Local Food

Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food: Farm Tour Recap

Every summer, City Market hosts farm tours open to community members where we visit local farms and learn about agriculture in our home state. In June, we visited Pine Island Community Farm and Riverberry Farm and earlier in July we visited Green Mountain Bee Farm. Farm tours are part of our summer education programming, where community members and visitors can sign up for a day of meeting farmers and learning about where our food comes from. It really makes the “know your farmer” effort easy—we bring you right to them!

A New Direction for Vermont Agriculture

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

Just about every dairy farmer in Vermont will tell you that their industry is in a grave crisis situation.  The experts tell us that our present system of pricing commodity milk from the farm is broken and pretty much unrepairable. There is simply too much milk being produced.  According to the agricultural economists, we are now in a global marketplace and milk prices show no sign of improvement in the near future.  Several well-respected commentators have recently made some pretty radical suggestions they feel will help the situation.  For some time now, James Maroney of Leicester has been pushing for a statewide transition to organic dairy practices as a way to improve water quality in Lake Champlain.  More recently, Roger Allbee, a very well respected former Secretary of the Vermont Department of Agriculture, has suggested that the only cure for the present milk pricing malaise is to move the Vermont dairy industry en masse into the organic sector.  Reactions to these proposals have been rather predictable.  The conventional co-ops that handle the lion’s share of Vermont produced milk are incredulous and dead set against any such change while folks in the organic camp are elated that a former agriculture secretary would recognize the viability and economic advantages of organic farming systems. 

Confessions of a Grainiac

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

I grew my first grain crops during the 1977 season one year after buying our farm.  Total acreage was six—four of wheat, one of barley and one of flint corn. The cereals were planted with a wooden wheeled antique grain drill and harvested with a PTO driven John Deere grain binder and a large tin Dion threshing machine.  We ended up with some very nice looking hard red spring wheat that seemed to glow at us.  Beginner’s luck was upon us.  This initial success bolstered our confidence and nurtured a passion for grain growing that has continued until very recently.

What is CAPS Accreditation?

In 2015, one of the recipients of the Co-op Patronage Seedling Grants was the Vermont Vegetable and Berry Grower’s Association’s (VVBGA) Community Accreditation for Produce Safety (CAPS).  They received $12,700.55 from the grant program to help cover the cost of creating and implementing the CAPS program, including developing a web platform and providing farmer workshops.  CAPS is a voluntary and affordable Produce Safety Accreditation specifically for Vermont farms. The goal of CAPS is to help farmers reduce the risk of food-borne pathogens and maintain food safety credibility in the marketplace, even if they are exempt from the final rules of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

A Farmer’s Thoughts on 100% Grass Fed Dairying

This is a guest post by Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm. All views expressed in this article are personal to Jack.

One hundred per cent grass fed dairy products (aka “grass milk”) has been a relatively recent arrival to the dairy section of most natural foods outlets.  The health benefits of 100% grass fed dairy have long been espoused by The Weston A. Price Foundation and others.  When cows live on a diet from which grain has been eliminated, the omega 3 fatty acid profile increases in their milk.  Grass fed beef has become quite popular because of the presence of conjugated linoleic acids (CLA’s) in the meat.  Higher CLA’s reduce one’s risk of cancer and other diseases.  These same nutritional advantages hold true for 100% grass fed milk products. 

Sweet Talk: Local Honey

Let’s have some sweet talk…about local honey!  Every season, you may notice our beautiful endcap highlighting all of our local honey vendors. Even year round, our local honey selection is phenomenal. We work hard to support local honey producers, and we are committed to sharing information about each vendor with customers. We even have one staff member who is dedicated to working with local honey producers to make sure we’re offering high quality honey in a variety of sizes in addition to in what we offer in bulk.

Farmer Spotlight: Burundian Farmers Co-op

In 2010, New Farms for New Americans (NFNA), a program of Association of Africans Living in Vermont (AALV) started recruiting farmers and gardeners into their agriculture program with the help of a Refugee Agriculture Partnership Program (RAPP) grant from the Office of Refugee Resettlement. The grant was meant to help connect refugee and immigrant farmers to land, resources, and education related to business development for small-scale farming and markets.  The goals of this grant helped launch the Burundian Farmers Co-op.

Local Summer Spotlight

Welcome to August! Late summer is a special time for our Produce department. Every day it is filled with bright, fresh new products from farms all over Vermont and beyond. With such bounty upon us, I wanted to shine light on some of our lesser-known veggies. Who knew linga linga would be a such a great addition to a stir fry? Or that some types of lettuce are grown for their delicious stalks? Here's the lowdown on some of our new favorites this season.

Dandelion Love

I was surprised to see a few yellow dandelions blooming close the ground just over a week ago when the days were still quite chilly.  These plants are hardy!  While some people may be annoyed by pesky dandelions growing in their lawns and gardens, these healthful plants are actually one of the first spring foods you can forage from the land (if picking, be sure to harvest plants that are in an unsprayed area, at least 20 feet from a road, and not near sidewalks or trails). 

Local Food as Medicine: Adaptogens

Adaptogens are herbal remedies that increase our abilities to resist the effects of stress on our bodies and help restore our bodies to normal functioning by regulating the adrenal stress response.  Adaptogens also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that help protect cells from damage.  Adaptogens are generally non-toxic, even with prolonged use (but of course, be sure to check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns).

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Local Food