• Letter to Readers
  • Letter to Readers

    It was a day like today in June of 2007 that we published the first print issue of Vermont’s Local Banquet magazine. The word localvore had newly been coined and folks were engaged in localvore challenges in an effort to reduce the distance food travelled, thus the carbon footprint, and to support a growing farming economy.

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2013

Last Morsel—A Boost for On-Farm Slaughter

Caroline Abels | August 20, 2013 | Commentary

A carcus being cut up

Traditionally, farm animals in Vermont were slaughtered and butchered outside, in the open air. Today, all animals that are sold as meat must be slaughtered and processed in inspected facilities. But some Vermonters who raise animals for their own personal consumption prefer on-farm slaughter to taking their critters to an unfamiliar slaughterhouse.

Farmers' Kitchen—Grass=Solar Energy=Good Meat

Beth Whiting | August 20, 2013 | Fall '13 | Issue twenty-six

Bruce Hennessey, Beth Whiting, and their children

My husband, Bruce Hennessey, and I moved to an end-of-the-road, hilltop farm in Huntington in 1999 for a “close-to-the-mountains” farming opportunity. The hilltop nature of our 136 acres made it challenging for growing crops or making hay (steep, too many rocks, some wet areas), so grazing livestock seemed like the answer to keeping the pastures open, fertilized, and healthy.

Cannibalizing our Compatriots

Sean Buchanan | August 20, 2013 | Commentary

Packing room with crates

Vermont has big farms and little farms, organic and conventional growers, pasture-based and feedlot operations, old farmers and young farmers, entrepreneurs and large agribusinesses. In these Green Mountains and across this country we have a complex food production system, with each agricultural business doing what it can to stay viable and profitable.

Randall Cattle

Vermont’s Official State Heritage Breed

Meg Lucas | August 20, 2013 | Community & History

Randall cattle grazing

At the beginning of the 20th century, as Halley’s Comet graced Vermont skies, Samuel Randall could be found tending a herd of lineback cattle on his farm in Sunderland, Vermont. The type of cattle he kept had fallen out of favor as farmers began selectively breeding for specific traits and standardization. But over decades—until the 1980s—and in virtual isolation, Samuel and his son Everett unknowingly preserved this “landrace” herd.

Über-Pastured Pork

Walter Jeffries pampers his pigs and tells the world about it on his popular blog

Lauren Griswold | August 20, 2013 | Issues Archive

Pigs at Sugar Mountain Farm

There are 70 acres in West Topsham where about 400 pigs harvest their own kale (and garlic, when they’re feeling under the weather), go for rides in mini-vans, and bathe in mountain wallows. They’re about to stop that mini-van habit, but more on that later.

Pastured Poultry in Aisle 9

New small-scale slaughter facilities are allowing some Vermont farms to sell pastured chicken in stores

Caroline Abels | August 20, 2013 | Issues Archive

Wind staff process chickens in the farm’s new facility

Whiz by it on Route 2 between Richmond and Bolton and you might think it was an abandoned rail car, a housing unit for migrant farm workers, or a storage shed. Bland and inconspicuous, the boxy structure doesn’t look like it has the potential to re-shape Vermont’s local food scene (or at least make it easier to purchase and cook pastured chicken).

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What we do

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. 

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