- DECEMBER 6 – LEBANON, NH
with Steve Fulton (Blue Ox Farm) & Jack Manix (Walker Farm)
Join us to celebrate the work we did together in 2017!
Do your chores early, leave the spreadsheets behind, and come share some beer, crepes, and farm chat with fellow farmers as we celebrate the successful 2017 season.
Monday, December 11
Skinny Pancake, Hanover, NH
Free snacks and beer
In 2017, working together, we started developing farm labor resources for the Upper Valley, we moved toward an Upper Valley food hub, we educated future farmers with Upper Valley CRAFT, we held Flavors of the Valley, and much more. We need to celebrate with you!!
Come learn about farm labor resources developed from our SARE Partnership work that is concluding, the progress made to increase direct sales to farms through Specialty Crop funding and shared food/farm facility discussions that we will be continuing in 2018. We also have new multi-year funding to build a farmers’ market collaborative and that will include many farmer vendors. Come hear all about it.
Thanks to Northeast SARE and Skinny Pancake for supporting this event!
Leasing Your Land to a Farmer Workshop
Join Vital Communities and Land For Good to learn about leasing your land to a farmer. This workshop is for private landowners interested in making their land available to farmers for agricultural production, for members of community organizations interested in assisting local farmland owners to keep agricultural land in active production, and farmers interested in leasing issues. Assessing your land, crafting leases, legal, financial, tax, insurance, liability, and finding a farmer are some of the topics that will be covered in a panel discussion.
November 15, 2017
Kilton Public Library, West Lebanon, NH
Email Nancy@VitalCommunities.org with questions.
The goal of the activities during the food hub meeting was to collect information from participants about pain points in the food system and prioritization of uses/functions of a shared food/farm facility. You’ll find a summary of the information collected at the meeting on this page. Click on the links below to see the summaries.
What is the challenge to your business that brought you to this meeting. What is your biggest pain point?
Join Upper Valley Farm to School Network as we learn how to make the dough!
King Arthur Flour Bake for Good Kids Program
- Kids LEARN to make bread from scratch. Math + science + reading + baking know-how = something delicious!
- Kids BAKE. They practice their new skills and use ingredients we provide to bake bread or rolls.
- Kids SHARE within the community, and give part of their baked goods to those in need. (They keep some to enjoy!)
How does BFGK Self-Directed Group Baking work?
- 5-50 kids, grades 4-12
- Kids watch BFGK video with you
- KAF provides flour, yeast, recipe booklets, dough scrapers, video lesson, and more
- Kids work in teams, bake together with you, and donate rolls
Learn how easy (and fun!) it is to bring our very popular free BFGK Self-Directed Program to YOUR students. We’ll show you how it works, how to access helpful information, and practice some roll shaping skills! Take home BFGK Program materials and enjoy some homemade pizza!
Instructor: Paula Gray, is the Manager of the Bake for Good Kids Program. She has been an educator/presenter for over 30 years, and is an employee owner of the King Arthur Flour Company in Norwich, VT
When: Monday October 30, 2017, 5:30-7:00PM
Where: Culinary Learning Center, COOP Food Store, 12 Centerra Parkway, Lebanon, NH 03766
Register: Contact Beth Roy at Beth@VitalCommunities.org or (802)291-9100 x105 or register on-line
We hosted a well-attended food hub conversation at King Arthur Flour in September where more than 65 people engaged in conversations around the need for farm and food infrastructure in the Upper Valley. Below are processing resources and links to information about other projects happening in Vermont, New Hampshire, and beyond.
This page will be updated regularly to include more info and resources. Email updates will be shared with anyone interested in this conversation. Email Nancy@VitalCommunities.org to be added to be included in updates.
Genuine Local, Meredith, NH. A purpose-built specialty food production facility.
Vermont Food Venture Center, Hardwick, VT.
Mad River Food Hub, Waitsfield, VT
Kearsarge Food Hub, Bradford, NH
Farm Fresh Connect
Green Mountan Farm Direct
Case Studies, Feasibility Studies, etc.
Farm to Institution New England – case studies, including 7 great reports on New England food hubs.
