Food & Drink

Paper bag lunches lined up on a table and plastic bags of cucumber slices.
Melody Bodette / VPR

The nonprofit Hunger Free Vermont is working with school districts around the state to kick off this year’s statewide free summer meals program.

Harvest basil as soon as enough leaves have formed to encourage further growth.
Kirin Photo / iStock

When I was in the Peace Corps in Thailand, I remember a green leaf used as a spice in one of my first meals. It had an anise flavor but looked familiar. It was my first experience with Thai basil. Many years later, I was drinking a flavorful tea in India and again noticed a familiar leaf with a distinct clove-like flavor. It was Tulsi tea made from holy basil. My point is, there are a lot of unique flavored basils from around the world. 

VPR Cafe: Chef Dads Cook For Their Kids

Jun 14, 2018
Chef Aaron Josinsky of Misery Loves Company (with daugher, Eda) suggests being flexible when cooking for kids but to keep offering good choices.
Aaron Josinsky, courtesy / Kids Vermont

It's great having a parent who can cook really well, but imagine having one who's a chef! With Father's Day upon us, The VPR Cafe caught up with food writer, Melissa Pasanen, to find out what the area's chef dads are cooking at home. Five-star meals? Mac 'n cheese? And what tasty tricks do these culinary pros use to get the little ones to eat their veggies?    

VPR Cafe: Distilling Dreams (And Spirits, Too)

Jun 7, 2018
Professional colleagues and friends since college, Craig Stevens and Naomi Clemmons, now operate Wild Hart Distillery in Shelburne.
Bear Cieri / Seven Days

Vermont has some outstanding brewers and cider makers, but let's not forget about the ever-expanding list of distillers. Naomi Clemmons and Craig Stevens, colleagues in the public health field and friends since college, operate Wild Hart Distillery in Shelburne and have partenered with other Vermont companies to concoct some unique spirits.

Tiger lilies spread easily, grow in a wide range of soils and return each year with little care.
Ken Wiedemann / iStock

The Korean folk story tells of a hermit who saw a tiger that was wounded by an arrow. The hermit helped the tiger by removing the arrow and they became friends. When the tiger died, the hermit used his magical powers to turn him into a lily. When the hermit died, the tiger lily started spreading, looking for his friend. Tiger lilies are still searching and spreading around the globe ever since.

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

The Vermont Attorney General is urging citizens to speak out against a new federal rule requiring maple syrup bottles to be labeled "added sugar." 

Amaranth is grown commercially as a grain crop but can also be planted in your garden as a leafy green for salads.
SVIP_CRO / iStock

Amaranth has been called the food of the gods, superfood of the Aztecs and the next “quinoa.” But we know amaranth as mostly an ornamental plant with colorful, weeping flower heads. While farmers continue to experiment with growing amaranth commercially as a grain crop, another way to enjoy this American vegetable is as a leafy green that you can grow in your garden.

VPR Cafe: Crafting Cuisine With Cannabis

May 25, 2018
In order to cook with cannabis, it must first undergo decarboxylation. One method of doing this is by infusing with olive oil.
egal / iStock

On July 1, Vermont's new marijuana law will go into effect. Residents of the state will be able to grow plants and possess some of their harvest. But not all users enjoy smoking pot; for them, there is cooking with cannabis.

Elderberry shrubs produce beautiful leaves and tasty berries even in poor gorwing conditions.
mantonature / iStock

The elderberry is an American shrub that's great for problem-places. It grows in full or partial sun and can withstand wet, clay soils and still thrive.

Foods that contains genetically modified ingredients will soon have a special label.

We recently got the first glimpse of what that label might look like, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its proposed guidelines.

Many bean poles are built with branches but you can also grow beans on wire fence, corn stalks or sunflowers.
David Gomez / iStock

Beans date back thousands of years to South America. While most gardeners grow the low, bush version, this plant was originally a sprawling climber. While bush beans - and stringless bush beans in particular -  are a modern vegetable, pole or runner beans are more versatile.

Lumpaing Shanghai, finger-sized spring rolls, are one of the small plates served at Pica-Pica - a new Filipino restaurant in St. Johnsbury.
Hannah Palmer Egan / Seven Days

Central Vermont and the Northeast Kingdom have recently welcomed new food establishments offering tastes of Asia and the western Pacific. Seven Days food writer, Hannah Palmer Egan, shares all the delicious deets in this VPR Cafe podcast!  

Samples of Vermont beer featured at the national Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference held in Burlington in March.
Bear Cieri / Seven Days

Vermont beer is not only wildly popular here at home, but also across the country and around the world. In fact, visit Spain and you might just find a "Vermont-style IPA."  That's what one attendee of the Beer Marketing & Tourism Conference recently shared when it was held in Burlington in March.

These days, broccoli comes in unusual sizes, colors and textures which makes planting and eating this staple vegetable lots of fun!
fcafotodigital / iStock

Broccoli has become a popular vegetable in many gardens and on many plates. But not all broccoli is created equal. There are some unusual heirlooms and hybrids on the market that can make growing  broccoli downright fun!

Angela Evancie / VPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week released its draft rules for labeling genetically modified ingredients that are included in packaged foods.

Traditional CSA items are still popular, like those from 1000 Stone Farm in Brookfield (pictured), but many producers are now offering niche products like cheese, meat and more.
Courtesy, 1000 Stone Farm / Seven Days

Paying a seasonal fee for a weekly cache of greens and root veggies from a local farm remains popular in Vermont; however, the model of community supported agriculture (CSA) is evolving. In order to offer convenience to customers, many CSA programs are now offering flexible purchase plans and more product options. These approaches also allow more farmers to get in the game.

The snapdragon is a resilient flower that can be grown in beds or containers, withstands frost and heat, and blooms in an array of colors.
baone / iStock

The snapdragon is a common, annual flower that originated in Southern Europe. Its name is appropriate since the botanical term means “snout-like” and the flowers look like jaws and a snout. In fact, you can squeeze the side of the flowers and make the petals move. Whatever variety you prefer, now's the time to plant them.

Elementary school students in Starksboro listen as Eugenie Doyle of Last Resort Farm reads from her book, "Sleep Tight Farm."
Matthew Thorsen / Seven Days

Writing a letter? Having a pen pal? These may seem a little old-fashioned but both are alive and well thanks to NOFA-VT (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont). They've come up with a program that connects young students with local farmers through correspondence and field trips.

Andy Puchalik sits in a cooler at his South Royalton storage facility. Puchalik self distributes Upper Pass beer around the state to better control sales and service.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

As lawmakers finish up a bill that would change the relationship between craft brewers and distributors, both sides of the debate say they’re unhappy with the proposed changes.

A student at the Thetford Outdoor Program chops wood to fuel an evaporator for maple sugaring.
Sarah Preistap / Seven Days

When it comes to producing maple syrup in Vermont, the younger generation is not only embracing the tradition, but also trying to make it better. In this podcast, we'll hear about high schoolers just learning the classic art of sugaring as well as a couple of college students who are innovating the process. 

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