VPR Cafe

Sunday 10:45 a.m. on VPR

Credit VPR

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.

Maddie McGarvey / Free Press

Sunday, May 12, 10:40am  Mary Anne Gucciardi was the den mother for UVM Athletes for more than 30  years.  Affectionately known as Mama Gucc (pronounced Gooch), her huge spaghetti suppers are legend.  On this Mother's Day edition of The VPR Cafe, Melissa Pasanen recounts the magic of Mama Gucc, and Italian 'motherliness'. 

Photo by Candace Page

Rhubarb is Spring's zucchini.  It grows in abundance, is shared generously among neighbors, and can be used in a hundred ways.  This week, Candace Page raves about her favorite fruit.  Candy writes for the Savorevore Section of the Burlington Free Press and keeps copious amounts of rhubarb in her yard and freezer. 

Glenn Russell / Free Press

'Small Plates' is a popular phenomena in restaurant eating - the perfect solution for those of us who can't make up our minds!  In this April 28th edition of The VPR Cafe, Sally Pollak of the Burlington Free Press talks with Ric Cengeri about her small plate samplings, including  Misery Loves Company in Winooski. You can read more about 'small plates' eating in Sally's Savorvore article.

Photo: Melissa Pasanen, for the Burlington Free Press

This week, Melissa Pasanen takes us behind the scenes at cooking competitions.  From Junior Iron Chefs to gourmet challenges, cook-offs are fun for the participants and always a treat for the judges.  Melissa has judged many competitions over the years and gives us a taste of what that’s like.

Selecting A CSA

Apr 14, 2013
Maddie McGarvey / Burlington Free Press

Is a CSA right for you?  How much food will you get?  Will you have time to cook it?  Will you know what to do with it?  Candace Page, who writes for the Burlington Free Press, is a two-time CSA divorcee.  VPRs Ric Cengeri is an enthusiastic CSA devotee.  Between them you'll hear sound advice for selecting a CSA that works for you.

For information about CSAs in your area:

Vermont Department of Agriculture

Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont

Cooking Class Taste Test

Apr 7, 2013
Sally Pollak/Free Press / In a cooking class described by the chef as 'French comfort food,' participants enjoy their meal. Pictured eating are Ron and

Sally Pollak tested cooking classes in the region recently. Today on the VPR Café, Sally talks about what she learned: slicing, sauteing, making friends and the secret behind the perfect French Onion Soup.

Sally writes for the Savorevore Section of The Burlington Free Press, where you can learn more about the classes she took. (And what kind of fun job is that?!)

Niche Foods

Mar 31, 2013
Dori Ross of tonewood Maple standing in the Vasseur sugarbush on Bragg Hill in the Mad River Valley. She is partnering with the

Many young farmers and food producers are finding new niches in the local, sustainable food landscape. Melissa Pasanen, who writes for the Savorevore Series in the Burlington Free Press, fills us in on super delicious sweet potatoes, trout farming in a grain silo and maple crunchies.

The VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press, where you can read more about niche food endeavors.

VPR Cafe: Lunch!

Mar 24, 2013
Maddie McGarvey / Free Press / Customer at the Franklin General Store

The heart of many of Vermont's towns and villages rests in their country stores. Patrons stop in for gas, a few groceries, and just as importantly - the latest news and lunch!

Ric Cengeri talks with Candace Page about the variety of menus you'll find at country stores around Vermont as well as how these stores and their communities hold each other together.

The VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press. Candy writes for the Free Press Savorvore Series.

Creating Community

Mar 17, 2013
Seth Butler / Fable Farm

Theater among the vegetables, bacon at a sweet shop, and bread at a puppet show. This week on The VPR Café, Ric Cengeri talks with Sally Pollak about the unexpected combinations that are the catalyst for community.

Drawing from her travels around Vermont, Sally shares stories about how eating gets people talking, singing, laughing and connecting.

Baked Beans

Mar 10, 2013
Vermont Life Melissa Pasanen / From left, Vermont yellow eye grown by C.P. Hazen Co. in North Hero, Marfax beans from Patti Qua in Exeter, Maine; and Maine

This week on the VPR Café, Ric Cengeri talks with Melissa Pasanen about the New England Tradition of baked beans and - how we bake them. They talk about beans grown here in Vermont and The J Sisters in Georgia.

The VPR Café is produced in collaboration with The Burlington Free Press. Melissa Pasanen is a free lance writer for several publications including the Burlington Free Press Savorvore Series.

Maple Sugaring season is fast approaching. On this first episode of the VPR Café, Ric talks with Candace Page about what the new international maple grading system means for producers and consumers. She also bringsus into Ginger Isham's kitchen in Williston where maple is king.

By the way, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Open House Weekend is coming up March 23rd and 24th.