13 August, 2015 - by Caroline Abels

Exploring Humanely Raised Meat in Vermont

Category: Explore a Region

On the DigInVT.com blog, we encourage guest writers to tell us about what they’re passionate about in the Vermont food and farm landscape. Caroline Abels, who contributed the following post, is known to many around Vermont as the editor of Vermont’s Local Banquet. Here, she shares another project based on her personal concern over meat production and ethical options for the non-vegetarian through Humaneitarian.org.     

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13 August, 2015 - by Sheila McGrory-Klyza, The Vermont Epicure

24 Hours in BTV

What does it mean when the car’s Check Engine light comes on? One of our cars is an aging Subaru, so this is a commonly asked question in our house. Even the skilled mechanics at our garage seem uncertain about the cause. “It could be about 300 different things,” they tell me as they hook up their diagnostics. After running the car through their scanner, sometimes they still can’t identify the cause. If nothing shows up as a problem, they simply turn off the light. Maybe it will stay off for a while, but there’s also a chance that it’ll come back on before I pull into our driveway.

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3 August, 2015 - by

Vermont Open Farm Week 2015

Category: Events

Do you love local food and farms? Want to get to know your farmer better -- and to get a behind-the-scenes look into Vermont's vibrant working agricultural landscape?  Mark your calendar for Vermont Open Farm Week: August 3-9, taking place at farms across Vermont! 

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3 August, 2015 - by The 2015 Open Farm Week Organizing Team

Vermont Open Farm Week - Farmer Participation

Category: Events

We are getting excited for the first Vermont Open Farm Week August 3-9, 2015! 

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Category: Events

Vermont Open Farm Week is fast approaching, and a number of farmers' markets across the state will be holding events! Live music, fresh food and a chance to meet the farmers and producers of your favorite foods are all good reasons to visit a farmers' market.  Be sure to check out one near you during Open Farm Week, August 3-9, 2015.

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Vermont Open Farm Week is fast approaching, giving Vermonters and visitors of all ages a chance to explore the diverse Vermont farms. Open Farm Week is a great chance to get your kids outside and inspire a lifelong connection with farming and animals. Farms across the state will be offering a variety of events including scavenger hunts, chances to meet farm animals, nature walks, craft activities and berry picking, which kids (and adults!) are sure to enjoy. Here is a list of a few of the farms open this week with fun for the whole family. 

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27 February, 2015 - by Vera Chang, Shelburne Farms

Ready, Set, Chop! Jr Iron Chef is Coming!

Category: Events

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Ready, set, chop! On Saturday, March 21, 65 middle and high school teams will compete in the state’s eighth annual Junior Iron Chef VT. This local foods cooking challenge empowers youth to connect with where food comes from, healthy eating, and from-scratch cooking. Since its founding, the competition has more than doubled the number of participants with teams coming from every corner of the state. 
This year’s Jr Iron Chef VT is particularly timely. Since last year’s competition, First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House administration began conversations about how to introduce basic culinary skills in schools as a way to promote healthier eating. Yesterday, U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) introduced the bipartisan Farm to School Act of 2015 to increase federal resources committed to bringing fresh, local foods to schools nationwide. 
One of the first youth culinary competitions to focus on local food and school meals, Jr Iron Chef VT is one example of the state’s groundbreaking farm to school efforts. Vermont has some of the longest-standing programs in the country. Today, eighty-nine percent of Vermont schools are involved with farm to school programming thanks to state policymakers, food service professionals, and nonprofit organizations, including the founders of Jr Iron Chef VT: Vermont Food Education Every Day (VT FEED, a partnership of NOFA-VT and Shelburne Farms) and the Burlington School Food Project.
The impact of Jr Iron Chef VT is broad and can last beyond graduation for many participants. Maraika Lumholdt, a South Burlington High School and Jr Iron Chef VT alumna is serving as a judge this year. “I know from personal experience that the process of competing is a real challenge, but it pays off,” Maraika said. “Jr Iron Chef VT inspired me to think about food in a new way – where food comes from to its preparation. While creating recipes, my teammates and I learned about the connection between farms, nutrition, and taste and how to cook well while working together.”  
Guided by coaches – local chefs, food service directors, and teachers – student teams create original recipes that incorporate local foods. Students work through real-life challenges similar to those food service face to create healthy, nutritious school lunches, including sourcing ingredients themselves. Teams have just 90 minutes to prepare their kid-tested, seasonal fare. Jr Iron Chef VT winning teams will have the opportunity to prepare their recipes for legislators in the Vermont Statehouse, and their dishes will also be featured on school lunch menus around the state.
A selection of the dishes on this year’s Jr Iron Chef VT menu: Vermont Root Vegetable Empanada with Maple Adobe Sauce; Ricotta Gnocchi with Butternut Basil Sauce in Kale Spinach Nest; and Sensational, Satisfying, Seasonal Soup. 
Some of the 20 Jr Iron Chef VT judges working under the guidance of Chef Jim Birmingham of the New England Culinary Institute include: Lake Champlain Chocolates Research and Development Specialist Lauren Deitsch, Hotel Vermont Executive Chef Doug Paine, and Twin Valley alum and Hermitage Club Chef Joel Gonzalez.
The 8th Annual Jr Iron Chef VT will take place Saturday, March 21 from 9:00am to 3:30pm at the Champlain Valley Expo Center in Essex Junction, VT. Cost for attendance is $3 for an individual, $5 for a family. Jr Iron Chef VT is sponsored by several local and state entities including Northfield Savings Bank; Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets; and Blodgett. Its media sponsor is WCAX. For more information, please visit www.jrironchefvt.org.

Ready, set, chop! On Saturday, March 21, 65 middle and high school teams will compete in the state’s eighth annual Junior Iron Chef VT. This local foods cooking challenge empowers youth to connect with where food comes from, healthy eating, and from-scratch cooking. Since its founding, the competition has more than doubled the number of participants with teams coming from every corner of the state. 

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12 February, 2015 - by Claire Fitts Georges, Butterfly Bakery

Baking with Maple

Category: Recipes

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Some recipes easily adapt to including maple syrup - with sauces, spreads, marinades, and glazes, for example, just replace other sweeteners with maple syrup and keep adding the syrup until you have the flavor you want (you may find that because maple adds flavor, not just sweetness, you want to increase the amount over something like sugar). Baking, though, can be intimidating. So, we asked Claire Fitts Georges of Butterfly Bakery, a wholesale bakery specializing in maple syrup based baked goods, to give us a quick introduction to the art:

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9 February, 2015 - by Corey Burdick

Maple Conversion

Vermont is my adopted home. I have lived here full time for 12 years, but spent my childhood in upstate New York. I’ll admit I’ve been slow to accept real maple syrup into my culinary repertoire. My reluctance to embrace the culture and tradition of soaking one’s pancakes in true, local maple syrup can only be attributed to the breakfast tables of my youth; crowded with Aunt Jemima and Country Crock. Food memories can be powerful and often determine how one crafts meals and diets for a lifetime. But, sometimes patterns are meant to be broken, so in that spirit, last March I took a trip to one of my favorite natural areas: Shelburne Farms.

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9 February, 2015 - by Helen Labun Jordan

Maple Info: Lots of Ideas for Using Lots of Syrup

Category: Recipes

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Several years ago I was traveling to a certain European country where maple syrup was not part of the national menu (the country was Macedonia, but I'm not going to point fingers). Our hosts admitted that, while they appreciated visits from Vermonters, they'd also filled a kitchen cabinet with bottles of unused maple syrup. They couldn't believe how many pancakes Vermonters must eat to go through as much maple syrup as we apparently consumed.

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