December 2009

While we don't usually qualify the airing of a TV show as an "event," watching Emeril Lagasse go gaga over Vermont-made tofu this coming Monday, January 4, is a sight not to be missed. Last summer, the Cajun BAM!-man and the crew of  "Emeril Green," the chef's new TV show, descended on Hardwick, Vermont, to discover how a community of young agricultural entrepreneurs has transformed a small New England town into a hotbed of sustainably delicious eating. During the hour-long program, Lagasse follows the local food chain beginning with Tom Stearns of High Mowing Organic Seeds who sells seeds to Pete Johnson of Pete's Greens whose produce graces the plates at Claire's—a community supported...
There are lots of ways to improve your health, realign family values and better support your local economy--but making a commitment to purchase more regional, in-season foods is one way to knock off all three objectives in one simple, sustainable New Year's resolution. Here's what we at FarmPlate have come up with for our own resolutions for 2010. Emily: My resolution is to incorporate seasonal produce into my weeknight meals—even if it means I have no idea how to cook what I'm buying. I walk through Union Square Greenmarket each day, so I have no excuse not to pick up fresh, local foods for dinner each night. Eric: To buy more food direct from farmers and producers. Heather: I will learn...
Whole Foods Market is starting 2010 by giving back. Yesterday the food retailer announced the launch of a new Facebook application that encourages Whole Foods customers to post their aspirations for healthier, more socially conscious eating habits in the New Year. By completing the phrase “This is my year to…” an individual can select a food-related mantra to publish as his or her Facebook status to show support for one of three non-profit organizations. A vote for “know where my food comes from” supports the Non-GMO Project, an organization committed to the sustained availability of non-GMO choices. Voting to “eat organic” supports Mission Organic 2010, which supports a goal for each...
Our Wish for the World . . .
It's a snowy Christmas in Vermont with more of the white stuff on the way. Snow coverage is still a bit thin at the lower elevations but higher up there's plenty for skiing, riding, sledding and snowshoeing. A sleigh ride is the perfect way to get the whole family outside to enjoy the snow. Pull on your boots, grab Grandma and Baby Teddy and head out to: Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne Sleigh rides daily (except Christmas Day) through January 3. Meet at the Welcome Center. Call 802.985.8442 for information; ask about stargazing sleigh rides too. Mountain Valley Farm, 1719 Common Road, Waitsfield Horse-drawn sleigh rides are booked through Saturday, but there are openings from...
We've gathered a handful of easy hors d'oeuvre ideas from FarmPlate friends and staffers. They're not so much recipes as guides for turning what you might find in the fridge or pantry into tempting treats to serve when people stop by. Grilled Veggie Rolls That panini pan you got from Santa also works well for grilling sliced vegetables! Slice eggplant or zucchini about ½-inch thick, brush with olive oil and grill until cooked through. Let cool slightly, sprinkle with crumbled Vermont Creamery's goat's milk feta and a pinch of dried thyme. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Ohpah! Spinach-Artichoke Dip Heat a little olive oil in a skillet and cook 1 pound washed and trimmed spinach or...
Nineteen inches of snow and the White House Kitchen Garden is still growing. Fresh off the success of the fall harvest, Michelle Obama's garden was prepped for the winter growing season with hoop houses just days before this weekend's record snowfall. A hoop house is constructed using metal bars and then stretching fabric or plastic tightly around the outside of the structure, creating a temporary energy-efficient greenhouse. The sun warms the hoop house, and the structure protects and insulates crops from snow and frost. Hoop houses also improve soil and water quality. Volunteers and USDA staff planted spinach, lettuce, carrots, mustard greens, chard and cabbage, as well as a crop of rye...
"It used to take a lot of effort to connect with reliable sources for local products," Silva adds. "It's easier now that local foods are just a phone call or an email away. We love it!" At this holiday time of year, the place hums. There's a line of lunch-hungry shoppers waiting for tables. (The savvy ones receive Mirabelles' Daily Specials email so they already know what they'll be ordering.)  There's another line of people eager to pick up a Christmas Stollen or a boxful of snowflake cookies. Those in the know have already put in their orders for Lane's fruitcake (“the good kind," swear its devotees) or a picture-perfect bûche de Noël. Reflecting on two decades of life in the food...
New Year’s Eve All of the restaurants above are also offering exceptional New Year’s Eve menus. Look them up, give them a call and make your reservations! Sit on the edge of a frozen waterfall this New Year’s Eve at Simon Pearce in Quechee and let Chef Joshua Duda tempt you with a special prix-fixe menu, including some unusual dishes like Pan-Roasted Wild Striped Bass served with a lemon fondue. Dinner will be served from 6 to 9:30 pm. Call 802.295.1470 to make a reservation. Hen of the Wood's menu is yet to be determined, but this Waterbury establishment will no doubt fill up quickly. The New Year's Eve menu will be planned just as it is every other night—the menus "always reflect the...
If Wal-Mart is able to keep its local food prices low and competitive, many worry that small farmers and independent food producers could end up being squeezed of any profits. However, the visibility that Wal-Mart will bring to the local food movement isn’t something to be ignored. Wal-Mart epitomizes value for the mainstream consumer. In hard economic times when most of the country's retailers are experiencing a downturn in sales, Wal-Mart's profits have continued to tick upwards. The company’s reach is unmatched by any other; and when Wal-Mart embraces local foods as part of its business model, it’s almost inevitable that this trend will become more popular throughout the nation. There is...