• Reflections of a Restaurateur | Part 1

    Reflections of a Restaurateur | Part 1

    As I walk toward the table, the customers—a 50-something couple—are deep in conversation. The woman, with wavy, silver hair, turns away from her companion to spread softened butter on a roll and sprinkle on a pinch of smoked sea salt, noticing my approach as she does.

    “I came to tell you a little more about our menu,” I explain, gesturing to a large chalkboard on the wall. It’s covered in cursive that sometimes slopes down at the end of the line and is smudged in places.

    Continue Reading

  • Vermont Heirlooms

    Vermont Heirlooms

    My plan was to write an interesting story about a few vegetables that have a Vermont heritage—that is, they were grown in Vermont over many years or were thought to have first been developed commercially by Vermont farmers or breeders. I was thinking of Gilfeather® turnips, Green Mountain potatoes, Chester beans, and Roy’s Calais Flint corn, as examples.

    Little did I realize, however, how murky these waters would be.

    Continue Reading

  • Publishers' Note Spring 2012

    Publishers' Note Spring 2012

    It’s hard for us to believe that this is our 20th issue! When we started publishing Vermont’s Local Banquet in 2007, “locavore” (without the “l”which is a Northeast addition) was the New Oxford American Dictionary’s word of the year. Folks were holding “localvore challenges” to learn how to eat locally, and there was lots of talk about food being essential to surviving in a “post-oil” world. Today, eating locally is commonplace for many people, but these were among the first steps Vermonters took toward recognizing the fundamental shifts taking place on our finite planet.

    Continue Reading

  • Be Square

    Be Square

    Three years ago I converted my front lawn into a garden plot. But it wasn’t your typical garden with rows of vegetables planted side by side. Instead, it was a garden of 12 raised beds that were divided into a bunch of square-foot plots, each one easy to plant and manage. I know it sounds counterintuitive—gardening is supposed to be hard work—but I am a fan of the simple method of square-foot gardening, which doesn’t refer to the size of your garden or the size of the beds, but to the method of preparing, planting, and maintaining a garden made up of square-foot grids.

    Continue Reading

  • Out of the Ashes

    Out of the Ashes

    Salt, spices, and baking soda: these culinary staples posed a major challenge to Upper Valley localvores attempting our first 100-Mile Diet Challenge in August 2005. Such products couldn’t be found locally. The closest salt works were in Maine, just beyond our 100-mile radius. We had access to local herbs but few spices. And we wondered: just what is baking soda?

    Continue Reading

  • Set the Table with Fennel

    Set the Table with Fennel

    One of my favorite things about fennel is how there are so many different edible parts of the plant and how tasty they all seem to be. The bulb is what most folks think of when they think of cooking with fennel, but the seeds (which, interestingly, aren’t actually seeds, but dried up little fruits) are used around the world. Europeans, who first cultivated the fennel plant, include the seeds in Italian sausage. Middle Easterners use it in dukkah (a spice blend seasoning). Indians will often use it in chai. And Chinese five-spice powder is used across the nation (theirs and ours).

    Continue Reading

  • Food Sovereignty, Food as Community

    Food Sovereignty, Food as Community

    Every year my wife and I get inquiries from people who want us to provide them with products that are raised and processed the way we do it for ourselves on our farm in Bethel. They want raw food, unadulterated food, food that comes in its natural form, its most basic form, or that is processed in traditional ways—the kind of food people have been providing to each other for eons. They also want to take part in our farm, to participate in the story of our farm—and to become characters in their own food story. Food that has a story that people want to be a part of connects them to life, land, and their community.

    Continue Reading

  • The Wow of Wagyu

    The Wow of Wagyu

    On an early January morning in Springfield, the snow-covered pastures of Spring-Rock Farm sparkle in the sun and a small herd of cattle dot the fields like black velvet buttons. From a distance, it’s hard to tell that these animals are anything out of the ordinary.

    Continue Reading

Claire Fitts Georges

Claire Fitts Georges

Claire Fitts Georges is the owner of Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, a mom of two wee ones, and a recipe developer in Montpelier.

Check out her recipe blog at Goodgrub.ButterflyBakeryVT.com.

Set the Table with Local Meat for a Crowd

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | August 19, 2013

Chicken

When you’re committed to eating humanely raised, local meat and you’re getting some friends together for some good eats, chances are you’re not going to throw 15 $20 steaks on your backyard barbecue. We all might like to pretend that we just won the lottery, but it’s no easy feat to blow a whole paycheck serving humane, sustainable food to our nearest and dearest.

Set the Table with Garlic Scapes

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | July 03, 2013

Garlic

Garlic scapes are one of those totally edible and delicious things that most people don’t even know exist. Every spring, hardneck varieties of garlic (having overwintered but not ready to harvest until July) send up a curlycue stem with a bulbil up top. The bulbil is sort of a mini bulb that can grow new garlic in a couple years or just be eaten like garlic right now.

  • Time: 20 minutes prep; 20 bake minutes
  • Complexity: medium

Garlic Scape Meatballs

Garlic

I have made many variations on the meatball theme, of which this is one of my favorites. Original recipe by Claire Fitts.

