• Publishers' Note Winter 2014

    Publishers' Note Winter 2014

    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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Publishers' Note Winter 2014

Ice harvesting circa 1903; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.
Ice harvesting circa 1903; Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Written on

November 24 , 2013

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. From humble beginnings a few years back, Vermont’s winter markets have grown and their offerings increase year after year. But just how do farmers supply us with all this wonderful food in these cold months? We take a look (click here) at how three farms are harnessing innovations that allow them to grow food throughout the year. And if you don’t know where your local market is, you can find a listing for Vermont winter and holiday farmers’ markets.

Food is such a complex entity yet we often retreat to describing it as tasting “good” or “bad” or even “yummy.”  These adjectives do little to invoke the nuances in the flavors of food. Not to mention that these words are subjective. Helen Labun Jordan’s article aims to help us communicate more precisely about the flavors we taste or smell. As she notes, the value of being articulate when discussing taste is especially important to food producers and growers, as learning to accurately describe a product helps inform buyers as to what they can expect and enhances their experience.

Changing the subject, in the village where we live, the sewer treatment plant has reached the end of its life, and residents have a choice to make. The options being discussed are to build a new plant or to construct a five-mile pipeline and pump the sewage to a nearby treatment plant. Both options will be expensive and disruptive. Hopefully one day we’ll have a third option: that of recycling our waste, and in doing so we’ll be able to reclaim valuable nutrients and protect our waterways. The Rich Earth Institute, in Putney, is doing groundbreaking work to advance a major change to our current way of sanitation. It’s a change that can’t come too soon.

Our wood has long been stacked, the garlic is tucked in for the winter, and Henry our cat has taken up his winter residence behind the woodstove. But before we know it the winter solstice will be here, and even though it will remain frigid outside for some time after that, we will take comfort that the daylight will be growing longer in its advance toward spring.

Happy Holidays.

Meg Lucas

Barbi Schreiber

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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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