• Publishers' Note Spring 2013

    Publishers' Note Spring 2013

    Maybe you’ve noticed that the “spirits” of Vermont are on the move and showing up at liquor outlets, farmers’ markets, restaurants—even your friends’ homes—throughout the state. Are they friendly spirits, you ask? You bet! As with local food, Vermont is quickly becoming a state with a flourishing locally distilled spirits industry.

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  • A Passion for Artisan Soap

    A Passion for Artisan Soap

    My soap-making journey started a decade or so ago, when I was becoming more and more sensitized (allergic) to mainstream, detergent-type soaps. Eventually I just couldn’t use them anymore. As I researched the subject, I became alarmed at what was being used in cosmetic products on the market, not to mention all the harmful chemicals leaching into our waterways as a result of those products. I decided to start making my own soap, and the enthusiasm I had back then for soap making has now turned into a passion and a business for me. My only regret is that I didn’t start making them sooner!

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  • The Story of Bread

    The Story of Bread

    Green Mountain Flour, a new artisan bakery in Windsor owned and operated by Zachary Stremlau and Daniella Malin, takes a unique approach to its craft: it uses local wheat, local milling, and local fuel to create its flours, breads, and pizzas. Here, woodcuts that comprise the bakery’s logo tell “the story of bread,” echoing a time in early New England when, according to Zachary and Daniella, “the farmers knew the miller, the miller milled with stone, and the baker baked with fire.”

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  • Classy Wheat

    Classy Wheat

    Last year, I arrived at The Putney School as their new gardener and was tasked with getting the high school students at this Putney boarding and day school excited about gardening. Early on, the farm manager told me he had planted some wheat on the edge of one of the farm’s hayfields. I was intrigued.

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  • Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks

    Set the Table with Maple Mixed Drinks

    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.

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  • Down Home Distilling

    Down Home Distilling

    Here’s the first thing you should know about making specialty liquors: cupcake vodka is not made by fermenting cupcakes. Likewise for the cotton candy, cookie dough, whipped cream, and caramel vodkas all lining store shelves today. These trendy varieties are made by adding flavoring after the vodka is distilled; it’s why we can have cocktails that resemble a dessert buffet. For many consumers today, this is the most familiar way to make a vodka stand out from the rest. But it isn’t the only way.

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  • Winemaking in Barre

    Winemaking in Barre

    I was drinking a glass of wine with a colleague when she told me that she and her husband make wine. In a garage. With friends. I was intrigued. I know plenty of people who brew beer in their bathtub (so to speak) but I’d never met anyone who makes wine at home. When I expressed interest, she invited me to join their next winemaking season. So I put a reminder in my Google calendar and eight months later, voila: “Call Marianne about winemaking” popped up.

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  • Vermont Distillers Map

    Vermont Distillers Map

    Vermont is home to a thriving spirits industry. Our in-state distillers are producing a wide variety of products from vodka and maple liqueurs to gin and rye whiskey. Many of them are winning national acclaim and international awards for their fine quality and appealing flavor. A number of the distilleries have their own tasting rooms where the products they make can be sampled and purchased. You may also find local distillers at farmers’ markets, special events, or festivals around the state.

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  • Hopeful on Hemp

    Hopeful on Hemp

    “Hemp For Victory!” the poster reads.

    Hanging in the House Agriculture Committee’s hearing room in the Vermont Statehouse, and put there by who knows who, it’s a poster that to some would be more appropriate in a college dorm room 30 years ago. In reality, it’s from 1942 and was produced by the United States Department of Agriculture to promote a film encouraging U.S. farmers to grow hemp to support the war effort.

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—No Kid Left Behind

    Farmers' Kitchen—No Kid Left Behind

    Tannery Farm Cashmeres is a small goat farm located in the Northeast Kingdom. My husband and I breed and raise Spanish goats that produce high-quality cashmere fiber and have healthy, robust bodies. Our focus is breeding for quality cashmere on quality meat goats, with the farm’s primary products being cashmere-producing breeding stock and chevon (goat meat), which is handled through my other company, Vermont Chevon.

