RAFFL and Marble Valley Grows Come Alive Outside are partnering to increase students’ access to local, healthy school meals in the Rutland Region using the Vermont Farm to School Network’s Harvest of the Month Campaign. Last week they started their work at Christ the King School where students learned how to make spinach pesto served on fresh carrots. The students got to partake in all stages of the cooking process, learned about the history of pesto, and tasted all the different ingredients. The spinach and carrots were from our friends over atEvening Song Farm!
News, cooking tips, recipes, and more from the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link.
Article by The Vermont Community Foundation
The Vermont Community Foundation has announced that its Food and Farm Initiative has made more than $660,000 to 11 organizations working to connect more Vermonters with healthy, local food in the Initiative’s final grant round. Half of the total granted out was made possible thanks to the partnership of donors and fundholders at the Foundation, including $75,000 in support from the High Meadows Fund.
The Community Foundation launched the Initiative in 2012 to improve Vermont’s ability to extend the benefits of local food to families of all incomes. Since then, the Foundation has granted out more than $2.2 million to support organizations working on local food and anti-hunger work.
“We’ve been proud to support the hard work Food and Farm Initiative grantees over the past five years,” says Jen Peterson, Vice President of Program and Grants at the Vermont Community Foundation. “The work they’re doing is making a major difference in our communities. Since the beginning of the Initiative, we’re seeing more Vermont farmers selling their products to local schools and other institutions, more children eating local foods at school, and more organizations coordinating their local food and anti-hunger work.”
Peterson noted that though this cycle of grants marks the final round of competitive grantmaking for the Initiative, the work of the grantees will continue to grow in the years to come, helping all Vermont families access healthy, local food.
To learn more about the Food and Farm Initiative, visit www.vermontcf.org/localfood.
Food and Farm Initiative Grantees
Center for an Agricultural Economy received $59,740 to strengthen the relationships between distributors, institutional food service directors, and others involved in the local food supply chain, making it easier to bring local food to Vermonters.
Food Connects received $37,800 to increase schools’ purchasing and consumption of local food in Southern Vermont, increasing students’ access to healthy school meals.
Green Mountain Farm to School received $37,800 to increase students’ access to healthy school meals in the Northeast Kingdom.
Hunger Free Vermont received $50,000 to help Vermont schools increase meal program participation and buy more local food.
Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont received $50,000 to provide resources, training, and technical assistance to schools and other institutions in order to help them increase local food procurement throughout the year.
Northwestern Medical Center received $32,810 to build awareness of and support for farm-to-school programming and increased purchasing of local food in schools with community leaders in Franklin and Grand Isle counties.
Rutland Area Farm and Food Link received $30,000 to increase students’ access to healthy school meals in Rutland County.
Shelburne Farms - Vermont FEED received $190,000 to increase public support for farm-to-school programming, document the impact of farm to school on school success, develop resources to support farm-to-school coordinators, and increase support from school leadership.
Vermont Housing and Conservation Board received $45,060 to provide business-planning support to food nonprofits and to help affordable housing developers include gardens, CSA deliveries, and nutrition programming on-site.
Vital Communities received $29,970 to increase students’ access to healthy school meals in Windsor County.
Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund received $99,382 to serve as the network coordinator for the Farm to Plate Network and to provide trainings for owners of independent grocery stores to improve the way they source and display local food.
Photo by ROBERT LAYMAN of the Rutland Herald
Rutland City Police Chief Brian Kilcullen, right, and Sgt. Keith Lorman place shish kebabs on the grill outside City Hall on Wednesday afternoon. The lunch wrapped up a series of cooking classes for city departments, taught by Everyday Chef instructor Rosemary Moser for Rutland Area Farm and Food Link.
Dear Rutland Area Farmers and Community Members,
As the sun rises earlier and sets later, with the trees in bloom and the spring flowers putting on their best show I’m becoming more and more anxious to get out into the fields and play in the dirt. When I started at RAFFL last summer in July RAFFL’s Glean Team was in full swing. I was able to jump right into in-field gleans alongside the former coordinator Julie and become acquainted with Rutland’s unique and abundant agricultural community. It took a couple of weeks but by August I felt confident in locating farms, harvesting their bounty, and being able to mindfully distribute this produce across the county of my new home.
