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Management Musings

Editor's Note Spring 2014

| February 19, 2014

Sugaring 1974 Barre, VT

Every now and then, I wonder what life would be like without any small farms. If Vermont’s diversified farmers were to pack up and sell out. If there were no longer a neighborhood farmers’ market to wander through on a Saturday morning. If those of us who regularly buy local food had to go back to fondling Chilean apples and freakishly large carrots at the grocery store.

Publishers' Note Winter 2014

| November 24, 2013

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

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. 

Editor's Note Fall 2013

Written by Caroline Abels | August 19, 2013

Apple press, Weathersfield; photo by Meg Lucas.

It’s a fulsome time to be an eater of local meat in Vermont—or simply a booster of its production. Compared with three years ago, when our last special issue on meat came out, you can now access more products from more farmers growing a wider variety of animals in more varying ways.

Publishers' Note Summer 2013

| July 03, 2013

Boys with fish, 1949; photo courtesy of the Vermont State Archives and Records Administration.

According to a 2009 report prepared by the Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative, the earliest published account of fish in Lake Champlain was by Zadock Thompson in his Natural History of Vermont (1853). In his report, Thompson described 48 different species of fish, and historically, the commercial fisheries on the lake targeted whitefish, walleye, yellow perch, lake sturgeon, eel, and lake trout.

Publishers' Note Spring 2013

| March 01, 2013

Whiskey Barrel

Maybe you’ve noticed that the “spirits” of Vermont are on the move and showing up at liquor outlets, farmers’ markets, restaurants—even your friends’ homes—throughout the state. Are they friendly spirits, you ask? You bet! As with local food, Vermont is quickly becoming a state with a flourishing locally distilled spirits industry.

Publishers' Note Spring 2009

| March 01, 2009

shovel

Let’s look at what we Vermonters might eat on a typical day in, say, March. Hot steaming oatmeal with dried apples and maple syrup starts the day. For lunch, we make a soup with root vegetables and barley—and of course we’ll add a slice of multigrain bread. Finally, dinner consists of baked beans, sausage, and sauerkraut. And during the cooking process for all these meals, we would inevitably use salt and oil.

Publishers' Note Summer 2008

| June 01, 2008

Jars of pickles

As the weather warms here in Vermont, we get to experience the promise of another growing season. But many people in our communities struggle with food security, unable to get access to Vermont’s amazing bounty. Summer is a good time to think of these community members. Here are some ways that we can make a difference.

Editor's Note Summer 2012

Written by Caroline Abels | June 01, 2012

Son of Silas Butson, Farm Security Administration client, helping to cut the hay. Athens, Vermont; photo by Jack Delano, 1941.

Not everyone gets to eat popcorn popped in pork fat. But there it was in a big pot, greeting four sweaty interns after our morning removing a winter’s worth of bedded pack from a hoop house and doing other tasks too numerous to mention. The popcorn was mighty tasty, and eager hands grabbed for it around the communal table.

Editor's Note Summer 2011

Written by Caroline Abels | June 01, 2011

Tractor in Field

It’s practically a requirement for any journalistic publication (such as this one) to keep tabs on what’s new and exciting in the field it covers. Not only is it the publication’s responsibility to keep readers up to date, it also makes for good copy. Journalists find it hard to write about “what hasn’t changed since yesterday,” even though the fact that something hasn’t changed is often, in its own quiet way, newsworthy. Journalists and editors get a frisson of excitement when something new(s) crosses their path.

Publishers' Note Fall 2010

| September 01, 2010

scarecrow

When we think of what a traditional Thanksgiving might have looked like, many of us may conjure up images of Pilgrims and Native Americans sitting around a communal table enjoying a shared harvest meal. We’re not sure who fabricated this idealized scenario, but even though it lingers with us to this day, its likelihood is doubtful. Actually, it was Abraham Lincoln who declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863, as a way to raise people’s spirits during the long Civil War.

Editor's Note Summer 2010

| June 01, 2010

Sunflower

There’s so much about modern American culture that our farmer ancestors could never have imagined. The popular Facebook game FarmVille comes to mind. That’s where you sit at your computer “harvesting” corn and squash from your virtual farm while studying spreadsheets to make sure your farm is profitable. Yes… your farm… your computer farm.

Publishers' Note Fall 2009

| September 01, 2009

Draft Horses

There’s a quiet revolution going on.

On a late afternoon this past July, we visited the Westgate Farmers’ Market in West Brattleboro. Never heard of this one? That’s not surprising, as the market is in its first year and it’s not your typical farmers’ market. It’s a small one by current standards—there’s only one farmer—but its potential is evident in the delight of the children. How often do you hear a squabble over how many bunches of kale to buy or, “Should we get the green beans or the broccoli?”

Editor’s Note Winter 2009

Written by Caroline Abels | December 01, 2008

Bare trees in winter

Community isn’t the easiest word to define. It’s used differently by biologists, anthropologists, sociologists, political theorists, computer scientists, legal scholars, and economists. In sociology, nearly 100 definitions have been concocted since the 1950s, according to Wikipedia. (Yes, it even has its own Wikipedia entry.) The local food movement uses the word often, talking about “community-supported agriculture” and how farmers’ markets, gleaning initiatives, and farm-based educational programs “build community.”

Editor's Note Spring 2017

Written by Caroline Abels | February 22, 2017

Sap buckets, Rockingham; photo by Meg Lucas.

This spring I’ll be leaving Vermont’s Local Banquet after 10 years as its editor. The past decade hasn’t just been a banquet—it’s been a feast!

Editor’s Note Winter 2012

Written by Caroline Abels | April 30, 2013

Hay rake, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration.

We bushwhacked our way through a tangled patch of riverbank plants. The thick stems were still bent from the rushing flood waters, parallel with the ground as if bowing respectfully to the river. That river, the Dog River, was babbling as sweetly as any other Vermont tributary that early September day, but those of us on the volunteer clean-up crew at Dog River Farm in Berlin had a lot more respect for it—and for the power of water—than we’d had just a week before.

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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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