A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.

amuse bouche

I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:

Avoid food products containing ingredients that a third-grader cannot pronounce.
—Michael Pollan

Feeding nine billion people in a truly sustainable way will be one of the greatest challenges our civilization has had to confront. It will require the imagination, determination and hard work of countless people from all over the world. There is no time to lose.
—Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN

The surest way to capture the flavors, colors, and textures of a culture is by using authentic products.
—Lidia Bastianich, from Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen

The most important habit you can develop is to taste as you are preparing something. Take a sample and taste it critically at different stages of the cooking, then correct the seasonings…
—Marion Cunningham, from Learning to Cook

Plant a vegetable garden if you have the space, a window box if you don’t.
—Michael Pollan

The Left Coast

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

Crater Lake out my plane window

Crater Lake out my plane window

Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now…I don’t consider myself a highly sentimental person…but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it’s so damn pretty and I used to live here!

With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens

With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens

In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you’ve ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table!

Cappuccino

One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won’t lie…I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It’s a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn’t changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word “BITCH” pinned on her jacket…at least she knows!) but I digress.

mug

My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4″ thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell.

Scramble

Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Want more??  Check out our Facebook page here!

Vinny and Agbar

 

Posted: 7-23-2017

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Crater Lake out my plane window Crater Lake out my plane window[/caption] Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now...I don't consider myself a highly sentimental person...but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it's so damn pretty and I used to live here! [caption id="attachment_4383" align="aligncenter" width="520"]With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens[/caption] In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you've ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table! Cappuccino One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won't lie...I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It's a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn't changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word "BITCH" pinned on her jacket...at least she knows!) but I digress. mug My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4" thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell. Scramble Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I've been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don't eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik's operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley's tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team's responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36'x56'. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, "wanna see something cool?" Ummm...hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes - singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White's singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you'll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik's rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year's demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you'll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you're feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It's calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It's self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget's mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It's glorious. in the truck Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets. Cows James's herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon. Winter Entry James was generous with his time, and Ruby's!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf. I love knowing people's stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby. Winter Swing Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James's mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg! Hoop Houses James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated. FullSizeRender (9) Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman's Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others. Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project I don't mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer's Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the "challenge of the Vermont food world."  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task. Setup Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form. Bed 1 Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts...I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows. Red Wagon I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic. Nursery Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Crater Lake out my plane window Crater Lake out my plane window[/caption] Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now...I don't consider myself a highly sentimental person...but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it's so damn pretty and I used to live here! [caption id="attachment_4383" align="aligncenter" width="520"]With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens[/caption] In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you've ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table! Cappuccino One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won't lie...I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It's a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn't changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word "BITCH" pinned on her jacket...at least she knows!) but I digress. mug My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4" thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell. Scramble Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Want more??  Check out our Facebook page here! Vinny and Agbar  " ["post_title"]=> string(14) "The Left Coast" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "the-left-coast" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(101) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/new-guest-writer-welcome-corrie-to-the-green-mountain-state/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-07-24 12:48:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-07-24 12:48:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4378" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } ["queried_object"]=> object(stdClass)#243 (16) { ["term_id"]=> &int(1) ["name"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["slug"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["term_group"]=> int(0) ["term_taxonomy_id"]=> int(1) ["taxonomy"]=> string(8) "category" ["description"]=> &string(0) "" ["parent"]=> &int(0) ["count"]=> &int(121) ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" ["cat_ID"]=> &int(1) ["category_count"]=> &int(121) ["category_description"]=> &string(0) "" ["cat_name"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["category_nicename"]=> &string(4) "blog" ["category_parent"]=> &int(0) } ["queried_object_id"]=> int(1) }
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One Response to “The Left Coast”

  1. Kellie Kutkey says:

    Yay! We loved seeing you in the PNW as much as you enjoyed being here ❤️
    How fun that you found a Portland (Oregon) coffee at your new Vermont home.

