VPR Cafe

Friday 6:20 p.m. on VPR

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The VPR Café is a weekly feature that's all about Vermont food and the people who grow it, prepare it and love it.

VPR's Ric Cengeri talks with freelance and Seven Days food writers. They share stories from the farms, kitchens and eateries of Vermont that connect our communities.

VPR Cafe: Finding Success With Farm Diversification

Apr 19, 2019
In addition to maple syrup, Gateway Farm in Bristol also produces birch syrup which tends to be more tart than maple.
Caleb Kenna / Seven Days

The idea of farms diversifying their offerings is not a new one, but it's always interesting to hear how the concept is put into practice. After a challenging start, one Bristol farm is standing out with everything from grass-fed beef and laying-hens, to a sugar house that produces both maple and birch syrup. 

Phnom Penh owner, Sarin Tin, serves a Vietnamese-style bahn mi sandwich at the restaurant's new White River Junction location.
Tom McNeill / Seven Days

Growing from a farmers market stand, to a food truck, to a full-fledged restaurant, Lebanon, New Hampshire's Phnom Penh Sandwich Station recently crossed the Connecticut River to open a second location in Vermont. Taking over the space once occupied by the legendary Polka Dot restaurant, Phnom Penh's Cambodian cuisine is now available in White River Junction. 

VPR Cafe: Farming Without The Field

Apr 3, 2019
Jake Isham, Holly St. Jean and Greg Kelly under LED lighting in the climate-controlled space of Ceres Greens in Barre.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / SevenDays

In a 12,500-square-foot former granite warehouse in Barre - free of sunlight, rain and insects - with cement floors, artificial lighting, and a sensor-controlled climate, you'll find trays upon trays of beautiful greens. The vegetation found in this space includes various styles of lettuce and basil, and is part of a wave of a new style of farming.

VPR Cafe: The Sweet Spot Of The Champlain Islands

Mar 13, 2019
Michael McCarver-Reyes and Albert Reyes-McCarver are co-owners of The Champlain Islands Candy Lab in South Hero.
Oliver Parini / Seven Days

Everything about this VPR Cafe episode is pretty sweet. We'll hear about two medical writers who shifted career paths to become candy makers, the confections they create in South Hero, and the love story that made it all possible. 

VPR Cafe: One Space, Two Dining Destinations

Mar 8, 2019
Caroline and Matt Corrente (with son, Casey) operate Haymaker Bun Company and The Arcadian, respectively, within the same location along Bakery Lane in Middlebury.
Caleb Kenna / Seven Days

At 7 Bakery Lane in Middlebury, two very different restaurants occupy the same space. One starts the day with baked goods and caffeinated beverages; the other operates in the evening serving Italian fare and sophisticated cocktails. These coupled eateries are owned and run by the couple of Caroline and Matt Corrente.  

VPR Cafe: Vermonters Return Home To Fuel The Ludlow Food Scene

Mar 1, 2019
Heirloom Tomato Salad at Downtown Grocery in Ludlow.
Tom McNeill / Seven Days

Ludlow, Vermont, is a small town with a big ski resort and a vibrant culinary scene. Like many Vermonters who leave the state only to eventually return, some of Ludlow's restaurants are run by locals who moved away but then came back with cooking skills in tow.     

VPR Cafe: Burlington's New Restaurant 'District'

Feb 21, 2019
Charlie Sizemore is owner of Taco Gordo; one of the many new restaurants popping up on and around Burlington's North Winooski Avenue.
James Buck / Seven Days

Visitors to Burlington tend to focus their attention on The Church Street Marketplace for shopping and dining. But just a few blocks away - on the fringe of the Old North End - is North Winooski Avenue, and it appears to be evolving into a restaurant zone.

VPR Cafe: Winter Comfort Foods Stir Up Hearty Flavors And Fond Memories

Feb 14, 2019
For food writer, Melissa Pasanen, The Kitchen Table's cider-steamed mussels bring back memories of a dish she enjoyed as a child.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Seven Days

Even if bitter cold temperatures and mounting piles of snow aren't your cup of tea, there is one thing to love about winter: comfort food! From chicken soup to chili and mac 'n cheese to dumplings, many of these dishes not only warm us physically, but also emotionally.

VPR Cafe: Vermont Fishing Company Reimagines The CSA With... The CSF

Feb 7, 2019
Honeywilya Fish is a Duxbury company that catches, fillets, and ships Alaskan Salmon back to Vermont where it's sold at farmers markets, retailers and through a CSF.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Seven Days

You might have heard of, or participate in, a CSA (community supported agriculture). But now, one small company is bringing the CSF - community supported fish - from the waters of Alaska to dinner tables in Vermont.