Northbound Ventures, Summerville, MA. Project consultant for food system facilities around New England. Lots of interesting project to read about.
Intervale Center, Burlington, VT
Unity Food Hub, Unity, ME
Upper Valley inventory of commercially licensed kitchens collected by Vital Communities… Coming soon.
Does the Upper Valley Need a Shared
Farm & Food Facility?
Join us on September 26
to share your ideas at an
Upper Valley Food Hub Meeting
King Arthur Flour Bakery + Cafe
Route 5 South, Norwich
Would a shared facility push the Upper Valley’s food & farm businesses to the next level? Or is the existing system working? The question regularly comes up and we want YOUR opinion and experience at the table as we discuss the possibilities.
Join Vital Communities, Willing Hands, and farm partners from Luna Bleu, Root 5, Hurricane Flats, Savage Hart, Shire Beef, and Sunset Rock Farm to seriously consider the viability of a cooperative venture. Share your business needs, prioritize facility uses, and eat snacks.
Can’t make it to the meeting or want to be involved in this project? Reach out to Nancy@VitalCommunities.org (802.291.9100 x106) or answer these survey questions.
NE SARE Farmer Partnership Project Background:
For several years now a consistent topic of conversation among our regions farmers and other food system partcipants is the need for and feasibility of a food hub-type thing in the Upper Valley. The desired functions vary: storage, aggregation, distribution, value-added processing, year-round retail sales venue, commercial kitchen, community space, and the list goes on.
Vital Communities has funding from a SARE Partnership grant to work with farmers and others stakeholders to pursue this idea. With our vibrant and expanding agricultural community and specialty food businesses, loyal and increasing consumer base, and our ideal location at the junction of two major interstates, the Upper Valley is a logical location.
One farmer familiar with SHED, a project with that descriptor in Healdsburg, CA (http://healdsburgshed.com/) thought the Upper Valley might be ready for a similar type collaboration: education meets retail with a focus on local food and farms. Though owned by a single farm family, SHED combines retail, private/public events, consumer education, eateries, and a range of local produce and crafts. From this came our concept of a flexible model that could be adapted to our region’s needs.
Project Summary/Overview and Notes
Vital Communities will work with farmers to address a continuing challenge to farm growth in the Upper Connecticut River Valley (Upper Valley) region of New Hampshire and Vermont. According to our 2014 Local Foods Market Assessment, 56% of 116 farmers surveyed seek increased direct-to-consumer sales, yet established channels are no longer ensuring consistent income growth. One recommendation from the assessment was to “explore creative solutions to capital and infrastructure limitations.” In response, farmers have begun to envision a unique year-round direct-sales outlet with a strong community engagement focus, what we have begun calling a modern grange.
Farmers have asked Vital Communities to support creation of this new model by facilitating conversations among interested farmers while providing educational workshops to determine mission, organizational structure, and business model. Farmers are excited about a hybrid co-op/farmers market that could eventually include aggregation and gleaning hubs, a commercial kitchen for value-added processing, shared winter crop storage, and more. SARE funding will leverage Vital Communities’ strength as a neutral convener and trusted farm service provider to support farmers in their desire to develop a collaborative space that would increase sales and strengthen connections to the wider community.
Our goals for the coming year are to facilitate conversations within the community with determine need, function, viability, and required resources, form a steering committee of people interested in working on this project, conduct a SWOT analysis, and produce a mission and work plan for moving this concept from casual conversation at farmers markets to a blueprint for a unique farmer-owned and operated community market and operations facility.
Your opinion is needed! Would your farm-based business, or the Upper Valley, benefit from a shared facility? What type of shared facility would help your business grow? Would you support a year-round farmers’ market? Would you use aggregation and distribution facilities? Are you interested in a farmer cooperative? Please share your ideas, needs, suggestions, etc. via phone (802.291.9100 x106) or email Nancy@VitalCommunities.org. Or, share your thoughts via farmer and food system partner survey or consumer and community survey.
