Archive | Spring 2012




Chloe and Wesley Genovart
The Genovart Family (Photo by Carol Kaplan)


o us, “local” is all about supporting Vermont farmers and purveyors and giving back to those who give so much to us. It makes us so to proud to support people who care deeply about their products. Vermont is full of people who work hard and stand behind the work they are doing. We live in such a spectacularly beautiful place surrounded by so many amazing resources readily available, it’s pretty incredible. For example on our tiny little road alone, we are able to get fresh milk from which we make our own butter and cheese for the restaurant, the best fresh eggs we have ever tasted that our family eats for most breakfasts, organic vegetables grown particular to our needs and specifications, award-winning cheeses, delicious meats that are raised for us and, when we’re having a sweet craving, a store with some of the best homemade cookies around. Our “local” gives us a real sense of comfort and satisfaction; being able to see the direct connections, the relationships and the collaborations are quite rewarding. We are proud that our decisions not only affect our community and its families in a positive way, but also the environment.

—Chloe and Wesley Genovart

SoLo logo SoLo Farm & Table
95 Middletown Rd.
South Londonderry, VT
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A farmer follows her passion
and is living her dream

farming flowers



nne Flack-Matthews’ passion for farming began as a child. Her grandmother, an immigrant from Prussia, taught her how to garden and became her inspiration. Anne grew up helping out in her family’s vegetable garden and raising a lot of her own food. For her, the satisfaction of being outside and seeing things grow was magical.

The love of gardening was in her blood and continues to be a strong presence in her life. Throughout her younger years Anne somehow always managed to have a garden, beginning with 4-H Club and continuing with a college community plot.

When Anne moved to a rural area in Pennsylvania, she bought 20 Araucana chickens at an Amish auction. This breed, native to Chile, lays eggs with light blue shells. Anne’s three young children very much enjoyed taking care of the pear-shaped chickens with tufted “ears.” The family just loved them!

Ten years ago Anne and her family moved to Vermont, where they bought a defunct llama farm, located on a south-facing slope in Ferrisburgh. She chose to name the farm Flower Power VT. To Anne this name symbolized what the 1960s meant to her: peace, love and understanding. Soon she bought a tiller and began planting flowering perennials, herbs and vegetables. The farm’s main focus was growing organic flowers, which were sold at various farmers markets. Creating flower arrangements for weddings and local events also kept Anne very busy. Still, she felt that something was missing: her beloved Araucana chickens.

Following her dream, Anne purchased 100 Araucana chicks. Using chicken wire, she sectioned off part of the farm to create a large area for the chicks to eat grass, bugs and worms. Eventually, certified organic blue eggs were added to her onsite, year-round milk house farm stand and farmers market offerings. Loyal customers couldn’t get enough of the delicious dark golden yolks! Flower Power VT has also added Americana chickens to their happy group. This American breed is mixed in to add intelligence, health and laying power to the flock.

The farm’s organic certification reflects that the hens are fed organic grains, which are free of genetically modified grains, toxic insecticides and lake-polluting fertilizers. Presently, the farm has 450 laying hens, which range in the fields during the summer. Anne says, “Never give up, follow your dreams and believe in yourself—that’s me! My community is becoming what I envisioned. The interaction has been the most rewarding part, by far. I have muscles, sunburn, sore shoulders and a smile.”



Flower Power VT
Anne Flack-Matthews
991 Middlebrook Rd.
Ferrisburgh, VT 05456


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Tapped In to a Vermont Tradition

maple syrup
Photos courtesy of Proctor Maple Research Center University of Vermont



e’re proud of our maple syrup. Vermont’s rich, golden, amberhued liquid can never be taken for granted. Maple syrup wasn’t considered a delicacy 100 years ago, though. It was commonplace in any Green Mountain home’s kitchen, a key ingredient in New England baked beans, cakes, puddings, pies, breads—and even tomato sauce.

