Serving Up Vermont
Last month, the James Beard Foundation hosted their 6th annual conference tackling the very large topic “Rethinking the Future of Food.” I will say, this is no easy feat. Breaking it down into three perspectives, speakers, panelists, and participants examined this topic through the lenses of the future of health, the future of the kitchen, and the future of the farm.
My family can tell you that I’m a sucker for holiday tunes: Frosty the Snowman, Silver Bells, Jingle Bells, you name it. So, I’m a bit embarrassed to admit that in all my 28 years, I’ve never once roasted chestnuts while listening to Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. When Mary, one of our Produce Buyers, alerted me to the fact that we had organic chestnuts in stock ordered directly from a small family farm in IA called J&B Chestnut Farm, I knew this was my chance. So I bought some and gave roasting a whirl.
Our latest Dish panel discussion tackled the tough question of food access in Vermont and explored innovative programs and solutions for increasing food access for Vermonters. When planning for this Dish discussion, we tried to keep in mind that food access is a huge, complicated subject, and that it would take many Dish discussions to fully explore all the different aspects of this topic. So, we narrowed it down to focus specifically on the relationship between the local food system and food access in Vermont. Just because something is local, does that make it more accessible?
I had the pleasure of joining our Meat and Seafood Manager, Jamie, and our Meat and Seafood Buyer, Nick, on a visit to LaPlatte River Angus Farm’s new inspected livestock processing facility in Milton, VT. Considering we get 1,600 - 2,000 pounds of beef from LaPlatte River Angus Farm each week (that’s 4 sides of beef per week, averaging between 400 and 500 pounds each), we were appreciative of the opportunity to check out the new facility and to see how the process works.
A couple years ago, we featured some regional frozen vegetables in our freezers in Aisle 4. These were offered to us as part of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association’s Farm to Freezer program, and we’re happy to announce that NFCA is once again making these delicious frozen veggies available to us!
NFCA’s Farm to Freezer program started in response to Co-ops in New England needing more local or regional vegetables and fruit in our freezer aisles. We offer a wide variety of local and regional options in our fresh food departments, like Produce, Meat and Seafood, and Cheese, so it felt only natural that a larger share of our frozen items should be produced locally or regionally as well. We have a variety of locally grown and frozen berries from Adam’s Berry Farm in Charlotte, VT, but the vegetable options were lacking. Enter Farm to Freezer!
“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.” – Stanley Horowitz
Fall is a vibrant time for Vermont. Richly colored apples and squash obscure my countertops; beets and Swiss chard find their way into breakfast, lunch, and dinner; and most notably, the aromas of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and all of my favorite warming blends fill my senses. Surrounded by falling leaves, and starting to feel the chill in the breeze, I can’t help but feel inspired by it all. Mulled cider and wine make regular evening appearances and chili often cooks in a crockpot throughout the day, filling my home with these wonderful smells.
Whether your child is in 1st grade or you yourself are taking classes, eating well is an important part of performing well in school and feeling great during the long days away from home. Although there are no school-goers in my house right now, I was there myself just a few months ago and learned a few tricks to easily keep my bag full of healthy food that I would actually want to eat! Below are some simple, healthful recipes for lunches and snacks to keep students fueled, energized, and focused during their days in the classroom.
Going back to school can be hard. Alarm clocks shrewdly remind us that lazy mornings are a thing of warmer months, and it’s time to trade in beach towels for backpacks. If you’re like me, you dream about being organized and prepared the night before so that mornings are a little less rushed, and I’m more inclined to actually sit down for my breakfast.
What if I told you there was a product we stocked that is in even higher demand than Heady Topper? Would you believe me? If you’ve ever looked for Gerard’s bread at the Co-op, then you know it’s true! We’ve even seen folks notice it arriving at our loading dock out in the parking lot, and head back inside to meet the deliverer right as they arrive in the Bakery Department.
As many of you know, Summervale season is upon us. Every Thursday in our office is a bustle of activity to make sure orders arrive on time, all the prep work of washing, grinding, chopping, and slicing is done, the signs are printed, and the van gets packed with everything we need to head on down to the buzzing scene at the Intervale. Last week, as I prepped for our “Make Your Own Pesto” activity, I had to make a last-minute change of plans to whole basil tops instead of already-picked leaves. Basil tops include the whole stem and come in large whole bunches.
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