• 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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?

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  • 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).

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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Tatiana Schreiber

Tatiana Schreiber

Tatiana Schreiber grows and sells heirloom and unusual varieties of eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes, as well as medicinal and culinary herbs, at her farmstead, Sowing Peace Farm, in Westminster West. She also teaches ecological agriculture and other topics at local colleges.

Polyphony in the Garden

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | May 26, 2015

Hummingbird

When I work in the garden, surrounded by vegetables, flowering plants, and herbs, with several species of bees buzzing in the big, purple, flowering clusters of anise hyssop at the ends of all the beds, and a breeze fluttering the leaves of the maples and oaks in the woods nearby, I sense polyphony at work in the natural world.

Peak Phosphorous: Crisis in the Making or Radical Opportunity?

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | November 24, 2013

Jay

For many years environmental activists have used the term “peak oil” to refer to the coming crisis in availability of fossil fuels, and as part of a rhetorical strategy to hasten our shift toward a post-oil economy. Recently, some activists and scientists have begun to talk about another “peak” crisis: that of phosphorous.

Inviting the Pollinators

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | January 01, 2013

Illustration

Several years ago I was privileged to spend weeks and months at a time working in southern Mexico with organic coffee and cacao farmers. My first visit to a coffee farm is etched in my memory primarily through sound—the sound of bees.

Making Peace with Plants

Making Peace with Plants

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | October 25, 2012

Goldenrod

I spent a recent morning clearing “alien” species out of one of my garden beds. By “alien” I don’t mean “non-native”; I just mean plants that I didn’t want in there, which is often what the word alien connotes: beings that don’t belong where they are.  I wanted an artistic arrangement of red and green shiso in that bed (shiso is a Japanese culinary herb—or weed, or medicinal plant, depending on your point of view—that grows wild in many parts of Asia).

Vermont Heirlooms

Plants with (more than one) story to tell

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | June 01, 2012

Chester

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.

The Future of Farming in a Wetter Vermont

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | December 01, 2011

Aerial

A sobering aspect of both the spring flooding of Lake Champlain and the devastating flood following Tropical Storm Irene is that for climate scientists working in Vermont, neither event was all that surprising. 

Set the Table with Winter Squash

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | September 01, 2009

Sweet

A couple of years ago, as the gardening season at the Westminster West Elementary School came to a close, my fellow Master Gardener and school garden coordinator, Albin Zak, and I joined the 30 kids and their teachers for a squash-tasting event. First and second grade teacher Alison Taylor had made up recording sheets for the children to fill out as they sampled the various squashes we had prepared—they could circle the smiling faces for the squash they liked, and the frowning faces for those they didn’t.

Set the Table with Celeriac

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | September 01, 2008

Celeriac

I’m in the second year of my love affair with celeriac and the romance is still aflame. My initial reaction upon “discovering” this vegetable was to think, “Where have you been all my life?” Since then I have introduced my new love to many gardening friends, insisting they take home a couple of six-packs of seedlings in the spring and just have a fling. This year I also donated quite a few plants to the Westminster West School Children’s Garden, which I coordinate, to see if the kids would take to celeriac the way they now respond to kohlrabi—another somewhat “odd” vegetable that we planted together, and that has become one of their favorite raw snacks.

Biodynamics and Me

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | December 01, 2007

phases

I have never thought of myself as a “spiritual” person. Although I have much admiration for the values and ethical traditions associated with the secular Judaism I was raised in, I have tended to eschew the organized aspect of religion. My secular upbringing did not prevent me, however, from noticing that the world around me was spectacularly complex and beautiful. The littlest things (a spider’s web!) inspired my utmost appreciation and respect. Later, I channeled this appreciation in the direction of science, trying to understand life processes through the study of biology and botany, microbiology and biochemistry.

Experimenting with Diversity

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | September 01, 2007

Tomatoes

Ever since I was in grade school and heard about Gregor Mendel and his famous hybrid sweet peas, I’ve been fascinated with the notion of conducting experiments with plants in a garden. Of course Mendel really was a scientist, while I’m something between an enthusiastic gardener and a tiny-scale farmer. I don’t expect my own experiments will yield anything as ground-breaking as the laws of heredity, but I always hope they will prove valuable in guiding my work the following year. And besides, they’re really fun!

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.

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