I learned this when I first read through the pages of Yankee Hill Country Cooking, a compendium of more than 200 recipes from old-time New England kitchens, while I was working at Butternut Mountain Farms, one of Vermont’s popular maple syrup producers, in Johnson. I found it in the dusty basement of an old library in the free pile. Though the pages are yellowed and coming loose from the binding, it provides a unique view into a past where cooks foraged for local ingredients to sweeten their recipes. In one recipe, the cook instructs the reader to collect marsh mallows, or cattails as we know them, peel them down to the roots, which are white and sweet, cook them with yams and douse them with maple syrup. We all remember Aunt Mable’s sweet potato pie with a bag of marshmallows on top, but I bet you never realized that indeed she, perhaps unknowingly, was passing on a New England tradition.

While working on maple recipes at Butternut Mountain Farm, I quickly realized the deep family traditions associated with its collection and boiling. Families convened in late February and early March to help the family “sugar.” The sugar maker, like the winemaker, was a skilled artisan. Getting to the right color of caramel demands constant attention.

jars of syrup

Vermont’s rich, golden,
amber-hued liquid can never
be taken for granted.

A team of horses would pull the sap buckets through drifts of snow. It was hard, laborious work. Buckets hung on trees and collected the slow drip of maple sap, which was then brought down to the “sugar house,” where it was boiled in big vats fueled by many cords of wood. These days, sugar makers use elaborate plastic tubing systems. The holes bored in sugar maples in early spring are usually made with a cordless drill. Small plastic spouts are inserted into the holes to connect the spouts to tubing that routes the precious sap into large tanks, which are collected right in the sugarhouse.

Today, sugaring is as much a science as it is an art.

At the University of Vermont, maple scientists have developed tap and vacuum systems that suck the sap out of the trees to increase yield, and wood fires have been replaced, in some cases, by oil-fueled furnaces; reverse-osmosis filters remove some water prior to boiling. Even though the technology has changed, the concept of boiling down 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup is still the same.

Environmentally, maple sugaring is a renewable endeavor. By this I mean it regenerates every year. In late winter, the sap begins to “run” and is collected within close proximity to the boiling site. No long food miles, no wasteful use of fossil fuels, no preservatives or artificial ingredients—just the real deal.

Sugaring is also good for the Vermont economy. It provides added revenue to family farms when they need it most, which is right before planting. Many sugar operations are on farms. This helps diversify the money flow during the slower winter months. The process from farm to table is contained in most cases to one single farm, from which the maple products are then sold locally.

Several researchers at the university are studying the “terroir” properties of maple syrup and determining that maple trees growing in certain areas of the state, just like vineyards, produce syrup that tastes different. Delicious and complex—and it’s not just taste, it’s what’s in the syrup, too.

Pure Vermont maple syrup is composed of not only sugar but minerals (potassium, calcium, magnesium and manganese), vitamins and amino acids, which make it unique from other refined sweeteners. Clearly, eating maple syrup for health reasons is silly (but what a great excuse!). We eat maple syrup because it tastes like nothing else— it tastes like home. It connects us to the earth and the family that collected it and the warm spring sun that coaxed it to flow. Bring maple back into your kitchen and into the recipes you love.

Cynthia Belliveau is dean of continuing education at the University of Vermont. She will be an instructor at the university’s first-ever Food Systems Summit on June 18– 29, which will address the question: How can we create regional food systems that are viable alternatives to the conventional one that exists now? Learn more at




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More Vermont dairy families
are thinking outside the cow

Polymeadows Farm
Polymeadows Farm in Shaftsbury.



sk for a glass of milk, and you expect cow’s milk. Would you notice if the milk came from goats, not cows? A growing number of people drink goat milk, describing it as creamy, rich and slightly sweet. Vermont has long been known for our dairy products, and goats are rapidly becoming a major fixture in our dairy landscape.

According to Dan Scruton, dairy programs section chief of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, there are 25 goat milk dairies currently in Vermont, up from 12 in 2000. He believes that goat dairies offer a diversification opportunity for farmers who are looking for value-added products. While much of the goat milk is made into cheese, there’s a growing demand for fluid goat milk as an alternative to cow’s milk.