  • Time: 20 minutes prep
  • Complexity: easy

Mustard Butter

Mustard

Use this butter as a bread spread, in potato dishes, on fish, or in any savory butter place. Original recipe by Claire Fitts.

  • Time: 20 minutes prep; 2 hours rise
  • Complexity: medium

Garlic Scape English Muffins

Garlic

When toasted these muffins fill the kitchen with a lovely mellow garlic scent. Original recipe by Claire Fitts.

  • Time: 10 minutes prep
  • Complexity: very easy

Scape Sauce

Scape

My favorite use for large quantities of scapes is scape sauce. This is just like hot sauce, but with all of the flavor and none of the heat. The vinegar means that this keeps for ages, so you can mason jar this goodness and use it all winter. I love to put it on my eggs, in my potato salad, in salad dressing, or just anywhere I would put hot sauce. Original recipe by Claire Fitts.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 25 minutes to bake
  • Complexity: medium

Blue Cheese Jalapeño Cornmeal Scone

Blue

The first recipe I wanted to work on was a cornmeal scone. The scone I make at Butterfly Bakery is made with rough-cut rolled oats and I always thought that cornmeal would work well in its stead.

The Development of a Recipe

and a Recipe Developer

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | April 10, 2013

Claire

When I entered college I planned on being a computer programmer, but by the time graduation rolled around, plans had changed. My baking hobby was fast becoming a professional interest, and while it might not seem like a clear path from computer science and applied math major to choosing a career in baking and recipe development, both interests make good use of my logical brain that likes to play. I spent a couple of years working in other kitchens before I got the nerve to start Butterfly Bakery of Vermont, and I love the repetitive day in, day out of the wholesale baking gig. But my recipe development gives me some room to play without having to create and maintain whole new product lines for stores.

Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | April 03, 2013

Artesheady

While Vermonters know that maple flows well beyond the breakfast table, we don’t regularly take it behind the bar. So when, at the request of Local Banquet, I started on the quest of tippling the tree, I had some good starting points, but mostly got to invent. Some of the creations were immediately delicious, while others needed to stick to their day jobs.

  • Time: 5 minutes prep
  • Complexity: easy

Fennel Frond Miso Salad Dressing

Fennel

Here's a delightfull recipe for salad dressing. Have fun and experiment and you’ll surely create something delicious.

Set the Table with Fennel

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | June 01, 2012

fennel

One of my favorite things about fennel is how there are so many different edible parts of the plant and how tasty they all seem to be. The bulb is what most folks think of when they think of cooking with fennel, but the seeds (which, interestingly, aren’t actually seeds, but dried up little fruits) are used around the world. Europeans, who first cultivated the fennel plant, include the seeds in Italian sausage. Middle Easterners use it in dukkah (a spice blend seasoning). Indians will often use it in chai. And Chinese five-spice powder is used across the nation (theirs and ours).

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 60 minutes to bake
  • Complexity: medium

Maple, Ginger, and Peach Cake

Maple,

For those astute vegan observers who noticed that the cake is vegan and the frosting is not, I would recommend a sweet potato frosting.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 60 minutes to bake
  • Complexity: medium

Fennel Bread

Fennel

Fennel is a “go crazy” kind of ingredient.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 30 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: medium

Fennel Onion Soup

Fennel

Truth is, there are few savory dishes that wouldn’t improve with the right part of the fennel plant added at the right stage.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep
  • Complexity: medium

Hot Fennel Potato Salad

Fennel

This is a creamy, delicious potato salad, inhanced by the addition of fennel.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 30 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: medium

Pork Tenderloin with a Cassis & Soy Sauce Reduction

Pork

Recipe by Claire Fitts.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 30 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: medium

Maple Lime Cranberry Wine Jelly

Maple

Recipe by Claire Fitts.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 20 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: very easy

Tomatillo Serrano Salsa

Serrano

Serranos look like slender jalapenos and can be used in many of the same ways. They have an extra little flavor punch that pairs them well with flavors like lime and tomatillo.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 30 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: very easy

Jalapeno Lime Hot Sauce

Jalapeno

Jalapenos are the most popular hot pepper grown in the U.S. Like a bell pepper, the green variety of a jalapeno is the unripe variety. Red jalapenos are hard to find, but they are sweet, spicy, and delicious.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 30 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: very easy

Habanero Mustard Hot Sauce

Habanero

The hottest pepper commonly grown in the U.S. (and long thought to be the hottest pepper in the world until it was surpassed by the Indian ghost pepper), the tiny habanero packs a punch. If you can taste beyond the heat, it has a wonderfully sweet and tropical flavor. They can be red, orange, or yellow.

  • Time: 30 minutes prep; 30 minutes to cook
  • Complexity: very easy

Vermont Sriracha

Cayennes

Cayennes are long, red peppers that are strikingly beautiful and often used for decorative purposes. Besides the heat, their flavor is mild, so they go well in places where pure heat is needed to let other flavors shine.

Set the Table with Hot Sauce

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | June 01, 2011

Hot

Vermont is known for many things, but spicy food is not one of them. Fortunately for the spice lovers among us, many local farmers have bucked the trend and have been cultivating delicious, spicy chilis for us to enjoy. Hot peppers need heat to grow, but with a good dose of sunlight and perhaps some black plastic over the soil, peppers can thrive in Vermont’s warm summers.

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