• Publishers' Note Summer 2014

    Publishers' Note Summer 2014

    We’re turning 7 this summer! It’s amazing to think that Local Banquet has had the privilege of chronicling the local and sustainable food movement here in the state as it has grown up. Of course we owe a tremendous amount to the folks who, in the 1970s, came to Vermont to start the work and give us a solid foundation: knowledge passed from one generation to the next.

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  • Set the Table with Seaberries

    Set the Table with Seaberries

    I’d never actually seen a sea buckthorn plant or eaten any of its berries until I moved to Vermont. Already familiar with sea buckthorn in my skincare products, I was inspired to learn more. And when I did: zing, zest, tang! I was struck by sea buckthorn berries’ complex, passionfruit, citrus-like flavor. It was like nothing I’ve tasted.

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  • Growing Unusual Veggies

    Growing Unusual Veggies

    Just because we live in northern New England doesn’t mean we have to subsist on carrots and potatoes. These familiar vegetables grow well for us despite our cool nights and relatively short summers. But so do tomatoes, a warm-climate vegetable, and other frost-sensitive vegetables like summer squashes, beans, and cukes. What we grow is largely what we know—and what our Grannies grew—but it doesn’t have to be this way.

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  • Honey Homeyness

    Honey Homeyness

    I suppose every beekeeper feels that the place where “their” bees forage is the capital of taste, for it’s true that honey can capture the charms of particular nectars in particular places all over the world.

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  • Getting One’s Goat

    Getting One’s Goat

    Although Vermont is known for its goat’s milk cheeses, it hasn’t always been an easy place to find local goat meat. To acquire a goat, Chuda Dhaurali used to trek to Boston or New Hampshire from his home in Burlington, spending money on gas and occasionally getting lost in the process. Sometimes “it would take the whole day,” he says.

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  • Mushroom Grower, Man of Peace

    Mushroom Grower, Man of Peace

    Sitting with Amir Hebib in his living room in Colchester, sipping herbal tea made from his own spearmint and lemon balm, you get a sense of peace, of refuge. But when you talk to Amir about his life, you discover that the road to this peaceful Vermont home has been a difficult, war-blasted one.

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  • Farm-ecology


    My husband, John, reminds me every so often that in a world of seven billion people it is a privilege to own land. This is a good thing to contemplate as I stack brush and run it through the wood chipper. After a long winter, I’m already feeling the ache in my back and shoulders from only a few hours of work.

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  • Cafeteria Cooking: A New Era in Vermont Schools

    Cafeteria Cooking: A New Era in Vermont Schools

    We all know that “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Similarly, as any parent knows, you can put good, healthy food on kids’ lunch plates but that’s no guarantee they’ll actually eat it. But who can blame them? Consider what they’re used to.

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  • Why Mid-Scale Farming Is Important in Vermont

    Why Mid-Scale Farming Is Important in Vermont

    Vermont’s vibrant farm economy is made up of all sizes, scales, and types of farms—something that’s beneficial, because a high diversity of scale and business model is critical to improving the sustainability and resiliency of our food system. Yet within Vermont (and outside Vermont) there is a particular fondness for the smallest scale farms.

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—Sprouting Up

    Farmers' Kitchen—Sprouting Up

    When visitors come through the door of our grow room, they often inhale deeply and exclaim how nice it is to see and smell green growing things bursting from trays, especially in the heart of winter. At Peace of Earth Farm in Albany, we grow a variety of vegetables and fruits, but we also grow harder-to-find shoots and sprouts.

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  • A Vermont Pasture

    A Vermont Pasture

    You have to work your tillage land
    And mow and hoe and plow it,
    But as for pasture, all you do
    Is jest to sheep or cow it;
    And you can walk jest where you please,
    Instead of ‘round the edges,
    And Sunday you can go and set
    Upon the pasture ledges.

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Farmers' Kitchen—Sprouting Up

Rebbeca Beidler and Jeffery Ellis
Rebbeca Beidler and Jeffery Ellis

Written By

Rebbeca Beidler

Written on

May 23 , 2014

When visitors come through the door of our grow room, they often inhale deeply and exclaim how nice it is to see and smell green growing things bursting from trays, especially in the heart of winter. At Peace of Earth Farm in Albany, we grow a variety of vegetables and fruits, but we also grow harder-to-find shoots and sprouts, which are most appreciated in the winter months, although many individuals and restaurants enjoy them year-round.

My husband, Jeffrey Ellis, and I are converting an overgrown Christmas tree farm on sandy, undulating land into a mosaic of productive gardens. As our farm name suggests, our farming philosophy is based on nurturing the land. We believe in building our soil by minimizing disturbance, adding good organic matter, keeping the soil covered, and by allowing all the critters in the soil to flourish in partnership with the plants we grow.

For example, we use chickens and pigs to help fertilize and till new areas, then follow with a technique called sheet mulching to smother the sod and build fertility. Sheet mulching involves applying a thick barrier layer of a material that will break down within a year or less (cardboard or newspaper), followed by layers of compost and mulch. Building gardens in this way involves a lot of human-powered handwork, and a lot of material, but in the long run it builds excellent soil. The only drawback is that creating gardens via sheet mulching is a slow process, and our farm grows in only small increments each year.

We started growing sprouts and shoots in 2011 as a way to create some year-round steady income on our farm as our outdoor gardens and CSA slowly evolve. Shoots, sometimes called micro-greens, are seeds grown on soil in trays that are harvested at a small size for eating. Many shoots are harvested at the stage where their first leaves (cotyledons) appear. At Peace of Earth Farm we currently grow sunflower, pea, radish, and buckwheat shoots for sale.

Each variety of shoot has its own distinct flavor, texture, and nutritional profile, much like the mature vegetable forms that most of us are familiar with. For example, radish shoots have a spicy radish flavor similar to the crunchy root they would become. Buckwheat has a slightly tart and lemony flavor, as it is in the same family as sorrel.
Sprouts, for their part, are not grown on soil, but are simply germinated seeds allowed to grow to an optimal size, at which point they are eaten roots and all. Clover, mung beans, and lentils are sprouted in glass jars. Sprouts are well known for their high nutritional value. They represent a captured moment in a plant’s life when the nutrients and enzymes in a seed are unlocked and made available before the plant uses up its store of energy for its own growth. As a bonus, they also taste great.

A predictable seeding and harvest schedule with a short growth period enables us to grow many shoots and sprouts in a small space while currently supplying 11 restaurant and store accounts, as well as a winter farmers’ market. (A list of retail outlets can be found at peaceofearthfarmalbany.wordpress.com/sprouts-and-shoots/). We hope you can one day sample these powerhouses of nutrition and taste.

About the Author

Rebbeca Beidler

Rebbeca Beidler

Rebbeca Beidler and Jeffrey Ellis run Peace of Earth Farm located in Albany, Vermont. For more information about the farm’s CSA shares or sprouts and shoots, visit their website.

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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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Home Stories Issues 2014 Summer 2014 | Issue 29 Farmers' Kitchen—Sprouting Up