• 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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Last Morsel—From Farm to Spa

Spa salts

Written By

Gretchen Gross

Written on

November 28 , 2013

As Cynthea Wight Hausman was growing up—first on a commune in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later on her family’s New Hampshire homestead—fresh and organic foods were plentiful. In her teens, Cynthea made her own remedies and lotions from herbs and flowers gathered from the woods and gardens surrounding her home. More recently, when both she and her son fell ill with different autoimmune responses on the same day, she renewed her commitment to knowing the story of food, where it comes from, and how it’s raised, while committing herself to also knowing about the chemicals used in body products.

Eventually, Cynthea launched her own line of locally-sourced spa products, in 2011. Vermont Farm to Spa Body Products are used and sold at Cynthea’s Spa, the day spa she runs on Church Street in Burlington, and are sold at Healthy Living Market in South Burlington and Shelburne Vineyards. The products—mostly body lotions and exfoliating body scrubs—are crafted with locally sourced flowers, herbs, berries, vegetables, and other goods.

Cynthea and her young son, Evan, walk through farmers’ markets and comb local orchards, berry bushes, and farms to see what will be on the Spa Scrub menu that week. If an herb, flower, vegetable, or berry is in season locally, Cynthea chooses it based on its effect on health and well-being. A concoction could include blueberries with lemon balm, organic pumpkin and apples, or roses and lavender. Ingredients must be fresh, local, and sourced as close to the spa as possible to create the smallest carbon footprint. The coffee she uses for her caffeine-based line comes from Speeder and Earl’s, a Vermont-based mother-daughter business. She also sources red wine pomace from Shelburne Vineyards, and cocoa from the Vermont Brownie Company.

When you get a massage from Cynthea, she mixes a custom-made batch of local body scrub just prior to your treatment and explains each ingredient, where it comes from, and why she’s designing that product just for you and your skin type. While at her spa recently, I saw her mix up Dead Sea salts, olive oil, organic grape seed oil, organic calendula petals and lemon balm, a type of mint that she’d gotten earlier that morning from a garden at the Intervale. All the clients who come to the spa for a treatment leave with a sample of their own custom scrub, which has a good shelf life.

It’s a far cry from the commercial world of skin care, which uses natural ingredients much less often than it uses the word natural in its marketing. By sourcing locally from Vermont farmers and growers, Cynthea offers freshness, organically sustainable farming methods, and a strong sense of place to all those who enjoy the scrubs, oils, candles, and lotions in her product line. The products also reflect Cynthea’s understanding of the importance of healthy local ingredients—and of our need every now and then for a little indulgence.

 

About the Author

Gretchen Gross

Gretchen Gross

Gretchen Gross is a Burlington-based writer and co-author of But Dad! A Survival Guide for Single Fathers of Tween and Teen Daughters.

 

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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.