Editor's Note Summer 2011

Tractor in Field

Written By

Caroline Abels

Written on

June 01 , 2011

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.

As did we when we heard of two recent developments that open up exciting possibilities for Vermont agriculture: the formation of a charcuterie business by a Plainfield food entrepreneur and the design of a farmstead-scale milk pasteurizer by a South Royalton company. Because dry-cured charcuterie products are simply not made locally now, Pete Colman’s new business, Vermont Salumi, will be offering a chance for Vermonters to see whether there’s a market for such rarefied but delicious items made from Vermont’s finely raised meat animals. Same for the milk pasteurizer being developed by the company Bob-White Systems. It could make it easier for “micro dairies” (farms with roughly six or fewer cows) to sell bottled, pasteurized milk, and in doing so could potentially reinvigorate Vermont dairy—or at least make use of cows here in a different way.

We hope these stories are inspiring for their vision. And perhaps because they got us thinking about potential future trends, this issue also includes articles on growing backyard mushrooms, cultivating and eating wild edibles with friends, and turning garden peppers into spicy hot sauce (a product not usually associated with Vermont, and not commonly made by home gardeners).

Vermont agriculture will have to adapt rapidly in the coming years—to changing tastes, technologies, and a shifting climate (as the story here about climate change demonstrates). Not every new idea will float, of course, but we’ll try to bring the best ones to you in future issues. In the meantime, we’ll also remind you of “what hasn’t changed since yesterday” by highlighting how Vermont farmers who grow food for their neighbors continue to slowly and steadily build a food system that one day might support us all, and how they do it by waking up early every day, heading out into farm fields no matter what the weather, mucking out barns, and standing patiently at farmers’ markets—even if it isn’t really news.

About the Author

Caroline Abels

Caroline Abels

Caroline Abels is the editor of Local Banquet and the founder-editor of Humaneitarian.org, a website that inspires people to buy and eat humanely raised meat.

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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 ties into larger questions of sustainability and the future of our food supply.