This is a farmer driven project, and we are looking for more farmers to take an active role in moving this idea forward. Farmers already signed on to be part of a working group on this project are: Danielle Allen-Root 5 Farm, Geo Honigford-Hurricane Flats, Peg Allen-Savage Hart Farm, Suzanne Long-Luna Bleu Farm, Niko Horster-Northshire Beef, and Andrea Rhodes-Sunset Rock Farm. The bulk of this work will be happening in the late fall and winter, so check back for updates or let Nancy@VitalCommunities.org know if you want to be added to the mailing list.
Community support is critical to the success of a venture like this, so we will also be holding community listening events in the coming months. These sessions will be open to farmers, food system partners, and the wider the Upper Valley community. Stay tuned for dates and locations.
Thank you King Arthur Flour for your support with this project!
The Hop and Vital Communities Celebrate Rural Traditions
See the world premiere of a groundbreaking work celebrating rural traditions! This wordless spectacle weaves together dance, theater and sheep dog trials—in which finely trained dogs, executing trainers’ commands, cause sheep to move en masse, often in beautiful ways. Created by award-winning choreographer Ann Carlson and inspired by literature (David Wroblewski’s 2008 best-seller The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Kipling’s The Jungle Book), the show involves a human and animal cast including border collies and (supplied by Stephen Wetmore of Strafford, Vt.) a flock of Border Cheviot sheep. When not watching the show, visit the nearby Sheep Station co-sponsored by Vital Communities and the Dartmouth Office of Sustainability, offering “sheep to shawl” activities for all ages. For more information on Doggie Hamlet or other related events (including a dance class, book discussion and film), go to hop.dartmouth.edu/Online/doggie-hamlet or call 603.646.2422.
Another delicious and fun Flavors of the Valley yesterday! Thanks to all the wonderful vendors who spent so many hours preparing for and tabling at the big event. A special thanks to Hartford Area Career & Technical Center, Edgewater Farm, and Piecemeal Pies for supplying the samples at the Vital Communities tables.
Curried Carrot Soup
- 2 tablespoons grated ginger
- 1 tablespoons curry powder
- 1 cup coconut milk
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Saute onion until tender and translucent. Stir in the curry powder. Add the chopped carrots, and stir until the carrots are coated. Add ginger. Pour in the vegetable broth, and simmer until the carrots are soft, about 20 minutes.
Thanks to Emily Malnati at Edgewater for making these sweet treats for Flavors of the Valley
Inspired by the original recipe by Gretchen Taylor in the Plainfield cookbook. Revised by The Things We Cook. Reworked by Kathleen Maslan from Edgewater Farm.
1. Preheat oven to 350’F.
2. Mix together:
· 4.5 c. flour
· 1.75 c. sugar
· 1/2 tsp. salt
· 2 eggs
· 1 egg yolk
· 1 tsp. vanilla
· 2-1/2 c. butter, chunked
3. Press 4 cups in bottom of ½ sheet pan.
4. Bake 8 minutes at 350’F.
5. Let cool a bit, spread 3 c. fruit (preferably berry filling!) over the bottom
6. Mix together topping:
· 2c. flour
· 2c. oats
· 1.5 c. brown sugar
· 1 c. butter, cubed, cold
7. Sprinkle on topping. Perfect stage to freeze at. Otherwise…
8. Bake at 350’ F for about 45 minutes, or until top is golden with filling bubbling on side.
Piecemeal Pies Chocolate Beet Brownies
Thanks to Justin Barrett for creating this recipe just for Vital Communities.
- Grease a 9″x13″ pan and dust with cocoa powder.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Boil beets in unsalted water until tender.
- Peel the cooked beets by rubbing off their skins. Place in the bowl of a food processor and puree until smooth.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan. Add the chocolate, coffee, and salt. Stir to melt.
- Stir in 1 cup of the beet puree.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla on medium high speed until thick and pale. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should slowly fall in thick ribbons.
- With a spatula, gently fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs, followed by the flour. Do not over mix.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 35-45 minutes, just until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Let cool completely before cutting.
Farmers – Looking for a place to advertise for farm labor for the coming season?
- Create a help wanted advertisement in the market section of dailyuv.com