• 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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Everyday Johnnycakes

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johnny cakes

“A 2-qut. basin full of equal parts of sweet milk and buttermilk—3 tablespoonfuls of cream—2 teaspoonfuls of pearlash—meal so that it will pour—a little salt.”

—Robinson family recipe



  • 2 cups stone-ground cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder*
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup buttermilk, or add 2 teaspoons vinegar to 1 cup milk and allow to sit for 2 minutes
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • butter


In a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the milk, buttermilk, and heavy cream and stir thoroughly.

Heat a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Butter the skillet liberally. When the butter just begins to brown, pour in small cakes of batter, 3–4 inches in diameter. Cook until browned, then flip the cakes and continue cooking until the other side is browned. Don’t hurry; these take considerably longer to cook than pancakes. Keep the cooked johnnycakes in a warm oven while you reheat the skillet and make more batches.
Makes 10–12 johnnycakes. (Quadruple the recipe to serve a farm full of apple pickers.) These are wonderful with bacon and maple syrup.

*Pearlash, also called refined potash or potassium carbonate, was a precursor to the modern baking powder we call for here.

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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.