Taste the freshness! Flavors of the Valley 2017 Vendors are here!

Check out the hottest new vendors and returning favorites at Flavors of the Valley 2017! This list is updated regularly as new vendors sign up to bring their delicious products to Flavors.

Save $1 on the entrance fee by purchasing your tickets online now!

April 9, 11am – 3pm at Hartford High School

Special thanks to our amazing sponsors!

Mascoma Savings Bank, Co-op Food Stores, The Skinny Pancake

King Arthur Flour, Yankee Farm Credit, NH Dept. of Agriculture, Great Eastern Radio
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Farm Labor Job Directory!

Farmers – Looking for a place to advertise for farm labor for the coming season?

Vital Communities just launched a farm labor focused job directory as part of a Northeast SARE Partnership grant that is designed to help farms hire and retain farm staff.
The UV Farm Job Directory is FREE and EASY to use.
 
1 Easy Step:
  1. Create a help wanted advertisement in the market section of dailyuv.com
 
How it Works:
We are using daily.uv.com‘s website to host this new virtual job directory. There is a news page on the site that has helpful information for people on what to expect from a farm job, the benefits of working on a farm, and the positions available. It will also include basic information about the farms looking for labor.
Farmers create a free help wanted ad on the daily.uv site for the position(s) you are hiring for (go to dailyuv.com/market and click on “SELL”, you will be asked to set up an account (join now), then create your ad). Once your ad is created, I will add a link to the main job directory page to your specific farm ads, so that someone can click to your ad if they want to learn the details about the position(s) open at your farm and can see the range of farm jobs available.
There are  catchy, paid advertisements throughout the dailyuv site and in the Valley News that points prospective workers to the main job directory page to create traffic to the page.
We are also sharing this new ag job help wanted hub to all of the potential sources of local labor like the vo-techs, VTC, Sterling College, state DOE offices, Facebook, etc.
This is a beta-testing year for this concept of creating a virtual meeting place for farms and potential farm staff in our region. Add your listing to the this new directory and we’d love to hear if this is a useful tool for your farm.
Contact Nancy@VitalCommunities.org with questions, comments, etc.

Flavors of the Valley Registration is Open!

Registration is open for the 16th annual Flavors of the Valley, the Upper Valley’s premier local food tasting expo. With 50+ vendors and more than 800 attendees, Flavors is a valuable marketing opportunity for farms and food businesses looking to expand their sales base.

Flavors attendees come to the event because they want to support local farms and food businesses. Be part of a fun marketing event and connect to new customers and the community.

Register today!


(Registration deadline is March 17. We cannot guarantee table choice or inclusion in promotional outreach materials after this date.)

Learn more about being a vendor at Flavors of the Valley here.

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Free Verse Farm Misha Taylor Herbs

Flavors of the Valley Registration is Open!

Registration is open for the 16th annual Flavors of the Valley, the Upper Valley’s premier local food tasting expo. With 50+ vendors and more than 800 attendees, Flavors is a valuable marketing opportunity for farms and food businesses looking to expand their sales base.

Flavors attendees come to the event because they want to support local farms and food businesses. Be part of a fun marketing event and connect to new customers and the community.

Register today and save up to 25%!
(Earlybird special ends February 15, 2017)

Learn more about being a vendor at Flavors of the Valley here.

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Sharon’s Learning Fair to Focus on Farm to School

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Sharon Elementary School: “Our gardens are put to bed, but the cooking and learning continue here at Sharon. The first and second grade classrooms made two school wide snack taste test. The school enjoyed applesauce and roasted butternut squash. The apples came from a local orchard and the butternut squash came from our garden! As a school, the staff met to discuss the future of our farm to school program. We’ve decided to focus our annual learning fair this year on farm to school! Classes will be busy developing what they want to share with the community!” Keenan Haley, Third Grade Teacher

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Farm Labor Problem-Solving Session in December

Farmers – Please join us for a conversation about the challenges around finding farm labor in December!

 

Finding and retaining quality farm labor is a challenge many of you face. In conversations and surveys it’s clear that lack of skilled labor is affecting production, sales, and profits for Upper Valley farms.

We heard you, and are now working with funds from NE SARE to address this thorny issue in partnership with you.

