Prepared by Carrie Abels for the Financing Cross-Cutting Team Bread & Butter Farm, which straddles the South Burlington/Shelburne border, sells an array of farm products and experiences—everything from grass-fed beef to fresh-baked German bread to winter vegetables to farm-fresh burgers served on Friday evening “Burger Nights.” But the diversity of Bread &…
Once upon a time, Vermont was known as America's "bread basket." In the early years of French and English settlement, wheat, rye, barley, oats, and flax were grown in Vermont. By 1800, the Champlain Valley was a major producer of wheat and Vermont was the country's largest exporter of the crop. But competition, disease, pests, and nutrient depletion led to the industry's demise. By the 1830's this Vermont industry had faded and fields were converted first to sheep and then cow pasture.
With Vermont's strong localvore movement, plus recent price volatility in the global commodity market, interest is shifting back to local grain production. Now, for the first time since the early 1800's, producers are growing a noticable amount of grain. The Nitty Gritty Grain Company, Gleason Grains, Butterworks Farm, and Great River Farm are growing wheat, rye, oats, barley, and other grains. The Northern Grain Growers Association's annual conference is growing markedly, from a few die-hard growers and enthusiasts in the early years to more recent crowds of localvores, homesteaders, educators, and bakery owners. Vermont food producers are excited about increasing availability of local grains, like Red Hen Baking Company, who uses local red wheat in their Cyrus Pringle bread, and Vermont Pub and Brewery, who produces a series of "uber local" brews using local grain and other local ingredients.
While beans have not seen quite the level of revitalization as grains, the return of a healthy market may be on the horizon. Beans were once an important crop for Native Americans living in Vermont, and now there is renewed interest here, too. Elmer Farm, Beidler Farm, Morningstar Meadow Farm, Butterworks Farm, and others are growing beans for cooking and dry storage. Vermont Bean Crafters sources beans from many of these local farms.
How much grain and dried beans are produced in Vermont? Is our northern climate suitable for increased production? What infrastructure will need to be reintroduced to establish a consistent local supply?
If you are interested in contributing to this chapter or serving as a reviewer, please contact VSJF Research & Evaluation Director, Scott Sawyer.
Prepared by Sarah Galbraith, Vermont Bioenergy Initiative Program Manager, VSJF Highlights: Cost of biodiesel production = $2.29 per gallon ● Seed meal used as a co-product for livestock feed or crop fertilizer ● Central processing facility and shared equipment use maximizes efficiency for neighboring farms Download the pdf. Roger Rainville’s dairy-turned-energy farm in Grand…
Olivia’s Croutons has grown from a small, home kitchen operation—where 20 bags was a large order—to occupying an 8,000 square foot facility in a renovated barn in New Haven that ships to stores across the US. While the move to the new facility was prompted by a need for a…
Recently, the Mad River Valley’s Liz Lovely Cookies received the long sought after capital needed to grow the popular gluten free, vegan, and non-GMO cookie company located in Waitsfield. Last fall owners Liz and Dan Holtz competed on Shark Tank, a national television show where entrepreneurs pitch their business to…
1. Growing Grains
- Jack Lazor, The Organic Grain Grower: Small-Scale, Holistic Grain Production for the Home and Market Producer, Chelsea Green Publishing, 2013.
- Cheryl Bruce, "Green Mountains and Amber Waves," Local Banquet, Spring 2013.
- Mark Aiken, "Growing Grains in Vermont," Stewards of the Land, Spring 2011.
- Sylvia Fagin, "Jack Lazor and the Graining of Vermont," Local Banquet, Spring 2009.
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