Once October ended and the trees changed gleaning drastically slowed down. I was relieved to be able to have more time to myself outside of work and explore the great state of Vermont, while still gleaning sweet potatoes, winter squash and cabbage. However, as winter settled in and I began spending little to no time in the field and all of my time in the office I began to get antsy. All winter I daydreamed of being surrounded by corn fields, drowning in tomatoes, and the never ending supply of summer squash and zucchini.
Now that it’s May and Rutland’s Farmer’s Market has moved back outdoors its finally time for Glean Team to get back into the swing of things.
When I think about the summer of 2017 I’m can’t help but get excited. I’m so looking forward to partnering with community organization’s such as BROC’s Feed the Freezer and the Health Care Share hosted by the VFFC. Collaborating with these folks to lightly process surplus gleaned crops and distribute them to our community is a lofty goal but doable when partnering with organizations who are passionate and knowledgeable. I can’t wait to host gleans at our 24 participating farms and enjoy the beauty of this region’s landscape alongside our volunteers. Most of all I can’t wait for deliveries, where I get to visit with the recipients of gleaned produce and share my favorite recipes and learn from others how they use these gorgeous veggies to feed their families.
Gleaning is hard work but when working for an organization whose main focus is supporting community farmers while educating community members on the benefit of eating local; the days go by fast and I’m left feeling motivated to continue this important work.
The Financial Administrator is responsible for providing support to RAFFL’s Executive Director with financial management as well as other organizational needs necessary to ensure efficiency in a small, busy and friendly non-profit. This is a part-time, year-round hourly position, requiring between 15 to 20 hours/week with potential to grow into a full time position with additional responsibilities.
To apply send resume and cover letter to email@example.com with the subject: Financial Administrator
Position Open until Filled
RUTLAND AREA FARM AND FOOD LINK (RAFFL) WILL CONSIDER ALL JOB APPLICANTS ON MERIT WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE, RELIGION, COLOR, SEX (INCLUDING PREGNANCY, GENDER IDENTITY, AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION), PARENTAL STATUS, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, DISABILITY, FAMILY MEDICAL HISTORY OR GENETIC INFORMATION, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, MILITARY SERVICE, OR OTHER NON-MERIT BASED FACTORS.
By CATHERINE TWING of the Rutland Herald
The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link aims to teach local residents how to find, use and enjoy locally sourced produce.
One of RAFFL’s main programs, The Everyday Chef, meets people where they are to teach skills and share the joy of cooking. Grace Davy is RAFFL’s coordinator for Everyday Chef, or EDC, and leads cooking workshops at a variety of organizations in Rutland County.
“They’re educational cooking workshops, trying to empower people to make good food choices which can lead to good choices in life,” Davy said.
EDC has workshops open to the public at the Godnick Adult Center in Rutland, as well as private sessions at nonprofit groups and community organizations such as the Serenity House in Wallingford.
“ I try to keep things under an hour,” Davy said. “We always chop vegetables; first thing we do is knife skills. Being able to chop with a knife is a wonderful empowering thing to do.”
More than 50 percent of 2016 participants say they cut more vegetables now that they’ve learned how to do so properly, she said.
Davy will teach two series for the public in the coming months at the Godnick Center — Cooking for One and The Family that Cooks. Each workshop costs $5 or $10 to attend, and participants are required to sign up in advance on the RAFFL website. The Cooking for One series teaches the pleasures of cooking for one, and ways to stretch ingredients that might spoil.
The Family that Cooks series will be about familyfriendly meals like pizza, grilling, spring rolls or pretzels. The pretzel workshop scheduled for May 6 is already full and the others are filling up fast.
“ I can show families (cooking) is just as enjoyable as watching TV; making spring rolls together or pretzels,” she said.
Davy loves using vegetables in every meal, including those where vegetables are not usually found. “You can bet we’ll be putting vegetables in those pretzels,” she said. “It’s a RAFFL thing. Tomatoes pureed, and kneaded into the dough with some spinach. A beet in a brownie doesn’t make it healthier, but it kicks it up a notch.”
