Food & Drink

Library of Congress

On Jan. 25, a group of Vermonters will raise glasses of Scotch whiskey, recite poetry and eat haggis, all in honor of the Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Millions of people around the world will be doing the same thing, as the day marks Burns' 255th birthday.

Unlike his contemporaries, who wrote more formally, Burns used the Scottish vernacular of his time, making his poetry accessible to rich and poor alike.  

Charlotte Albright

Roadside stands, farmers markets, and local food restaurants abound in Vermont, and one reason for that abundance is the Farm to Plate Strategic Plan. The Legislature mandated this plan in 2009, and since that time, there has been a statewide effort to coordinate all aspects of the local food system- from agricultural jobs, to land availability, to meat processing, to farmers markets. It's a big effort and it has started to bear some fruit.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

What is fast food? You might think the answer to that is obvious, but it becomes less so when you consider conflicts over bringing nationally-known chain franchises to certain places in Vermont.

That question over what constitutes a fast food joint is now before the Development Review Board in Manchester, which is considering a proposal that would allow a developer to open a Starbucks in town.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

‘Tis the season for delectable treats, and one holiday favorite is the candy cane. At Laughing Moon Chocolates in Stowe, visitors can learn how to make their own candy canes.

The small retail space at Laughing Moon Chocolates is crowded with children and their adults. They’re all here to watch a batch of boiling sugar and corn syrup be transformed into candy canes. And they’ll even get a chance to roll out their own candy cane to take home – if it makes it that far.

flickr: Kerry J 3202442293

Those early Thanksgiving participants who were so thankful to have made it through the previous year, with the help of their Native American neighbors, were especially grateful for the bountiful food they had before them. There were no grocery stores selling shrink-wrapped frozen turkeys and gelatinous cans of cranberry sauce.

It occurred to me recently, as I was contemplating what to serve on Thanksgiving Day, that there was no refrigeration back in the days of the pilgrims. There were no 18-wheelers bring carrots from California or frozen turkeys from Texas. Although I have freezers and refrigerators, I may do things more like the Pilgrims than the average American. And it’s easy.

I raised my first pig in 1985. Our house was in a perfect spot: On one side, there was an old cellar hole we turned into a sty, and on the other was a farm stand, where we picked up unsold produce at the end of each day. Our pig got fat on strawberries and squashes and apples gone by.

Claudia Marshall

Apple pie season is in full swing around the state, but perhaps no community in Vermont can rival the pie output of Charlotte. 

That’s where 77 year old Martha Perkins is hard at work with her group of volunteers, churning out hundreds of pies. For Perkins, it’s strictly a labor of love. 

Amy Noyes / VPR

Salvation Farms got its start, back in 2005, in the Lamoille County town of Wolcott.  Founder Theresa Snow rallied volunteers to help her salvage excess and imperfect produce from local farms. She then turned the fresh food over to places like local food shelves, schools, and senior centers.

Since then, Salvation Farms has been forging partnerships to help glean as much food as possible from Vermont farms and distribute it locally. But some agricultural business actually have more surplus fresh food than local organizations can use.

Al Behrman / AP

Mon 8/26/13 Noon & 7PM New food safety laws will soon change the way farmers and producers operate. The Food Safety Modernization act was passed by Congress in 2010, and last winter the Food and Drug Administration issued the proposed rule changes. They've held listening sessions all across the country to learn how farmers and food processors feel about the proposed laws, including one in Hanover, NH on Tuesday, August 20th.

VPR/Charlotte Albright

Farmers from Vermont and New Hampshire spoke out today against  new food safety rules being implemented by the FDA. Many at the public hearing in Hanover told FDA officials that the rules are unnecessary and burdensome.

VPR/John Dillon

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders joined consumer activists on Thursday to call for mandatory labeling of food made with genetically modified organisms.

The labeling legislation is pending in the state Senate. An outreach effort by the Vermont Public Interest Research Group yielded 30,000 signatures in support of the bill.

VPIRG celebrated the end of its summer-long, door-to-door campaign on the GMO issue with a rally on the Statehouse steps.

Canvass Director Leah Marsters said a 60 person crew went all over the state to collect signatures.

AP/Toby Talbot

Thurs 7/18/13 Noon & 7PM  People wait in hours-long lines on Saturdays in Greensboro Bend to fill growlers with the latest creations from Hill Farmstead Brewery. Others wait patiently at their local beer distributor as Lawson’s Double Sunshine or The Alchmist’s Heady Topper is loaded into the cooler. Vermont’s craft brewing scene remains robust years after the trend got started.

Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

The Northeast Kingdom town of Greensboro is home to a number of unique and successful ventures – from Circus Smirkus to the cheese cellars at Jasper Hill.  And now it’s home to what a popular beer rating website has named the single best brewer in the world: Hill Farmstead Brewery. Despite being located far off the beaten path, crowds are flocking to Greensboro to get a taste of what Hill Farmstead has to offer.

There is no longer a food shelf in the Weathersfield village of Perkinsville, or anywhere else in Weathersfield. That has created a hardship – not just for residents who are food insecure, but also for at least one food shelf in a neighboring community. The Reading-West Windsor Food Shelf has been serving approximately 20 Weathersfield families since the food shelf at the Perkinsville Community Church closed its doors.