• 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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Crème Fraîche

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Crème Fraîche

I begin with fresh, raw cream straight from the refrigerator. If you prefer, you can use pasteurized half-and-half as long as it is not ultra pasteurized. (Culturing is said to restore many of the enzymes destroyed during pasteurization.) Raw cream crème fraîche will keep 7 to 10 days, while the pasteurized product will keep about two weeks.

Ingredients

  • 4-quart stainless steel pot
  • stainless steel spoon
  • mercury-free dairy thermometer*
  • 1 packet of direct set crème fraîche culture*
  • butter muslin*
  • colander

Directions

Heat the cold cream to 86 degrees in a 4-qt. stainless steel pot. Add the culture packet to the cream and stir well with the stainless steel spoon. Set pot in an undisturbed place at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.

Line a colander with butter muslin. Gently transfer the cultured cream to the colander. I tie the corners of the muslin together, making a bag that I hang for 3 to 4 hours; I let the whey drain into a dish underneath. You can also set the colander in the refrigerator with a dish under it, or you can choose to skip the draining process entirely. Draining yields a more versatile, thicker, and longer-lasting product.

* Available at New England Cheesemaking Supply Company (www.cheesemaking.com, 413–628–3808). Store culture in your freezer until you are ready to use it.

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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.