolhrabi, rutabaga, salsify, celeriac, orach, and artichoke. and stores well all winter. Celeriac likes rich, moist soil—emphasis on moist. I start it indoors in flats and transplant it after danger of frost. Look for seedlings at garden centers, as it takes 95 days from time of transplant to maturity, so it’s too late to start by seed now. In the fall it handles frost well. Celeriac develops into baseball-size globes, sitting on the surface of the garden with celery-like stalks and leaves. It makes a wonderful winter salad by grating it and mixing with grated carrot and apple in a vinaigrette sauce. It can be cooked and mashed with potatoes, or used in soups and stews. It stores well in a high-humidity location at 33 to 40 degrees. Turnips are well known, but many cooks avoid them as too bitter. Unfortunately, the same brush has tarred rutabagas, which are delicious. Rutabagas store well and rarely suffer from any pests or diseases in the garden. Plant them by seed in the garden now and thin to 6 inches or so apart. They are fast growing and can easily develop into 1-pound veggies or more in the course of the summer. You can cook and mash them just like potatoes, or dice and serve in winter stews and soups. Salsify and scorzonera are long, thin root crops with a somewhat nutty flavor. They need deep, loose soil, as they can grow 8 to 12 inches long. But each is only an inch or less in diameter, so they don’t produce much food per plant (compared to carrots or rutabagas, for example). Plant them directly in the garden and wait. Their leaves look like grass, so don’t pull them out by mistake. They are slow growing, so I harvest them late in the fall. These are great in turkey stuffing. Among salad/cooking greens, think of trying orach. Seeds are hard to find—Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds is the one place I’ve found them (rareseeds.com). Orach is a gorgeous, purple-leafed plant that can grow to 3 feet tall but is tastier when eaten smaller. It is in the goosefoot family, which includes many varieties of weeds but also spinach, beets, and quinoa. If you let a few plants flower and go to seed, you will always have some volunteer plants in the garden, year after year. It has no special growing needs—it’s almost a weed, after all.

My favorite of the odd ducks of the vegetable world is kohlrabi, which looks a little like a space alien—a round, fat “root crop” that sits in the soil surface and has stems popping out of it, like arms with leaves. The vegetable is almost perfectly round and is actually a thickened stem. It comes in purple and green varieties. Eaten fresh in salads, it tastes something like a cucumber crossed with a radish. But it’s good in stir-fries or stews, too. Plant kohlrabi seeds directly in the garden, approximatley 3 inches apart, and thin to 6 inches. It is in the cabbage family and grows fast; it’s ready for harvest in as little as eight weeks. Last year, I grew a variety called Kossak, which is an 80-day variety that gets huge (8 inches or more) and stores well. Johnny’s Selected Seeds, the developer of the seed, says it will store for four months. It needs plenty of moisture and, like most veggies, plenty of compost in the soil. Hot peppers and eggplants are often a disappointment to northern gardeners. They would really rather be growing in Mexico. But you can increase your odds of success with a few easy tricks: First, let a greenhouse start your plants for you, but don’t put them into the ground until the soil is very warm (at least 60 degrees) and nighttime temperatures stay above 60 degrees. Then place dark-colored stones on the ground near your plants. These absorb heat during the day and serve as little radiators at night. And cover your plants with row cover. This lightweight agricultural fabric allows the plants to breathe but holds in a little extra heat. Never give peppers fertilizer or you will get big plants but little fruit. They like lean, sandy soil. So go for it: Expand your gardening palette and you’ll be able to eat like a gourmet. Variety is the spice of life, after all. Henry Homeyer is a UNH Master Gardener and gardening consultant living in Cornish, NH. His website is Gardening-Guy.com. He is the author of four gardening books and a children’s fantasy-adventure about a boy and a cougar, Wobar and the Quest for the Magic Calumet.

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Homeyness Exploring how Vermont honeys have their own “taste of place.” I suppose every beekeeper feels that the place where “their” bees forage is the capital of taste, for it’s true that honey can capture the charms of particular nectars in particular places all over the world. According to the National Honey Board, there are more than 300 varietals of honey in the United States alone, making it possible to educate the palate and develop a descriptive language for the taste of honey. In Vermont, we’re learning to apply the French concept of gout de terroir, roughly translated as “the taste of place,” to our honey. First, a refresher: what exactly is honey? It is the food that bees make for themselves from the nectar of flowers. “Forager” bees collect nectar from flowers, drinking the nectar and storing it in their honey stomach. The forager then takes the nectar back to the hive, regurgitating the nectar directly into the honey stomach of a “processor” bee, who takes the nectar to the honeycomb and regurgitates it into a hexagonal wax cell, adding an enzyme called invertase. The invertase breaks down the sucrose of the nectar into glucose and fructose. The bees then “dry out” the nectar by fanning their wings, and they cap the comb when the honey is ripened in this manner. Honey is thus a pure product that comes directly from the producer—the beehive—to us, without any transformation or additives. Your local beekeeper may advertise and sell “raw honey,” which simply describes honey that has not been heated. (Raw honey is best for culinary and medicinal use, since heating compromises flavor, changes color and texture, and kills enzymes.) Even closer to nature is honeycomb, usually to be found at the beginning of the harvest season because it sells out quickly. Instead of extracting the honey from the comb, a beekeeper cuts the honeycomb into squares and sells the squares in containers, to be eaten wax and all. “Artisanal” honey is produced through traditional, non-industrialized methods. A large quantity of uniform product is not the goal of artisanal beekeepers; instead they use

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photo: graphicleftovers.com

by Alice Eckles


traditional methods to highlight the quality and character of nature’s gift. In contrast to the artisanal beekeeper, larger distributor/producers may buy and blend honey from many sources to get a uniform product. uuu

Discovering the unique taste of Vermont’s honey from year to year, from beekeeper to beekeeper, is a sweet way to learn about gout de terroir, (taste of place) in our state. Terroir is a French term literally meaning “land.”  The fuller meaning encompasses all the elements of the unique environment that affects the taste of food produced from a certain place. Climate, rainfall pattern, soil type, topography, and geology affect the taste of the food, with the soil being especially important. Different soils contain different minerals, and the soil determines which plants can grow in a region. The minerals in the soil then affect the flavor of the nectar from the flowers that grow in that soil. Which in turn contributes to the flavor of honey. Even so, honey from different apiaries in the same region will taste different. Whether this is because of microclimates or because each beekeeper has her own “bee culture” is hard to say. As a beekeeper, I know this: When you see a rainbow you feel special, and the honey from your bees is the same sort of personal answer from the Divine; it’s evidence of a special relationship. The terroir of honey is the taste of place, but also the taste of the beekeeper! For example, I have honey from 2013 that I harvested from locations in Cornwall and Middlebury, Vermont. This honey has a light, straw-toned color, mostly opaque, with a delicate floral scent, and a hint of raspberry. It has a fudgy, creamy, crystallized mouth feel and is pleasantly grainy—like those maple candies that come in the shape of pilgrims. The taste is floral, like eating candied flowers. Clover is the predominant floral flavor, but there are many others, too, from flowers all around: the bergamot growing in my dooryard, wildflowers of roadsides and hedgerows, and raspberry brambles in bloom. You may find that some beekeepers offer varietal honeys. This refers to the type of flower nectar the honey is predominantly made from. Honeybees tend to work one species of flower at a time; as long as a certain species of flower is in bloom and producing nectar, the bees will continue working it, so long as the weather is favorable for flying. Thus a beekeeper can remove honey from the hive just after the honey flow from the desired flower is over. If the apiary is located in an area where a certain flowering plant—blueberries for instance—is predominant, then they can harvest in such a way as to get a single varietal honey, blueberry honey in this case. Some beekeepers, rather than producing a single varietal, will harvest a spring, summer, and/or fall varietal. The difference in taste makes good conversation about the different flowers in bloom at different times. In Vermont, early season honey is likely made of the nectar from black locust trees, wild blackberry and raspberry bushes, clover, and wildflowers. Lateseason honey will have nectar from goldenrod and aster for a stronger, darker flavor. Beekeepers who keep their bees in the farmland of the Champlain Valley, where white clover predominates, generally remove their honey all at once and call it clover honey, whereas beekeepers in the mountains, taking one har-