She focuses on making things nutritious rather than healthy.
“ Healthyiskindof loaded,” she said. “ You just never know. It’s very ambiguous to me. Nutritious means that you get the biggest bang out of your buck, and it’s good for you.”
Davy asks the host location to provide the ingredients and space, and she does the rest. April Cioffi at the Rutland City Recreation and Parks Department said she’s enthusiastic about the opportunities the workshops bring the community. The Rec Department runs the Godnick Adult Center.
“It’s a nice opportunity for families,” Cioffi said, adding that she was excited about the session for children coming up.
She hopes to plan more workshops with RAFFL for the fall and winter and find ways to attract more older community members.
“It benefits the community members whether kids or adults, and shows it is not that challenging to be able to cook healthy meals with simple local ingredients,” she said.
In addition to workshops, Davy has a PEG-TV show, “Local Farmer, Everyday Chef,” in which local farmers talk about how to cook with local products.
Davy gets many of her ingredients through RAFFL’s Farm Fresh Connect, an online marketplace which allows residents, organizations and businesses to order food from local farms. Trucks deliver to pick-up locations throughout Rutland County.
Farm Fresh Connect offers produce, eggs, meat, dairy and prepared foods, as well as items like locally made dog treats or honey, making it possible for people to get local products from a variety of farms without having to travel.
RAFFL also arranges for organizations to receive surplus produce from local farmers. Davy likes to do workshops at locations that receive gleaned produce to show what they can do with what they receive.
“Farms have lots of stuff growing and they want to get things harvested,” she said. “Sometimes they’ll have people come out and help them harvest everything, and then those people can take home a certain percentage.”
RUTLAND AREA FARM AND FOOD LINK SERVES A POPULATION THAT STRUGGLES WITH POVERTY AND THE NATIONAL AMERICORPS VISTA PROGRAM HAS BEEN INSTRUMENTAL IN HELPING US BUILD OUR PROGRAMS AND CAPACITY.
SEEKING A MARKETING COORDINATOR & COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AMERICORPS VISTA
LOCATION: RUTLAND, VT
SERVICE DATES: AUGUST 28, 2017 - AUGUST 27, 2018
APPLICATION DEADLINE: JULY 31, 2017
Help us build a farm and food sector in the Rutland region of Vermont that benefits all residents. RAFFL is committed to making our programs more inclusive. The AmeriCorps VISTA will help connect people across the economic spectrum with our work. This position will be instrumental in supporting communications, outreach, volunteer involvement, and fundraising. Examples of program improvements include creating a program to accept SNAP benefits at our online farmers’ market and developing cooking education that targets community members with limited kitchen facilities. The VISTA member will help decrease food insecurity and alleviate poverty in the Rutland region by addressing structural barriers to local food and implementing an inclusive outreach strategy.
This position is one of 31 positions on the SerVermont VISTA Team. The SerVermont VISTA Program is a comprehensive umbrella project that welcomes host sites tackling a wide array of poverty related issues in Vermont. We place members in organizations and state agencies to fight poverty across the state by increasing education and job-training opportunities, creating more food-secure communities, increasing safe and affordable housing, and serving veterans and military families. Our VISTAs build and strengthen systems in order to increase their sites capacity to provide these services to those who need them most.
Childcare assistance if eligible, Education award upon successful completion of service, Living allowance, Non-competitive eligibility (federal jobs), Relocation allowance (if applicable), Stipend, Student loan forbearance, Training
In addition to the standard VISTA benefits, our members participate in monthly training that help them succeed in service and achieve future goals. Topics include personality and leadership styles, personal career plan development, time management and project management, communication skills, grant writing, cultural competency, resume writing, and job search strategies. Each member also receives a training fund so that they can find and attend training and professional conferences that align with their individual goals.
