• Editor's Note Summer 2009

    Editor's Note Summer 2009

    Anyone who has walked across the Vermont State House lawn in Montpelier knows it is different from any other lawn in the state. A wooden statue reputed to be Ceres, the Greek goddess of agriculture, stares down from the State House dome, appearing to sow seeds on the grass. A marble Ethan Allen standing at the State House door glares with fiery eyes at all who pass. A stately walkway guides visitors to an imposing granite building where important (and sometimes infuriating) decisions are made. No other place in Vermont feels so formal and heavy with history.

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  • Backyard Poultry

    Backyard Poultry

    Chickens are the new black. Like many things once associated with poverty and largely left behind when industrial goods became impossibly cheap (whole wheat bread, hand-knit sweaters, walking to work), backyard poultry has become fashionable. People want to save money and to feel more connected to the source of their food. And if there’s one sure way to feel connected to something, it’s by having to constantly feed it and clean up its poop. Ask any parent.

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  • Drink Local

    Drink Local

    My husband and I love beer. We used to be wine drinkers, until we discovered that a well-chosen beer actually pairs better with most of our meals than wine. He was also a homebrewer for years (my job was capping the bottles) until his recent recruitment into the ranks of the professional brewers at Otter Creek Brewing in Middlebury.

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  • One Acre Grows a Long Way

    One Acre Grows a Long Way

    Here are some facts about an acre. It is 43,560 square feet. It’s about 40 percent of a hectare, the metric system’s equivalent of an acre. It can be estimated by picturing a football field without the end zones. Most U.S. agricultural production takes place on a much, much grander scale—an average of 440 acres, to be exact—but to many Americans, having even a single acre of productive land seems like a pretty good deal.

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  • Grocery Stores Taking Stock  of Local Foods

    Grocery Stores Taking Stock of Local Foods

    Pyramids of green apples and red tomatoes elbow each other for space. Not far away is the deli, where wedges of cheese mingle with lunch meat and sliced bread. Shoppers meander through aisles of canned soup and boxed cereal, and navigate a maze of produce and dairy. The lights are bright but not overly so. This is, of course, a supermarket, and the size and ambience of these chain grocery stores is the opposite of what you find at small neighborhood farmers’ markets, where Vermonters tend to shop for locally produced food.

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  • A Harvest Wedding

    A Harvest Wedding

    Bowls overflowing with local blueberries, plates of Neighborly Farms and Jasper Hill cheese, fresh bread made by Red Hen Bakery, plus sunflowers from Gardens at Seven Gables (Barre) and Fool’s Farm Flowers (Hardwick) lining the path to a clearing filled with family, friends, and—at the end of the grassy aisle—each other (and our dog, Ella). This is how we remember our wedding day last year. After a very rainy July, the land around us was bursting with green beans, red peppers, purple delphinium, and green hillsides as far as the eye could see.

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  • Rutland Area Farm & Food Link

    Rutland Area Farm & Food Link

    What started out as an economic analysis of agriculture in Rutland County has become a movement to preserve and grow a sustainable food system. More than five years ago, as an employee of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, India Burnett Farmer collected a group of people passionate about agriculture in the area to get a read on the industry. At the time, a pervasive melancholy attitude about the future of farming in the Rutland area had settled into the soil.

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  • Farming & Feasting with the Robinsons: Summer

    Farming & Feasting with the Robinsons: Summer

    When George Gershwin wrote “Summertime, and the living is easy...” one gets the impression he wasn’t really thinking of the farming population. In the words of Ann Robinson Minturn in August 1862, “there be those whose souls rejoice in the yellowness of their butter, the whiteness of their bread, and the exceeding cleanliness of their houses... to sit with the hands folded is an abomination–and such women should I think be farmers wives.”

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—Goat Goodies

    Farmers' Kitchen—Goat Goodies

    People often ask us how many calories are in our goat milk caramel. My answer is none. Which is a complete and total lie, but I figure if you’re going to eat it you probably don’t want to know the exact number of calories in it. What you might want to know instead is that the caramel is made from fresh goat milk produced on my family’s small farm in Brookfield. We take care of a goat herd of 50 fiercely independent and utterly adorable goats. We milk 22 does and have a family of babies, bucks, and teenagers who complete the herd.

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  • Last Morsel—Visionary “food policy”

    Last Morsel—Visionary “food policy”

    Back in 1988, the 6th grade class at Main Street Middle School in Montpelier worked on a visionary “food policy” for their city. With the help of folks at Food Works, a nonprofit that connects children and communities to local food sources, the students produced a document that included this final page. It shows that long before today’s local food movement, Vermont children were envisioning a food-centered future.

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A Harvest Wedding

Sarah Adelman and Robb Kidd

Written By

Sarah Adelman and Robb Kidd

Written on

June 01 , 2009

Bowls overflowing with local blueberries, plates of Neighborly Farms and Jasper Hill cheese, fresh bread made by Red Hen Bakery, plus sunflowers from Gardens at Seven Gables (Barre) and Fool’s Farm Flowers (Hardwick) lining the path to a clearing filled with family, friends, and—at the end of the grassy aisle—each other (and our dog, Ella). This is how we remember our wedding day last year. After a very rainy July, the land around us was bursting with green beans, red peppers, purple delphinium, and green hillsides as far as the eye could see.