Taste the Terroir Becoming a honey connoisseur can enhance your experience of place, whether you travel widely or stay right in Vermont. If you have a love of flowers, and a sweet tooth, you might enjoy the main requirement for becoming a honey connoisseur: tasting as many varieties of honey as you can! Before tasting, notice the color and clarity of a honey. Is it opaque, clear, or somewhere in between? Is the color white to light yellow, gold to amber, or dark amber? Next, use your nose; 75 percent of what we perceive as taste actually comes from our sense of smell. The flavorful aroma may be flowery, fruity, spicy, or something else. Next, you will have to keep tasting until you think of the right descriptor. Let the honey melt on your tongue, spread it around in your mouth, and think about the feel, taste, and aroma. Another thing to appreciate about the honey you taste is the texture. Is it drippy, velvety, creamy, buttery, grainy, or something else? Keep tasting and notice the body of the honey: thick, thin, heavy, or light. You could make an entire career of this, traveling to honey spots and learning about honey pairing—how various honeys go with local dairy products, fruits, nuts, bread, and cheese. Any takers? — Alice Eckles vest at summer’s end, might refer to their honey as wildflower honey, which is a darker, amber color and more robust tasting than clover. Clover honey is prized for its mild, delicate floral flavor and rich smooth texture. It’s the clover and alfalfa that have turned the Champlain Valley in particular into “a land of milk and honey.” Honey also captures the flavor of the particular seasonal variation of the year it was harvested. Each year the amount of sun and precipitation affects the character and quantity of honey, and one can taste and appreciate these differences of “vintage.” As with wine, honey is a sensual record of a season that never will be repeated in exactly the same way. When the honey harvest is small, particular honeys may be more expensive, but stress on the bloom can also mean greater flavor. Beekeepers often preserve small amounts of honey from prior years to compare and enjoy the taste of years past. I look forward to seeing Vermont honey labels identifying these vintages and provenances. For more information, consult the Vermont Beekeepers Association (vermontbeekeepers.org) or read The Honey Connoisseur, by Marina Marchese and Kim Flottum. Alice Eckles lives with her life companion, Ross Conrad, in the woodlands of Middlebury, where they grow shiitakes, keep bees, and live simply in nature. A writer with a visual arts background, Alice writes fiction, nonfiction, and sometimes poetry. To read more of her writing, visit alice-eckles.com.

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Getting One’s Goat New farm connects newly arrived Americans with fresh goat meat

by Suzanne Podhaizer

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For Chuda, 34, caring for creatures is nothing new. As a child, he helped raise goats and other animals on his family’s land in Bhutan. “We had horses, cows, buffalo,” he recalls. “I was definitely a farmer.” Exiled to a refugee camp in Nepal during Bhutan’s ethnic cleansing, Chuda’s father served as a goat trader, buying animals and reselling them at markets. But when Chuda emigrated to Vermont in 2009, he found that goat meat wasn’t easy to come by. And neither was farmland. uuu

Karen Freudenberger arrived in Vermont the same year as Chuda. Seeking work in her field of community development, the longtime resident of Madagascar and Senegal began volunteering at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program, also in Colchester. There, she heard story after story of New Americans of various religions and backgrounds struggling to access, acquire, and pay for goat. The most dramatic tale she recalls was of someone who decided that driving around with a live animal in the car wasn’t working out. A concerned passerby, noticing an animal being slaughtered by the side of the road, called in the cops. The man who had killed the beast “got pulled over by the sheriff,” she says. Such tales struck a chord with Karen. “Why can’t [the New American population] raise their own goats?” she wondered. “We’re trying to maintain Vermont’s working landscape, [yet] people are driving all over the countryside…to access fresh goat meat.”  With a group drawn from the Burmese, Bhutanese, and Somali communities, Karen began to brainstorm ways to create a viable goat farm. Meanwhile, independently, Chuda was “trying to figure out if he could raise goats, but not really seeing how the pieces could fit together for him,” Karen says. A key aspect fell into place when the Vermont Land Trust purchased

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photo of Chuda Dhaurali courtesy of Karen Freudenberger; photo of goat by Suzanne Podhaizer

Although Vermont is known for its goat’s milk cheeses, it hasn’t always been an easy place to find local goat meat. To acquire a goat, Chuda Dhaurali used to trek to Boston or New Hampshire from his home in Burlington, spending money on gas and occasionally getting lost in the process. Sometimes “it would take the whole day,” he says. Between the cost of travel, and of the goat itself, the bill for all of that effort could be a whopping $500. Frozen goat meat, much of it imported from Australia or New Zealand, was available at a handful of Burlington-area stores, but Chuda celebrates Hindu holidays, and certain Hindu religious observances require the purchase of live animals, which are slaughtered as offerings, and for celebratory meals. By the fall of 2013, however, the trips outside of Vermont were no longer needed. In March of that year, Chuda and his wife, Gita, acquired their first herd of 80 or so goats, and brought the kids to Pine Island Farm, a new farm in Colchester for newly arrived Americans seeking goat meat. The animals, primarily male “bucklings”—which are often sold by dairy operations, or even composted just after birth—came primarily from Fat Toad Farm in Brookfield, with a handful from Blue Ledge Farm and Boston Post Dairy. This year, Chuda’s flock will number at least 120, and Theogene Mahoro and Theonest Rwayitari from an extended Rwandan family will be raising an additional 100 on the property, too. On a blustery day at the end of this past March, the wind whipped across the Pine Island flats. Inside the barn, baby goats in a variety of colors—some black with white patches on their faces and chests, some tan with black stripes—bleated, ran through hay, and lept over logs, butting heads with nascent horns. Chuda and his fellow farmers were feeding and watering the animals, and making sure they were warm enough, given the unseasonable weather.


Mushroom Grower, Man of Peace Amir Hebib’s journey from war-torn Bosnia to the markets of Burlington

photos by Andrew simon

by Andrew Simon Sitting with Amir Hebib in his living room in Colchester, sipping herbal tea made from his own spearmint and lemon balm, you get a sense of peace, of refuge. But when you talk to Amir about his life, you discover that the road to this peaceful Vermont home has been a difficult, war-blasted one. He has come full circle in his 53 years: from a peaceful farm childhood in southeast Bosnia, through years of conflict and a sojourn in a UN refugee camp in Croatia, to finally making his way to Vermont and back to his roots in agriculture. Amir is a farmer and the owner of AH Mushrooms. He is a familiar figure to customers at the Burlington farmers’ market, selling his shiitake and oyster mushrooms and small pots of dazzlingly robust ornamentals and herbs. He also supplies mushrooms to City Market and Healthy Living in Burlington and, seasonally, to the Intervale Food Hub and Pete’s Greens. When Amir came to the U.S. in 1996, he felt like he was coming “from a different planet.” His country, Bosnia and Herzegovina, had been torn apart by war since 1992. Arriving in Vermont with his wife and young son, Amir spoke no English and had no idea how to find his way into work in his chosen field, agriculture. “I was destroyed by war, in all means, physically, emotionally, financially,” he told me. With initial help from Vermont Refugee Resettlement, the family found housing and Amir found a job. First he worked in a Winooski soap factory and then at McKenzie Meats in Burlington, but he found that being inside a building all day didn’t suit him at all. “Every day I am more and more stupid,” he says of his early work in Vermont. “I don’t see sunlight.”

He had grown up on a farm in the southeast part of Bosnia, near the Adriatic Sea. They called it ”Little California” because of the mild Mediterranean climate. His father, Murat, who wanted to spare his son the rigors of farm life, told him, “Talk nice about agriculture, but go away from it.” Amir did not heed this advice. He studied agriculture for four years at the University of Sarajevo, in Bosnia’s capital, and upon graduation, he got a job with Agrokomerc, a huge Bosnian farming conglomerate that, at the time, had 14,000 employees. “We produced a million eggs a day,” Amir remembers, as well as turkeys, chickens, rabbits, honey, and every kind of vegetable and fruit, shipped regionally and internationally. Agrokomerc was also the largest mushroom producer in Europe, with 24 huge mushroom houses, which Amir eventually managed. As an employee shareholder in Agrokomerc and the owner of 200 beehives at his home, Amir had a lot to lose by emigrating. However, the war either destroyed or disrupted everything in his homeland, including the farming sector of the Bosnian economy. “I didn’t leave my country,” Amir says. “I fled.” uuu

Amir’s two mushroom houses in Colchester are much more modest than the ones he managed for Agrokomerc, but given that he built them with his own hands, they are still impressive, and his pride in them is evident when he shows me around. Normally he produces 120 to 150 pounds of shiitake and oyster mushrooms each week, but the production increases seasonally when the Intervale Food Hub and Pete’s Greens include his products in their CSA shares. The shiitakes grow on inoculated blocks of wood, preferably oak. The medium for the oysters is a mix of organic materials that starts with a base of straw but, depending on availability and price, can include coffee grounds, ground peanuts, wheat bran, even cardboard. “People say organic food is expensive,”

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FARM-ECOLOGY How one Vermont farm is addressing climate change and pollinator loss.