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  • Seventy-Two Is Not Thirty-Five

    Seventy-Two Is Not Thirty-Five

    I spent seven hours yesterday at my daughter’s house
    helping her expand their garden by at least ten times.
    We dug up sod by the shovelful, shook off the dirt as
    best we could; sod into the wheelbarrow and off to the
    pile at the edge of the yard. Then all that over and over
    again. Five hours total work-time, with time out for lunch
    and supper. By the time I got home I knew all too well
    that seventy-two is not thirty-five; I could barely move.

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Farmers' Kitchen—No Kid Left Behind

Shirley Richardson Tannery Farm Cashmeres & Vermont Chevon

Written By

Shirley Richardson

Written on

April 05 , 2013

Tannery Farm Cashmeres is a small goat farm located in the Northeast Kingdom. My husband and I breed and raise Spanish goats that produce high-quality cashmere fiber and have healthy, robust bodies. Our focus is breeding for quality cashmere on quality meat goats, with the farm’s primary products being cashmere-producing breeding stock and chevon (goat meat), which is handled through my other company, Vermont Chevon.

The people who buy our goats do so for a variety of reasons. Some want to have a couple of goats as pets, or to clear land; others want a few goats so they can harvest their own fleece for spinning and knitting, while still others want to get started in the meat business. In Vermont, the goat meat industry is positioning itself to provide consumers and multiple markets with a consistent year-round supply of premium, farm-grazed goat meat. Toward this end, Vermont Chevon is inviting goat and cow farmers to raise surplus dairy kids using Vermont Chevon standards and protocols. Last November, we co-sponsored the “No Kid Left Behind” symposium in Montpelier to start a conversation about how raising dairy goat kids as a value-added product can help a farm derive more income.

The breed of Spanish goat my husband and I raise is often referred to as the “brush goat.” These goats can turn scrub land, woods, and brush into protein! They are hardy and intelligent, maintaining many traits of their feral ancestors. They have high fertility rates, with few kidding problems, the does are excellent mothers who dote on their kids, and they are easy keepers.

Tannery Farm Cashmere’s breeding philosophy continues the practices developed during the 1970s and 80s, when cashmere-producing goats entered the U.S. from Australia and were actively bred. Our goats are grass and milk fed with no growth hormones or concentrated feed containing protein from animal sources. We pay close attention to our herd and their health status and nutritional needs. A healthy goat produces beautiful cashmere and delicious meat.

Vermont Chevon, which I launched in 2011, is a new resource on Vermont’s agricultural landscape. Its goal is twofold: add additional value to Vermont’s dairy goat farms by converting their surplus livestock into a premium meat source and educate the culinary and consumer markets about this increasingly popular, healthy, and flavorful meat. Vermont Chevon currently supplies Vermont restaurants with goat meat and is focused on growing so that we supply a wide range of markets in the next few years.

We welcome visitors at our farm and recommend calling ahead. Our grandchildren especially love their springtime visits, when the goat kids also arrive. They unload from the car (the children, that is, not the “kids”!) and head straight for the barn to check out the new kids and hug their favorites from the previous spring. There is much excitement as they discover another doe delivering her kids. Our grandchildren are a creative group so we imagine that their goat farm stories will be much like ours, when my husband and I were children growing up on—and visiting—our families’ farms: stories repeated often and fondly remembered.

Here is a recipe for Shirley's Chevon (Goat) Stew.

Photo courtesy of Vermont Chevon

About the Author

Shirley Richardson

Shirley Richardson

Shirley Richardson and her husband farm in Danville. For more information, visit Tannery Farm Cashmeres at tfcashmeres.com and Vermont Chevon at vermontchevon.com.

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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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Home Stories Issues 2013 Spring 2013 | Issue 24 Farmers' Kitchen—No Kid Left Behind