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The Duck Whisperer

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I’ve been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don’t eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik’s operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley’s tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team’s responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36’x56′. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, “wanna see something cool?” Ummm…hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes – singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White’s singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you’ll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik’s rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year’s demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you’ll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you’re feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

Posted: 7-9-2017

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Crater Lake out my plane window Crater Lake out my plane window[/caption] Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now...I don't consider myself a highly sentimental person...but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it's so damn pretty and I used to live here! [caption id="attachment_4383" align="aligncenter" width="520"]With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens[/caption] In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you've ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table! Cappuccino One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won't lie...I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It's a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn't changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word "BITCH" pinned on her jacket...at least she knows!) but I digress. mug My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4" thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell. Scramble Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I've been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don't eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik's operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley's tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team's responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36'x56'. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, "wanna see something cool?" Ummm...hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes - singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White's singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you'll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik's rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year's demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you'll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you're feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It's calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It's self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget's mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It's glorious. in the truck Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets. Cows James's herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon. Winter Entry James was generous with his time, and Ruby's!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf. I love knowing people's stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby. Winter Swing Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James's mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg! Hoop Houses James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated. FullSizeRender (9) Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman's Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others. Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project I don't mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer's Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the "challenge of the Vermont food world."  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task. Setup Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form. Bed 1 Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts...I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows. Red Wagon I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic. Nursery Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I've been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don't eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik's operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley's tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team's responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36'x56'. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, "wanna see something cool?" Ummm...hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes - singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White's singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you'll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik's rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year's demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you'll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you're feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

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Right in My Backyard: Trillium Hill Farm Part II

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry

A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It’s calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It’s self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget’s mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don’t knock it til you’ve tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It’s glorious.

in the truck

Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets.

Cows

James’s herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon.

Winter Entry

James was generous with his time, and Ruby’s!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf.

I love knowing people’s stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

map

Posted: 6-25-2017

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Crater Lake out my plane window Crater Lake out my plane window[/caption] Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now...I don't consider myself a highly sentimental person...but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it's so damn pretty and I used to live here! [caption id="attachment_4383" align="aligncenter" width="520"]With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens[/caption] In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you've ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table! Cappuccino One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won't lie...I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It's a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn't changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word "BITCH" pinned on her jacket...at least she knows!) but I digress. mug My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4" thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell. Scramble Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Want more??  Check out our Facebook page here! Vinny and Agbar  " ["post_title"]=> string(14) "The Left Coast" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "the-left-coast" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(101) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/new-guest-writer-welcome-corrie-to-the-green-mountain-state/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-07-24 12:48:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-07-24 12:48:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4378" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#238 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4364) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-07-09 08:00:04" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-07-09 08:00:04" ["post_content"]=> string(7729) "

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I've been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don't eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik's operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley's tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team's responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36'x56'. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, "wanna see something cool?" Ummm...hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes - singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White's singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you'll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik's rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year's demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you'll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you're feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It's calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It's self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget's mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It's glorious. in the truck Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets. Cows James's herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon. Winter Entry James was generous with his time, and Ruby's!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf. I love knowing people's stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby. Winter Swing Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James's mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg! Hoop Houses James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated. FullSizeRender (9) Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman's Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others. Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

map

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project I don't mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer's Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the "challenge of the Vermont food world."  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task. Setup Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form. Bed 1 Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts...I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows. Red Wagon I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic. Nursery Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It's calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It's self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget's mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It's glorious. in the truck Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets. Cows James's herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon. Winter Entry James was generous with his time, and Ruby's!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf. I love knowing people's stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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Right in My Backyard: Trillium Hill Farm

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed

Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby.

Winter Swing

Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James’s mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg!

Hoop Houses

James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated.

FullSizeRender (9)

Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman’s Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others.

Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

map

Posted: 6-11-2017

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Crater Lake out my plane window Crater Lake out my plane window[/caption] Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now...I don't consider myself a highly sentimental person...but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it's so damn pretty and I used to live here! [caption id="attachment_4383" align="aligncenter" width="520"]With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens[/caption] In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you've ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table! Cappuccino One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won't lie...I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It's a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn't changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word "BITCH" pinned on her jacket...at least she knows!) but I digress. mug My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4" thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell. Scramble Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I've been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don't eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik's operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley's tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team's responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36'x56'. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, "wanna see something cool?" Ummm...hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes - singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White's singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you'll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik's rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year's demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you'll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you're feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It's calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It's self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget's mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It's glorious. in the truck Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets. Cows James's herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon. Winter Entry James was generous with his time, and Ruby's!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf. I love knowing people's stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby. Winter Swing Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James's mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg! Hoop Houses James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated. FullSizeRender (9) Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman's Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others. Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

map

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project I don't mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer's Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the "challenge of the Vermont food world."  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task. Setup Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form. Bed 1 Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts...I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows. Red Wagon I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic. Nursery Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby. Winter Swing Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James's mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg! Hoop Houses James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated. FullSizeRender (9) Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman's Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others. Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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Where Food Comes From