-Permits attendance at school during off hours
-Subject to criminal background check
Office Activites InCommunity & Nonprofit Development, Economic Security, Education & Youth, Health & Nutrition, Homelessness & Housing, Legal Assistance
$990 - $1108 monthly
Indirect "capacity building" for a direct service program
Community-based Nonprofit, Community Development Organization, Higher Education Institution, Homeless Shelter, Soup Kitchen, or Food Bank, Hospital, National Nonprofit/Affiliate, Organization primarily serving older adults, State Agency other than State Service Commission
Photo by ROBERT LAYMAN of the Rutland Herald
Six-year-old Addis Pyles, of Danby, works hard on a bike-powered blender to make a smoothie while McKenna Hayes holds a lid on it. Hayes, the farm-to-school procurement coordinator for Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, helped kids make smoothies all afternoon at the Earth Day celebration Wednesday at the Vermont Farmers Food Center.
Join RAFFL, NOFA-VT, and a diverse group of Rutland & Bennington County Farms for our regional C.R.A.F.T. Program - The Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training.
What is C.R.A.F.T.?
- A 7-part workshop series for aspiring and beginning farmers of all ages seeking meaningful mentorship from farmers
- A networking opportunity with other apprentices and mentor farmers in the region
- Workshop topics this year include mushroom cultivation, cover cropping, crop planning, marketing, and more.
- Workshops are FREE, and include farm tour, training session, followed by a potluck!
- Receive a CRAFT Certificate and resource manual from RAFFL and NOFA-VT apprentices by attending4 of the 7 workshops
- You do not have to be an apprentice on one of the host farms in order to participate
CRAFT 2017 Schedule
To sign up or for more information - Contact Mara Hearst, Farmer Services Advisor
The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link | www.rutlandfarmandfood.org/farmer
(802) 417-1528 x 4 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Download and print a CRAFT flyer and schedule.
Click on the flyer below to open
In the past couple weeks, two new local producers have joined Farm Fresh Connect as vendors. McKenna Hayes, our Farm Fresh Connect Manager has been trying to diversify the online local food market with an assortment of products to offer customers year round. She identifies gaps in the our online food market and tries to recruit producers in Rutland and Bennington Counties who have products that will fill those gaps. Filling these food gaps ultimately increases access to fresh, local products for customers as well as provides a year round market for producers in which they receive fair prices for their products.Read More
Dutchess Farm, a 5 acre vegetable farm, has an immediate opening for an enthusiastic, passionate and dedicated individual to fill a full time, year round Lead Farmer position. This is an excellent opportunity to learn all aspects of vegetable farming with people who not only love farming but also enjoy life off of the farm.
Located in Castleton & Poultney Vermont, Dutchess Farm is a tight knit, family farm that has been in business since 1986. We grow a variety of produce for our CSA members & wholesale accounts. We are known for our garlic, herbs, greens, sweet peppers, tomatoes and more. We use cover crops extensively and grow with organic inputs. More information is available on our website at Dutchessfarmvt.com.
The lead farmer's primary role will be to participate in all aspects of the garden operation. This includes, but is not limited to:
Assist owners in the planning & layout of the garden
· Work with owners to develop weekly and daily schedules such as planting, harvest, watering, pest control
· Work with owners to create schedules and applications for organic pest control, fertilization, soil amendments
· Manage a small crew and weekly volunteers to help them successfully complete daily tasks both inside greenhouse & out in the field
· Determine produce available for weekly shares and wholesale accounts
· Share weekend responsibilities with the owners on a mutually agreed schedule
· Co-Manage greenhouses year round
· Set up drip irrigation
· Run tractor, tillage & weeding equipment
An ideal candidate will possess the following skills and experience:
· Experience in vegetable farming, possibly in a managerial role
· Attentiveness to precision and detail
· Team player; adaptable & collaborative
· Ability to perform labor-intensive tasks
· An interest in agriculture and local foods
· Ability to lift 50lbs
· Mechanical aptitude
· Familiarity with organic farming standards is a plus
COMPENSATION & PERKS:
· This position is paid hourly, depending on experience & performance
· Great produce & local foods
· Housing is not available with this position
Contact Dutchess Farm at email@example.com or call (802) 468-5893 to apply.
This year marks the 10th annual Poultney Earth Fair on April 12th from 2-5pm. RAFFL is teaming up with Marble Valley Grows to host a table on the importance of local fresh food and increasing outdoor activity. We will have smoothie bikes, in which we will be incorporating local veggies from our Farm Fresh Connect service. We will be stressing the importance of real vs processed foods through having a healthy food pledge for kids!
