• Publishers' Note Fall 2010

    Publishers' Note Fall 2010

    When we think of what a traditional Thanksgiving might have looked like, many of us may conjure up images of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting around a communal table enjoying a shared harvest meal. We’re not sure who fabricated this idealized scenario, but even though it lingers with us to this day, its likelihood is doubtful. Actually, it was Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, as a way to raise people’s spirits during the long Civil War.

    Continue Reading

  • Squeezing Out Some Sunshine

    Squeezing Out Some Sunshine

    Many of our food plants have a rich and fascinating history, but few are as utterly loveable as the sunflower. These plants actually seem to have a personality and are often described as smiling faces or nodding heads. A field of them is a bit like a gathered crowd. Beautiful and artsy when in bloom, tastefully useful when gone to seed, and surrounded by an aura of cheerfulness and childlike playfulness—sunflowers are pretty easy to love.

    Continue Reading

  • Pick Your Own...

    Pick Your Own...

    The road leading to Dwight Miller & Son Orchards in Dummerston is far off the beaten path. For decades, visitors have driven down the road on crisp, fall days to spend time picking Golden Delicious, Cortland, Empire, and Macoun apples from trees that date back to the late 1800s. They’ve gone to this orchard—one of Vermont’s oldest—to pick for themselves, or maybe for their families or friends.

    Continue Reading

  • Set the Table with Nuts

    Set the Table with Nuts

    The case for local nuts. No, I’m not talking about your odd mother-in-law, your bizarre ex-boyfriend, or that whacko who expresses herself, extensively, at town meeting. And I don’t mean aficionados or extremely enthusiastic people. I mean those portable nuggets of nutrition, held aloft by tree limbs. A nut, technically speaking, is a big seed enclosed by a hard shell. And even though you’re now fantasizing about almond and macadamia instead of weirdo and diehard, I’m here to tell you about what nuts we can grow in Vermont, and why.

    Continue Reading

  • Cookbooks, Culture,  and Community

    Cookbooks, Culture, and Community

    The case for local nuts. No, I’m not talking about your odd mother-in-law, your bizarre ex-boyfriend, or that whacko who expresses herself, extensively, at town meeting. And I don’t mean aficionados or extremely enthusiastic people. I mean those portable nuggets of nutrition, held aloft by tree limbs. A nut, technically speaking, is a big seed enclosed by a hard shell. And even though you’re now fantasizing about almond and macadamia instead of weirdo and diehard, I’m here to tell you about what nuts we can grow in Vermont, and why.

    Continue Reading

  • The Spirit of  Thanksgiving Past

    The Spirit of Thanksgiving Past

    When Vermont families sat down to Thanksgiving spreads a hundred years ago, their turkeys were a whole different animal. Quite literally. They were beautiful birds whose radiant feathers displayed hues of deep reddish brown, bronze, pure white, iridescent charcoal, or houndstooth patterns of black and white. Mobile and small, they were very distant cousins to the huge, white turkeys that fill supermarket coolers today.

    Continue Reading

  • PYO Apples

    PYO Apples

    What better fun on a cool fall day than to head out and pick your own apples! Here's a listing of orchards to visit.

    Continue Reading

  • Post Oil Solutions at Five Years

    Post Oil Solutions at Five Years

    A strong regional food system—one in which the people of a region are participating in their own food production in both sustaining and sustainable ways—is community based. As much as this system grows food, it grows people, encouraging relationships of collaboration and mutual aid, respect and care. No longer at war with nature and each other, unburdened by that ancient power relationship of us over them, and having given up the self-destructive effort to control life, people actively work with life in a community-based food system. In this way, they practice “relational agriculture,” building the social fabric that leads to a truly sustainable food system for all.

    Continue Reading

  • Farmers' Kitchen—Rabbit Revival

    Farmers' Kitchen—Rabbit Revival

    Rabbits, they say, are the new chicken. They’re small, fast growing, feed efficiently, and are lower in fat and higher in protein than any other meat, yet you don’t see them much on Vermont farms. Why is that? The few rabbits raised in Vermont are literally out of sight, as in raised indoors, tightly caged and strictly dieted. That method didn’t suit our style of farming, so when we started with rabbits we raised them in chicken tractors, moving them to fresh grass twice daily. (Pasturing rabbits increases the omega fats in their meat.) But even though they were outdoors and on pasture, we still weren’t satisfied.

    Continue Reading

  • Last Morsel—On Potlucks

    Last Morsel—On Potlucks

    I realize that the potluck is the quintessential Vermont meal: Yankee frugality combined with communal creativity. When my partner and I combined households and invited everyone we knew to celebrate with us, there was no way we were going to cook for 75 people. Friends brought spinach dip, chocolate chip cookies, and strawberries straight from their garden. That was the best kind of potluck—not just because we saved ourselves a whole lot of money and labor, but because everyone brought a little bit of their home to christen ours.

    Continue Reading

  • Spare the Turkeys

    Spare the Turkeys

    We asked our readers for Thanksgiving menu suggestions. Pat McGovern from the Upper Valley Localvores responded with this turkeyless feast. Here's a way to celebrate the harvest and give thanks and make a few turkeys happy at the same time.

    Continue Reading

Publishers' Note Fall 2010

scarecrow

Written on

September 01 , 2010

When we think of what a traditional Thanksgiving might have looked like, many of us may conjure up images of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting around a communal table enjoying a shared harvest meal. We’re not sure who fabricated this idealized scenario, but even though it lingers with us to this day, its likelihood is doubtful. Actually, it was Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, as a way to raise people’s spirits during the long Civil War.

Our traditions provide us with continuity, a way to pass on practices from one generation to the next. But traditions shouldn’t be static—they should evolve with time and place. For this reason, we’ve begun to wonder what a truly local Thanksgiving in Vermont would look like. With all the small local farms in our state, and so many Vermonters eager to think up and share 100 percent local recipes with each other, maybe it’s time for a holiday redesign—Thanksgiving 2.0.

In Vermont, we are fortunate to have access to many types of local meat. In place of a turkey, one could bake a local ham with roasted apples (picked from a local orchard—see PYO Apples) or prepare a rabbit pot pie (Farmers' Kitchen). The state that was known as the breadbasket of New England is once again growing grain, so grain risotto made with wheat berries and wild mushrooms could grace any table, replacing standard old stuffing. Or you could feast on scalloped celeriac and potatoes instead of whatever standard vegetable you serve (and if you visit our Fall 2008 issue online, you can find the recipe).

If you just can’t envision Thanksgiving without a turkey, though, we have a great recipe in this issue for roasting a heritage breed (see page 17). When Abe Lincoln sat down to his holiday table, he undoubtedly would have feasted on a breed of turkey similar to the Standard Bronze or White Holland. These old breeds are now being raised at Applecheek Farm in Hyde Park (see page 16) and on other farms in Vermont. And if you can’t do without your sweet potatoes, there’s a farm we know of, Fertile Fields Farm just outside of Brattleboro, that is creating a real niche by growing sweet potatoes.

We could go on and on with suggestions, but the idea is to think about this holiday in a new way, to push the envelope, see the potential that local Vermont agriculture can provide, and discover the myriad possibilities. This fall, celebrate all the delicious and diverse foods that our local farmers and food producers bring to market and think outside the “traditional” Thanksgiving box. In the process, you might just create a new tradition for your friends and family.

Meg Lucas
Barbi Schreiber

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

What we do

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.

Connect

Sign up for quarterly notifications and issue highlights.
Please wait