• Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org
  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation
  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion
  • Updated Website Address: LocalBanquet.org

    We've changed our website. Please update your bookmarks to LocalBanquet.org LocalBanquet.org is where you will now find the latest Local Banquet stories, a new Story of the Day update feature, features from the archives, and information on how to contribute to Local Banquet if you're interested in writing about Vermont agriculture. 

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  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation

    Back in 2007, Local Baquet ran an article by Bonnie Hudspeth on maple innovation and production in Vermont. Since then, maple production in Vermont has tripled to 1.8 million gallons a year and innovation seems to have entered a new golden (or perhaps amber) age. We did a quick maple innovation news round up for 2018 / 2019 to help everyone keep up with the some of the trends. 

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  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion

    In 2015, the USDA funded a project for UVM researchers to engage in discussions with Vermont farmers about the idea of being paid for ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are things farmers do that improve the environment for everyone, a common example is grass-based farms capturing carbon in the soil as a way to combat climate change. Some services happen naturally through sustainable farming, others take more of an incentive to implement, and either way some policy makers believe that farmers shoudl be compensated for their contribution. 

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Anne Robinson Minturn’s Currant Jelly and Cure for Desolation

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Currant Jelly

“I will suggest that when currants are ripe, you have a few pounds of jelly made—say six or seven—it would be very useful in sickness, and if the currants are thoroughly ripe & the jelly well made with crushed sugar it will keep for three or four years–I would send it to you, but it will not keep long after being shaken up by transportation. How lost, how miserably desolate you must feel at times, and how constantly lonely.

1 pint juice—1 tb crushed sugar—boil 5 or 6 pints with the required sugar, at a time—it keeps so much better than when more is boiled at once.”

—Letter from Ann Robinson Minturn to her brothers,
July 20, 1862


  • 6 pints of currant juice
  • 6 Tbs fine granulated sugar
  • filtered water


Currants contain enough pectin to jell sufficiently on their own.

To extract the juice, add up to 1/4 cup water to each cup of fruit. Cook fruit and water over moderate heat until currants are translucent, about 10 minutes. Strain through a jelly strainer or a colander lined with a coffee filter. Do not squeeze the pulp or the jelly will be cloudy.

Heat the currant juice until it boils energetically. Use superfine granulated sugar for “crushed” sugar (1 Tbs. for every two cups of juice) and stir until it is thoroughly dissolved. Continue to boil, being careful not to let the jelly scorch on the bottom of the pot.

When the jelly coats the back of a spoon, or reaches 220 degrees, pour it into sterilized jelly jars. Leave 1/2 inch of headroom if you are to seal with melted paraffin; leave 1/8 inch of headroom if you use metal lids with bands. Seal with your chosen method and allow to cool and complete the seal. It is excellent on buttered toast at the first sign of loneliness.

Recipe adapted with assistance from Putting Food By
by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan (Plume, 1992).

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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.