• 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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Farmers' Kitchen—Breakfast Pie

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard

Written By

Lori Augustiniak and Todd Parlo

Written on

October 25 , 2012

“You know what I could go for?” our 10-year-old son asked this morning. “A warm slice of apple pie.” He knows that apple pie is the only dessert he is allowed to have for breakfast. And those breakfast pies are always a treat, filled with apples that are a mixture of new varieties and century old heirlooms, all grown on our farm and harvested at the exact moment of perfection.

We’re a small family operation in Walden Heights, in the Northeast Kingdom. We grow a great diversity of fruit species—apples, grapes, currants, gooseberries, cherries, blueberries, pears, raspberries, blackberries, and more—using organic methods and hand tools. When we considered our mission at the farm, we decided on one that reflected what our culture and family needed and deserved: choices and independence.

Choices? In 1900, a national survey estimated the number of apple varieties (trees available at U.S. nurseries) at approximately 14,000. That is not a typo—14,000! Compare that with the paucity of choices at the contemporary grocer.

And independence? Growing your own food is one of the most healthy and independent acts you can perform. And when you choose an heirloom tree, you’re providing an already ancient part of our culture a place in the future.

Now back to baking an apple pie. It begins for us by walking through our heirloom orchard and arboretum of more than 400 apple varieties and selecting different varieties for our breakfast pie. It’s early August as we write this, and the Yellow Transparents, Norlands, and Duchess of Oldenburgs are ready. In a few weeks our choices will include Beacon, Alexander, and Walden Golden. Fall brings Haralson, Wolf River, and Sweet 16.

When you bake this recipe (at right)—our favorite—you may not be able to start by picking apples from your own orchard, but if you want your pie to be special, varieties you might try include: Haralson or Northern Spy, which keep their shape when cooked; Wolf River and Macoun, which turn soft when cooked and add body to a pie; Lodi and Duchess, which add tartness; Sweet 16, which offers a cherry flavor; and/or Beacon, which brings a hint of anise flavor.

And remember that all pies began with the planting of a tree.

Recipe for one 9-inch apple pie

About the Author

Lori Augustiniak and Todd Parlor

Lori Augustiniak and Todd Parlo

Walden Heights Nursery & Orchard grafts, grows, and sells certified organic fruit trees, plants, and bushes, as well as fresh and frozen fruit. Classes, consultations, and trainings for those wishing to grow organic fruit for their families and community are also offered.

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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.