Posted by Aaron Zueck | Apr 26, 2010
One of our gracious hosts, Diana Fischer
Here we go, everyone. Our local food journey across America has officially begun. Thanks for coming along.
Saturday night, we stayed up til 2 a.m. packing, took a whirlwind subway ride with our bikes and over 100 pounds of gear, and rode our first loaded miles of the trip (3 of them, from Columbus Circle to 97th Street). After an hour or so of learning the finer points of trunk-mount bike racks, we were on our way to Vermont.
This place is gorgeous.
We pulled in to Montpelier just as the light was fading. At the Fischer house, we were greeted by Monty, Executive Director of the Center for an Agricultural Economy, Cheryl, Executive Director of the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Obi, playful black lab, and a smorgasbord of Vermont food and drink. Cheryl roasted a delicious Vermont chicken, Good Eats CSA provided a really great celeriac, zucchini, onion and potato casserole recipe to go along with their veggies, and a homemade cranberry crumble, with fresh cream and maple syrup finished things off. We also sampled Vermont drinks: cider, red wine, chocolate milk, and our favorite, Wolaver’s IPA. Except for the salt, which was from Maine, nearly every last bit of our meal was sourced from within the Vermont + 30 miles area the Fischers consider local.
And the night’s discussion was a great reaffirmation of what we can learn and discuss over food in Vermont and as the trip progresses. Snippets from last night include:
- Can Vermont feed itself, and feed itself well? Yes! Does it? Sort of.
- Climate change is altering what farmers are able to grow here.
- Mobile greenhouses and large-scale freezing can make local produce (not just roots!) a year-round possibility.
- It is the community of farmers, processors, shippers and eaters that makes a local food system complete.
We’ve got a big day ahead of us: touring Hardwick, which Ben Hewitt called the epicenter of the local food movement in his recent book. After that, it’s a community local food discussion at Claire’s.