Jan Kelley, owner of New Morning Natural Foods in Manchester, notes that many people prefer goat milk as a more readily digestible form of milk. Some customers are interested in trying new, local food products, and she even has one man who buys goat milk for his cat. Gail Acosta of Peru describes it as very thick and creamy, and uses goat milk in tea and on cereal.

Nutritionally, goat’s milk is very similar to cow’s milk. Scruton explains that goat milk contains short-chain fatty acids, which are easier to digest. According to the USDA, the lactose and protein content are statistically the same in goat and cow milk. Goat’s milk contains slightly higher amounts of vitamin C, calcium and potassium; cow’s milk is higher in vitamin A and B12. All goat milk contains 10 grams of fat per eight-ounce serving, while cow’s milk is available in a variety of fat content levels from whole to fat-free.

I visited two goat dairy families on opposite ends of Vermont, one in the Lake Champlain Valley and the other in southern Bennington County. They share a love of goats and a commitment to producing high-quality goat milk.


Melvin in the milking parlor at Polymeadows Farm.
Melvin in the milking parlor at Polymeadows Farm.

Look to the east as you drive along Historic Route 7A in Shaftsbury, and on a warm day you’ll see goats, often quite a lot of goats, browsing in the fields ringed by old stone walls with a backdrop of the Green Mountains. Polymeadows Farm is owned by Jennifer and Melvin Lawrence, who started out with Jersey cows and transitioned to milking goats seven years ago. When I visited in February, the curious goats came out to meet me as I drove up toward the farmhouse, jumping over the fences and surrounding the car. Jennifer laughs that goats have no sense of shame, and wreak havoc over the entire farm. She no longer bothers with a garden or flowers, which quickly become favorite goat foods.

Melvin grew up on the family farm, and when the low price of cow’s milk started squeezing them financially they decided to switch from cows to goats. After working with a consultant through the Vermont Farm Viability program to develop a business plan, they purchased 150 baby goats in 2003. Jennifer says “goats are way cooler” than cows, and that she can more easily move a 150-pound goat than a 900-pound cow. Plus, the Lawrence’s have more control over the price of their milk, especially since they began processing and marketing their own value-added products—chocolate milk, maple smoothies and yogurt—enabling them to continue working the farm.

Fall and spring are kidding season at Polymeadows, and over 100 pregnant goats keep Jennifer busy. She brings the newborns into her kitchen to make sure they’re warm and has learned how to bottle feed.

After two days they move outside in groups of up to 10 kids into one of two barns specifically for the babies, where bales of hay and group body warmth insulate them from the cold. Three times each day they drink warmed milk from a nipple bucket, which is exactly what it sounds like: a sturdy five-gallon white plastic bucket ringed with nipples. The goats are also fed hay from the fields at the farm with a little grain, and are pastured during warmer months.

As we walk outside from barn to barn, adult goats gather curiously around us, tasting the straps on my backpack and bumping into our sides, asking to be petted. The baby goats frolic in their pen, jumping straight up into the air and chasing each other in circles.

At 2 months old, the babies are weaned and moved to a second barn. When they’re old enough to breed, at about a year old, they move into yet another, bigger barn with a good-sized yard and meet the boys. After their first kidding, they move into the main barn.

Twice each day, 24 goats at a time move into a holding pen in the main barn to be milked. They’re sanitized before Melvin hooks each one to the vacuum-pump milking machine. He demonstrates how to attach the vacuums to each goat, giving me the chance to clumsily try out the process. The goat doesn’t mind my first attempt at milking, perhaps because she’s happily munching grain.

Air never touches the milk during milking as it’s pumped directly from the goat into the bulk tank in the milk room to quickly cool down. When it’s time to process the milk, it’s put into 10-gallon milk cans and brought down to the Grade A dairy plant they built next to the farmhouse. The milk is heated in the 50-gallon pasteurizer to 150°F. for 30 minutes. Once pasteurized, the milk is cooled, bottled and put into a chest freezer kept at 32°–40°. Melvin turned an old double garage with a dirt floor into a modern micro-dairy, processing an average of 30 gallons of milk per day to sell locally at the Walloomsac Farmers Market in Bennington or distribute to stores throughout Vermont, upstate New York, western Massachusetts and New York City.