My husband, John, reminds me every so often that in a world of seven billion people it is a privilege to own land. This is a good thing to contemplate as I stack brush and run it through the wood chipper. After a long winter, I’m already feeling the ache in my back and shoulders from only a few hours of work. Yet it feels good to use this aging body, and I know Our farm is it’s good for me. It is a privilege to grow connected to the older, too. global ecosystem, It was 22 years ago when we and with all the launched our farm, The Farm Between, a environmental diversified organic fruit farm, fruit nursproblems today, ery, and pollinator sanctuary. Nestled in even an ailing the Lamoille River Valley between Camsociety, we’ve bridge and Jeffersonville, and settled asked ourselves in the early 1800s, it is one of the oldest what we can do homesteads in the area. Like many old on our patch of Vermont farms, it came with a large farmearth to improve house and many outbuildings includthings, while still ing a gigantic post-and-beam barn, all making a living. of which were beautiful but in need of repair. The land needed even more work. The past owners had kept it hayed over the years, which had left the soils depleted. There was also a fair amount of erosion, no riparian zone buffer near the stream, and little diversity of plant species. We looked forward to mending this farm and land, keeping in mind our interest in blending agriculture and ecology. We started out as many young organic farmers do: raising livestock, building the soils, growing vegeta-

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bles. We had our own farm market, sold at farmers’ markets, and started a CSA. Roughly 12 years ago though, we re-evaluated our farming endeavors and decided to make a serious investment in different kinds of organic fruit. There were several reasons for this. The increasing numbers of veggie and livestock farmers in Vermont meant a real increase in competition, and we noticed a gap in the area of local, organic fruits. These are high-value crops, and with the exception of strawberries, they literally take years to bear fruit, which is why many new farmers don’t start out in fruit. So we overlapped our fruit-planting expansion while we still had our veggie CSA. We also realized that propagating our own plants would be cost effective and that selling the extras was a way to promote local food sovereignty. Another big reason for the switch to fruit and a fruit nursery was that during our final years on the farm, with the mortgage paid off and the kids gone, we wanted something manageable with just the two of us and a few occasional workers. We didn’t want to get bigger and spend more time on the administrative parts of farming instead of on the hands-on aspects. We believe small is beautiful, and with high-value fruit crops and value-added fruit products (see sidebar), we can remain small while providing a living for ourselves. uuu One of the main things we’ve learned over the years is that organic farming is as much about healing and nurturing people as it is about healing and nurturing the soils and the land. Ecologically educated and trained, we’ve

Photo by Carol Sullivan

by Nancy Hayden


photo by nancy hayden

always seen the farm (including the people) as its own ecosystem where everything is connected. It’s also connected to the global ecosystem, and with all the environmental problems today, even an ailing society, we’ve asked ourselves what we can do on our patch of earth to improve things, while still making a living. For example, climate change is a real concern for farmers these days. Lamoille Valley rainfall data from NOAA shows a steadily increasing trend from the 100-year average. We’re getting seven to nine inches of rain per year more than we used to. This means increased storm runoff, erosion, and flooding. The extra rainfall makes it even more important to maintain riparian buffer zones on the edges of streams and rivers, something many farmers are reluctant to do because it takes land out of production. One of the things we’ve been doing is tree coppicing—cutting certain types of trees (for example., willows and silver maples) and allowing the shoots to grow out from the stumps. This allows for regular harvesting of biomaterials that we use for mulch, while maintaining the continual growth of the trees. Living trees help stabilize the stream and its banks during flooding. In addition, willows, box elder, and silver maples are an excellent early season pollen source for our pollinators. We’ve also planted fruiting shrubs, such as elderberries and aronia that can withstand flooding and wet soils in flood prone fields, and dozens of trees (locust, black walnut, and maples) to sequester carbon, provide early pollination services, and provide future lumber. One way to deal with weather extremes and oscillations that are exacerbated by climate change has been to plant a variety of fruit crops, so if one doesn’t do well in a given year due to a late frost or winter damage, another one will. We’ve also been growing fruit in unheated hoop houses, such as fall raspberries and, this year, ever-bearing strawberries. We’ve even been experimenting with apples in hoop houses. This protects them from late frosts, hail, and wet leaves, which promote disease. The demise of honeybees and many of our native pollinators is another real concern for farmers. If there’s one thing we know as fruit growers, it’s that fruit plants need healthy pollinator populations to bear healthy fruit, and not just honeybees because they don’t pollinate very efficiently when the weather is cool or rainy, as it often is in spring. Native bees are more efficient pollinators because they work in most weather, and bumblebees even vibrate the flowers to get them to shed more pollen. Pollinators need flowers, not just in the spring when most fruit bushes and trees are in flower, but all season long. Part of healing the land for us has been to increase the floral resources for the bees throughout the entire season and to increase bee nesting and overwintering habitat. Farming and gardening promote the healing of people too, not just through the eating of healthy, fresh, fruits, but by offering physical exercise and connection with nature. That’s why part of our mission over the years has also been to bring people, especially children and students, onto the farm to work and learn about growing food. John has developed long-term relationships with local schools, summer programs, and different colleges to make this happen. Giving people a chance to get onto a working farm is one of the main reasons we had for opening our fruit and pollinator nursery business. We want to share the beauty of this place as well as the farm and garden experience with more people. In our fast-paced, technological world, getting back in touch with the land, physical outdoor activities, and healthy local food are ways to rejuvenate ourselves and our communities. With the privilege of owning land

Fruit syrups: a treat for the local food revolution Homemade organic snow cones or organic fruit fountain sodas made with our own organic fruits are a healthier alternative to sodas and all those frozen treats that contain high-fructose GMO corn syrup, preservatives, pesticide residues, and artificial colors and flavors. They also offer us a way to add additional value to our extra fruit and provide additional income. Our fruit syrups come in flavors such as black currant, strawberry-rhubarb, elderberry-ginger, raspberry-apple cider, and blueberry. We drizzle beautifully colored syrups over hand-cranked shaved ice for snow cones or mix the syrups with ice-cold seltzer to make fruit fountain sodas. We sell these, as well as seasonal fresh fruit, at the Burlington Farmers’ Market, on our farm, and at other local venues. For people who want to make their own sodas, snow cones, cocktails, and desserts at home, we also sell bottled syrups. and trying to make a living from it also comes a responsibility to strive to make things better. In the big scheme of things, what we’re doing may not have a huge impact, but to ourselves and our visitors, it does. Nancy Hayden is an artist, writer, and organic farmer. You can learn more about her and John’s farm products and plants at thefarmbetween.com. Nancy’s art and writing website is northwindarts.com.

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Cafeteria Cooking: A New Era in Vermont Schools

by Bonnie North

A plate of dishes made from recipes in New School Cuisine, including lentil Sloppy Joe’s, roasted roots, and Mac n’ Trees. Hope came in 2012, when the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act nutrition standards went into effect. Championed by First Lady Michelle Obama, they brought serious improvements to school meals by mandating more whole grains, a wider selection of fruits and vegetables, and other healthy options. The challenge now is getting children to eat these new kinds of meals. Sadly, the Government Accountability Office conducted a nationwide survey of nutrition directors and visited 17 schools in eight different school districts to audit the new programs. According to the GAO, students in each district “expressed dislike for certain foods that were served to

photos by caroline abels

We all know that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Similarly, as any parent knows, you can put good, healthy food on kids’ lunch plates but that’s no guarantee they’ll actually eat it. But who can blame them? Consider what they’re used to. In early 2010, Washington Post reporter Ed Bruske visited the public school his daughter attended. “The ‘scrambled eggs’ had been cooked in a factory in Minnesota, then shipped frozen in six-pound plastic bags to the District of Columbia. Getting them to the breakfast line was a simple matter of dumping the frozen eggs out of their bags and into stainless steel pans, then heating them in the kitchen’s commercial steamer. They come out looking more like pale yellow cottage cheese…ingredients included modified corn starch, xanthan gum, citric acid, artificial butter flavor, lipolized butter oil, and medium chain triglycerides.” Here in Vermont, a consortium of dedicated individuals and organizations has created an elegant and remarkably effective tool that is turning such dismal results completely around. Published last year, New School Cuisine: Nutritious and Seasonal Recipes for School Cooks by School Cooks is a 206-page, full-color, spiral-bound collection of creative, healthy recipes that have proven popular in our regional schools. Not only that, these “from scratch” recipes were developed by Vermont school cooks themselves, and they rely on locally available, in-season products. uuu

Providing meals to schoolchildren has been part of the American educational agenda since 1936, when Congress passed Public Law 320. In the midst of the Great Depression, farmers couldn’t find markets for their products, unsold surpluses continued to mount, and prices of farm products had declined. Meanwhile, millions of schoolchildren were unable to pay for their school lunches, and the danger of malnutrition among children became a national concern. Congress’s re-distribution of farm commodities to schools was handled through the teamwork of federal, state, and local governments. In the decades since, school meal programs have become increasingly complex to administer, fraught with inefficiencies, and have too often succumbed to the moneyed influence of multi-national food corporations and big business lobbyists who curry favor with the elected and appointed officials overseeing them. By the turn of the century, school meals had become notoriously wretched.

