• Editor's Note Summer 2012

    Editor's Note Summer 2012

    Not everyone gets to eat popcorn popped in pork fat. But there it was in a big pot, greeting four sweaty interns after our morning removing a winter’s worth of bedded pack from a hoop house and doing other tasks too numerous to mention. The popcorn was mighty tasty, and eager hands grabbed for it around the communal table.

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  • Weed Eater

    Weed Eater

    ‘What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have never been discovered.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I planned the dinner with Emerson’s optimism and an eye on my backyard. Through spring’s soaking rains I watched Japanese knotweed swell beside the garden shed and was cheered by the sight of garlic mustard peeping up between the raspberry canes. When slender stalks rose amidst the mustard’s heart-shaped leaves and a few early flowers appeared, it was time to send out the invitations.

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  • A Smokin’ Place

    A Smokin’ Place

    The previous home of Vermont Smoke & Cure was at the end of the Exit 6 ramp off I-89, at the bottom of a long hill, at the first stoplight on the corner, inside the back of a gas station.

    “Don’t laugh,” the company’s website said. “Remember that other Vermont food company that started out in a gas station (hint: the ice cream guys).”

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  • Set the Table with Gluten-free baked goods

    Set the Table with Gluten-free baked goods

    We fell in love over dessert—pie to be specific—and when our relationship began, a friend exclaimed to Edge, “This is perfect! Katie loves to bake, and you love to eat baked goods!” The truth is, we both love to bake and eat, so for one whole summer we enticed each other with homemade bread, muffins, and treats made of flour and sugar and butter, stuffing dozens of cookies in our packs for each climbing or hiking trip. During that same summer, Edge was battling a parasite he’d picked up in Mexico the winter before. After many weeks of seeing naturopathic doctors, he finally gave in to a three-day antibiotic regimen, which killed the parasite for good and wiped his gut clean at the same time. That changed everything.

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  • Reflections of a Restaurateur | Part 2

    Reflections of a Restaurateur | Part 2

    When I tell farmers that I’m planning to grow a portion of the food for my Montpelier restaurant, sometimes they laugh at me. “Good luck with that,” one wiry, tanned grower at the farmers’ market chortled, noting that I’d probably lose money for the first three years rather than save a bundle.  “Let me know how it goes for you,” he suggested as I walked away, a wicked gleam in his eye.

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  • Diversifying Dairy in Vermont

    Diversifying Dairy in Vermont

    Turkey Hill Farm sits on 50 acres of land in Randolph. The view was breathtaking from Stuart and Margaret Osha’s porch, as we sat one morning in April listening to the songbirds and the happy pigs rooting under the trees. I came to the farm to find out what it’s like to launch a value-added dairy product after years of selling raw milk. A few weeks later, the Oshas announced they will be moving on from farming this fall, but their story remains compelling.

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  • The Development of a Recipe

    The Development of a Recipe

    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.

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  • Farming without Harm

    Farming without Harm

    Ray Bernier, like many farmers, is inventive. When he realized he needed to transition out of the dairy business, he turned his Milton farm into a home for 400 emus. The emu market didn’t materialize (although he still swears by emu oil and buys some every year at the fairs) so he turned to raising horses. Somewhere along the line there were ostrich in there, too, but he could never get the chicks to grow to adults.

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—Blueberry Bounty

    Farmers' Kitchen—Blueberry Bounty

    How many blueberries can you fit in your mouth? I’ll race you up Blueberry Hill! Can we go to the pajama party in the blueberry field? When is the Blueberry Festival? These are just a few of the questions we hear over and over again as the blueberry season begins.

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  • Mizuna

    Mizuna

    Mizuna, tatsoi
    tokyo burkana
    red kumatsu
    claytonia, minutina -
    I dip these foreign leaves by the bushel
    into a sink pond cold and clear
    and wash away the clay that coats my farm.

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Mizuna

Mizuna

Written By

Eugenie Doyle

Written on

June 01 , 2012

Mizuna, tatsoi
tokyo burkana
red kumatsu
claytonia, minutina -
I dip these foreign leaves by the bushel
into a sink pond cold and clear
and wash away the clay that coats my farm.

I toss them with fragile strips of lettuce and arugula so spicy
the smell wakes me from worry. I scoop dripping handfuls to rinse again.
I fill a second sink.
I am filled with care.
Will this meet the order, this mix for people who travel to co-ops in hybrids, toting
their personal bags and member discounts? Mock them, their privilege, fine.
I need those people.
May they multiply.

In the Big Apple, at 17, I ate only iceberg lettuce or maybe
romaine (because my mother was Italian) and
the very first cardboard tomatoes.
At those my mother shook her head but
served them just the same. I learned to mock
my food. Wonderbread? Boloney.
In what 12 ways was my body built?
Much depends on dinner but at 17 my friends traded all that for a single apple
savored at lunch. We found romance in starving.

At 17, I imagined I’d live and write in a 10th street
garret like my great uncle, also Italian,
a quiet sculptor of saints and angels.
I loved the smell of clay.

I imagined I’d live and write cramped in a place like that
with hardly a kitchen and a tiled bathroom
whose toilet required a long pull chain to flush.
I imagined permission to contemplate and create world-saving works amidst
the smell of clay.

What happened?
None of that.
This did:
I farm in a valley of clay my children
used to sculpt birds’ nests and bombs while I weeded nearby.
I grow food for lucky people, aware people.
I arrange it as still life.
Tasks are endless because life is one meal after another.
Contemplation is rare, but helps.
All my dreams are fresh, wet, draining before me
Edible, perishable.
At 17 I couldn’t imagine a world, my world, would depend
on washing clay from colored leaves in a sink.

 

About the Author

 Katie Spring

Eugenie Doyle

Eugenie Doyle is the author of two novels for young adults, Stray Voltageand According to Kit (Frontstreet/ Boyds Mills Press), and many short stories. She and her family operate The Last Resort, an organic berry, vegetable, and hay farm in Monkton.

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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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