They’ve found help from neighbors and customers who enjoy being around the goats. Alan, a neighbor across the street, is a big help putting in around 12,000 bales of hay in the summer, in exchange for hay for their animals. Carol purchased hay for her donkeys and milk for her cats. When she discovered the cats preferred goat milk to cow milk, she figured they must know what they were doing and starting drinking it herself. She comes in to help bottle and label the milk. A family moved in across the street, and because the 13- and 11-year-old boys missed living on a farm, they started helping with the afternoon milking and stall cleaning. There were 11 dairies in Shaftsbury when Melvin was a boy, and Polymeadows is the only one left, thanks to helpful friends and neighbors and the frolicking, friendly goats. Polymeadows Farm is located on 75 Lawrence Road in Shaftsbury. Phone: 802-379-5734. Visit the Website for additional information and store locations that sell their milk.


Sara Armstrong Donegan and Ada at Trillium Hill
Sara Armstrong Donegan and Ada at Trillium Hill

I drove past Trillium Hill Farm—twice—because I didn’t expect a working farm and dairy … Read More

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Taste-making trio has
everything but a restaurant

Chef Aaron in the kitchen.



e were the first eager customers to arrive at the Valentine’s Day pop-up dinner thrown by Misery Loves Co., the brainchild of three local food-industry pros— chefs Nate Wade and Aaron Josinsky and sommelier Laura Wade (Nate’s sister and Aaron’s wife). It was a mild February 14, not a surprise given the disappointingly moderate winter we’ve had. The door to Cork Wine Bar & Market—where the trio set up a kitchen and fullservice restaurant after the shop had closed for the night—was still locked. Within seconds, a rosy-cheeked Laura opened the door and welcomed us inside.

The pop-up as a concept is not new. For the past year it has become trendy for chefs to open temporary eateries, to pop up in a space that is not their home base and to serve food that is different from what they are known for. It gives chefs the freedom to explore and to experiment with new techniques, to cook fancier or simpler food, to cook outside of their box. Thanks to Misery Loves Co., the idea is catching on in Vermont.

“We started to hear a lot about the pop-ups happening in other cities, and we thought it sounded cool—a little fly-by-night, like a way for us to break the barriers of how we define restaurants,” says Nate Wade, who was most recently the consulting chef at Duino Duende in Burlington.

Of course—and they will be the first to admit this—the pop-up is also a convenient way for MLC to have a restaurant without actually having a restaurant. It is like their laboratory for testing out different concepts and menus without the financial responsibility of settling down in one space. Think of it as a restaurant dry run that has given these creative, eager cooks the chance to introduce their food and culinary style to the public. How thankful we are.

To date, Misery Loves Co. has put on about 45 pop-up dinners in six locations around Chittenden County, including at Sneakers Bistro in Winooski, 3 Squares Café in Vergennes and, most recently, at Cork, a cozy wine shop and tasting space across the street from the shuttered Alchemist in downtown Waterbury.

Chef Aaron Josinsky and his kitchen mate and business partner chef Nate Wade greeted us quickly from behind the reclaimed-wood bar, which had been outfitted with an electric flat top and a single electric burner, their only cooking equipment for the night. It was as makeshift as things go—no hoods, vents, Ansul systems, no actual fire or gas. They supplemented with pans and knives from home and plastic pint containers to hold their mise en place.

They offered a quick, firm handshake before we were walked to the back of the shop to sit at one of eight sturdy wood tables set with simple flowers and a glowing candle lantern. The trio looked as if they’d just barely finished setting up when we arrived. Josinsky and Wade—who with Laura as their general manager opened Bluebird Tavern in 2009—had the kind of anticipatory look on their faces that many cooks get right before dinner service starts. It’s the calm before the storm.

Tonight’s Pop-up Menu.

