County farmers adapt with the times
WELLS—The Larson Farm in Wells has changed from a large commercial dairy farm with 150 Holstein cows in 1993 to a smaller organic farm with 20 head of Jersey cows, some heifers, and 20 Devon beef cattle. Twelve years ago, Rich and Cynthia Larson began selling raw milk at their farm and promoting its health benefits. Working with the organization Rural Vermont, they sought and won changes to legislation governing raw milk sales, as outlined in the Rutland Herald.
A Vermont Working Lands Grant and a USDA grant enabled the Larsons to build a new commercial creamery to produce yogurt and pasteurized, non-homogenized whole milk. They will add maple, dark chocolate, and sweet cream gelato to the product line plus the Icelandic drained yogurt, skyr. In addition to their dairy and beef business, the Larsons have converted half their farmhouse into a bed and breakfast and are planning to host pizza and gelato nights at the farm in the summer.
In Benson, Mark and Erika Gutel purchased the former Take Joy Farm to be part of the local food revolution, Gutel told the Rutland Herald. They transplanted themselves, their parents, cows, chickens, horses, and goats from Kiowa, Colo., last spring. In the summer Erika Gutel raised heirloom tomatoes, and the couple joined the Vermont Farmers Market. Their children’s principal, Jessica Burlette of Roots and Wings Academy in West Haven, suggested opening a co-op food store in Fair Haven about six months ago.
So, on Dec. 21, the Gutels opened Kinder Way Café in downtown Fair Haven, serving homemade breakfast sandwiches, salads, soups, stews, baked goods, and foamed gourmet coffee, plus an assortment of locally produced consumables.
New food shelf serves GMC students
POULTNEY—Learning that Green Mountain College students may not be able to access adequate food on campus due to their hectic schedules or when the dining hall closes, and commuting students are likely not to be on the college meal plan, GMC Community Director Kirsten Kelley and her cohorts created an on-campus food shelf, complete with refrigerator, that opened in October inside the Office of Residence Life. The campus food shelf is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays for the use of both students and staff.
It requires no personal identification, nor does it limit how much food an individual may take. GMC community members keep it full, Kelley noted, leaving donations in boxes around campus.
The town of Poultney already has an emergency food shelf, available to residents of Poultney, Middletown Springs and Hampton, N.Y., but proof of residency is required, which a Green Mountain College address does not provide.