By Kristin Smith
Where can I buy a bushel of apples? Do you know anyone who raises pigs?
I get questions like this throughout my work week at the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link (RAFFL). Many restaurant owners, businesses, and community members know RAFFL has a good pulse on what local food and farms are in our community and will call us with questions. Sometimes I know the answer off the top of my head, but - for the more specific requests - I head straight for RAFFL’s Locally Grown Guide.
Each year, RAFFL publishes the Locally Grown Guide to help connect community members with the area’s farms, farmers markets, and local food. It includes listings from Rutland County, northern Bennington County and the Northshire, southern Addison County, and Washington County of New York.
RAFFL just released the 2015 Locally Grown Guide - our tenth edition. With over 115 listings, the majority of which are for farms, the guide illustrates the diversity of agriculture businesses in our region. There are meat producers, vegetable farms, orchards, pick your own berry stands, Christmas tree farms, and more. The guide also highlights grocery stores, food co-ops, retailers, and restaurants that use or sell local food. All of the listings are updated for 2015, including some newcomers.
I'm particularly excited about the “Palate to Palette” map in the center fold of this year's guide. A project of the Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, the map shows different road trip routes you can take along southern Vermont's byways and the local food retailers, farms, and art spots you can check out along the way. I'm going to use it for when friends come to visit this summer, and I need new ideas for day trips!
To pick up your copy of the 2015 Locally Grown Guide, stop by one of our three key distribution locations:
- Rutland Area Food CoOp (Rutland)
- Stone Valley Community Market (Poultney)
- Northshire Bookstore (Manchester)
RAFFL also distributes the guide to over 100 businesses and visitor centers throughout the Rutland region. The wider distribution will begin this week, so check your local general store or library in the coming weeks. The guide is available online at www.rutlandfarmandfood.org.
RAFFL launches new logo alongside 10th edition of Locally Grown Guide
In addition to being our tenth year at RAFFL, this year’s guide marks another milestone for RAFFL: we have a new logo! We’re excited to debut our logo here in the Rutland Herald and in the Locally Grown Guide (see it on page two).
The logo was designed by Sian Foulkes of Foulkes Design. It consists of four symbols: a farm, a farmers’ market stand, a handshake, and a skillet. The new logo embodies the diversity of RAFFL's work, from strengthening the regional farm economy to educating the community about local farms and food. We’re excited to have this new look as we enter our second decade.
It takes a community
Finally, the Locally Grown Guide is a continuous reminder of the importance of community. This year, as we were wrapping up the guide, we hit a glitch. Typically we partner with a local business or nonprofit to help us store the guides. The Vermont Foodbank had generously offered to store the guides for us. However, a couple days before the guides were scheduled to arrive, we heard from the printer that the delivery would arrive at 3am—way before the Foodbank would be open!
After panicking for a couple seconds, I made a quick call to Rob Mitchell at the Rutland Herald. The Herald has helped store guides in the past and—since they also receive newspapers at 3am—would be available to receive the early morning delivery. Rob was happy to save the day and have the guides dropped at their warehouse. Whew! I’m always thankful that I work in a community where everyone helps each other out. Thank you Rob and the Rutland Herald!
The Locally Grown Guide is a culmination of many others’ work, as well. For years, a network of RAFFL volunteers has helped distribute the guide to the far corners of our region. If you have ever picked up a guide at a cafe in Chester, a hotel in Killington, or a general store in Orwell, you can thank a volunteer for getting it there. Beginning this week, volunteers will again distribute the 15,000 copies of the guide to our region's communities, big and and small. To help, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Finally, RAFFL would like to thank everyone who helped create the tenth edition of the Locally Grown Guide. Stephanie Jones coordinated the guide’s logistics, from selling advertisements to calling farmers and businesses to get updated information. Steve Schild, the GIS Manager at the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, created the maps for the guide. Lyz Tomsuden designed the guide, including the beautiful cover. It really does take a community to complete!
If you would like to distribute the Locally Grown Guide through your farm stand or CSA, business, or tourist destination, please contact RAFFL at email@example.com.
Kristin Smith is the Program Director at the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link.