My colleague and I surveyed the menu—written in black marker on butcher’s paper with a small red heart, the only acknowledgement of Valentine’s Day. We ordered 10 of the 11 dishes on offer that night, starting immediately with the Spiced Peanuts, a generous handful of nuts toasted in a skillet and coated in an addictively spicy-salty blend of ground chiles and sugar. The menu was split pretty evenly into small and somewhat less small plates. Two of the larger plates would have been plenty for one person’s dinner. We, however, preferred to indulge. The food continued to come out pretty quickly, one dish after another, delivered by Wade, Wade and Josinsky.

The Massachusetts oysters with a tart-peppery mignonette were refreshingly briny and the beets in a salad with blue cheese and local arugula were candy sweet. The menu, with a surprising number of options, seemed untethered to any one style or ethnicity. There was a balance of classically inspired dishes, like frisée salad with a runny poached egg and house-cured smoked pork jowl, or cheek, and a giant pork meatball, or crepinette, with mushroom salad, alongside pork buns, ramen and a lamb gyro with tzatziki.

“We like to cook what we want to eat,” says Nate, when he, Aaron and I sat down a few days after the event to talk about how they come up with their menus. “When we go to New York City or Boston, we try to eat as many things as we can. So, we try chef David Chang’s pork buns at Momofuku. Then we go to Chinatown and have a totally different pork bun. Then, finally, we figure out how to make our own version and, eventually, we get it right.”

Aaron adds: “We don’t want to pigeonhole ourselves. We love old-timey rustic food. And we love street food. We don’t really think about what is trendy but more about what we really like. Our menus evolve to reflect this.”

The pork bun on offer that night was made with pork shoulder from VT Family Farm braised with sriracha, hoisin, soy sauce and brown sugar. The shredded meat is stuffed into homemade buns and garnished with fresh cilantro, sriracha-spiked aioli, scallions, kimchi and house-made pickles. Each bite was an eye-rollingly delicious balance of fatty, spicy, sour and salty flavors.

Their first pop-ups could be described as mostly experimental, the trio trying to bring to life ideas that had been simmering for some time. Aaron, Nate and Laura were having beer at The Monkey House in Winooski, listening to local DJ Disco Phantom spin tunes to an almost empty house. They thought: Wouldn’t this night be better if there was fried chicken to eat? So, they started frying chicken at Sneakers next door and shuttling it, along with buttermilk biscuits and honey butter, through an alleyway to the customers at the bar. The Dirty Bird—and the Misery Loves Co. pop-up series—were born.

Left to right: Beverage director Laura Wade, Chef Nate Wade chatting with diners, Chef Aaron Josinsky serving up a dish
Left to right: Beverage director Laura Wade,
Chef Nate Wade chatting with diners, Chef Aaron Josinsky serving up a dish

The name is Aaron’s brainchild. He, Nate and Laura had just finished up working their final season at Shelburne Farms and did not know what project they would move on to next. So, they decided to throw a dinner party for Valentine’s Day and to call it Misery Loves Company, a kind of anti-Valentine’s Day Valentine’s Day anthem. Working in the food business, they all had grown to despise this particular day: “It is one of those days when there are so many expectations and nobody who is working that night wants to be there,” admits Aaron.

Nate adds: “When we turned the idea into Misery Loves Co., we were trying to express the feeling that we’ve all had—when you can’t find something good to eat or when you feel like you are selling all of your ideas to the highest … Read More

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Photograph by Carole Topalian

hile to some people rhubarb is that strange pink celery-looking thing in the grocery store, most everyone else has a strong opinion of the vegetable. Its strong, tart flavor and prolific growing style means that most either love it or hate it.

Rhubarb is a perennial that might start small and cute, but will slowly—year after year, much like lilies—take over whatever land you allow it. Because Vermont’s climate is well suited to rhubarb growth, a landowner really doesn’t need to do anything to encourage this tart veggie on its slow path to garden domination. However, a gardener can split the root mass, as with lilies, and pass the mouth-puckering goodness on to another landowner.

If you’re cutting your own rhubarb from the plant, make sure to remove and discard the leaves. Most folks gently describe the leaves as “toxic,” but the throatclosing ability of consumed leaves might better be described as downright poisonous. Fortunately, all the bad stuff stays in the leaves and the stalks are left with the tasty, tangy goodness.

