• Editor's Note Summer 2017

    Editor's Note Summer 2017

    Greetings!

    With this issue, I am stepping into the position of editor here at Local Banquet. Before I “retired” and moved from Maryland to Vermont I published a monthly called Baltimore Eats.

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  • Make It a Wild Summer

    Make It a Wild Summer

    For wildcrafters and other wild food junkies summer is time for the “main course,” when a treasure chest of rich, green, jeweled wild plants adorn the landscape. Wildcrafting is simply the “art” of collecting wild plants for food or medicine, and many common “weeds” are not only delicious and nutritious, but also offer a plethora of internal and external medicines.

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  • Set the Table with Butternuts

    Set the Table with Butternuts

    The first appearance of their sticky, lemon-shape green husks marked the end of summer when I was growing up, so the annual harvest of butternuts was oh so bittersweet.

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  • “Big Bertha”

    “Big Bertha”

    Anaerobic digesters (ADs) have been sprouting up on Vermont landfills and farms over the past 10–15 years, with a few even older. In an AD, microbes that can function without oxygen break down organic materials such as animal manure and food wastes, producing “biogas” in the process.

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  • All Souls Tortilleria

    All Souls Tortilleria

    On one wall of All Souls Tortilleria, a whiteboard is filled with the week’s open orders. Fresh-that-day masa; tortillas for Burlington’s El Cortijo and City Market; Mad Taco in Waitsfield and Montpelier; and bulk masa for Gracie’s Tamales of Waitsfield are among the list of regular accounts.

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  • Vermont Preserves Unusual Breeds

    Vermont Preserves Unusual Breeds

    As the major breeds of animals in agriculture become ever more populous, farmers are increasingly aware of the genetic peril we face when we rely on just a few highly specialized breeds of a handful of species.

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  • Q & A with  Lt. Governor David Zuckerman

    Q & A with Lt. Governor David Zuckerman

    David Zuckerman is the 81st lieutenant governor of Vermont, and is the first member of the Vermont Progressive Party to hold a statewide office. He is also a farmer.

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  • How To Be a Knife Ninja

    How To Be a Knife Ninja

    “How many here are knife ninjas?” After a pause, two or three hands creep up in the small crowd of flannel- and Carhart-clad students. This group from Green Mountain College is a bit shy, but definitely interested. “Great! How about you?”

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  • Last Morsel—When Worlds Collide

    Last Morsel—When Worlds Collide

    I butchered three sheep today. What does this mean to me as a man educated in liberal arts at Middlebury?

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Farmers' Kitchen—Cooking Up Some Black Magic

Black Garlic

Written on

May 15 , 2017

I started working in organic farming in 1971, and in 1971 I planted my first garlic crop! Since those early days, the size of the crop has grown and now we plant about 20,000 bulbs a year. That’s about three-quarters of an acre of garlic. I noticed a reference to “black garlic” in one of the professional Garlic Growers groups on Facebook last summer and was curious. I wrote to the grower for more information and also did a little research on my own.

It’s called black garlic because it becomes matte black; looks almost like charcoal. The color change is caused by the combination of sugars and amino acids through a process known as the Maillard reaction, which produces a brown-black polymer called melanoidan. Gradually the melanoidan turns the cloves a deep brown and black.

This is much different than just a roasted garlic; without the proper equipment, it’s very hard to duplicate. We purchased a professional fermentation cooker. Made in China, they’re programmed to cook the garlic at a high humidity for 288 hours at around 144 0F, raising and lowering the temperature at various intervals to allow the process to occur. The gradual breakdown of the sugars produces a radically different tasting and textured garlic. It has a deep umami flavor, very mellow, slightly sweet, with a hint of chocolate and molasses. It’s soft and buttery when fresh, almost jelly-like. You can add it to soups, use it in stir frys, and spread it on grilled meats.

My favorite way, and the one I use to introduce it to people who have never tasted it, is probably the simplest: a fresh, chewy baguette and a ripe slice of brie with a little schmear of garlic on the bread. I also like to just snack on a clove or two. And oh—no garlic breath! Really doesn’t taste like garlic at all.

When you eat black garlic, if your eyes don’t light up and you don’t start breathing heavily, better call a doctor because death is near. It’s that good.

I think we are the only source for organic black garlic in the region. We’ll start producing once the 2017 crop is harvested; it will be available at: the Putney Food Co-op, the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, the Brattleboro Food Co-op, River Valley in North Hampton, MA, the Berkshire Food Co-op, and Guido’s Marketplace in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, MA. It’s been served at some of the better restaurants in the area too, like the Gleanery in Putney and Burdick’s in Walpole, NH.

You can also stop by, say “hi,” and pick it up from us at the Brattleboro Farmers Market on Route 9 in West Brattleboro, every Saturday from 9am–2pm. Or come by our farm stand at 742 Westminster West Road. Restaurants and chefs can contact us directly via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our website is highmeadowsfarm.com and you can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/vermontorganic.

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

Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine illuminates the connections between local food and Vermont communities. Our stories, interviews, and essays reveal how Vermont residents are building their local food systems, how farmers are faring in a time of great opportunity and challenge, and how Vermont’s agricultural landscape is changing as the localvore movement shapes what is grown and raised here.

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Home Farmers' Kitchen—Cooking Up Some Black Magic