We hope you will join us on April 12th to celebrate our planet's sustainability.
Here at RAFFL, volunteers are the heart of our efforts. For over 10 years our volunteers have helped to fulfill our mission to build connections that grow a strong agricultural economy and healthy community. They allow us to reach out to our community through helping with events, gleaning, Locally Grown Guide distribution and more!
As we enter into April we are preparing for the arrival of our new Locally Grown Guides! We have 22,000 guides, which we distribute around central and southern Vermont and parts of New York. These guides help us to spread knowledge of local farmers to those in our area of the Northeast. Help us promote local agriculture and business through distribution of the guides! We need guides throughout Bennington, Rutland, Middlebury, and other areas! In order to distribute you just need a vehicle and a few hours of available time. You can pick up guides at our office located in downtown Rutland. Please sign up here if you are interested and let us know which locations and dates you are available to help us deliver.
By Catherine Twing of the Rutland Herald
In order for the next generation of farmers to be successful, young farmers must be trained in both agriculture and business.
The Youth Agriculture Individual Development Account Program is a UVM Extension program that offers just this type of training, as well as a leg up on saving money. Individuals ages 14 to 21 with at least one year of experience managing income from a farm or food business are eligible for the year-long experience.
“It’s about financial education, forming a cohort of young farmers, connecting the farmers with technical resources: people, or funding, or information,” said Liz Kenton, Youth Agriculture Project coordinator at UVM Extension.
Originally funded by a USDA grant when it began in 2012, the program, which can accept eight to 20 participants from Vermont, is now supported by many Vermont businesses and families.
During the year, young farmers work with a mentor and attend workshops while developing a business plan and gaining financial literacy skills. Workshops are held in a central location, with the goal of being accessible for participants. Early sessions teach finance, credit and savings. Later on, the curriculum becomes more specific to the agriculture business.
“One of the top reasons farms go out of business, and something farmers cite most, is business skill and acumen,” Kenton said.
Regardless of their area of expertise, financial knowledge is necessary to a successful farm or food business.
Mentors are required to have six hours of contact with their participant each month to talk about their business plan and work on training.
Kenton said, depending on the participant’s area of interest, a mentor can be a person they are already working with, such as a teacher or 4-H volunteer.
The business plan is fairly standard, with an initial statement, summary of market research, financial data and projections, Kenton said.
“The business plan will be reviewed by anonymous reviewers,” she said. “Reviewers are assigned to one business plan. Once those are approved they are eligible for a double match.”
This “double match” helps newfarmers meet immediate financial goals through an IDA — a matched savings account that helps people of limited means reach financial goals. YAIDA participants save money for one year toward a business-related purchase. In the end, participants’ savings are matched 2-to-1, up to $1,000 — meaning if a participant saves $500, they would have $1,500 to spend.
There are youth IDAs and agriculture IDAs, but this is the only youth agriculture IDA in the country, Kenton said.
YAIDA isn’t the only farm business training program in Vermont, however.
The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link offers several agricultural education and farm business development programs to students and aspiring and established farmers in southern Vermont.
The CRAFT-VT program, which stands for Collaborative Regional Alliance for Farmer Training, is a national apprentice program that educates farm workers interested in becoming farmers themselves. Apprentices work with farmers in Bennington and Rutland counties to learn about topics ranging from composting to mushroom cultivation, through field trips and workshops.
“If you are interested in agriculture, the best way to learn is to work on a farm, so that program has been a really huge success,” said Mara Hearst, farm business advisor at RAFFL.
She hadn’t heard about YAIDA yet, but was excited about other farm business and agricultural education opportunities for Vermonters. Hearst works with established farmers in Southern Vermont to help them learn new farming techniques, develop business plans and do market research.
“Farmers wear a lot of hats,” Hearst said, explaining many farmers are their own managers, accountants and marketing team, along with the duties of farming.
Mentoring programs and workshops with established farmers are important, because they give education you can’t get doing farmhand duties.
