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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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.