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    Coming in from a cold, bleak winter day into the warmth and bustle of a winter farmers’ market brings a certain elation and reminds us of the spirit of community and the life force still in all things at this darkest time of year. 

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  • Set the Table with Quince

    Set the Table with Quince

    The first time I met a quince, I was immediately smitten. There were plenty of beautiful apples around, but that box of quince enticed me with its sweet, exotic aroma. Could I possibly describe the complex fragrance? Why hadn’t I seen or tasted one before?

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  • Peak Phosphorous: Crisis in the Making or Radical Opportunity?

    Peak Phosphorous: Crisis in the Making or Radical Opportunity?

    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.

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  • How to Link to Land

    How to Link to Land

    “The key was that we didn’t know what we didn’t know.”

    In describing their farm journey, Jaska Bradeen, 29, and Katie Sullivan, 30, of Sheep and Pickle Farm in Brookfield, return again and again to this problem, one that they and many other beginning farmers like them have faced when first looking for land.

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  • “It tastes like…”

    “It tastes like…”

    A food’s flavor can be hard to describe. We have a whole vocabulary for talking about how food is produced with terms like organic, heirloom, grass fed, pasture raised, line caught, cage free, community supported, miles traveled. 

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  • Winter Bounty

    Winter Bounty

    It is almost winter in Vermont. The familiar crunch accompanies the early riser’s first steps onto the frosted tips of grass. Where the garden once teemed with large leaves of Swiss chard and the sweetest of cherry tomatoes, there remain only a few flattened beet leaves and carrot tops left behind from the fall harvest.

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  • Know Your Local-i-tea

    Know Your Local-i-tea

    What’s the secret to staying warm and healthy although a long, cold Vermont winter? Many gardeners and herbalists would agree that teas made from our wild and garden herbs are the soothing secret to health and happiness, especially in winter.

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  • Delivering the Goods in Windham County

    Delivering the Goods in Windham County

    Back in 2008, teacher Hans Estrin’s ecology students at The Putney School heard that rallying cry and launched a well-intentioned project: Take the surplus from the 3-acre garden at the private and progressive Putney School and donate it for lunches at the public Putney Central Elementary School, just down the hill. “It was a great idea!” says Hans. 

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—Vermont Vinegar

    Farmers' Kitchen—Vermont Vinegar

    Shelburne Orchards is located along the shores of Lake Champlain. The orchard has been in Nick Cowles’s family since the 1950s and he took it over in the 1970s.

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  • Last Morsel—From Farm to Spa

    Last Morsel—From Farm to Spa

    As Cynthea Wight Hausman was growing up—first on a commune in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later on her family’s New Hampshire homestead—fresh and organic foods were plentiful. In her teens, Cynthea made her own remedies and lotions from herbs and flowers gathered from the woods and gardens surrounding her home.

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Last Morsel—From Farm to Spa

Spa salts

Written By

Gretchen Gross

Written on

November 28 , 2013

As Cynthea Wight Hausman was growing up—first on a commune in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later on her family’s New Hampshire homestead—fresh and organic foods were plentiful. In her teens, Cynthea made her own remedies and lotions from herbs and flowers gathered from the woods and gardens surrounding her home. More recently, when both she and her son fell ill with different autoimmune responses on the same day, she renewed her commitment to knowing the story of food, where it comes from, and how it’s raised, while committing herself to also knowing about the chemicals used in body products.

Eventually, Cynthea launched her own line of locally-sourced spa products, in 2011. Vermont Farm to Spa Body Products are used and sold at Cynthea’s Spa, the day spa she runs on Church Street in Burlington, and are sold at Healthy Living Market in South Burlington and Shelburne Vineyards. The products—mostly body lotions and exfoliating body scrubs—are crafted with locally sourced flowers, herbs, berries, vegetables, and other goods.

Cynthea and her young son, Evan, walk through farmers’ markets and comb local orchards, berry bushes, and farms to see what will be on the Spa Scrub menu that week. If an herb, flower, vegetable, or berry is in season locally, Cynthea chooses it based on its effect on health and well-being. A concoction could include blueberries with lemon balm, organic pumpkin and apples, or roses and lavender. Ingredients must be fresh, local, and sourced as close to the spa as possible to create the smallest carbon footprint. The coffee she uses for her caffeine-based line comes from Speeder and Earl’s, a Vermont-based mother-daughter business. She also sources red wine pomace from Shelburne Vineyards, and cocoa from the Vermont Brownie Company.

When you get a massage from Cynthea, she mixes a custom-made batch of local body scrub just prior to your treatment and explains each ingredient, where it comes from, and why she’s designing that product just for you and your skin type. While at her spa recently, I saw her mix up Dead Sea salts, olive oil, organic grape seed oil, organic calendula petals and lemon balm, a type of mint that she’d gotten earlier that morning from a garden at the Intervale. All the clients who come to the spa for a treatment leave with a sample of their own custom scrub, which has a good shelf life.

It’s a far cry from the commercial world of skin care, which uses natural ingredients much less often than it uses the word natural in its marketing. By sourcing locally from Vermont farmers and growers, Cynthea offers freshness, organically sustainable farming methods, and a strong sense of place to all those who enjoy the scrubs, oils, candles, and lotions in her product line. The products also reflect Cynthea’s understanding of the importance of healthy local ingredients—and of our need every now and then for a little indulgence.


About the Author

Gretchen Gross

Gretchen Gross

Gretchen Gross is a Burlington-based writer and co-author of But Dad! A Survival Guide for Single Fathers of Tween and Teen Daughters.


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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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