This time of poignant transition, when the days grow shorter and cooler, rewards those who source their produce with care. Vermont farmers offer their greatest selection and nature presents a pleasant set of contradictions as the growing season wanes. Though they will last the winter, thickskinned, hardy commodities like squash and apples are at their peak. Ephemeral delicacies like berries and tomatoes are quickly devoured as their day in the sun ends.
The Locally Grown Guide, published by the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link (RAFFL), has connected farmers to consumers for eight years. Listing markets, farms, retail, restaurants and more, it is an indispensable tool for navigating a region flush with diversity. RAFFL was created in response to a public desire to improve the availability and sustainability of local food in Rutland County. To benefit farmers, the organization hosts skill-building workshops and provides land-leasing support. By educating consumers about food systems and facilitating community-supported agriculture (CSA) harvest subscription programs, RAFFL works with both sides of the supply and demand equation.
“Agriculture symbolizes Vermont values like independence, ingenuity and resiliency,” says Elizabeth Theriault of RAFFL. “We strive to provide a voice for an industry that can remain hidden and we try to highlight the source of pride that is community-supported agriculture.”
Several RAFFL programs kindle the culinary spirit in the community by promoting what is in season, delicious and nutritious. Everyday Chef provides recipes, fact sheets and technical information that empower home cooks to utilize the bounty of late summer and fall. Farm tours are a fun way to celebrate local foods and get a glimpse behind the scenes at a working farm.
To discover more opportunities to savor the fruits (and vegetables) of the late summer harvest visit RutlandFarmAndFood.org.