• 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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Sylvia’s Spiced Butternut Bread

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Sylvia’s Spiced Butternut Bread

This recipe makes one large loaf, but for a special occasion, it doubles nicely. If you can’t find butternuts, substitute black walnuts or any favorite nut. You can also use a mixture of different nuts.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups butternuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups all-purpose or white, whole-wheat flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • large pinch of salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoon walnut or canola oil

Directions

This recipe makes one large loaf, but for a special occasion, it doubles nicely. If you can’t find butternuts, substitute black walnuts or any favorite nut. You can also use a mixture of different nuts. I usually use white, whole-wheat flour, but all-purpose is fine too. I also have made this with a gluten-free baking mix and it came out quite well. If you don’t have buttermilk, sour regular milk with a teaspoon of vinegar. This acid is needed for the baking soda to work.

Preheat oven to 350 °F and grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a dry skillet, over medium-high heat, toast the nuts, shaking the pan continually, and keeping an eye on it. When you start to smell the fragrance of the nuts, and they start to brown, remove from heat immediately and place in a small bowl so they don’t continue cooking.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, sugars, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cooled nuts. Mix well and set aside.

In a two-cup liquid measuring cup, combine the milk, eggs, and oil. Add the liquid all at once to the dry and mix gently. Do not over mix.

Place in the prepared pan and level out, then bake for 55 to 65 minutes, testing at the early end. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting; it will be difficult to control yourself, but you won’t want to ruin the texture of the bread by slicing it while hot. Store in the refrigerator.

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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.