• 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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Spicy Parsnip Cake

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Recipe courtesy of Upper Valley localvore LouAnne McLeod, from the recipe database of the Mad River Localvores, vermontlocalvore.org.


  • ½ pound peeled parsnips, sliced 1 inch thick
  • ½ cup maple sugar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 2½ tablespoons butter, melted
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • ¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat bread flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 ounces milk


Place parsnips in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, covered, over low heat for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.

Preheat oven to 350 °F

Place the parsnips, maple sugar, maple syrup, butter, and vanilla in a food processor and process until smooth. Add the cider to the mixture and process until well combined. Place the parsnip mixture into a large bowl.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine both flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt, stirring to combine. (Be sure to break up any clumps of baking powder or soda or this can cause the cake to have bitter spots.) Add the flour mixture and milk alternately to the parsnip mixture, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch square baking pan greased to prevent sticking. Bake at 350 °F for 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes; remove from pan, slice, and serve. Makes 9 servings.

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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.