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Karyl Kent (Richmond Elementary), David Horner (Chittenden East), and Elementary, Huntington), school nutrition directors holding the new school


comply with the new requirements, such as whole grain-rich products and vegetables in the beans and peas subgroups.” In a 2012 interview on the Today Show, Kern Halls, who works in school nutrition at the Orange County Public Schools in Florida, lamented, “We don’t want healthy trash cans. We want kids who are eating this stuff!” uuu

photo by vera chang

The Vermont cookbook was the brainchild of Kathy Alexander, food nutritionist at Mt. Abraham High School in Bristol. Kathy was all too aware of the challenges of getting kids to enjoy healthier food, but she could also point to some real successes achieved by school cooks and nutritionists in Vermont who had been working with various “farm-to-school” programs and had developed their own recipes using local, in-season produce. Kathy brought her idea of putting together a simple cookbook of recipes to Abbie Nelson, education coordinator at the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) and the director of Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED). Of course Abbie jumped at the idea right away. They understood that their cookbook had to be beautiful, practical, and not academic if it was going to actually be used. They wanted the book to have an honest, homespun feeling, so as to reinforce that these were not recipes handed down like edicts from afar. More important, the cookbook had to dispel the belief that school cafeteria food had to be bland, unappealing, and boring. And to adhere to the 2012 federal dietary guidelines, every recipe needed to present complete nutrition information. For example, a recipe for Mac & Trees, a casserole of macaroni and cheese with broccoli florets, would have to be listed as providing fifty 353-calorie servings, each containing 1.5 ounces of a meat alternative (cheese), 1 ounce of grain (whole-wheat macaroni), and 1/8 cup of a dark green vegetable (broccoli). “It was overwhelming,” Abbie laughs. “When we applied for that first USDA grant, if we had known, had any idea, then, what this would actually entail, we probably would have run away as fast as we could!” Yet Abbie scrambled hard to keep the necessary funding flowing— “raising $500 here, a $1,000 there, we kept plugging away. Early on we probably received more in-kind donations than actual cash.” Ultimately it took the support of many organizations and agencies: Team Nutrition, an initiative of the USDA; the Vermont Agency of Education; VT FEED; the School Nutrition Association of Vermont; the Vermont Dept. of Health; the New England Culinary Institute; the New England Dairy and Food Council; and Cabot Creamery, as well as Alison Forrest (Brewster Pierce collaboration with 14 school chefs cookbook they contributed to. Continued on page 21

Inspired Cooking at the 2014 Jr. Iron Chef Where were the hush puppies and tater tots? Where were the doughy patties stuffed with mystery meat? The slushies composed of water and corn syrup? The boxed eggs and greasy sausage links? They were nowhere to be found—and nothing like them, either—at this year’s Jr. Iron Chef competition. When I walked into the Champlain Valley Expo to serve as a judge at the competition, I experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance, because the last time I had thought about school lunches was back when I was eating them, and they were nothing like the ones being prepared in the Expo hall that morning. Approximately 30 teams from schools across Vermont were cooking up dishes that incorporated local food and that could be made in school cafeterias. (Another 30 or so teams competed in the afternoon.) The other judges and I were tasked with tasting the freshly made concoctions and determining winners. We knew some kids would be disappointed if they didn’t win—students spend months developing recipes, learning cooking skills, and practicing their creations—but we weren’t disappointed at all. We tasted dishes like wontons stuffed with shredded vegetables, egg and beet frittatas in the shape of muffins, and crêpes stuffed with apples and topped with whipped cream. (See the winners at jrironchefvt.org.) We also got to observe students working in teams and engrossed in cooking. The popular Jr. Iron Chef event is a collaboration of the Burlington School Food Project and Food Education Every Day (VT FEED). I was honored to help judge an event that since 2008 has inspired more than 1,600 Vermont students to get their hands on local ingredients and to think more deeply about what they eat. I just wish all this inspired school food was around back when I was washing down tater tots with strawberry slushies.

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— Caroline Abels

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Together, Better Choices ...like cooperative partnerships with community organizations.

photo by Charlie Ritzo

City Market is proud to partner with the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont. NOFA-VT is a statewide, Member-based non-profit made up of farmers, gardeners, and people who care about food. As a leader in Vermont’s agricultural movement, NOFA-VT works to support and expand Vermont’s food system with programs that train farmers, educate consumers, and increase access to local and organic food. Together we can build a new food economy! Learn more at www.nofavt.org. 82 S. Winooski Ave. Burlington, VT 05401 Open 7 days a week, 7 a.m. - 11 p.m. (802) 861-9700 www.citymarket.coop

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COOKBOOK Continued from page 19

and many inspired individuals. Vermont school chefs received recipe standardization training and conducted recipe testing with the students in their schools, finally settling upon 78 kid-tested recipes for submission. Degree students at the New England Culinary Institute took over from there. In 2013, they were studying issues of food justice and childhood nutrition, so working on this cookbook melded perfectly with their required service learning class. They placed the food orders, costed and tested each recipe, worked on presentation, and provided essential feedback on each dish. The 78 recipes in the book run the gamut from unique dishes such as Strawberry Spinach Salad with pumpkin seeds, balsamic vinegar, and maple syrup, or Cinnamon Nachos with Fruit Salad, to surprisingly popular meat alternatives such as Beet Burgers, and hearty soups such as Winter Vegetable Soup with Noodles. It also includes purely kid-friendly delights like Green Monster Pops—puréed pineapple, bananas, spinach, and kale, frozen into popsicles. Every recipe—thoroughly tested by students, school chefs, and nutritionists at NECI—is accompanied by stunning photographs and helpful hints for successful completion. The cookbook also includes tips for creating a successful farm-to-school program, ways to make local food affordable, and a guide to eating seasonally. Gay Truax, contributing chef to the cookbook and nutrition director with the Salisbury Community School District in the Addison Central Supervisory Union, is quoted in the cookbook as saying that it’s “so easy to use, the pictures are very helpful, and the kids will surprise you and enjoy recipes you may think they wouldn’t. We have tried so many new items so regularly now that they look forward to [meals] and will be honest with their feedback. I did not think so many would like the stuffed cabbage lasagna, but they did—and asked if we could have it again! The book inspires ideas.”

Reviewing New School Cuisine, Janet Poppendieck, a professor of sociology at Hunter College in New York City and author of Free for All: Fixing School Food in America, called the book “an outstanding resource for food service directors, parents, and concerned citizens across the country who are working to help school food realize its potential to banish hunger, promote health, enhance education, stimulate local economies, preserve working landscapes, and protect the environment. I am impressed with the breadth of cooperation that went into producing this first-of-its-kind school cookbook.” New School Cuisine was distributed to every public school in Vermont and to every state’s child nutrition department. The Vermont Agency of Education printed the first 500 copies. A short run by Minute Man Press was necessary to meet immediate demands, and a full second printing is currently in the works with Queen City Press of Burlington. Copies from the second printing will be available for order soon from Shelburne Farms’ website. At this point, advance orders are already in from schools in more than 20 states. A free printable version can also be downloaded at vtfeed.org. Summing up the success of the project, Abbie Nelson speaks with well-justified pride: “This book illustrates what has already been done here, what is happening now in Vermont, using farm-to-school collaboration. It shows the skills, the professionalism, and the creativity of our food directors and their staffs. These recipes wouldn’t have made it into the book if the kids weren’t already eating and enjoying this food.” Bonnie North, who writes from southern Vermont, worked for many years with the American Institute of Wine and Food on their innovative Days of Taste program. During the Days of Taste, students in inner city schools are taught to recognize the different taste sensations; then they visit a local farm to gather fresh produce and learn to make for themselves a hardy salad that includes each taste.