Legally (in the United States) rhubarb is classified as a fruit, and most people serve it up with other fruits, but botanically it’s actually a vegetable. It’s extremely common to cook rhubarb up in pies and jams, but fortunately rhubarb can show its true vegetable colors in more savory fare. Much like lemon or lime, its tartness fits very well with meats and sauces. It’s also good in stir-fries and can make a tasty fresh spring salsa.

Strawberry is the most traditional rhubarb buddy, but here in Vermont strawberry and rhubarb seasons don’t line up as neatly as they do in other parts of the country. This gives you a great excuse to combine rhubarb with more creative ingredients. I tried to feature some of the more unusual uses of rhubarb in the recipes here, to help you make the most of your crop. But if you can’t seem to use up all your rhubarb (or pawn it off on enough unsuspecting neighbors with unlocked doors), freeze it! Just slice it up and toss it in a bag in the freezer for later use. One nice thwack on the counter and the frozen diced rhubarb block becomes handy scoopable pieces (rinse off any ice crystals that have formed). I’ve used frozen rhubarb for hot sauce, salad dressing and even an incredible Maple Rhubarb Ground Cherry Jam.

I brought the meatballs featured here to a potluck and while most folks didn’t guess what the tart flavor in the meatball was, they kept going back for more. The potluck host gave an emphatic, “Yes, YES!” when asked if he wanted the last four meatballs. After the third batch of this recipe (the first of which was actually a very tasty Rhubarb Onion Hamburger), I figured I finally had a winner.

And on the sweeter side of things, the Rosemary Rhubarb Maple Crème Brûlée is just all kinds of delicious. Rosemary is going to be one of those ingredients that your guests won’t be able to place (or sometimes even notice), but will thoroughly enjoy. It gives a nice roundness to the rhubarb’s tartness and maple’s sweetness. Don’t be daunted by crème brûlée if you’ve never made it. It’s surprisingly easy and a great make-mostly-ahead dessert for a busy work night or an important dinner (which is why fancy restaurants with even the most simplistic of dessert menus make sure to include crème brûlée).

Rhubarb is one of those ingredients that can taste delicious in a wide variety of dishes, so you can really have fun with it. If you don’t have a stash of your own, just put the word out to anyone you know with a spit of land (or anyone who knows anyone with a spit of land). You might just find a nice bundle of rhubarb outside your front door (or inside your unlocked car.




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s spring arrives with gentle thaws and quickening maple sap, we can awaken our senses and prevent spring colds by choosing foods that support the lymphatic system. Lymph is the colorless fluid containing white blood cells that bathes the tissues and releases toxins. Just as the sap in maple trees flows each spring to renew the tree, so do our body’s fluids need increased circulation.

Lymphatic circulation enhances immunity by draining waste from metabolism and reducing inflammation caused by build-up in connective tissues. Simplifying your diet and increasing your intake of whole grains, fruits and vegetables will support lymphatic renewal. Spices and vegetables that cleanse the lymphatic system include fennel, coriander, fenugreek, kombu or kelp seaweed (Laminaria family), burdock, turnips, mustard and horseradish.

In an article published in the New York Times, chef and cookbook author Mark Bittman explained that “a person’s health—as well as the environment’s— will improve with a simple shift in eating habits away from animal products and highly processed foods to plant products and what might be called ‘real food.’” The more we pay attention to how we feel after eating, the more we notice our body’s cues for balance.

To ease the transition into spring, try preparing these dishes. Each one will awaken our palate to a new set of pungent and sour flavors. Enjoy them individually or cook them all to serve as a complete meal.






“World’s Healthiest Foods.” George
Mateljan Foundation Archives.
Onstad, Dianne. Whole Foods
Companion (Chelsea Green, 2004)

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Eaarth book


“The most powerful testimonies come not from
Washington but from local communities where neighbors
and ecological entrepreneurs are carving out community
and even opportunity right here on plant Eaarth.”


he jig is up. That is the simplest way to summarize Bill McKibben’s newest book, Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet. Even the jacket design is menacing. A giant black “X” on a white field covers all but a sliver of the planet’s marbled image. The time for cautionary tales is over, says McKibben. We have officially missed our chance to “save the planet” because the planet we once lived upon—planet Earth—is gone.

