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New Choices and Opportunities in Vermont's Dairy Scene

Caprine vs. Bovine

Written by Jesse Natha | October 18, 2012

Goat's Milk

If you’ve ever raised goats, you know it’s next to impossible to keep them within their fences. Now more goats are getting into Vermont cow barns—but it’s because farmers are putting them there on purpose.

The primacy of cow dairy in Vermont agriculture is undisputed, but goats are edging into the local dairy world. Abysmal cow milk prices paired with rising costs have farmers looking for alternatives or supplements in order to keep their farms profitable. And the ever-increasing vacant cow dairy properties provide excellent locations for new goat farms.

Good Bye Rubarb Pie

Written by Janisse Ray | December 01, 2007

Barn in winter

Before I moved here, I always thought of Vermont as Holstein cows dotting a green rolling hillside, dairy barn in the middle ground. Say the word “Vermont” and I could smell maple syrup. Before I ever set foot in the Green Mountains, I associated them with food. Good food. And now, as I prepare to leave Vermont, my home for the past three and a half years, it is food I will miss.

Making Peace with Plants

Making Peace with Plants

Written by Tatiana Schreiber | October 25, 2012

Goldenrod

I spent a recent morning clearing “alien” species out of one of my garden beds. By “alien” I don’t mean “non-native”; I just mean plants that I didn’t want in there, which is often what the word alien connotes: beings that don’t belong where they are.  I wanted an artistic arrangement of red and green shiso in that bed (shiso is a Japanese culinary herb—or weed, or medicinal plant, depending on your point of view—that grows wild in many parts of Asia).

Why I Hunt

Written by Robert F. Smith | December 01, 2010

Deer in field

It’s only been in recent years that I’ve come to realize I was pretty much raised as a localvore long before anyone had ever heard of the word. And it wasn’t due to any sort of middle-class shift in culinary consciousness. This was the early 1960s, and we were a large working-class family with a very rural home on three open acres in Westminster. We planted large vegetable gardens, had a big potato patch, and raised chickens, ducks, and on occasion, grass-fed beef. We also hunted, and venison was a year-round staple. More on that a little later, but all of this was really just a reflection of how my parents’ families had dealt with the Great Depression.

Consumers as Coproducers

NOFA Vermont’s executive director reflects on 20 years of involvement in the state’s local organic food movement

Written by Enid Wonnacott | December 01, 2008

NOFA-VT Members of the staff and board gather to celebrate over 30 years

People frequently ask me: Why is Vermont’s local food system so strong? Of course, it is difficult to name one reason. Is it the quality of our farmers who steward the land, mentoring each other and increasing in numbers annually? Is it the localvore movement, which is building a social food and farm network among neighbors and an organizing structure that addresses the barriers to greater local food production? Is it the 100 schools in Vermont that are integrating farm and food lessons into their curricula and partnering with farms to serve local foods in their cafeterias?

The Thorny Issue of Farmer Pay

Written by Mari Omland | February 21, 2014

Cartoon by Anna Svagzdys

At a wedding last summer, I sat next to a neighbor who buys her Thanksgiving turkey from our farm. She described her daily drive-by dose of the farm, and her ritual of slowing down to see where the goats, pigs, and poultry had been moved. She said, “I’ve gotten to the point I think I should pay a toll to pass your place!” I joked, “In order for us to survive it might come to that!”  The conversation awkwardly fell off. But it has preoccupied me since.

The Waterville House

Written by Katie Powers | August 22, 2014

The Waterville House

Three summers ago, Jacob and I moved back to Vermont from the southeastern corner of Idaho. Tired of the long Teton Valley winter, we’d stared longingly at the March photo on our Vermont Life calendar: a tractor crawling along its farm beneath Mount Mansfield.

Cannibalizing our Compatriots

Written by Sean Buchanan | August 20, 2013

Packing room with crates

Vermont has big farms and little farms, organic and conventional growers, pasture-based and feedlot operations, old farmers and young farmers, entrepreneurs and large agribusinesses. In these Green Mountains and across this country we have a complex food production system, with each agricultural business doing what it can to stay viable and profitable.

Last Morsel—On Potlucks

Written by Sylvia Fagin | September 01, 2010

Potluck Table

I realize that the potluck is the quintessential Vermont meal: Yankee frugality combined with communal creativity. When my partner and I combined households and invited everyone we knew to celebrate with us, there was no way we were going to cook for 75 people. Friends brought spinach dip, chocolate chip cookies, and strawberries straight from their garden. That was the best kind of potluck—not just because we saved ourselves a whole lot of money and labor, but because everyone brought a little bit of their home to christen ours.

Last Morsel—Carnivore with a Caveat

Written by Caitlin Gildrien | December 01, 2009

Cow looking out of barn

I stopped eating meat at the impassioned age of 14, when a biology teacher showed a film called Diet for a New America, which graphically described the many and various evils of the modern meat industry. I dumped that day’s turkey sandwich in the garbage and didn’t touch meat again for nine years. My reasoning was three-fold: I believed that vegetarianism was better for my body, better for the planet, and decreased the total suffering of the world. I knew that certain responsible farming practices could, in theory, mitigate or overcome most of my objections to meat, but I’d never seen them in practice and didn’t know how to judge them or trust their claims.

Last Morsel—From Farm to Spa

Written by Gretchen Gross | November 28, 2013

Spa salts

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.

Farmer Wordplay: Harvest vs. Slaughter

Written by Katie Spring | November 17, 2014

Chickens

With both hands, I reach into the crate of chickens. “I’m sorry!” I say to the chicken as it flaps in my less-than-confident grasp. The butcher just showed me how to properly handle a bird: two hands on their legs, chest down, and pick up. They won’t flap this way. I put the bird’s chest on the ground until it calms and hand it to the butcher.

Last Morsel—Farming Solo

Written by Ryan Demarest | February 13, 2015

Ryan Demarest

This past summer I embarked on my first foray into agriculture on a small piece of land in Waterbury. While I took some time to get settled, by mid-season I was attending a farmers’ market, selling to various restaurants and stores, and maintaining a small farm stand.

Last Morsel—Wrap Local

Written by Caroline Abels | November 25, 2015

Bees Wrap

Those of us who eat local food, diligently compost our kitchen scraps,  and use natural cleaners on our kitchen counters may feel a pang of guilt whenever we reach for a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic container in which to store our food.

Last Morsel—Turnip on Top

Written by Caroline Abels | May 26, 2016

Gilfeather Turnip

Just when you think politics has reached its lowest point of decomposition, a vegetable comes along to reaffirm your faith in responsive government.

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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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