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seeds for change

Why Mid-Scale Farming Is Important in Vermont by Ela Chapin and Liz Gleason

22 local banquet

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cessing and manufacturing sector. For example, a mid-scale farm focused on poultry, such as Misty Knoll in New Haven or Stonewood Farm in Orwell, can supply most co-ops in the state with a set amount of product year-round, making it simple and streamlined for those stores to offer local poultry consistently to their customers. We feel it’s necessary for Vermonters to be aware of our state’s mid-scale farms, and to understand why not every farmer wants to stay small. uuu

First, we should explain our definition of “mid-scale farm.” Various federal agencies have different definitions based on gross sales (the money that comes into the farm from everything made and sold, before accounting for any expenses or labor), but we’re using a slightly different definition that better fits the kinds of farms we see here in Vermont. For the purposes of this article, a mid-size or mid-scale farm has between 5 and 20 employees and between $250,000 to a few million dollars in gross sales. Even some of the largest operations in Vermont, such as Champlain Orchards, Westminster Organics, or our larger dairy farms, are relatively small compared to farms in the Midwest and California. The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, which we run, has worked with more than 450 farmers in Vermont to analyze their businesses. We provide all kinds of services, from helping people improve their production management to assisting with marketing, from helping transfer farms to the next generation to assisting farmers to access new farmland. The primary goal of our program is for business owners to enhance their business management skills and be better able to meet their own business goals. There are many reasons that some farmers choose to operate at a mid-size scale. They may want to increase efficiency, generate more profits, pay themselves and their workers livable wages and benefits, access additional, higher volume markets, or have a larger scale impact on local and regional food systems. While small and micro-size farms have real and tangible benefits for their owners, their communities, and the land, their size limits the scale of their impact on the community, their land base, and the economy as a whole. Additionally, there is significant anecdotal evidence that direct markets (farmers’ markets and CSAs, which are dominated by small farms) are saturated in certain parts of Vermont. The number of new farmers entering these marketplaces is outpacing consumer demand for their products in these cases. What’s more, not everyone passionate about farming has both the depth and breadth of skills needed to successfully operate a small farm where they must act as the manager, herdsman or grower, bookkeeper, promoter, and more. They may be more comfortable or satisfied specializing in a certain

photo by caroline abels

Vermont’s vibrant farm economy is made up of all sizes, scales, and types of farms—something that’s beneficial, because a high diversity of scale and business model is critical to improving the sustainability and resiliency of our food system. Yet within Vermont (and outside Vermont) there is a particular fondness for the smallest scale farms—especially the ones that sell at farmers’ markets, through CSA’s and farm stands, and whose numbers are on the rise. Medium-scale farms are far less prevalent than these small farms, yet they play a highly critical, if under-appreciated, role in our food system. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture (details of the 2012 census are not available yet), the percentage of farms that are medium-size in Vermont dropped from 16 to 11.3 percent since 1997. While small and micro-size farm numbers are steadily increasing across the nation, as are the numbers of very large farms, mid-scale farms are dwindling. Nationally, this happens in part because mid-scale farms tend to be too large to best utilize direct markets (which are highly labor-intense), and too small to compete in commodity markets (although we certainly find mid-scale farms in Vermont selling to a range of markets and often selling direct to consumers). Additionally, mid-scale farms are often family operations that don’t allow time to earn off-farm income, which many smaller family farms rely on to cover household expenses. In Vermont, mid-scale farms—such as Pete’s Greens in Hardwick and River Berry Farm in Fairfax—are essential to our food economy because their scale and efficiency can make them more likely than small and micro-scale farms to have the ability to provide consistency and volume for larger local markets such as retailers (co-ops and grocery stores) and institutions (such as hospitals and schools). And they play a critical role in helping to create a large number of sustainable and livable wage jobs in the farming sector, as well as the food pro-


task, while working within a team of individuals highly skilled in their own areas of expertise. No question small-scale farms can be sustainably profitable, have very high efficiencies, and be an effective way to feed our immediate communities. However, many farmers struggle to make farms financially viable at this scale. According to preliminary results from the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms in Vermont has increased by 5 percent since 2007, the agricultural land base has increased by 1 percent (an additional 18,400 acres), and the overall market value of Vermont’s agricultural products sold has grown by a more impressive 15 percent. This is all good news, but, as Mari Omland of Green Mountain Girls Farm pointed out in her article “The Thorny Issue of Farmer Pay” in Local Banquet’s spring issue, these numbers—and the increased visibility and connectivity the public has to small- and micro-size farmers—don’t tell the whole story. Mari’s article tells a compelling and beautiful story of a very small farm struggling to assess their own profitability. The farm creates a myriad of social and environmental goods, but the farmers struggle to charge enough to make a livable wage and to be profitable, two essential elements of a sustainable business. In our work at the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, we support farmers such as Mari as they explore how to best grow and sustain their small businesses. We also work with small-scale farmers who want to scale up to operate a mid-size farm.

cies or higher prices for their products than the average farmer. What if they want to pay their workers a higher wage, or provide more consistent year-round positions to help attract longer-term, higher-skilled employees? Employee turnover can be a serious issue for small farms that have hired labor, as there may We feel it’s not be enough production to warnecessary for rant work year-round, often leadVermonters to be ing to a new crew every year. If a aware of our state’s farm wants to offer higher salaries mid-scale farms, and for year-round employees, they may to understand why be paying around $30,000 a year per not every farmer person, with additional insurance wants to stay small. costs on top of that. If a farm has four year-round employees, direct labor costs alone would be $120,000. According to the 2007 Census of Agriculture, out of all the farms in Vermont that make more than $10,000 annually, 27 percent gross between $100,000 to $499,999, and another 10 percent make more than $500,000 per year. The other 63 percent—the vast majority of farms in Vermont—are making less than $100,000 on the agricultural products they sell each year. (There is an additional large number of property owners who make less than $10,000 on the farm and are included in the agricultural census, but we are not including those here, as most are not considered commercial farms.)

uuu

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Let’s explore the basics of farm profitability for a moment. Take a hypothetical young couple with a vegetable farming operation. They would like to take home a combined income of $50,000 from their business to pay for family living expenses and reinvestments in the farm each year. Typical margins for profitable and well-managed mid-size vegetable farms (whether conventional or organic) are typically in the 20–25 percent range , meaning that they have 20–25 percent of the amount they sell (gross income) after they pay for their expenses. These net profits are often used to pay for owner withdrawals if the owners aren’t on salary, the principle on any debt, and capital improvements and investments in the farm. We will work backward to determine how big that farm needs to be to make this much money. Let’s presume the gross margin is 20 percent for this farm, and then find what the total sales must be for this farm to end up with $50,000 a year in profits. For this farm and these assumptions, sales would have to be a minimum of $250,000 in order to make a net income of $50,000 ($50,000 net income / .20 gross margin = gross sales of $250,000). They still haven’t paid their own salary, nor their taxes, mortgage payments, or capital investments related to the business. This all comes out of their take-home profits from the business. And then what if these farmers are less efficient than others in their field? If their gross margin is 15 percent instead of 20 percent, then their sales have to be at least $333,000 to make a net income of $50,000. If they’re operating a much smaller farm, with an acreage that doesn’t allow mid-scale production, grossing perhaps $120,000, this will leave them with considerably less income, unless they can achieve significantly greater efficien-

As a state that leads the country in local food consumption, it is important to consider what the effects may be of having few mid-size producers. A robust and sustainable food system requires that there be a healthy variety and diversity of sizes and types of farms in order to deliver food to various markets and maintain the agricultural support systems in place in Vermont, including financing institutions, agricultural mechanics, feed and equipment suppliers, veterinarians, and more. It also requires that farmers make enough profit to stay in farming and meet their social as well as financial goals—that they are able to live secure, comfortable lives, just like the rest of us. So keep buying at a local farm stand or farmers’ market or from your neighbor. But also encourage your grocery store to consider local, seasonal suppliers. Be involved in helping your local schools, senior meal sites, or other institutions source local food—and not just certain products from small-scale farmers, but also a wider variety of products from a mid-scale farm or a local distributor that places importance on sourcing locally and regionally when possible. Expanding your awareness and increasing local food purchasing beyond your local farm stand and farmers’ market can help support the diversity of farm scales that ensures our food system becomes more viable and resilient long into our future. Ela Chapin and Liz Gleason operate the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a statewide business planning program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board that assists farm, food, and forestry business operators. Business advisors are matched with these entrepreneurs, providing assistance with business management skills, feasibility studies, and marketing.