VPR Cafe: Remembering Enid Wonnacott

Feb 1, 2019
Enid Wonnacott, who recently passed away, was a leader in Vermont's organic farming movement.
James Buck / Seven Days

Recently, the Vermont agriculture community - and Vermont overall - lost someone who poured her heart and soul into the organic farming movement. Enid Wonnacott passed away January 18 at her home in Huntington. Until stepping down last fall, Wonnacott was executive director of The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT).

Award-winning winemaker, Deirdre Heekin, in her vineyard in Panton in September 2018.
Daria Bishop, courtesy

We know all about Vermont's stellar reputation for beer, cheese and maple products. But wine? Over the last several years, Vermont wines have gained national attention thanks to one woman who has been leading this particular parade.

VPR Cafe: A Bread Pudding To Cure The Winter Blues

Jan 18, 2019
Kismet chef, Crystal Maderia, makes a savory style of bread pudding that's similar to French onion soup.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Seven Days

The winter blues affect almost all of us in one way or another. Less daylight, colder temperatures and a season that always seems to last longer than its allotted 91.25 days. It's the time of year when not only our taste buds, but our souls, crave heart-warming foods that provide comfort during the darkest days of the year. 

VPR Cafe: Small-Town Gathering Spots Keep Vermonters Connected (Part II)

Jan 10, 2019
Andrew Done is a co-owner at The Shoreham Inn and Pub which primarily catered to travelers in the late-1700s, but now serves as a gathering spot for the local community.
Bear Cieri / Seven Days

The role of small-town restaurants and cafes in Vermont goes deeper than just providing food and beverages. Many of these eateries are also committed to community-building, and have done so for centuries.

VPR Cafe: Small-Town Gathering Spots Keep Vermonters Connected (Part I)

Jan 4, 2019
The former IGA buliding in Northfield now houses Carrier Roasting and Good Measure Brewing, where co-owner Scott Kerner is seen pouring a beer.
Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Seven Days

One thing that makes Vermont Vermont, is the small-town gathering place where locals can grab a meal or cup of coffee while chatting with neighbors. Part general store, part restaurant, part watering hole, food and drink is often secondary to the social aspect at these special spots.  

VPR Cafe: The Yummiest Eats Of 2018

Dec 27, 2018
Listen to this episode of The VPR Cafe to hear the culinary highs of 2018, according to Seven Days food writer, Hannah Palmer Egan.
Apomares / iStock

Chances are, you've skimmed a few "best of 2018" lists at this point. Every website and publication has one... and so do we! Actually, it comes from Seven Days food writer, Hannah Palmer Egan.  

VPR Cafe: Cheese, Glorious (Vermont) Cheese

Dec 21, 2018
The colorful barn at Jasper Hill Farm in Greensboro, one of Vermont's award-winning cheesemakers.
Melissa Pasanen, courtesy

In the artisan cheese world, Vermont has a reputation as a big cheese! That's not just according to cheese lovers here at home, but from the awards presented year after year to Vermont cheese producers at national and international contests. Even representatives from cheese organizations from other states and countries sing the praises of our fine fromage. 

VPR Cafe: Vermont's Trio Of Turkish Delights

Nov 29, 2018
Jackie and Vural Oktay own three Vermont businesses that specialize in Turkish food and products.
Sarah Priestap / Seven Days

Vermont may lack the ethnic diversity found in major metropolitan areas, but there are small pockets of foreign influences around the state. In fact, one couple is creating a small Turkish empire with two restaurants and a retail store.

Aqua Vodka is produced by Appalacian Gap Distillery using excess alcohol from the fermentation-process of making Aqua ViTea's kombucha.
Caleb Kenna / Seven Days

This time, a tale of an alcohol problem, innovation and cooperation. A delightful relationship has blossomed between a Vermont beverage company and spirit maker; Aqua ViTea and Appalachian Gap Distillery. It all started with a big problem that turned into a big win.

VPR Cafe: Celebrating Tradition Through A Family Cookbook

Nov 15, 2018
Creating a cookbook of family recipes will not only preserve traditions but also bring family members together to participate in the project.
Fertnig / iStock

Food, traditions and fond memories. These three wonderful things come together when you create a cookbook of family recipes. Even better, the cookbook can be used as a gift that celebrates who a family is and keeps the family's flavor alive.   

VPR Cafe: Distilling An Old-School Spirit In Vermont

Nov 9, 2018
The pie and doughnut house at Shelburne Orchards now features a tasting room where visitors can sample their apple brandy.
James Buck / Seven Days

With the popularity of hard cider and ice cider, one alcoholic apple product has been left in the shadows: apple brandy. But it is still being distilled in Vermont, and one maker has even opened an apple brandy tasting room! 

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