• News & Commentary: SNAP Data in Court
  • Looking Back on a Decade of Maple Innovation
  • Listening to Farmers’ Voices in the Ecosystem Services Discussion
  • News & Commentary: SNAP Data in Court

    Last week, Civil Eats ran an extended article on a battle that’s gone to the Supreme Court over access to retailers’ SNAP benefits data. The article points out the many possible implications of this data release, including how plays into the conversation around whether (or, how) to use SNAP to shape Americans’ diets.

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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—Farm & Ferment

Flack Family Farm

Written By

Barbara & Doug Flack

Written on

December 02 , 2012

Our farm is centered around regeneration, inspired by Rudolf Steiner and more recent developments in the rebuilding of high-functioning soils and plants. We regard our farm as a self-contained entity, with its own organ systems (microbes, fungi, cattle, etc.), character, economic, social, and ecological life. Its relation to the greater cosmos is important; we choose the times for planting and harvesting by the position (influences) of the sun, moon, planets, and constellations. The ebb and flow of the tides and swirls of currents are more overt examples of influential forces.

We believe the nutrient density of food is a product of vibrant soil life, which is created through both remineralization and the rebuilding of a variety of complex soil carbon structures. Plant communities such as pasture and cover crops provide energy, carbon, and nutrients to soil organisms, which are central to the development of high-functioning soils. Higher-functioning soils result in fermented vegetable products that are abundant in minerals, enzymes, vitamins, and other health-giving substances, along with masses of necessary bacteria.

How do we know when fermented vegetables are healthier? They taste great! Great taste reflects energetic and nutrient density, which attracts eaters, nourishing and delighting them. For millennia, foods containing diverse lactic bacteria at high densities—in particular, fermented vegetables and cultured milk—were the core of human health and are sorely lacking in modern diets. They are still used in many non-industrialized cultures as condiments to aid digestion, as life giving elixirs, sandwiched with meat, added to salads, and so on.

In 2000, when our kimchi (spicy, pickled cabbage and the national dish of Korea) appeared in stores and on our website, inquires came from all over the United States. Instead of shipping, we chose to remain local and to share our knowledge and methods through mentoring. We invite people every fall to help us make lacto-fermented foods—sauerkraut and kimchi—on our Franklin County farm and to join us in a festive lunch of diverse farm-raised foods. Visitors, as helpers, come from the west coast and everywhere in between. Doug enjoys speaking to audiences about traditional diets and nutrient-dense farming.

Recently, our friend Ernst Michel, raised in a traditional Swiss village, prepared an elaborate meal on our farm for 18 people. It integrated sauerkraut into numerous dishes such as kraut tarts, pork chops, roasted sausages and goulash. Here is one of his recipes: Sauerkraut Tart

About the Author

Barbara and Doug Flack

Barbara & Doug Flack

Barbara and Doug Flack run Flack Family Farm in Fairfield. They produce vegetables, medicinal herbs, grass-fed meats, raw milk, and eggs. Their products are sold in natural food stores throughout central and northern Vermont and are served in local restaurants.

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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.