• Publishers' Note Fall 2017

    Publishers' Note Fall 2017

    As the days shorten and the temperatures begin their march south, here in Vermont we are so fortunate to experience Mother Nature’s annual display. It’s always been our favorite time of year; full of abundance from the summer and with a hint of the bittersweet knowledge that winter is next up on the docket.

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  • It’s Time for Puttin’ It Up

    It’s Time for Puttin’ It Up

    You may remember your mother or grandmother’s stories about “puttin’ up” tomatoes or green beans every summer.

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  • Set the Table with Bison

    Set the Table with Bison

    While the horned, haunched American bison usually evokes backdrops of western plains and peaks, it also inhabits the outskirts of humble Rutland, Vermont.

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  • People, Places, and Plates

    People, Places, and Plates

    You know how some buildings, even when they’re empty, seem as if their history is still alive, shimmering through the veil of the now? That’s how many people in Williamsville, Vermont, a bucolic community situated along Rock River, saw their old general store, sitting empty since 2007, after 185 years of continuous operation.

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  • Turn Summer’s Vegetables Into Winter’s Flavor Bombs

    Turn Summer’s Vegetables Into Winter’s Flavor Bombs

    If you garden or own a membership in a CSA, you know high summer through autumn as the time of year when everything explodes, and the piles of produce accumulating on kitchen counters, mudroom floors, erupting from crisper drawers, and occupying idle porch swings have begun to impede normal daily routine.

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  • Bringing Back the Local Grain Economy

    Bringing Back the Local Grain Economy

    Blair Marvin and Andrew Heyn of Elmore Mountain Bread have been baking together for 14 years. They’ve spent years researching and fine-tuning their recipes and processes to make the best bread possible—loaves that are full of taste yet equally full of nutrition.

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  • Farm-to-Fashion  in Sky Like Snow

    Farm-to-Fashion in Sky Like Snow

    “Farm to Table” is a familiar term—the distribution of goods from local farms to local communities that enables us to know where our food comes from and encourages the support of our producers. I hadn’t much entertained the idea of “Farm to Fashion,” hadn’t really considered the depth of the phrase, until I met fiber artist Hannah Regier at her home and studio in Athens, Vermont.

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  • Vermont Young Farmers Coalition

    Vermont Young Farmers Coalition

    Our state chapter, the Vermont Young Farmers Coalition (VYFC), engages both farm owners and employees who are putting down roots here. VYFC supports the national organization in their mission and projects, and engages with young farmers across Vermont, connecting them with fellow farmers and organizations.

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  • Stay Rooted in Vermont with Local Food

    Stay Rooted in Vermont with Local Food

    If you live in Vermont, chances are that at some time during the year you’ll be eating food that was either grown or processed (or both) in Vermont.

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  • Farmers' Kitchen—Singing River Farm’s Flint Corn Cornbread

    Farmers' Kitchen—Singing River Farm’s Flint Corn Cornbread

    As farmers, we try to hold a perspective that we are only the current stewards of land that has been, and will be, cared for by a continuum of people for millennia before and after us. Growing flint corn and saving its seed each year helps us maintain that perspective.

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  • The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes from the Union

    The Mad Farmer, Flying the Flag of Rough Branch, Secedes from the Union

    From the union of power and money,
    From the union of power and secrecy,
    From the union of government and science,
    From the union of government and art,
    From the union of science and money,
    From the union of genius and war,
    From the union of outer space and inner vacuity,
    The Mad Farmer walks quietly away.

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Farmers' Kitchen—Cooking Up Some Black Magic

Black Garlic

Written on

May 15 , 2017

I started working in organic farming in 1971, and in 1971 I planted my first garlic crop! Since those early days, the size of the crop has grown and now we plant about 20,000 bulbs a year. That’s about three-quarters of an acre of garlic. I noticed a reference to “black garlic” in one of the professional Garlic Growers groups on Facebook last summer and was curious. I wrote to the grower for more information and also did a little research on my own.

It’s called black garlic because it becomes matte black; looks almost like charcoal. The color change is caused by the combination of sugars and amino acids through a process known as the Maillard reaction, which produces a brown-black polymer called melanoidan. Gradually the melanoidan turns the cloves a deep brown and black.

This is much different than just a roasted garlic; without the proper equipment, it’s very hard to duplicate. We purchased a professional fermentation cooker. Made in China, they’re programmed to cook the garlic at a high humidity for 288 hours at around 144 0F, raising and lowering the temperature at various intervals to allow the process to occur. The gradual breakdown of the sugars produces a radically different tasting and textured garlic. It has a deep umami flavor, very mellow, slightly sweet, with a hint of chocolate and molasses. It’s soft and buttery when fresh, almost jelly-like. You can add it to soups, use it in stir frys, and spread it on grilled meats.

My favorite way, and the one I use to introduce it to people who have never tasted it, is probably the simplest: a fresh, chewy baguette and a ripe slice of brie with a little schmear of garlic on the bread. I also like to just snack on a clove or two. And oh—no garlic breath! Really doesn’t taste like garlic at all.

When you eat black garlic, if your eyes don’t light up and you don’t start breathing heavily, better call a doctor because death is near. It’s that good.

I think we are the only source for organic black garlic in the region. We’ll start producing once the 2017 crop is harvested; it will be available at: the Putney Food Co-op, the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene, the Brattleboro Food Co-op, River Valley in North Hampton, MA, the Berkshire Food Co-op, and Guido’s Marketplace in Great Barrington and Pittsfield, MA. It’s been served at some of the better restaurants in the area too, like the Gleanery in Putney and Burdick’s in Walpole, NH.

You can also stop by, say “hi,” and pick it up from us at the Brattleboro Farmers Market on Route 9 in West Brattleboro, every Saturday from 9am–2pm. Or come by our farm stand at 742 Westminster West Road. Restaurants and chefs can contact us directly via email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our website is highmeadowsfarm.com and you can find us on Facebook at facebook.com/vermontorganic.


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Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine illuminates the connections between local food and Vermont communities. 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 is changing as the localvore movement shapes what is grown and raised here.


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Home Farmers' Kitchen—Cooking Up Some Black Magic