Food & Agriculture

The home for VPR's coverage of the food and agricultural issues across the state.

VPR's John Dillon covers food and agriculture issues with special focus on the Vermont dairy industry. Follow John Dillon on Twitter for the latest and check back for in-depth reporting from across the state and our region.
 

Explore our coverage by topic or chronologically by scrolling through the list below
Dairy Industry | Water Quality & PFOA | Marijuana | Vermont Agency Of Agriculture

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Jackie Harris / ISTOCK

If there ever was a sure thing in the perennial flower world, it's the daylily. Unlike the lilium or "Easter Lily," hemerocallis or daylilies are easy to grow.

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. 

josefkubes / ISTOCK

If you'd like to start an edible garden, but your yard is limited in space or sun, think up. Vertical gardening has become popular in urban areas around the world. I see vertical gardens everywhere, from small balconies to skyscrapers. You don't have to live in a city to grow vertically. It's a good way to maximize any space and keep your favorite edibles within reach.

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. 

Chef Cara Chigazola Tobin looks over the bulk spices in the pantry at Honey Road.
Jane Lindholm / VPR

The James Beard Awards are known as the "Oscars of food," and this year Cara Chigazola Tobin was named a semifinalist, for the second year in a row, for Best Chef Northeast. She's the chef and co-owner of Honey Road, a restaurant in Burlington that's been serving eastern Mediterranean food for two years.

It can be tough to get a seat at the bustling restaurant, so Vermont Edition visited Honey Road before the dinner rush to talk to Chigazola Tobin about the ingredients she uses and her approach to running her own restaurant.

What does your life in Vermont look like in the year 2050? We're imagining Vermont at the mid-century and asking you to share what has - and hasn't - changed.
hanibaram / iStock

We're jumping ahead to the year 2050 to imagine what life will be like in Vermont by mid-century, and looking back from an imagined future to talk about how Vermont can address climate change and other challenges. 

Eben Markowski stands near a field in Panton.
John Dillon / VPR

The state is investigating an Addison County farm for violating water quality regulations after it spread manure last month that flowed directly into tributaries of Lake Champlain. The case is among several farm pollution cases now under investigation by the state.

David McMillan, Fred Morin and Meredith Erickson are authors of 'Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts.'
Jonathan Castellino

The iconic Montreal restaurant Joe Beef is known for excess. Now, the two chef-owners of the restaurant have embraced sobriety, and have written a new cookbook that's about food and the apocalypse. We're talking to them about working in the restaurant biz without drinking, and cooking for the end of the world.

Julija Dmitrijeva / ISTOCK

Peas are one of our most ancient vegetables. Archeologists have found them in tombs and caves dating back 5000 years. The earliest peas were used as a dried vegetable in soups. Their popularity as a fresh vegetable caught on in the 1600's in Europe and we've been eating them that way ever since.

A coalition of state attorneys general is suing the Trump administration for weakening the federal nutrition standards for school meals that are fed to about 30 million children across the country.

Troy and Jon Osborne stand before their sugarhouse in Ferdinand. Troy is holding Jon's dog, Bodie.
Amy Kolb Noyes / VPR

Some maple sugarmakers say sap runs through their veins. It may be just an expression, but sugaring does seem to be in the blood of the Osborne brothers. They're still working the family's Ferdinand woods that took the lives of two Osborne patriarchs.

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.

Some 3 billion American chestnut trees succumbed to a fungal blight in the early 1900s. Now an organization dedicated to restoring the tree is seeking approval to release a genetically engineered chestnut tree into the wild.
Public Domain via Pixabay

The once-ubiquitous American chestnut tree is now functionally extinct, nearly erased from the landscape by a blight that killed roughly 3 billion trees over 50 years. Now a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring the tree is seeking federal approval to release a genetically engineered blight-resistant chestnut into the wild. But is a genetically engineered tree the right way to restore a virtually extinct species?

lovelyday12 / ISTOCK

Everyone should be planting native trees. They're good for the environment and global warming, add beauty and shade to our yards, provide food for wildlife and homes for birds and other creatures. But there's nothing worse than buying a tree, planting it and having it suddenly die a few years later. This happens more than we'd like to admit, so I think we need a tree healthcare plan.

As representatives of the region's dairy industry get ready to meet at a summit, "Vermont Edition" assembles a roundtable of dairy farmers to discuss the state of the business.
Ric Cengeri / VPR FILE

There's a lot of talk about the struggles dairy farmers are facing, the continuing loss of Vermont farms and ways to improve or restructure the dairy industry. We're hearing from dairy farmers themselves about the challenges, the future and the changes they'd make to the system. And why they continue to do this difficult work.

annalovisa / ISTOCK

Hydrangeas are common landscape plants that hail from Asia. While many know the shrub versions of hydrangeas, such as "mophead" or blue hydrangea, the smooth leaf or "Annabelle" hydrangea and the panicle hydrangea, fewer gardeners are familiar with the climbing hydrangea.

Warmer winters mean ticks are taking a toll on the moose population. We're featuring some of our recent coverage of the local impacts on climate change.
Elliot Black / flickr

Vermont Edition is featuring some of our recent coverage of climate change on our region - including significant changes for weather, wildlife and agriculture. Plus: discussion of what we can do on local and global levels to combat climate change and effectively deal with its effects.

ISTOCK

Happy Saint Patrick's Day! For some gardeners St. Patty's Day is the time to start sowing tomato seeds indoors. While the sentiment is great, the timing is off.

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. 

On "Vermont Edition" we're talking about growing grains and hops, malting barley locally and how nearby farmers are increasingly contributing to brewing up Vermont-made beverages.
aetb / iStock

You've heard of farm-to-table. But what about farm-to-pint-glass?

Vermont Edition looks at locally-grown hops and grains used in some Vermont-made beers and spirits, why local ingredients can inspire — or bedevil — small brewers or distillers, and how Vermont's climate and soil can give hops and other ingredients distinctive flavors you can taste right in the glass.

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