• Mark Kurlansky's

    Mark Kurlansky's "The Food of a Younger Land"

    In the 1930s, writers for the Works Progress Administration (WPA) chronicled the eating habits of Americans. Here are some Vermont excerpts, as collected in Mark Kurlansky’s The Food of a Younger Land:

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—Farm & Ferment

    Farmers' Kitchen—Farm & Ferment

    Our farm is centered around regeneration, inspired by Rudolf Steiner and more recent developments in the rebuilding of high-functioning soils and plants. We regard our farm as a self-contained entity, with its own organ systems (microbes, fungi, cattle, etc.), character, economic, social, and ecological life.

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  • A Localvore’s Dilemma

    A Localvore’s Dilemma

    It’s a sign of the maturity of Vermont’s sustainable agriculture and local foods movement that this has become a prevalent and perplexing question. Is it better to buy a local, organic carrot or one that’s just local? Even more challenging, is it better to buy a local, conventionally grown carrot, or an organic carrot from far away?

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  • Reflections of a Restaurateur | Part 4

    Reflections of a Restaurateur | Part 4

    One of Thomas Jefferson’s favorite snacks was anchovy deviled eggs. He was also wild about fresh peas, and several of his surviving handwritten recipes are for creamy French desserts. I know this because at my Montpelier restaurant, Salt, we once spent several weeks cooking and serving dishes that were common at fancy Monticello dinner parties or inspired by the late president’s extensive garden.

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  • Set the Table with…Cranberries

    Set the Table with…Cranberries

    The Land of Bog is a mysterious world of acidic, sandy peat soil and an abundance of water. Here live the cranberries: low-trailing vines with small evergreen leaves and tart, wine-colored berries. They are wise and venerable plants that theoretically can live forever; some cranberries on Cape Cod are more than 150 years old.

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  • Eat Right

    Eat Right

    If you haven’t eaten at your local hospital lately, you don’t know what you’re missing. No, seriously! Over the past few years, Vermont medical facilities have traded in their Fry-o-lators for sauté pans, canned and processed foods for local and organic fruits and veggies, and sugary soft drinks for lightly sweetened iced teas.

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  • A Mobile Market Finds Its Way

    A Mobile Market Finds Its Way

    A little after 10:00 a.m. on a chilly October morning in Newport, the traffic at the intersection of Main street and Coventry street is as steady as usual. Traffic lights turn, some cars move, others stop; the rhythm of routine here is strong.  But at the edge of this routine, along the curb, Meghan Stotko is doing something eye-catching: building a multi-tiered display of local food that’s part billboard, part art installation.

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  • Barnstorming


    Barns, of course, are a staple in Vermont agriculture, providing a place to house livestock, store hay and grain, and keep farm vehicles and equipment. Unfortunately, though, their upkeep can be dauntingly expensive and time consuming, especially with cows to milk and food to produce.

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  • Inviting the Pollinators

    Inviting the Pollinators

    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.

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  • Editor's Note Winter 2013

    Editor's Note Winter 2013

    It can be comforting to walk into a Vermont farmers’ market—winter or summer. Whether we’re frequent patrons or visiting from out of state, dropping by a market on a Saturday morning or Thursday afternoon can feel cozy and reassuring: all those farmers practicing healthy agriculture and guaranteeing our collective food security.

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Farmers' Kitchen—Farm & Ferment

Flack Family Farm

Written By

Barbara & Doug Flack

Written on

December 02 , 2012

Our farm is centered around regeneration, inspired by Rudolf Steiner and more recent developments in the rebuilding of high-functioning soils and plants. We regard our farm as a self-contained entity, with its own organ systems (microbes, fungi, cattle, etc.), character, economic, social, and ecological life. Its relation to the greater cosmos is important; we choose the times for planting and harvesting by the position (influences) of the sun, moon, planets, and constellations. The ebb and flow of the tides and swirls of currents are more overt examples of influential forces.

We believe the nutrient density of food is a product of vibrant soil life, which is created through both remineralization and the rebuilding of a variety of complex soil carbon structures. Plant communities such as pasture and cover crops provide energy, carbon, and nutrients to soil organisms, which are central to the development of high-functioning soils. Higher-functioning soils result in fermented vegetable products that are abundant in minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and other health-giving substances, along with masses of necessary bacteria.

How do we know when fermented vegetables are healthier? They taste great! Great taste reflects energetic and nutrient density, which attracts eaters, nourishing and delighting them. For millennia, foods containing diverse lactic bacteria at high densities—in particular, fermented vegetables and cultured milk—were the core of human health and are sorely lacking in modern diets. They are still used in many non-industrialized cultures as condiments to aid digestion, as life giving elixirs, sandwiched with meat, added to salads, and so on.

In 2000, when our kimchi (spicy, pickled cabbage and the national dish of Korea) appeared in stores and on our website, inquires came from all over the United States. Instead of shipping, we chose to remain local and to share our knowledge and methods through mentoring. We invite people every fall to help us make lacto-fermented foods—sauerkraut and kimchi—on our Franklin County farm and to join us in a festive lunch of diverse farm-raised foods. Visitors, as helpers, come from the west coast and everywhere in between. Doug enjoys speaking to audiences about traditional diets and nutrient-dense farming.

Recently, our friend Ernst Michel, raised in a traditional Swiss village, prepared an elaborate meal on our farm for 18 people. It integrated sauerkraut into numerous dishes such as kraut tarts, pork chops, roasted sausages and goulash. Here is one of his recipes: Sauerkraut Tart

About the Author

Barbara and Doug Flack

Barbara & Doug Flack

Barbara and Doug Flack run Flack Family Farm in Fairfield. They produce vegetables, medicinal herbs, grass-fed meats, raw milk, and eggs. Their products are sold in natural food stores throughout central and northern Vermont and are served in local restaurants.

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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 Winter 2013 | Issue 23 Farmers' Kitchen—Farm & Ferment