• 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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Slow and Steady: Vermont’s “Snail of Approval”

Williamsville Eatery

Written By

Caroline Abels

Written on

August 17 , 2016

The Williamsville Eatery’s website features a list of local farms and food purveyors that’s even longer than its menus. The impressive list shows where the Eatery buys its local food—but the length of the list is just one reason why the two-year-old restaurant has earned a “Snail of Approval” certification.

“Snail of Approval” is a program of Slow Food Vermont. It’s a certification awarded to restaurants, bars, food and beverage producers, stores, and markets that have been deemed “outstanding among peers” and that contribute to “the quality, authenticity, and sustainability of Vermont’s food supply.” So while local sourcing is important for the certification, so is seasonality, taste, low environmental impact, fair business and labor practices, support of humane farming, and community engagement.

The criteria is very much in keeping with that of Slow Food USA and Slow Food International, parent organizations to Slow Food Vermont. With chapters around the world, Slow Food is an international movement that seeks to highlight and protect high-quality regional foods that are in danger of disappearing in today’s fast food world (hence the phrase “slow food”).

Snails of Approval are awarded by Slow Food chapters in many American states. In Vermont, eight restaurants and/or food producers have earned a Snail so far—Kismet, Juniper Bar and Restaurant, Hen of the Wood-Waterbury, Misery Loves Company, Eden Ice Cider, Mary’s at the Inn at Baldwin Creek, Bee Sting Bakery, and the Williamsville Eatery. Certification is valid for two years, and a site visit is conducted by Slow Food Vermont board members.

In the case of the Williamsville Eatery, their application for a Snail (which they provided to Local Banquet) reveals a restaurant that mirrors much of what’s happening in Vermont’s local food scene. Chef-owners Glenn Richardson and Dylan Richardson (father and son) forage for mushrooms, ramps, and fiddleheads; they compost and keep raised garden beds on site; they use eggs from their own chickens; they cook from scratch; they cook with ingredients appropriate to the season; and one day they hope to extend the season by drying, pickling, and freezing many local foods.

Their “eclectic and rustic fare” is centered around pizza whose crust is made from organic wheat grown and milled by Nitty Gritty Grain in Charlotte. At their Thursday-through-Sunday dinners, served inside Williamsville’s former general store, they also serve cheeses from Maplebrook Farm in Bennington, prepare meats from Black River Meats, use organic black beans from Vermont Bean Crafters…and the list goes on.
Lauri Richardson (Glenn’s wife, Dylan’s mom) says the Snail of Approval application process was rigorous but she appreciates how Slow Food Vermont considers the “whole consciousness” of the restaurant.

“The process was stimulating and valuable for articulating and reviewing where we are thus far in our endeavor, and the goal setting was inspiring,” Lauri says.
To learn more about other Snail recipients, or for details about the Snail of Approval application process, visit Slow Food Vermont.

About the Author

Caroline Abels

Caroline Abels

Caroline Abels is the editor of Local Banquet and the founder-editor of Humaneitarian.org, a website that inspires people to buy and eat humanely raised meat.

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