Marshaling evidence from all over the globe, McKibben argues that global warming has already changed the planet beyond recognition. “We’re running Genesis backward, de-creating,” he says, and so we need a new name for a “new” planet: Eaarth. Noting that the average global temperature has already risen about a degree Celsius, he points to evidence of changing weather patterns that have caused spikes in famine, drought, flooding and tropical storms, resulting in billions in losses and hurtling tens of millions of poor people into malnutrition

Far worse outcomes await, though, now that the polar ice caps have accelerated their melting, releasing huge amounts of carbon dioxide into the air from beneath the sea. But McKibben is trying to make his old message newly emphatic, so his argument is that we’ve long ago crossed the threshold. Now the best we can do is to adapt to life on the new planet Eaarth in order to keep it from becoming entirely uninhabitable.

If the first half of the book is gloomy, the last half is, if not bold, at least uplifting. That’s because there are already signs of hope. McKibben believes that while the cause of our current dilemma was national ambition and an unshakeable belief in “Progress,” the cure for our predicament must be both modest and local. Vermont, not Silicon Valley or Wall Street, can show us the way toward living “gracefully” on the new planet.

As a recent transplant to the Green Mountain State I can appreciate the examples he shares. Walk into one of Burlington’s thriving locally owned restaurants and the first thing you will notice is that the description for each dish on the menu runs at least a paragraph, since it takes that much space to name the multiple local farms that produced the to-die-for pizza you’re about to order. Farmers markets are teeming with people and bikes are everywhere—even in winter. In short, the most powerful testimonies come not from Washington but from local communities where neighbors and ecological entrepreneurs are carving out community and even opportunity right here on planet Eaarth.

Adopting a local mindset is certainly urgent, but it doesn’t have to feel like work. One thing’s clear: It sure tastes good.

Previously printed in Edible Michiana Fall 2011

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Beth Vicker
Beth Vicker (Photograph by George Soules)

The granola peeking through Beth Vickers’ windowed brown paper bags is incredibly inviting. The accompanying copy describes the contents as “simple, natural and delicious.” Yet it is the words “maple” and “Vermont” that magnetize me. I experience no apprehension whether it’s going to taste good: It looks good and, sure enough, it’s scrumptious.

Beth began selling her granola at the Dorset Farmers Market in the summer of 2006. In 2008 she joined forces with local granola purveyor and they co-founded Vermont Maple Granola Co.

Beth mixes up each small batch by hand. She fully supports the local food movement and sources the pure maple syrup and sunflower seed oil used in her granola from a farmer in North Bennington. She also sells her granola at as many farmers markets as she can. She mentions the sustainability of winter markets, specifically JK Adams, the one closest to her in Dorset, Vermont.

“This has been a great thing for the community and provides nearly year-round opportunities for vendors,” says Beth, who graciously directs me to a few vendors she likes. I go home with many delicious souvenirs.

Beth’s young family is at the age where they too, can enjoy the fruits of her labor. She responded to customer feedback along with her own realization that the nutritional contents needed to be delicious and healthy. After reformulating the recipes to lower the sugar and oil, Beth re-balanced her granola. She did not stint on the pure maple syrup, however. In the last year she has updated all of the nutrient fact labels and is proud to claim that “Vermont Maple Granola has been served in some schools.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take this magical handmade granola over any machine-processed product, and Beth, I will be happy to spread the word, because your granola is that good!

The Vermont Maple Granola Co.
P.O. Box 1033
Manchester Center, VT 05255


Tomato Juice
Visit to place your un-regrettable order.

If you want good company, food and drinks at your Sunday brunch, be sure to invite Bob and Doris Kopp. If you’re lucky they’ll bring along some of their 30-plus salsas, corn relish, BBQ Sauce, and most importantly, one of their outstanding Bloody Mary mixes.

