VPR Cafe

Sunday 10:45 a.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.

Photo: Joanna Dubaj, Public Domain; Illustration: Jake Rusnock, VPR

Seven Days food writers, Hannah Palmer Egan and Julia Clancy, look back at the food that made our mouths water in 2016.

VPR Cafe: Tourtiere

Dec 22, 2016
Justin Barrett / Piecemeal Pies in White River Junction

In this episode, food writer Melissa Pasanen stops by to talk about Tourtiere; the classic French-Canadian meat pie.

najin / iStock

From having the proper tools to timing out the meal to keeping guests happy, there are many elements to juggle while whipping up a holiday feast. This week the VPR Cafe brings you helpful tips for preparing a holiday meal.

VPR Cafe: Jam Bakery

Dec 9, 2016
Oliver Parini

Ever bought a baked buttermilk scone out of a 1997 Ford Econoline Van? Julia Clancy, a food writer for Seven Days, caught up with the brains behind the operation known as Jam Bakery and visited The VPR Cafe to share the story.

Hannah Palmer Egan

Some of Vermont's prisoners are helping to prepare Vermont-raised foods for their fellow inmates as part of a new "farm-to-prison" program. Seven Days food writer Hannah Palmer Egan visited the VPR Cafe to talk more about it.

Melissa Pasanen

Keeping guests well-fed and happy is the key to a house full of holiday harmony. When Melissa Pasanen, writer for the Savorvore section of the Burlington Free Press, stopped by the VPR Cafe, she suggested some brunch ideas that she learned from savvy experts. 

Courtesy, Misha Johnson

Vermont has embraced the idea of "farm-to-table" but what about "farm-to-apothecary?" Julia Clancy is a food writer for Seven Days and she recently visited the VPR Cafe to talk about farmers in Vermont who grow medicinal herbs for use in health and wellness practices.

Brent Harrewyn for Vermont Creamery

Vermont Creamery co-founder Allison Hooper spent a semester abroad in 1980 and it may have changed our Vermont cheese selection for the better. Seven Days food writer Hannah Palmer Egan visited the VPR Cafe to talk about the cheese that came to be decades after that visit abroad and how a couple of local creameries are making GMO-free cheeses in Vermont.

Glenn Russell/Burlington Free Press

Working a job in the food industry comes with notoriously long hours and usually low pay. And even when a chef or food producer is passionate about their craft, burning out becomes a real on-the-job hazard.

VPR Cafe: Food Ethics

Oct 27, 2016
Illustration by Michael Tonn / michaeltonn.com

Suzanne Podhaizer, a food writer for Seven Days, recently had a picnic with two UVM professors. The two have authored a new book on food ethics. And Podhaizer found herself facing a butter dilemma.

Ryan Mercer / Burlington Free Press

An apple orchard in the Champlain Islands has been around since Ulysses S. Grant was president: Allenholm Farm in South Hero.

VPR Cafe: Cabbage

Oct 14, 2016
Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press

Cabbage is one of those polarizing vegetables — you love it or you don't.

If you have heavy heads of locally-grown cabbage in your CSA basket and you fall into the "love" category, Melissa Pasanen, who writes for the Savorvore section of the Burlington Free Press, has some new recipes for you to try.

The concept of eating locally is fully embraced in Vermont for all the right reasons: Fresher foods, the ability to know the farmer and knowing you are leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

But how local does a food have to be to be considered "local?"

Glenn Russell/Burlington Free Press

Sally Pollak, who writes for the Savorvore section of the Burlington Free Press, recently took a culinary tour of fare from France, Italy, Turkey, Bhutan and Viatnam without ever leaving downtown Burlington. She joined VPR Cafe to talk about the food samplings from different cultures.

Glenn Russell/Burlington Free Press

Many local farmers diversify their offerings by creating new products from the things they grow and raise on their land. Farr Farms in Richmond has done just this by making its own gelato from fresh milk.

Dorset Union Store circa 1884, courtesy of Cindy Loudenslager. Photo of the store today by Brooke Wilcox.

A native of Boston, Seven Days food writer Julia Clancy grew up with the notion that Vermont general stores were more nostalgic than useful; buildings full of fudge and flannel rather than ones still used for everyday needs and as a hub of community.

Recently, Clancy took off on a summer-long road trip to visit several general stores throughout the state and found just how vital these stores still are to their communities.

appalachian views / istock

The Morse Farm in Montpelier, that used to just grow vegetables, is now a maple syrup producer, a cross-country center and a mountain bike venue. In the farm world, this is known as value-added agriculture – when farmers use everything the land has to offer.

Glenn Russell / Burlington Free Press

In recent years, Vermont has seen a handful of barbecue restaurants pop up. These eateries seek to bring authentic southern style barbecue to a state that is not thought of as a barbecue destination.

Recently Sally Pollak and Melissa Pasanen, writers for the Savorvore Section of the Burlington Free Press, took a tour of several barbecue restaurants in Vermont.

“This is not grilled meat; this is made in a smoker,” Pasanen says. “Real barbecue has to be cooked low and slow over a hardwood fire in a smoker.”

Matthew Thorsen / Seven Days

There are dozens of farmers markets across Vermont. The number peaked at 87 in 2010 and has since gone down. Still, there are questions about what makes a successful market and how to keep markets thriving in the future.

Ryan Mercer / Burlington Free Press

Greensboro is a small town in Northeast Kingdom on Caspian Lake. But despite its small size, it has gained world recognition for beer and cheese.  

Hill Farmstead has been ranked the best brewery in the world multiple times and Jasper Hill Farm had gotten the same praise for their cheese. Both are in Greensboro.

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