“I went to the University of Vermont, I really wanted to be a farmer, but there were certain things I needed to learn to be a farmer that I couldn’t get by just working on a farm,” Hearst said.
YAIDA applications are due May 10. For information on how to apply, visit http://go.uvm.edu/youth-ag-ida.
Dear Rutland Area Farmers and Community Members,
The Everyday Chef Program (EDC) is in the midst of its’ first fundraising series: Mexican Cooking Classes. This series was launched as a response to our community feedback request for lessons on how to make healthy Mexican food. The series focuses on authentic Mexican meals with fresh ingredients, all made from scratch. Many of our participants are well versed in Mexican culture and seasoned eaters of its cuisine. It has been a pleasure to cook for them. After the first class we all left learning something.
The series was also promoted as an EDC fundraiser as the program is in the final year of grant funding. I have been working to expand the program with more bi-weekly workshops on introductory cooking at a number of partnering organizations around Rutland.
As the Mexican cooking series winds down, I am getting excited for an interactive cooking workshop, Mastering the Kitchen with Chef-Instructor Lisa Fennimore. Fennimore runs the Stafford Technical Center (STC) culinary program and its beloved Dollhouse Restaurant. Mastering the Kitchen is offered in partnership with STC and the workshop will be held in their professional kitchen on Thursday, April 13 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. It is being offered to the community to help make long-term successes in everyday cooking and clean-up. The $25 workshop includes materials fee for each participant, recipes and kits to take home. All participants are entered into a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to the Rutland Area Food Co-op. You can register below this letter.
Additonally, through a partnership with Rutland City Parks and Recreation Dept., EDC is offering two series at the Godnick Center this summer: Cooking for One and The Family That Cooks. Cooking for One offers a variety of workshops on the pleasures of cooking for one and Family That Cooks is an array of family friendly workshops that are enjoyable for both kids and their parents. All of these workshops are only $5 and you get a meal too! It’s the best deal in Rutland.
Finally, the EDC program also has a new PEGTV show Local Farmer, Everyday Chef which offers thrifty ways to eat well and with local ingredients, taught by Rutland area farmers. You can find the first two episodes starring Alchemy Gardens’s Scott Courcelle, and Yoder Farm’s Ryan Yoder.
Thank you for your continued support of the Everyday Chef Program. We hope to see you at our upcoming workshops!
Everyday Chef Coordinator
(802) 417-1528 x 5
By MARIA BUTEUX READE
On Saturday, Feb. 25, we were reminded once again of the invaluable resource we have in our Manchester Community Library. The library hosted “From the Ground Up,” a biennial program that raises awareness of the ways that farms and local food in the Northshire region enhance our community.
I was honored to serve on the event’s planning committee along with Cindy Waters, the library’s adult services and programming coordinator; Liz Ruffa, of Northshire Grows; and Scout Proft, of Someday Farm. The four of us spent three months organizing the day-long symposium, which drew 85 attendees from all over the state. The event was free of charge and could not have happened without the generous contributions of time and talent from a range of community members.
First and foremost, I would like to thank the Manchester Community Library for once again opening its doors — and nearly every space within the facility — to host this event. For many guests, this was their first time in our beautiful hall of enlightenment, and they were duly impressed by this community resource. The space accommodated the keynote addresses, break-out discussion groups and a catered luncheon.
We would like to thank our presenters: Jake Claro, program director of Vermont’s Farm to Plate Network; Philip Ackerman-Leist, professor of sustainable agriculture at Green Mountain College; Dale Coppin, of Grateful Hearts; and Jesse Pyles, executive director of Smokey House Center. Mara Hearst, of Rutland Area Farm and Food Link, assisted as well.
The day was truly a collaborative effort, and guests departed with a deeper understanding of the myriad assets our area possesses in terms of programs, people, places and products that keep our community nourished in body, mind and soul.
Photo by JON OLENDER of the Rutland Herald
Grace Davey of the Rutland Area Farm & Food Link, right, and Ryan Yoder of Yoder Farm in Danby are recorded at a cooking show on Wednesday afternoon at PEG-TV in Rutland City.