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GETTING ONE’S GOAT Continued from page 14

a property in Colchester, just over the Winooski line. With a farmhouse, an animal barn, and approximately 80 acres of grazing land—including a mile of river frontage—Pine Island Farm seemed like a match for the budding goat project. The Vermont Land Trust and the Association of Africans Living in Vermont formed a partnership, and Karen—who had previously been donating her time to the project—was hired as the farm manager. As she searched for a farmer who could spearhead that project, she learned of Chuda’s interest. Given his farming background and his enthusiasm for goats, it became clear to Karen that she had found a match. When Chuda and his wife moved into the Colchester farmhouse, the project—then called the Vermont Goat Collaborative—was born. This year, between Chuda and the Rwandan family (each have their own flock) Pine Island will sell roughly 220 goats. That number is likely to increase with time, with more farmers joining the mix. Karen, in addition to helping with chores, is responsible for “long-term strategizing and visioning, getting financial support, and mentoring the farmers as they come on.” uuu

Discussion about the need for meat goats often centers around the Muslim community and its need for Halal slaughter. Chuda also talks of selling numerous animals to the Hindu community around the time of Dasara and Diwali—two important fall festivals. But Karen is quick to mention that eaters of goat come from many ethnic groups and ascribe to a variety of religious practices. “We have [customers] from Bhutan, Burma, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Tunisia, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Togo, Ghana, Congo, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Rwanda,” she notes, “and quite a few from the Middle East.” Last year, Chuda spent a week at Fat Toad Farm to acquire additional knowledge about caring for goats in Vermont. After he brings the young kids home, he feeds them milk. Later in the season, he takes them to graze in pastures and browse alongside the river. But in the end, no matter who his customer is, he isn’t responsible for the processing. A custom slaughter facility in the barn, paid for primarily by a $10,868 Working Enterprise Grant from the state, plus an additional grant for a wastewater system, allows customers to buy live animals and do the slaughtering themselves. Pine Island Farm provides all of the necessary equipment and packaging. Last year, the facility was unheated. About slaughtering in the cold Chuda says, “It was very hard. This year, we are planning to put in a heater.” But every improvement to infrastructure comes at a cost, and Pine Island Farm faces a serious challenge in aiming to offer a highly prized meat at an affordable price. “Demand is so high,” says Chuda. “Only 200 to 300 goats is not sufficient for the customers.” However high the demand, though, the majority of it comes from people who do not have much money. “The reality is that we’re dealing with a very low-income population,” Karen explains. In 2013, Chuda chose to charge approximately $3 per pound of live weight (which includes meat, bones, and all of the inedible bits, too). “I think that’s what the market will bear,” Karen suggests. But even at that seemingly low price, the petite 7- to 8-month-old goats that Chuda sells cost between

$200 and $225. While the cost is substantially less than Chuda used to pay for a goat in Boston, it’s still a significant sum. For customers, there’s also the time it takes to visit the farm, slaughter, clean up, and bring the beast home for cooking. However, the amount of money received for the goats doesn’t come close to covering the costs of running the farm. Right now, says Karen, Chuda and the other goat farmers aren’t able to pay themselves. “There’s no way anybody could support a family raising goats,” she notes. While that per-pound price covers the cost of the baby bucklings and of feed, Chuda “is not paying for the land, he’s not paying for the building. If you put labor into it, it doesn’t really add up.” uuu

Currently, Chuda is working on analyzing expenditures to develop a better sense of the true costs of raising goats, but acquiring that data probably won’t translate into profitability. If the Pine Island goat farmers were to charge enough to cover costs and pay for labor, they would price their product right out of the market of people who are actually interested in and struggling to purchase goat meat. “Good advisors have come and said, ‘Why don’t you raise goats and sell them in New York?’” Karen says. “But that would be contrary to the farm’s mission, which is to meet the food desires of [Vermont’s] New American community. People are very, very happy to have the goat meat.” Selling to local restaurants at a higher price per pound could be a way of buffering costs. However, raising meat for the restaurant market is a different task than raising it for consumers. For one thing, animals sold for wholesale would need to be slaughtered in a facility inspected by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture. For another, restaurants make money on bigger, fleshier animals—the more portions of meat they can sell from a single carcass, the better they’re able to recoup the initial investment—and goats are notoriously bony beasts. To serve chefs well, Chuda and company would need to raise some animals for quite a bit longer than they do now. All of this complexity might be why Karen considers the goat businesses to be “phase 1” of a larger plan for the Pine Island property. Down the road, she says, there could be a number of individuals and entrepreneurs engaging in land-based work there. Vegetable gardens and rice paddies are under discussion, and a UVM class is doing a feasibility study on meeting the New American community’s demand for “tough chicken,” as Karen puts it. “We would buy cull chickens from egg farms, bring them over, fluff them up, and then sell them,” she explains. But even as these plans are underway, Karen says, “The big vision is that the farm should be responsive to the needs of New Americans and evolve over time in ways I can’t even imagine right now.” Suzanne Podhaizer owns Salt Café in Montpelier, teaches food writing classes, and is a partner in Woodbelly Pizza and Gozzard City (a goose farm), both of which are based at Provender Farm in Cabot. She is the former food editor at Seven Days.

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MUSHROOM GROWER Continued from page 15

Amir tells me as we walk through the buildings he has created for mushroom growing, “but what’s more expensive than going to [the] doctor’s?” He runs down a list of what he doesn’t like about conventional farming : “too much using chemicals; too many new varieties; too much hybridization, and adds, “I believe in the power of Mother Nature.” Although temperature and humidity must be closely controlled in mushroom growing, Amir doesn’t like using chemicals—even organic ones like neem oil—to control the shore flies and fungus gnats that are drawn to his growing media. Instead he uses yellow “sticky cards” that draw and capture the insects. In the summer, he resorts to electric zappers to keep down bug populations. “They don’t attack mushrooms” he says. “They attack [the] media and spread disease.” We go into the small greenhouse and my nose is filled with the intoxicating smell of summer. Exotic succulents, abundant herb plants, and giant aloes fill the small space. “I enjoy growing plants,” Amir says simply. uuu

After leaving McKenzie Meats, Amir worked for seven years as a grower at Claussen’s Greenhouse in Colchester. He had overcome PTSD (“war traumas” he calls it) and had started growing some mushrooms at home. He felt ready to launch his own business, but that’s when he fell gravely ill. “The doctor told me, ‘Amir, you can die anytime,’” but no one could diagnose the illness. He reduced his work at the greenhouse and slowly got better. “It was [a] very hard time,” Amir says now. So he began to build and supply his mushroom houses. “Nobody helped me,” he says. “I didn’t have money to pay someone else.” With all the money he could earn and save, Amir started his farm. “I didn’t have intention to live growing mushrooms,” he told me, but it was something he knew how to do, something he could do as he recovered his health. “People

think it’s big money overnight,” he says. “It’s not.” He didn’t have room to grow the more familiar button mushrooms, so he concentrated on higher value shiitakes and oysters. Now, eight years later, there is more demand for his products than he can supply. “Now I sell three to four times mushrooms more than when I started. More and more each year.” As his farmers’ market customers know well, Amir Hebib regularly dispenses more than mushrooms and potted plants. He is a modest man, but he is also a storyteller. “In Bosnia,” he says, “farmers’ market is first place to go. Store is second.” As a child, he sold his family’s products direct to consumers. “Big markets,” he remembers, “with refrigerators and locked boxes”— unlike Vermont’s markets that tend to set up each week like a traveling circus. “You didn’t have to bring your own table.” Amir’s experience, both as a lifelong farmer and as a survivor of ethnic strife, has left him with a faith in natural processes, a distrust of organized religion, and a philosophy of nonviolence that he enjoys sharing with his customers, many of whom have become friends. “Nobody knows how many people were killed [in Bosnia]. Real people. Humans.” Amir says that he is “100 percent nonviolent.” His philosophy, as he freely expresses it, is simple, but deeply rooted: “I believe God wants us to respect each other, to help each other, to be nice with each other, to be against bad things like war.” He knows from personal experience what can happen when people deviate from that path. “It’s easy to go to war,” he says. Amir Hebib, mushroom grower and man of peace, is happy to be in Vermont. “People are [the] reason I’m here,” he concludes. Andrew Simon is a writer, teacher, tour manager, and climate justice activist. He lives in Burlington.