Newport, NH, Sullivan County UNH Extension Office, 24 Main Street
Tuesday December 6, 9-11 am

White River Junction, VT, Yankee Farm Credit Conference Room, 52 Farmvu Drive
Thursday December 8, 9-11 am

Please join your fellow farmers (Pooh Sprague, Suzanne Long, Danielle Allen, Norah Lake), Vital Communities, Extension staff, and others at a Farm Labor Problem Solving Session in early December. At the Session the group will:

  • Enjoy coffee and baked goods
  • ​Share what works for finding and retaining good staff
  • Discuss key challenges farms have experienced
  • Suggest possible locally-based solutions
  • Give input into a potential online local farm job listing platform

Vital Communities will facilitate the discussion, compile best practices from it for your use in the 2017 season, and take action on suggestions made by the group. We need farmers to share their successes and their challenges and come willing to work together to move this conversation forward. Your ideas, resources, tools, and solutions will make a blueprint for a local answer to this difficult problem.

This can’t be fixed with duct tape and baling twine, so we hope to see you in December for a great conversation. Email me with any questions and please spread the word.

Nancy LaRowe
Valley Food & Farm Coordinator
802.291.9100 x106
Nancy@VitalCommunities.org

Root 5 Farm Danielle Cabbage

Celebrate National Farm to School Month in October

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Celebrate National Farm to School Month in October

October is National Farm to School Month, a time to celebrate connections happening all over the country between schools and local food!

Farm to school enriches the connection communities have with fresh, healthy food and local food producers by changing food purchasing and education practices at schools and early care and education settings. Students gain access to healthy, local foods as well as education opportunities such as school gardens, cooking lessons and farm field trips.

Over the past decade, the farm to school movement has exploded across the United States, reaching millions of students in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Farm to school is an important tool in the fight against childhood obesity and food insecurity. In addition to improving child health, when schools buy local, they create new markets for local and regional farmers and contribute to vibrant communities, a win-win-win scenario!

The 2016 National Farm to School Month theme, One Small Step, will highlight the simple ways anyone can get informed, get involved and take action to advance farm to school in their own communities and across the country. Join the celebrations by signing the One Small Step pledge and take one small step to support healthy kids, thriving farmers and vibrant communities this October.

Whether you are a food service professional, a farmer, a teacher or a food-loving family, there are plenty of ways to celebrate and get involved in National Farm to School Month! The National Farm to School Network offers a variety of free resources on its website, farmtoschool.org, including posters, stickers and a communications toolkit.

Learn more about National Farm to School Month, how you can get involved, and sign the pledge by visiting farmtoschool.org or vitalcommunities.org

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Whole Hog Butchering Class

We’re excited to partner with The Co-op Food Stores to bring you a delicious evening of pork, beer, and cooking—a tasty trifecta!

Trim the fat from your diet—literally!—with a hog butchering demonstration from professional butcher Jeff Withington on September 29 at the Co-op’s Culinary Learning Center in Lebanon.

Observe and learn about pig butchering while sampling various yummy dishes highlighting the different parts of the pig. Find out why a pork butt is really from the shoulder and the leg is called the ham. You’ll also get a chance to sample a local cider and two local beers, too!

Tickets are limited and cost $20. Call the Co-op service desk at 603.643.2667 to reserve your tickets for this tasty event before they sell out!

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Visit to Robie Farm 7/13/16

A few Wednesdays ago I had the opportunity to get out of the office and onto the road as part of our work with the New Hampshire Specialty Crop Block Grant Program which allows us to bring more support and attention to our Upper Valley NH farms. Over the past several weeks, I have been out of the office 4 times to take pictures of various farms in NH and today my path of travel was north on Rte 10 from Lyme to Piermont. Though I stopped at many farms, it is always hard to find the farmers around the house when it is a beautiful sunny day. Many weren’t home or working out back in pastures and fields where visitors could not find them. At my last stop, I was able to run into farmer Mark Robie at Robie Farm in Piermont, NH coming out of the farm store just as I was walking in. He was happy to talk for a few minutes about his family’s farm.