Gatherings of garden leaders at locations all over Vermont
Join community and school garden leaders from your region to learn strategies, share stories, and swap ideas that will boost your garden programs. Our spring Grow It! workshop theme is “Growing Community.” Come and explore with us:
- How can your community-based garden strengthen community?
- What makes your garden more than just a space to grow food?
- Where are the opportunities for community collaboration in these common spaces?
Workshops are held at locations around the state. Find a workshop near you!
*All events will take place 4:00-7:00pm and include a light meal.
- Rutland – Vermont Farmers Food Center – March 9
- White River Junction – Center for Transformational Practice – March 14
- Montpelier – Montpelier High School – March 16
- Lyndon Center – Lyndon Institute – March 21
- North Bennington – The Village School of North Bennington– March 23
- Burlington – Bishop Booth Conference Center at Rock Point – March 30
Registration is $35 per workshop. Sliding scale is available upon request. Please pre-register. Online registration at: http://vcgn.org/what-we-do/growit. Questions? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (802) 861-4769.
Specialty Crop Funding available through the VT Agency of Agriculture in 2017 for your competitive and entrepreneurial enterprises! Letters of intent due on March 15th - don't miss out on this grant opportunity!Read More
March can be the worst sometimes. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to find joy in each season, but I always get antsy in March. I love spending evenings in front of the wood stove with soup, a crossword, an episode of Parks and Rec, or Mindy Kaling book, but I need to stop hibernating and do something. I need to switch it up and ease off the soup making.
March is the time when I get heavy into all those roasted tomatoes and that Sungold cherry tomato puree in my freezer and start laying off the vegetable broth. I want some freakin’ Mexican food. Turns out you do too!
I’ve been coordinating the Everyday Chef program for only a few months, but a large percentage of workshop survey responses are asking for “healthy Mexican food.” So this March, Rutland is going Mexican.
Tacos, quesadillas, heck, even grilled burritos take 15 minutes to make at home, and are all delicious. They are in heavy rotation in my house, and most other homes I visit too. (As a “flatlander”, after school quesadillas were a high school rite of passage.)
So for our program’s fundraising series, we are offering you classes on the Mexican food we order when we are out but never make. This cuisine is still flavorful when it’s not weighed down by oily cheese and sour cream. Turns out it’s pretty nutritious too.
Mexican food you prepare, instead of assembling, is a beautiful thing.
Since there is so much good Mexican food, there are 4 classes—a new one each week. Week 1 is Pork Abodaba, enchiladas and horchata: the pork is marinated in dried chilies and vinegar and stewed, the corn tortillas for enchiladas we’ll make from scratch, and the traditional sweet and milky beverage I’ll make ahead but give you starter kits to bring home.
Week 2 is as authentic as it gets. Local artist Maya Zelkin will bring local heirloom Vermont corn she dried to this class; she will work with you washing, cooking, and grinding corn into masa. Masa is the ingredient in authentic Tortillas (the ones in my class the week before will be made from cornmeal—still tasty) and Tamales, two delicious dishes you’ll be preparing.
Week 3’s star is Chile Rellenos—a dish I am obsessed with. Whenever I am traveling, I look for a Mexican restaurant where I can get good chile rellenos. Local chef Julie Redington’s spin is vegetarian; the mild poblano peppers are stuffed with quinoa, corn, cheese and spices. You’ll also be making a creamy avocado condiment, Avocado Crema, and Agua Fresca, which is like a homemade soda. These drinks are made with fruits, nuts or seeds and are bright and refreshing: perfect for March.
Desserts, of course, are the sweet ending to the series. RAFFL’s Executive Director Elena Gustavson has been making authentic Mexican food for decades and will lead this class on all her favorite sweets. Mexican Hot Chocolate; Cajeta, a goat milk caramel that holds its own against dulce de leche; and Flan—a sweet custard pie with hints of warming spices.
Everyday Chef is a program that works to bring ideas on how to incorporate nutrition into everyday meals and to wean ourselves off processed foods and ingredients. Our dishes incorporate local produce as much as possible, which makes sense, as RAFFL is a resource for farms, and our local produce is head and shoulders more nutritious--and tastier--than factory farmed vegetables.
We hope you get a lot out of this and have fun cooking with us!