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f a r m e r s ’

Sprouting Up When visitors come through the door of our grow room, they often inhale deeply and exclaim how nice it is to see and smell green growing things bursting from trays, especially in the heart of winter. At Peace of Earth Farm in Albany, we grow a variety of vegetables and fruits, but we also grow harder-to-find shoots and sprouts, which are most appreciated in the winter months, although many individuals and restaurants enjoy them year-round. My husband, Jeffrey Ellis, and I are converting an overgrown Christmas tree farm on sandy, undulating land into a mosaic of productive gardens. As our farm name suggests, our farming philosophy is based on nurturing the land. We believe in building our soil by minimizing disturbance, adding good organic matter, keeping the soil covered, and by allowing all the critters in the soil to flourish in partnership with the plants we grow. For example, we use chickens and pigs to help fertilize and till new areas, then follow with a technique called sheet mulching to smother the sod and build fertility. Sheet mulching involves applying a thick barrier layer of a material that will break down within a year or less (cardboard or newspaper), followed by layers of compost and mulch. Building gardens in this way involves a lot of human-powered handwork, and a lot of material, but in the long run it builds excellent soil. The only drawback is that creating gardens via sheet mulching is a slow process, and our farm grows in only small increments each year. We started growing sprouts and shoots in 2011 as a way to create some year-round steady income on our farm as our out-

Here are some ways we enjoy eating shoots and sprouts: XX

Salads! You can make a salad entirely with sprouts and shoots, or mix them with other greens or shredded root vegetables.

XX

Fill sandwiches and wraps with sprouts and shoots to add more crunch and flavor.

XX

Blend mild flavored sprouts and shoots into a smoothie (my favorites for this are clover and sunflower).

XX

Bean sprouts and pea shoots can be lightly cooked in a stir-fry, added last minute to soups, or tossed into peanut noodles.

XX

Place your morning eggs on a bed of green shoots.

XX

Roll up some pea or radish shoots into your nori or spring rolls.

k i t c h e n

photo courtesy of Peace of earth farm

by Rebecca Beidler Peace of Earth Farm

door gardens and CSA slowly evolve. Shoots, sometimes called micro-greens, are seeds grown on soil in trays that are harvested at a small size for eating. Many shoots are harvested at the stage where their first leaves (cotyledons) appear. At Peace of Earth Farm we currently grow sunflower, pea, radish, and buckwheat shoots for sale. Each variety of shoot has its own distinct flavor, texture, and nutritional profile, much like the mature vegetable forms that most of us are familiar with. For example, radish shoots have a spicy radish flavor similar to the crunchy root they would become. Buckwheat has a slightly tart and lemony flavor, as it is in the same family as sorrel. Sprouts, for their part, are not grown on soil, but are simply germinated seeds allowed to grow to an optimal size, at which point they are eaten roots and all. Clover, mung beans, and lentils are sprouted in glass jars. Sprouts are well known for their high nutritional value. They represent a captured moment in a plant’s life when the nutrients and enzymes in a seed are unlocked and made available before the plant uses up its store of energy for its own growth. As a bonus, they also taste great. A predictable seeding and harvest schedule with a short growth period enables us to grow many shoots and sprouts in a small space while currently supplying 11 restaurant and store accounts, as well as a winter farmers’ market. (A list of retail outlets can be found at peaceofearthfarmalbany.wordpress.com/ sprouts-and-shoots/). We hope you can one day sample these powerhouses of nutrition and taste. Peace of Earth Farm is located in Albany. For more information about the farm’s CSA shares or sprouts and shoots, visit peaceofearthfarmalbany.wordpress.com. S u m m e r

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WEDNESDAY KARAOKE THURSDAY OPEN MIC 8 PM LIVE MUSIC FRIDAY & SATURDAY MON –FRI • 4 PM till 11PM SAT • 2PM till 11PM SUN • 2PM till CLOSE FULL MENU EVERYDAY AT 5 PM SEVEN DAYS A WEEK

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802– 869 – 4602 16 MAIN STREET SAXTONS RIVER

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Saturday, June 7

Strolling of the Heifers Parade 10am The world-famous agriculturally-themed Strolling of the Heifers Parade—10 a.m. sharp on Brattleboro’s historic Main Street; pre-parade entertainment from 9 a.m. When it’s over, follow the crowd to the all-day, 11-acre Slow Living Expo for food, music, dance, demonstrations, exhibitions, and fun, all related to our mission of sustaining family farms by connecting people with healthy local food. Downtown Brattleboro. strollingoftheheifers.com   380-0226

Cutting hay, Windsor County, Vermont; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, D.C.

Saturday, June 7

Trek to Taste 10am–3pm A celebration of trails, local food, and healthy living in Vermont’s only National Park property. Join us for guided walks starting at 10:30 am and noon or grab a map and venture out on your own. Choose from four different hike options, and along the way sample free, delicious, heart-healthy foods from local producers, including brick-oven pizza in the warming hut and fresh produce at the summit of Mount Tom. Family games, crafts, demonstrations, ice cream social, music, and more. Free event and food samples. Marsh-BillingsRockefeller National Historical Park , Woodstock. nps.gov/mabi   457-3368 x 18

Monday, June 9

Inventive Vermonters: A Sampling of Farm Tools and Implements 7pm Vermonters have always been inventive, especially when it comes to agricultural innovations. Time- and labor-saving inventions that ease the hard work of farming have always been important in our rural, agricultural state. In this illustrated lecture, retired engineer Paul Wood presents a sampling of farm tools, implements, and artifacts invented or produced in Vermont, examining their use, uniqueness of design, and the often-fascinating stories of the inventors themselves. Hosted by the Hardwick Historical Society. Hardwick Town House, 127 Church Street, Hardwick. 472-5903

Saturday, June 14

Rustic Trellis Workshop 10am–5pm In this one-day workshop at the Morrill Homestead you will take saplings and with simple joining techniques make an outdoor trellis. They may be as simple or as intricate as you choose and time allows. No woodworking experience is necessary. Presented by Mark Ragonese and the League of NH Craftsmen. $120, materials included. To reserve a place or for more information, call or email. Justin Morrill Homestead, 214 Justin Morrill Highway, Strafford. craftstudies@craftstudies.org   603-643-5384

Saturday, June 21

Promoting Pollinators in the Garden 10–11:30am This year, National Pollinator week is June 16 to 23. This informational session helps in the important mission of addressing the issue of declining pollinator populations. Learn about the best cultural practices, appropriate pollinator plants (including vegetables, flowers, herbs, and shrubs), and nesting requirements in your home garden and landscape to support native pollinators and honeybees. Enjoy local honey samples from Vermont beekeepers. Cost is $10. Register online. Red Wagon Plants, 2408 Shelburne Falls Road, Hinesburg. redwagonplants.com   482-4060

12th Annual Strawberry Festival 10am–3pm Cedar Circle Farm’s Annual Strawberry Festival offers entertainment for all ages, rain or shine. Ongoing activities include horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, theatrical performances, entertainment, strawberry picking, an organic good food concession, arts and crafts, displays, and self-guided tours. No pets please. All activities free, $10 fee for parking. Cedar Circle Farm & Education Center, 225 Pavillion Road, Thedford. cedarcirclefarm.org/events/festivals   802-785-4737

Friday, July 18 and Saturday, July 19

Vermont Brewers Festival A New England tradition for 22 years. A craft beer festival celebrating craft beer and the brewers who brew them. The third weekend in July at Burlington Waterfront Park with scenic views of Lake Champlain framed by the Adirondack mountain range. Located at Burlington’s Waterfront Park. Order tickets online. vtbrewfest.com

