• 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. 

    Read more

  • 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. 

    Read more

  • 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. 

    Read more

0
Shares

Farmers' Kitchen—Okra!

The crew at Clear Brook Farm

Written on

May 27 , 2015

Although we farm in Vermont, one of our favorite vegetables to grow, and especially to eat, is a staple from the South: okra. On our farm in Shaftsbury, where we grow between 25 and 30 acres of veggies and small fruits—everything from asparagus to… well, yes… zucchini—it’s the letter O in which one of our true vegetable passions rests. Okra!

We only plant 300 to 400 okra plants each year. Not only is the yield per plant low for the amount of space we need for it (a plant will yield one okra pod every couple of days), okra is also very labor intensive to pick for the amount of pods we get. On the rare occasion when we offer the harvest for sale in our farm stand, it flies off the shelf, but we also save a portion of the crop for ourselves and we covet every last pod! The flower is also very beautiful, okra being in the hibiscus family.

There are so many different ways to eat okra. It can be chopped into ¼-inch rounds and then dipped in egg, rolled in cornmeal, and fried in olive oil. Or you can steam it or stew it with tomatoes. One of our “go-to” okra recipes to prepare in September (when we have a little more time) is a vegetable “gumbo.” We sauté onions and garlic, then add okra, zucchini, tomatoes, hot pepper, and sometimes eggplant. We season this with fresh basil, parsley, and oregano. Make a big batch and, after eating your fill, freeze the rest up for some mid-winter veggie therapy!

There are other ways to preserve okra for the winter. Perhaps our favorite way is to pickle it. For those who are wary of the “slime factor” in eating okra, pickling eliminates this and makes a super crunchy, high-protein pickle snack. You can use any cucumber pickle recipe and just substitute okra for cucumbers. They are sublime.

Watch out kale, okra is the next big thing in the vegetable world!

This is the 21st season that Andrew Knafel and Anne Hunter have been farming. They run Clear Brook Farm in Shaftsbury and sell vegetables at the Londonderry and Manchester farmers’ markets, as well as at their farm stand. They also offer a winter CSA and a summer CSA. For more info: clearbrookfarm.com or 802-442-4273.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest. Optional login below.

What we do

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.