• Editor's Note Winter 2017

    Editor's Note Winter 2017

    “If you’re going to Québec City, you have to visit a cabane à sucre,” said Claire. And her good advice was confirmed as soon as my partner and I walked into Cabane à Sucre Leclerc in Neuville on a chilly, snowy evening.

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  • Set the Table with Poutine

    Set the Table with Poutine

    I grew up in California, in a world of dayboat salmon, tofu, and spinach salad. I only became vaguely aware of the odd sounding “poutine” when I moved to Vermont. French fries with gravy and cheese curds? I mean, that all sounds weird enough without including the word “curds” at the end.

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  • Along the Route des Vins

    Along the Route des Vins

    In the first unpredictable weeks of spring, workers at Québec’s Léon Courville vineyard lay the bones of 1,200 tiny bonfires between the vines.

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  • So Close And Yet So Far

    So Close And Yet So Far

    Ask people in agriculture about the challenges of selling Vermont food in Québec, and folks tend to have the same first reaction.

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  • Au Marché

    Au Marché

    On a sunny, crisp day in early September, a friend and I meandered over the border to visit three Québec farmers’ markets.

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  • Neighbors to the North—Of Loaves and Land

    Neighbors to the North—Of Loaves and Land

    Every week at Red Hen Baking Company in Middlesex, six tons of flour is mixed, kneaded, and transformed into 18,000 loaves of bread.

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  • Neighbors to the North—Seeding Relationships

    Neighbors to the North—Seeding Relationships

    Some 20 years ago, when Tom Stearns of High Mowing Seeds was living in Holland, Vermont, just on the border with Québec, he met Laurier Chabot at a biodynamic agriculture conference.

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  • Neighbors to the North—A Vintner Mentor

    Neighbors to the North—A Vintner Mentor

    When David and Linda Boyden started Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge in 1996, they had zero experience in viticulture or oenology, save for a class that David had taken at Cornell University.

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  • Neighbors to the North—A Plethora of Produce

    Neighbors to the North—A Plethora of Produce

    Imagine two Caesar salads: Both are tossed in that classic salty dressing and topped with croutons, tomatoes, and parmesan cheese. And both salads have, as their base, crisp and crunchy romaine lettuce.

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  • Neighbors to the North—Fields  of  Gold

    Neighbors to the North—Fields of Gold

    Jack Lazor called me at 8:00 p.m. the other night, which surprised me. I’m used to dairy farmer hours, and 8:00 p.m is past bedtime for most dairymen and women I’ve known.

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  • Neighbors to the North—A Porcine Quest

    Neighbors to the North—A Porcine Quest

    Vermont Salumi, a small company making fresh sausages and hand-tied salami in the Italian tradition, is based just outside Plainfield.

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  • To Market, to Bank

    To Market, to Bank

    Québecois grower Jean-Martin Fortier draws a distinction between a good living and a good life.  “’A good living’ mostly refers to how much money you make,” he tells me during a phone call. A good life, in contrast, takes into account “how your time is spent, and to what purpose.”

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  • Last Morsel—My Family’s French Canadian Kitchen

    Last Morsel—My Family’s French Canadian Kitchen

    Whenever I catch a whiff of cinnamon or cloves, my mind drifts to my mother’s kitchen and the French Canadian food traditions that shaped how I learned to cook.

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Editor's Note Summer 2017

Cutting hay, Windsor County 1937; photo by Arthur Rothstein, Farm Security Administration (Library of Congress).
Cutting hay, Windsor County 1937; (Library of Congress).

Written By

Bonnie North

Written on

May 15 , 2017

Greetings!

With this issue, I am stepping into the position of editor here at Local Banquet. Before I “retired” and moved from Maryland to Vermont I published a monthly called Baltimore Eats. When I discovered that Local Banquet covered the same issues and revolved around the same themes I’d embraced in Baltimore Eats I was thrilled. Of course, I immediately starting conjuring ideas for stories about the inspiring things I saw happening all around me here in Vermont. My “retirement” didn’t last very long!

Since 2014, I’ve been writing occasional pieces for Local Banquet, and working with Carrie Abels was always a genuine delight. Every writer appreciates a great editor and filling her shoes feels like a somewhat daunting task—but here we go…

As our writers’ stories came in this month it struck me that some of the happiest news insists, as it’s often said, that “Everything Old is New Again.” In “Rare Breeds” we learn of the trials, challenges, and rewards of preserving the irreplaceable genetics of nearly lost breeds of livestock. At All Souls Tortilleria there’s an inspiring dedication to using locally grown, organic, heirloom corn and stone-grinding the nixtamal into masa, fresh everyday. Wildcrafting, or foraging for wild medicinal herbs, was a commonplace practice for hundreds of years here, and, as we see in “Make It A Wild Summer”, herbalists like Jasmine Kosele are keeping that tradition alive and well. In “Set The Table with…” the endangered butternut tree gets its place in the spotlight as an important food source that has been long overlooked. Renewing, reviving, or even sometimes completely re-discovering old ways that have proven important for generations is crucial to rebuilding a thriving local food system, and it’s a pleasure to share these stories.

Of course, there’s “new” news here as well. The “Farmers’ Kitchen” turns us on to High Meadows Farm’s latest offering to the local marketplace: organic black garlic. We’re introduced to “Big Bertha,” Vermont’s first high-capacity, mixed waste bio-digester. An insider’s conversation with our new lieutenant governor, David Zuckerman, who is not only a successful politician but also the first farmer to serve as lieutenant governor in more than 50 years, gives us an insight into where things may be headed for our farming communities as we move forward under a new administration.

Lots to think on, lots to enjoy. Summer of 2017…

—Bonnie North

About the Author

Bonnie North

Bonnie North

Bonnie North came to Vermont from Maryland, where she published a local foods guide called Baltimore Eats. She was a founding member of the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Alliance and the leader of the Baltimore chapter of Slow Food, USA. As the former owner of Valley Provisions Market in Bellows Falls, she was one of the investing members and first business customers of the Windham Farm and Food network. Bonnie received her Permaculture Designer’s Certificate in 1996, studying with West Coast teachers Jude Hobbs, Rick Valley, and Tom Ward. She received a Permaculture Teacher’s Certificate from teacher Dave Jacke in 2010. She now lives in southern Vermont.

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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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