Monday, July 21

The Art of Fermentation—An Evening with Sandor Katz 7–9pm Join us for an evening of bubbly concoctions and an in-depth look into the world of friendly microbes with the fermentation revivalist himself—Sandor Katz! Learn about the healing qualities and nutritional importance of live-culture ferments, as well as their illustrious history and integral role in human evolution. You’ll also learn how simple it is to make your own healthful kimchi, kefir, and other fermented delicacies at home. Be part of the fermentation revival! $5, registration required. Shelburne Farms, Shelburne. shelburnefarms.org   985-8686

Friday, July 25 through Sunday, August 3

Vermont's Deerfield Valley Blueberry Festival Visitors to the Valley will find children’s activities, jam making, blueberry themed specials in the local eateries, blue music events, a blue car auto show, blueberry bake sales, and blue beer. There will be many events during this 10-day festival. vermontblueberry.com   464-8092

Friday, July 25 through Sunday, July 27

Lamoille County Field Days 10am–4pm Lamoille County Field Days is a traditional agricultural fair held over three days, usually at the end of July in Johnson, VT, where they are celebrating their 52nd year of this fun and historical event! Lamoille County Field Days Fair Grounds, 203 Wilson Road, Johnson. lamoillefielddays.com   635-7113

Friday, August 15

A Sense of Place: Vermont’s Farm Legacy 4pm The character of a place is shaped by its cultural heritage and folklife, the informal traditions of family and community that guide the ways in which a person plans a meal, treats a neighbor, or understands civic responsibility. In Vermont, the cultural legacy of farming has strongly influenced the identity of Vermonters, and it is these distinctive traditions, which have persisted even with the decline in farm numbers, that help make the state unique. This lecture by Gregory Sharrow explores the fabric of farm culture in the past and probes its relationship to the world of Vermont today. Hosted by the Landgrove Meetinghouse. Landgrove Meetinghouse, 88 Landgrove Road, Landgrove. 824-6867

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C A L E N D A R

Sunday, June 29


• CheCk out our new website! Morrisonsonsfeeds.coM • order online and get a pallet of bagged grain shipped direCtly to your fArM. A full-service auction company, Sharon Boccelli & Company is a trusted name in the antiques trade, with over 30 years experience buying, selling and appraising antiques and collectibles. Whether you need a complete estate liquidation, appraisals for probate or insurance, or to sell individual pieces, your needs will be handled professionally and promptly by our experienced staff. Call us for a free site visit. Visit our website for upcoming auctions.

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Rural Needs From A To Z

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R. B. Erskine, Inc. Grain & Supplies Chester Depot, VT

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A...Animal Health Needs B...Bulk Seed: Garden, Pasture, Lawn C...Cow Pots, 3” & 4” D...Drip Irrigation & Drainage E...Electric Fencing F....Fence Panels: ¼” wire, 16’, 4 styles G...Good Garden Tools Galore H...High Mowing Seeds: $2.50 I....IPM pest control J....Jiffy Pots & Jolly Balls K...Kids Boots & Gloves L....LEADER EVAPORATOR Dealer M...METALBESTOS Chimney N...Neptune’s Harvest Fertilizers O...Organic Feeds & Fertilizers P....Plumbing Supplies Q...Quality Hand Tools R...Row Cover, Roof Rakes & Rosin S....Seeding Supplies & Shedding Tools T...Tanks, Tubs, & Totes U...UVM Soil Test Kits V...Vermont Made Products W...Wire, Welded & Woven, All Sizes X...Xtra Service Y....Yard Hydrants & Parts Z....Ziegler Trout Food Good Service. Everyday Low Prices. Much, Much More

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EDEN SPARKLING DRY CIDER Barrel-fermented, bottle conditioned, naturally sparkling Made with real cider variety apples, 100% locally grown Available at fine restaurants and stores

Eden Ice Cider Company, Newport Vermont www.edenicecider.com

Best Vermont Cider 2013 Seven Days “The Year in Liquids”


The Rock and Hammer Crafters of Fine Jewelry Precious Metals & Gemstones Custom Design Watch and Jewelry Repair Unique Hand Crafted Gifts 26 Square - Bellows Falls 802-463-2289 auknight@sover.net

www.therockandhammer.com

b i s t r o A book is a garden, an orchard, a storehouse, a party, a company by the way, a counsellor, a multitude of counsellors. ~Henry Ward Beecher

handcraf ted fare featuring organic ingredients and meat and poultry from humane and local farms

The Book Nook — proudly feeding the mind since 2006.

136 Main Street, Ludlow VT 05149 • 802–228–3238 thebooknookvt@hotmail.com • thebooknookvt.com

Cedar Circle Farm East Thetford, Vermont • 802.785.4737

3239 Route 30 – Dorset Village, VT – 802-231-2530

www.miobistro.net

Farmstand Mon-Sat 10–6, Sun 10–5 Coffee Shop Daily 8–5

organic veggies, flowers, hanging baskets, bedding plants, treats from our kitchen... PYO berries • Strawberries (mid-June), Blueberries ( July) Father’s Day Berry Brunch • Sun, June 15 • 10–12 12th Annual Strawberry Festival • Sun, June 29 • 10–3 Gardening & Cooking Classes throughout the season

cedarcirclefarm.org

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LAST MORSEL

A Vermont Pasture You have to work your tillage land And mow and hoe and plow it, But as for pasture, all you do Is jest to sheep or cow it; And you can walk jest where you please, Instead of ‘round the edges, And Sunday you can go and set Upon the pasture ledges.

At last you’re there—you see your house And barn, and both your medders, And ‘way off north the other farm You rent to Elmer Cheddars; You feel as fine as temperance tots Who’ve jest signed six more pledges— The world, By Gol! is quite a place From Bagley’s pasture ledges.

I’ve seen a lot of right good folks Whose names I ain’t repeating, Go through the bars on Sunday morn, Instead of off to meeting; And when a preacher hits too hard With his dogmatic sledges, You might be saved if you should spend A Sunday on the ledges.

Your wife and boy are both along, And whilst you’ve been a-looking They’ve fixed it so you’ll all go snacks On mother’s put-up cooking; By George! that razberry pie is good, Them great, big, bleeding wedges, You don’t feel wicked, none of you, For being on the ledges.

You cross the brook on stepping stones You’ve hauled from out the mowing; You own the stones and own the brook, Although it keeps agoing; Then past the logged-off piece you climb, That’s fenced with blackberry hedges, And then you sight the butnut tree, And up beyond, the ledges.

You stand up straight and give a stretch, And then go ‘round by mother, And quote from Waldo or from Walt Some outdoor truth or other; You’re jest as full of nature thoughts As England is of hedges— Thoreau, he loved the woods of Maine, But Bagley loves his ledges.

Daniel Leavens Cady, B.A., L.H.D., Litt. D. (b. 10 March 1861, West Windsor, VT; d. 1 April 1934, Burlington, VT) was referred to as the “Poet Laureate of Vermont” and “The Unique Poet.”

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My! such a peaceful fambly day, It makes you Congos Quakers; You can’t have no such day as that On top of tillage acres; It beats a day on Woodstock Green, Or ‘mongst the Highgate sedges; There ain’t no day that’s like a day Upon your pasture ledges.

photo of the pasture ledges at Twig Farm, West Cornwall, Vermont; by Michael Claypool

(Published 1922) DANIEL LEAVENS CADY


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Right next to Harpoon Brewery in Windsor’s Artisanal Park With your wine, enjoy sampling Premium Vermont Cheeses

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Inside Sustainable Farmer Vermont Specialty Foods 71 Artisans Way, Windsor, VT 05089 (802) 387-5925

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RTE 9 WEST BRATTLEBORO, VERMONT (802)254-8399 WWW.CHELSEAROYALDINER.COM OPEN DAILY 5:30AM—9PM

ROYAL ICE CREAM STAND IS OPEN!

Ice cream made from scratch using fresh cream from St Albans Creamery Daily Featured Flavors! Serving Grass-fed Burgers, Garden Salads, house smoked BBQ Pulled Pork & more!

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EASY-PEASY PICNICS

LOOK TO HEALTHY LIVING FOR YOUR PICNIC & BBQ NEEDS! From terrific house-made salads, grab-and-go sandwiches and our Bake Shop's fresh pastries, we've got everything you want to stock your basket. 222 DORSET STREET, SOUTH BURLINGTON 802.863.2569 • HEALTHYLIVINGMARKET.COM

At Sojourns Community Health Clinic we believe: Our bodies are ecosystems not chemistry sets © Healthy environments and good food are cornerstones of healing. 4923 US Route 5, Westminster, VT 802–722–4023 www.sojourns.org


Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine Summer 2014