• 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—Parse the Parsnips

Carol Tashie and Dennis Duhaime
Carol Tashie and Dennis Duhaime

Written By

Carol Tashie

Written on

December 01 , 2011

Life on a vegetable farm slows down in the late fall and early winter. Most of the daily chores that keep us hopping the rest of the year—seeding, planting, weeding, and harvesting—are pretty much completed by this time, with some notable exceptions: We’re still harvesting the hardiest of crops, including parsnips, kale, spinach, and Brussels sprouts, even with the snow flying. But most of the land lays fallow, sporting only the nutrient-rich cover crops of winter rye and oats.

Radical Roots Farm is located along the Otter Creek, just outside of Rutland City. With fertile, river-valley soil, we use organic practices to produce a plethora of beautiful, delicious, and nutrient-dense vegetables on two acres of leased land. Root vegetables particularly thrive in our sandy, virtually rock-free soil. Carrots and parsnips grow long and straight, and it’s not uncommon for us to find a taproot stretching more than two feet long!

Parsnips are a favorite vegetable in our family. Coined “the candy of vegetables,” they have a sweet flavor that improves with winter weather, as the cold turns the starch to sugar. We begin harvesting parsnips after the first frost in October and continue until the ground becomes too frozen to pull these hardy vegetables from the land. Parsnips can be over-wintered (mulched and kept in the ground until spring), but with limited land and ever-growing community demand, we generally harvest all of our parsnips by mid-November, storing them in our root cellar and selling them at the Rutland Winter Farmers’ Market and local restaurants through December.

Although parsnips have as long a culinary history as carrots, they’ve never become quite as popular as their orange cousins. But they’re versatile; they can be eaten raw or cooked and can be used in savory as well as sweet dishes. They can be the secret ingredient in a localvore winter veggie roast, combined with potatoes, squash, garlic, and onions. Or they can be mashed or used in soup. Did you know that you can add mashed parsnips to many kinds of soups to give the soup a creamy texture?

Parsnips are also great in desserts. We’ve all heard of carrot cake—but what about parsnip cake? It’s just as easy to make and oh so delicious! Enjoy this recipe, courtesy of the Mad River Localvores.

About the Author

Carol Tashie and Dennis Duhaime

Carol Tashie

Carol Tashie and Dennis Duhaime own Radical Roots Farm, located on Creek Road in Rutland. They offer CSA farm shares, and sell their vegetables at farmers’ markets in Rutland and to local restaurants and schools.

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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.