• 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—Tomatillo Tamworths

Mari Omland and Laura Olsen Green Mountain Girls Farm
Mari Omland and Laura Olsen

Written By

Mari Omland and Laura Olsen

Written on

September 01 , 2011

Yankee and Doodle squealed in the crate in the back of the Subaru. We were as shocked by the piglets’ lung capacity as we were by the fact that we, two former vegetarians, were about to start raising and selling meat! Once we got them home, they settled in quickly in the barn, scratching against the hand-hewn beams and eventually burying their noses in sweet-smelling hay.

In 2007, midway through our nonprofit conservation careers, we decided to move back to Vermont and farm. We believed that re-localizing food production was as compelling for the 21st century as wilderness was to conservation in the last century. We also loved the sweet smells of hay. So piglets Madison, Revere, Fife, and Drum followed that first summer. We chose Revolutionary War-era names that first year to reflect the significance of local food to our nation and planet; the name of our farm is a nod to Ethan Allen’s Green Mountain Boys.

Starting out, our production knowledge was limited. So we took advantage of Vermont’s significant agricultural learning opportunities and sought guidance from more established farms. Still, naiveté has its advantages. Not knowing what to do or expect, we spent more time with our livestock than most farmers do with theirs—and that brought us knowledge and joy. It’s practically impossible not to smile—and learn—watching piglets. Or seeing a doe give birth to her kids. Or eyeing grown pigs as they spoon on a cold winter morning. Our joy expands watching our apprentices, farm share members, and other visitors experience farming.

At a farm picnic yesterday, the barnyard was abuzz with people greeting, eating, and shopping at the farm stand. We welcomed first-time guests as well as familiar neighbors who, for two years—that’s 104 consecutive Thursdays—have visited the farm for their weekly farm share: their choice of organic meat, vegetables, raw milk, eggs, and canned goods. Two years in, we’re still amazed by the joy this place spins. The farm tightens the weave in our community.

Some say the secret to great food is in the sauce. Those who study nutrient density say it’s in the soil. We know the secret is in the farming, in nurturing relationships—with our neighbors and natural systems, between our animals and our customers. But a good sauce doesn’t hurt, either; here’s a pork recipe that we love because it combines flavorful, pastured pork with the vibrancy of summer’s bounty. Once fresh tomatillos are gone, canned tomatillos or salsa verde makes this a cozy meal featuring the tastes of summer.

Photo by Rose Wall

About the Author

Mari Omland and Laura Olsen

Mari Omland and Laura Olsen

The Green Mountain Girls welcome you to “Eat, Stay, and Farm” with them in Northfield. You can find their pasture-raised meats, veggies, eggs, and milk at their farm stand, as part of a farmstay.

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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.