Our wedding was about our love and commitment to each other, but it was also about our love and commitment to our neighbors, our community. Although we invited friends and family from near and far to celebrate our wedding day, we also knew that a lifelong relationship would require the support of the central Vermont community we have made our home. So we thought one of the best ways to bring that community into our wedding was to offer a menu made up almost exclusively of local food. For us, a commitment to local food is one of our core values, so our wedding was a perfect way to share this value with others. 
As those who are already married know, planning a wedding to accommodate all your friends and family is not an easy task to handle. Most of your guests need to eat, drink, and use the bathroom at some point during your wedding day. In addition to these “basics,” most guests will want to sit in chairs at tables and eat off plates using actual silverware. Then there are the other ingredients that contribute to a festive atmosphere, including flowers, music, and other decorations. It’s easy to get bogged down in the day’s details and to lose sight of the big picture.

The fact that our wedding date coincided with peak harvest season made our localvore wedding a realistic goal. Think “mid-August farmers’ market in Vermont” and the word abundance probably comes to mind. Tomatoes ripen almost faster than they can be picked. There are plenty of salad greens. Blueberry bushes are bursting. Mention that you’re in the market for zucchini and gardeners will come with basketfuls of squash to your house. No wonder we picked August 16 as our wedding date!

While we both enjoy cooking, we knew that attempting to coordinate or prepare all the food for our wedding had the potential for an unhappy ending. We needed a caterer. As the planning ensued, everything led us to our favorite Montpelier restaurant, Kismet. At the time, Kismet had been open for only about a year, but knowing the superb quality and the owners’ commitment to using local foods, we didn’t need to be sold.

One of the great features of Kismet’s catering is that you can contribute your own food sources to the menu, whether it be your own salad greens or, as in our case, poultry from a particular farm. Robb is a former vegetarian who now only eats poultry raised by farmers he knows. Fortunately, our wedding site was in Waitsfield, within one mile of our favorite poultry-producing farm, Gaylord Farm.

Thanks to the “Chicken Bill,” our Kismet-catered menu could include chicken from Gaylord Farm. The Chicken Bill, as it’s informally known, passed in the Vermont legislature in 2007 with the help of the advocacy group Rural Vermont, as a reaction to the inability of Hadley Gaylord to sell his uninspected chicken to his neighbor, George Schenk of American Flatbread. The bill allows poultry farmers with 1,000 birds or less to sell directly to consumers, caterers, and restaurants without costly state inspection. In addition to allowing Kismet to buy from Hadley, The Common Man restaurant in Warren, at our request, was able to use Gaylord Farm products for the rehearsal dinner. Our guests were able to taste the difference. We even told them on the directions to our wedding that the farm they were passing on their way to our wedding site was where the day’s chicken would be from.

With the poultry for our dinner secured, Kismet handled everything from there. They prepared a delicious meal that included Vermont Soy tofu and accompaniments of locally harvested vegetables. The cocktail hour cheese spread had full descriptions of where each cheese producer was located. And to top it off, we ended with delicious strawberry rhubarb pie made by Tom Gardner at the Featherbed Inn of Waitsfield, accompanied by Strafford Organic Ice Cream (maple and chocolate). As we write this, nearly a year has passed and friends and family are still commenting on the food.

We also supported the community we love by hiring a local band, the Dave Keller Band, and even a local bartender (Scott Kerner) from The Black Door, a Montpelier bar that we frequent. Sarah’s dress was made by a local seamstress, Ava Bishop. Our rings were local, too, thanks to the delicate craftsmanship of jeweler Tossy Garrett of Storm & Sunrise in Northfield. Barely a day goes by when we do not run into someone connected to our wedding, whether it is Dave Keller with his kids or Scott at his new Montpelier bar, the Three Penny Taproom. Our continued relationship with these people who made our wedding possible is a reminder that a marriage is about more than just two people.

As our anniversary approaches, we are frequently reminded of why we choose to live in Vermont, and why we were married here. We are fortunate to be blessed with the natural abundance of the surrounding working landscape, although we realize it needs support from people like us to maintain its vibrancy. Two comments struck us on our wedding day. One was from our friend Amy, who said, “You two really live your life as you preach.” Another was from our friend Dylan: “You guys made a political statement with your wedding.” Those words resonate with us still. We realize that living this way may be difficult for some but not for us, because this is how we choose to live our life—with friends, family, and community.

Photo: Lavigne Photography www.lavignephoto.com.

About the Author

Sarah Adelman and Robb Kidd

Sarah Adelman and Robb Kidd

Sarah Adelman attended Marlboro College, then taught elementary school in New Jersey. After she and Robb met there, Robb eagerly agreed to move to Vermont. The two now live in Montpelier with their dog Ella. Sarah works as a substitute teacher and enjoys knitting and gardening. Robb graduated from Vermont Law School last summer with a master’s degree in environmental law and policy and has worked for a number of Vermont organizations that promote local business and sustainable agriculture.

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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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