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2012

Out of the Ashes

A Brief Local History of Potash and Pearlash

Written by Pat McGovern | June 01, 2012

Illustration by Herbert M. Stoops.

Salt, spices, and baking soda: these culinary staples posed a major challenge to Upper Valley localvores attempting our first 100-Mile Diet Challenge in August 2005. Such products couldn’t be found locally. The closest salt works were in Maine, just beyond our 100-mile radius. We had access to local herbs but few spices. And we wondered: just what is baking soda?

Set the Table with Fennel

Written by Claire Fitts Georges | June 01, 2012

fennel illustration

One of my favorite things about fennel is how there are so many different edible parts of the plant and how tasty they all seem to be. The bulb is what most folks think of when they think of cooking with fennel, but the seeds (which, interestingly, aren’t actually seeds, but dried up little fruits) are used around the world. Europeans, who first cultivated the fennel plant, include the seeds in Italian sausage. Middle Easterners use it in dukkah (a spice blend seasoning). Indians will often use it in chai. And Chinese five-spice powder is used across the nation (theirs and ours).

Food Sovereignty, Food as Community

Written by Carl Russell | June 01, 2012

Food Sovereignty, Food as Community

Every year my wife and I get inquiries from people who want us to provide them with products that are raised and processed the way we do it for ourselves on our farm in Bethel. They want raw food, unadulterated food, food that comes in its natural form, its most basic form, or that is processed in traditional ways—the kind of food people have been providing to each other for eons. They also want to take part in our farm, to participate in the story of our farm—and to become characters in their own food story. Food that has a story that people want to be a part of connects them to life, land, and their community.

The Wow of Wagyu

Written by Susan Z. Ritz | June 01, 2012

The Wow of Wagyu

On an early January morning in Springfield, the snow-covered pastures of Spring-Rock Farm sparkle in the sun and a small herd of cattle dot the fields like black velvet buttons. From a distance, it’s hard to tell that these animals are anything out of the ordinary.

Three Farms, One Town, One Storm

Written by Devon Karn | December 01, 2011

Hurricane Flats Farm August 28, 2011

The Perley Farm stretches between Route 107 and the White River in South Royalton, on a piece of land exactly level with the river. A highway bridge for I-89 runs right above the pasture. It’s a 40-year-old conventional dairy with a mixed herd of approximately two dozen cows, owned by Harlan “Duke” Perley and run by Larry and Penny Severance. A week before Tropical Storm Irene, Duke was in New Jersey, where he lives part time with his family, undergoing surgery to receive a pacemaker. When parts of the East Coast began to evacuate, he loaded up his two nieces, their two grandsons, and a daughter-in-law and headed up to the farm, where they thought they’d be safer.

Three Farms, One Town, One Storm—Perley Interview

Written by Devon Karn | December 01, 2011

“Duke” Perley and Penny, Larry, and Buddy Severance

Duke Perley: We’ve farmed here for 40 years, and down the river, 135 years.

Penny Severance: I was a neighbor, so I always came down as a little kid and helped if the cows got out. [Duke] used to come and get us to help put the cows back in. Ever since I was knee-high to a grasshopper I’ve been helping the Perleys do something with the farm. He used to give me a quarter, then it got to 50 cents. I still have all my 50-cent pieces. My husband and I have both lost our dad, so Perl’s been our godfather whether he wants us or not, he’s stuck with us. He’s who we go to for fatherly advice, anything that we need.

Three Farms, One Town, One Storm—Bigelow Interview

Written by Devon Karn | December 01, 2011

Jim and Rachel Bigelow

DK: What was it like when the flood came through?

Jim Bigelow: My grandparents bought the farm in 1921, right before the flood of 1927. Dennis was telling stories about how my dad said they weren’t able to do anything with that field down there for five years after the flood of ’27.

That used to be a schoolhouse over there. (He points past his lower field to a brick building across the river, next to the Perley Farm.) My grandmother was a schoolteacher. The ’27 flood came up to the bottom of the windows, and this time it got to the top of the windows. Of course things have changed since then. The interstate was put in over the river and I think the bridge changes the flood pattern, and that’s why it totally wiped out Perley’s.

Three Farms, One Town, One Storm—Hurricane Flats Interview

Written by Devon Karn | December 01, 2011

Huricane Flats Barn

DK: When you heard on the news that the storm was coming, what did you think?

Geo Honigford: I know from history that storms and floods happen. It never occurred to me that we’d get that much rain. The standard joke when I was on jobsites the week after the hurricane—I spent the whole time working on other people’s houses—was ‘oh we don’t have to do that, the river will never get THIS high again.’ It never occurred to me that the river would get up there. We were buttoned down for wind. We had greenhouses full of crops and we were really concerned about wind. And it turned out that we had no wind whatsoever. Just copious amounts of rain. The sides of my greenhouses are slashed – we did that. We waded out into the river, and the pressure was building up on the greenhouse sides and was going to collapse it. So we had to let the water go through the greenhouse, basically reverse the process; instead of battening them up, we had to open them up. We didn’t have time to open them up properly so we just took knives to them. It’s a lot cheaper to lose the plastic than to lose the frame.

Farmers' Kitchen—Parse the Parsnips

Written by Carol Tashie | December 01, 2011

Carol Tashie and Dennis Duhaime

Life on a vegetable farm slows down in the late fall and early winter. Most of the daily chores that keep us hopping the rest of the year—seeding, planting, weeding, and harvesting—are pretty much completed by this time, with some notable exceptions: We’re still harvesting the hardiest of crops, including parsnips, kale, spinach, and Brussels sprouts, even with the snow flying. But most of the land lays fallow, sporting only the nutrient-rich cover crops of winter rye and oats.

The Other Great Flood

| December 01, 2011

Canoeing toward a farmhouse in Bolton, 1927

When the 1927 flood hit, devastating damage occurred on Vermont farms, primarily losses of livestock and barns. And yet the same spirit of cooperation evident after Irene was very present back then, as illustrated by the flyer at right, which could have been written today.

Eat Right

Vermont hospitals begin serving local, healthy food to patients and visitors.

Written by Susan Z. Ritz | December 06, 2012

Photo courtesty of Fletcher Allen.

If you haven’t eaten at your local hospital lately, you don’t know what you’re missing. No, seriously! Over the past few years, Vermont medical facilities have traded in their Fry-o-lators for sauté pans, canned and processed foods for local and organic fruits and veggies, and sugary soft drinks for lightly sweetened iced teas.

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A quarterly magazine devoted to covering local food, sustainable farming, and the many people building the Vermont food system.

Vermont's Local Banquet Magazine illuminates the connections between local food and Vermont communities. 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 is changing as the localvore movement shapes what is grown and raised here.

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