Their company, Granny Blossom’s Specialty Foods, began as a full-service restaurant. Chef Bob branched out by making his own dip, sauce, salsa, granola, trail mix and spices. One tasty spice landed on the “Today Show” in 1991 and it was downhill after that. They became so busy they never opened the restaurant again. The Bloody Mary mixes have exceptional body and two different heats. The jalapeño and lime mix has serious good-heat. The mix with horseradish is a bit milder. Each mix includes a recipe on the label for Gazpacho, a delicious cold soup that uses the Bloody Mary mix as its base. Many of us will add vodka, a lime and a straw and call it a day.

Bob and Doris Kopp pride themselves on the oldfashioned concept of neighbors working together. Bob says, “We buy everything local; everything that is possible to buy local.” This small Vermont family business has distant stories and connections.

Granny Blossom’s Specialty Foods
425 Rte. 30, West Pawlet



The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a very busy one for Dakin Farm. In fact, they do half of their business during these holiday weeks, hiring over 100 additional local people to ensure the mailing of over 37,000 packages of their products.

Though primarily a mail-order business, Dakin Farm bacon supplies two local restaurants. They have a flagship store in Ferrisburgh, as well as a satellite shop in South Burlington. Dozens of fresh samples are prepared and available daily at their stores. I tasted many of these samples and happily purchased more to take home.

Maple sugar is used to cure their bacon as well as all their pork products. It is then corn cob smoked, sliced and packaged at the Ferrisburgh store. A visit to the smokehouses will find everyone hard at work—spiral-slicing hams, smoking bacon, making sausages and pepperoni and so much more. The bacon is lean, crisp and thick-sliced, with a rich natural meaty flavor—the way the bacon was made long ago. Dakin Farm has the experience to back their technique; after all, the heritage farm has been familyrun for over 200 years.

Word of this local business has spread. The Boston Globe made the bacon a top pick for sources east of the Mississippi. Says farm owner Sam Cutting IV, “It’s always a pleasure to show off our USDA-inspected smokehouses, however, we are always happy to send you a taste of Vermont no matter where you live.”

The Original Dakin Farm
Sam Cutting IV, owner
5797 Rte. 7, Ferrisburgh
Our Branch Store
100 Dorset St., South Burlington



The restaurant Cilantro based its beginnings on what I describe as LEGS: Local, Environmental, Gratifying and Sustainable. Instead of going on their honeymoon, Cassidy and Brenna Warren chose to renovate a former rug store into an authentic Mexican restaurant. Despite a fine-dining background Chef Cassidy decided to focus on the food he tended to cook on his days off: simple and authentic Mexican fare.

Says Chef Cassidy, “The locals are my bread and butter, and we’ll keep them happy.” All of Cilantro’s food is prepared with naturally raised meat, and the produce is locally sourced. In the summer he grows his own peppers including habaneros and jalapeños, as well as plenty of the signature namesake, cilantro.

Environmentally, Chef Cassidy is extremely conscious and runs the restaurant as green as he possibly can. There is no dishwasher and all of the utensils and cups are biodegradable, made from vegetable starches. The to-go containers are recycled compostable materials.

When I called Chef Cassidy to set up an interview, he stated, “I’m not usually here on Monday’s, I just stopped in to get food for my chickens and pigs.” During the interview he clarified this statement, explaining that he feeds the leftover food from each day to his livestock and starts over with all fresh food the next day Experiencing Cilantro is, on the whole, a gratifying experience. They serve high-quality Mexican food—fast, yet customizing any item with the ingredients you’d like. More specifically, a visit to this restaurant is a must just to try the house sauce, which I call, C-GLO. If you have a craving for Mexican and you really want to know what’s in the sauce, go to Cilantro and I’m sure they’ll tell you.

The restaurant is inviting, clean and comfortable. Cassidy and Brenna are both graduates of the New England Culinary Institute and Chef Cassidy has over 16 years of experience in the food industry. Brenna is the accountant for Cilantro, and Cassidy has declared that “business is great.”

Cassidy freely offered me information on all of his suppliers, specifically mentioning Lucky 7 Livestock. Although it’s a New York State company, they offer the largest variety of meat to meet his needs, aiding him in one of his quests … Read More

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