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Robie Farm is a small family dairy farm spanning back 6 generations since 1870 on 150 acres of forests and fields along the Conecticut River raising a herd of over 50 mixed Holstien, Jersey, and Normande cattle. These cows graze throughout the pastures during the summer months and then on the hay the family work all summer long to put up. The commitment the Robie’s have to this piece of land is clear. By maintaining fertile pastures through grazing, selling products locally, and passing down knowledge and skill from generation to generation, Robie Farm is well aware of their responsibility to their Connecticut River Valley ecosystem, close-knit family, and UV community.

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One of the ways Robie Farm expresses this is by selling raw milk in their farm store and in food stores around the region. Due to the cleanliness of their animals, facilities, and modernization of equipment and technology for extracting and storing the milk, the Robies do not feel the need to alter the natural state of their milk through pasteurization. They are happy to provide a raw, health-giving, and trustworthy product. In addition to milk, the Robies make 5 different kinds of cheeses which are all aged for a minimum of 60 days due to federal regulations around products containing raw milk. In addition to this value-added product, the Robies have experimented with ice cream, yogurt, and whey-fed pigs in order to make the most of this rich resource their cows and land provide.

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As mentioned earlier, Robie Farm supplies some of their raw milk to food stores around the Upper Valley and have partnered with many regional farmers to supply beef and pork to many restaurants and food stores throughout the region including the Upper Valley Food Coop, Stella’s, Simon Pierce, Crossroad Farm, and the Colatina Exit to name a few. It was interesting to hear Mark’s perspective of farm to restaurant transactions. It is an intricate web of relationships between farmer, chef, and customer fueled by reputation, consistency, and quality control. Many meat and veggie producers who sell to restaurants face similar challenges balancing and managing all these relationships and factors. Luckily, Robie Farm has a strong community following and strong family participation to help them manage it all but it is also up to us as consumers to continue our support of family farms, restaurants, and food stores who all work to make the Upper Valley a better place to live, work, and play by supplying and sourcing locally grown food.

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“Love your Farmer” Scavenger Hunt!

Scavenger hunt cover pic“Love your Farmer” Scavenger Hunts at participating farmers’ markets in the Upper Valley, to Celebrate New Hampshire Eat Local Month and Vermont Open Farm week August 15-21.

The “Love Your Farmer” Scavenger Hunt takes kids around the market to find, count, taste, and tell us what they love about farms and farmers at the market. When the child returns from the hunt, every kid gets a small prize for participating and is entered in to a raffle to win a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to Riverview Farm. It’s simple to participate! Visit one of the participating markets near you (see below) and find the Scavenger Hunt table to begin your fun and tasty hunt around the vendor tents.

Eleven farmers’ markets in the Upper Valley are partnering with Vital Communities to host scavenger hunts the week of August 15-21. In New Hampshire, the Lebanon, New London, Hanover, and Canaan markets will host the scavenger hunt. In Vermont, the Bellows Falls, South Royalton, Hartland, Windsor, Norwich, Chelsea, and Barnard markets will host scavenger hunts.

  • New London Farmers Market (NH) – Wednesday 8/17/16Cobb Hill Open Farm Week, cow credit Molly Drummond (5)
  • Hanover Farmers Market (NH) – Wednesday 8/17/16
  • Lebanon Farmers Market (NH) – Thursday 8/18/16
  • Barnard Farmers Market (VT) –  Thursday 8/18/16
  • South Royalton Farmers Market (VT) – Thursday 8/18/16
  • Chelsea Farmers Market (VT) – Friday 8/19/16
  • Hartland Farmers Market (VT) – Friday 8/19/16
  • Bellows Falls Farmers Market (VT) – Friday 8/19/16
  • Norwich Farmers Market (VT) – Saturday 8/20/16
  • Windsor Farmers Market (VT) – Saturday 8/20/16
  • Canaan Farmers Market (NH) – Sunday 8/21/16

New Hampshire Eat Local Month and Vermont Open Farm Week offer many other special events for your family–visit their websites for a full list. Enjoy our local bounty in August!

This project is supported by the Thomas W. Haas Fund of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation and the USDA Farmers Market Promotion Program.

For more information, Contact Beth Roy at Vital Communities: Beth@VitalCommunities.org

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