VPR Cafe

Friday 6:20 p.m. on VPR

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The VPR Café is a weekly feature that's all about Vermont food and the people who grow it, prepare it and love it.

VPR's Ric Cengeri talks with food writers from Seven Days and Vermont Life food editor Melissa Pasanen. They share stories from the farms, kitchens and eateries of Vermont that connect our communities.

When paired with the right spirits, ingredients like cinnamon, pear, vanilla and rosemary will add an abundance of flavor to fall cocktails.
Suzanne Podhaizer / Seven Days

If you've ever been intimidated by mixing cocktails for guests, don't sweat it. If you prepare ingredients, follow a few simple steps and pay attention to ratios, playing bartender doesn't need to be stressful.

Chef and cookbook author Sandi Earle's turkey chili made with Queen City Brewery's Gregarious Scottish Ale.
Michael Jacobs / Vermont Life

Everyone knows how to drink beer, but what about cooking with it? With the wide variety of craft beer and its many flavor profiles, cooking with it can be just as fun and tasty as using wine.

Douglas Sweets, a shortbread company, is just one of the many food and beverage makers taking up residence at Vermont Artisan Village in Shelburne.
Lee Krohn / Seven Days

If you drive along Route 7 just south of Shelburne Museum, you might have noticed some building activity during the last few years. This group of barn-like structures has grown into something called Vermont Artisan Village and there's an awful lot of food being produced there. 

Flag Hill Farm owners, Sabra Ewing and Sebastian Lousada, have been making hard ciders since long before the beverage's recent wave of popularity.
Melissa Pasanen, courtesy

Hard cider has become increasingly popular in Vermont with the advent of many new makers in recent years. But reach back a few decades and you'll find some of the state's earlier producers, including Flag Hill Farm in Vershire.

VPR Cafe: Pestopalooza

Sep 15, 2017
Hannah Palmer Egan's recipe for "Amazing Awesome August Pasta" includes kale, tomatoes, feta and pesto.
Hannah Palmer Egan / Seven Days

Get your food processor out. It's that time of year when you might have an abundance of basil and other greens which are perfect for making pesto.

Taylor LaFleur (left) and Dillon Klepetar are the hard-working farmers and chefs cho created Farmstead Catering in Whallonsburg, NY.
Julia Rebecca / Seven Days

Beyond farm-to-table comes the concept of seed-to-service on Echo Farm in Whallonsburg, NY. Dillon Klepetar and Taylor LaFleur, who run the farm, have created something similar to a CSA (community supported agriculture) but on a much larger scale. Their venture is called Farmstead Catering which produces, prepares and serves food for weddings and other special occasions.

Vermont Compost teamster, Kaleigh Hamal, and Ruby the donkey deliver eggs through Montpelier.
Suzanne Podhaizer / Seven Days

Seeing something a little offbeat in Vermont is par for the course. But donkeys delivering eggs? Yup, it's a thing in Montpelier.

From urban spaces to rural places, food trucks are really popular in Vermont and, now, much easier to locate thanks to the "Vermont Food Truck Finder."
Maica / iStock

At one time, it was a quirky thing when a food truck showed up at your office once or twice a week. Then came food truck round-ups and, now, there's an explosion of food trucks along the highways and byways of Vermont. Luckily, Seven Days is helping us keep track of 'em all with the Vermont Food Truck Finder!

Marjorie Susman and Marian Pollack, farmers and cheese makers at Orb Weaver Farm in New Haven, in front of the cave where they age their signature Colby-style cheese into a version closer to a nutty aged Gouda.
Melissa Pasanen, courtesy / Culture

The process of maturing or aging cheeses to peak ripeness is traditional in Europe, but a more recently adopted practice in the United States. 

A few styles of beer available at Brocklebank Craft Brewing in Tunbridge.
Hannah Palmer Egan / Seven Days

For those of you too young to remember the dark ages of beer, there was a time when there were no micro-breweries; only national brands, a few local brews, and imports. But now, a new brewery has opened in Vermont since you started reading this. 

A customer enjoys Bad Larry's Maple Madness, one of Canteen Creemee Company's creative "next level" creemee sundaes.
Daria Bishop, courtesy / Vermont Life

What if you were a chef known for creating delicious gourmet meals, but part of you had a love of making great burgers, fried chicken, lush milkshakes or creemees? Well, some area chefs have opened snack bars and creemee stands to harness these less formal culinary desires.   

Chef Jesse Lauer serves guests in his home during one of his pop-up dinners dubbed "Dinner with Friends."
Matthew Thorson / Seven Days

If you're an adventurous eater, you might just be interested in a 12-course meal of exquisite recipes never before prepared by the chef. Well, that's just what's served when you pull up a chair at the home of Chef Jesse Lauer.

Vermont Youth Conservation Corps members and leaders pause while helping to weed at Yoder Farm in Danby.
Daria Bishop / Vermont Life

Thanks to the Health Care Share project, tons of healthy produce from Vermont farms is now within reach of families and individuals who need it most.

Andrew Ryan is not only executive chef at Wake Robin in Shelburne but is also co-owner of Drifter's Cafe in Burlington.
Brent Harrewyn / Seven Days

Life unfolds in strange and mysterious ways. But the two cooking gigs of a Vermont chef might be the oddest food/venue combination on record; yet Chef Andrew Ryan makes it work.

Just as you would before visiting the grocery store, make a list of what you need when planning a trip to a farmers' market.
kasto80 / iStock

A farmers markets can be a fun place to do your shopping but, keep in mind, they are, in effect, open-air grocery stores. So it makes sense to have a plan before you go. 

Tom Smith with freshly picked sour cherries from Mad Tom Orchard in East Dorset.
Sylvia Smith

Summer in Vermont is glorious for so many reasons including our delicious, locally grown, ripe and ready fruits. One of which is the sour cherry!

Hannah Palmer Egan / Seven Days

Vermont farm stands have probably been around as long as Vermont farms themselves. But nowadays, you're likely to find a wide array of items far beyond fresh fruit and veggies.

Jaclyn Hochreiter, public outreach coordinator for Addison County Solid Waste Management District, shows a worm composting bin to workshop participants.
Melissa Pasanen / Vermont Life

So, you've made quiche with sauteed kale stems and leftover grilled salmon; shared that last portion of tomato soup with an elderly neighbor; and trained the kids to grab fruit from the "eat me first" box in the fridge. But what to do with the rinds, skin, bones and other food waste?

Waste Free Kitchen Handbook, courtesy

From the unidentifiable slimy greens in the back of your vegetable drawer to lunch meeting leftovers, as much as 40 percent of food produced in the world is wasted.

marcopasqualini / iStock

The seasons move quickly in New England; the cold chill of winter fades, spring makes a short visit, and then summer arrives with thoughts turning to picnics! 

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