Food & Agriculture

The home for VPR's coverage of the food and agricultural issues across the state.

VPR's John Dillon covers food and agriculture issues with special focus on the Vermont dairy industry. Follow John Dillon on Twitter for the latest and check back for in-depth reporting from across the state and our region.

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below
Dairy Industry | Water Quality & PFOA | Marijuana | Vermont Agency Of Agriculture

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Hungry for more?
Check out the VPR Café for more on food in Vermont, and The Vermont Garden Journal for gardening wisdom from Charlie Nardozzi.

A small shovel in the dirt with bulbs and leaves on it.
onepony / iStock

If you love to garden, there's still plenty of time to dig in the dirt before the winter chill blows in. On this Vermont Edition, we have gardening expert and Vermont Garden Journal host Charlie Nardozzi ready to answer all your questions on fall gardening.

Antony Kemp / ISTOCK

The days are getting shorter and cooler and it's time to start protecting your tender plants. Whether it be a favorite rosemary, a houseplant you moved outdoors for summer or a tender perennial in the ground, there are different ways to protect those plants from the cold.

Bennington Museum

Bennington Museum’s current exhibition of New Deal art is a fine collection of prints, photographs and paintings from the 1930s – including several paintings by my father, Ronald A. Slayton.

VPR Cafe: Vermonters Return Home To Fuel The Ludlow Food Scene

Oct 3, 2018
Heirloom Tomato Salad at Downtown Grocery in Ludlow.
Tom McNeill / Seven Days

Ludlow, Vermont, is a small town with a big ski resort and a vibrant culinary scene. Like many Vermonters who leave the state only to eventually return, some of Ludlow's restaurants are run by locals who moved away but then came back with cooking skills in tow.     

State officials say the proposed trade deal between the U.S. and Canada could boost milk prices for Vermont farmers, by opening up the Canadian market to increased U.S. dairy exports.
Ric Cengeri / VPR file

State officials say the proposed new rules for cross-border commerce between the United States and Canada could be good news for Vermont dairy farmers.

curtoicurto / ISTOCK

As the Vermont Mandatory Recycling & Composting Law creeps closer to the 2020 deadline, it's time for all gardeners to think about food scrap composting. While waste haulers and composting operations are starting to take food scraps as part of their business models, home owners should get creative about food scrap composting, too.

The bar at Smugglers' Notch Distillery with posters of products and bottles lining the counter.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Next week Smugglers’ Notch Distillery plans a ribbon cutting celebration for its new space in Jeffersonville. It’s a prime example of ongoing economic changes in Lamoille County, as the forestry industry is replaced with businesses fueled by tourism.

Liane M / ISTOCK

It's officially autumn. While most of us are busy harvesting the last veggies, cutting back perennials and cleaning up the yard after a hot, dry summer, fall is also for planting.

Marjan Cermelj / ISTOCK

It's been a good year for tomatoes in my garden. I've canned, frozen and juiced lots of fruits, so I'm all set for winter. But there's more to tomatoes than just the garden variety hybrids and heirlooms. One of the best tomato relatives to grow is the tomatillo.

Vermont's current use program allows working forest and agricultrual land to be taxed at a much lower rate.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press/File

In 1980, the state rolled out a program that would allow agricultural and forest land to be taxed for its use rather than its market value. The current use program has gone through some changes over its almost-four-decade life. Vermont Edition explains the complexities of current use.

Maple syrup in glass leaf-shaped bottles.
Toby Talbot / Associated Press File

After announcing earlier this summer that they would reconsider a proposed "added sugar" label on maple syrup and honey, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has officially decided to scrap that plan.

Kelly Van Dellen / ISTOCK

With a switch to more seasonable weather, fall is starting to take hold. While drought and heat stress have some of our maples turning color already, the big show this time of year is the wildflowers in our meadows. Goldenrod, Queen Anne's lace and asters are blooming. These fall wildflowers are an essential food source for butterflies and insects. While you certainly can plant a wildflower meadow and enjoy the beauty of the annual and perennial flowers, managing your existing meadow is also important.

Moats: Labor Today

Sep 3, 2018
Saklakova / iStock

Vermont’s labor history includes the farm work that took place in virtually every town — the farm families who labored every day to till rocky fields, bring in the crops and tend to their animals.

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One practice I try to do in my garden is never let the soil stay bare. Each year as I remove vegetables such as garlic, beans, and lettuce, I cover crop those areas. Covering the soil with plant material prevents erosion and builds up the fertility and workability of your soil.

VPR Cafe: Sweet Doe Dairy's New Twist On Gelato

Aug 31, 2018
Mike and Lisa Davis use the milk of Nigerian Dwarf goats to make gelato at Sweet Doe Dairy in Chelsea, Vermont.
Sarah Priestap / Seven Days

During a recent round-up of summer farmers market finds, Seven Days food writer, Hannah Palmer Egan, was taken with a new spin on a sweet treat from a Chelsea dairy: gelato. The Italian-style ice cream was born around the year 1600. Fast-forward 500-plus years to present day Vermont where we find the frozen confection still being created similarly, but with a twist from Sweet Doe Dairy. 

Thankful Photography / istock

The naming of plants can be deceiving. Take the Rose of Sharon shrub that's blooming now around the state. This plant isn't in the rose family. Even the botanical name, Hibiscus Syriacus is only half correct. It has a hibiscus or mallow-shaped flower, but the shrub doesn't hail from Syria, more likely India or China.

VPR Cafe: Cookbook Author Explores Changes To Traditional Recipes

Aug 22, 2018
Copies of Joan Nathan's new cookbook on display during one of her recent stops in Burlington.
Oliver Parini / Seven Days

When we think of the foods from a particular culture, we usually don't pay much attention to how it's influenced and has changed as it carries to other places. But a noted cookbook author has done just that in tracking how Jewish dishes have been altered around the globe.

Christy Mihaly's first illustrated book for children is a rhyming picture book about making hay.
Holiday House publishers, courtesy

Vermont’s farms are the stuff of legend. The iconic barn, the determined farmer, the sturdy tractor and fresh-cut fields bursting with towering bales of hay. But you wouldn't be the first to realize — hey, there are no stories about hay!

East Calais author Christy Mihaly's new illustrated children's book aims to fill that gap in your child's bookshelf.


We've waited a long time for peaches, pears, and apples to mature. The last thing we want to see on our daily fruit stroll is no fruit. Squirrels, birds, raccoons and opossums love the fruits hanging from our trees. What really bugs me is that often they will take a peck or bite, knock the fruits off the tree and leave it. What poor manners!

VPR Cafe: Poké Arrives In Vermont

Aug 16, 2018
Scale Poké Bar has been serving Hawaiian-style poké bowls since March in Williston's Kismet Place.
Oliver Parini / Seven Days

Like sushi, poké (pronounced POH-keh) is a dish that includes raw fish; however, with Hawaiian roots, it offers a wide range of other ingredients including pasta, beets, greens and fruit. Poké is typically served in a bowl, has become a nationwide food trend and has finally arrived in Vermont.