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project

I don’t mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer’s Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the “challenge of the Vermont food world.”  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task.

Setup

Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form.

Bed 1

Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts…I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows.

Red Wagon

I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic.

Nursery

Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Posted: 6-4-2017

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. 

[caption id="attachment_4382" align="aligncenter" width="520"]Crater Lake out my plane window Crater Lake out my plane window[/caption] Having moved to Vermont in November of last year, I had not been back to my home city of Portland, Oregon since.  In a fortunate turn of events, I was sent to the West Coast for business.  After spending four fast and wonderful days in San Francisco for work, I hopped up to Portland to see my family.  Now...I don't consider myself a highly sentimental person...but flying over Crater Lake, Mt. Hood, and the Columbia River Gorge, brought tears to my eyes while thinking, it's so damn pretty and I used to live here! [caption id="attachment_4383" align="aligncenter" width="520"]With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens With my grandma, Joann, at the base of Mount St Helens[/caption] In a whirlwind trip, I had one brief morning in Portland before meeting the rest of my family at the base of Mt. St. Helens for a reunion.  With top-notch, locally-roasted coffee shops as plentiful as Starbuck in any other city, I spent the morning caffeinating myself and catching up with a wonderfully dear friend.  We met at Water Ave. Coffee in the Industrial Southeast corner of town.  I sipped my beautifully crafted Portland-style cappuccino while we walked to nearby J&M Café.  If you've ever done brunch in Portland, you will understand the value in not waiting to dine at J&M.  Arguably, J&M is right on par with the more hectic brunch locations, where we easily would have waited two hours for a table! Cappuccino One of the best features at J&M is the eclectic assortment of choose-your-own coffee mugs hanging near their self-serve coffee station, where they serve another Portland favorite, Extracto.  I won't lie...I have easily spent a solid five minutes choosing my mug.  It's a BIG decision!  With a standard menu that literally hasn't changed in the eight years I have been dining there, everything at J&M is made perfectly with locally-sourced ingredients.  They also have a daily specials board offering one savory and one sweet option.  In a serendipitous turn of events, this particular morning, they were serving a mustard scramble, my absolute FAVORITE (mastered at another brunch spot down the road, usually served by a grumpy waitress with the word "BITCH" pinned on her jacket...at least she knows!) but I digress. mug My three-egg scramble was made with mushrooms, Tillamook cheddar (the Cabot of the NW), brocolini, bacon, and mustard.  YUM!  One should not go to J&M and not have bacon.  As a side, it comes as a 1/4" thick hunk of deliciousness.  In a scramble, the pieces are equally generous and delightful.  Full and caffeinated, my friend and I walked back through the city of my birth to our cars and said farewell. Scramble Something I learned while traveling back to my roots, is that when my trip was over, I was ready to come HOME.  To my new home, where I have started new roots.  I will always miss Portland, not in a homesick-way, but in a that-was-a-wonderful-place-to-live kind of way.  I am stoked about my new home-state and finding new favorites, and whenever I get a hankering for some Portland flair, I head to Scout & Co. Old North End for some Heart coffee, brewed in Portland.  Imagine my surprise, coming all the way across the country just to find a favorite from my past!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

Want more??  Check out our Facebook page here! Vinny and Agbar  " ["post_title"]=> string(14) "The Left Coast" ["post_excerpt"]=> string(0) "" ["post_status"]=> string(7) "publish" ["comment_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["ping_status"]=> string(4) "open" ["post_password"]=> string(0) "" ["post_name"]=> string(14) "the-left-coast" ["to_ping"]=> string(0) "" ["pinged"]=> string(101) " http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/blog/new-guest-writer-welcome-corrie-to-the-green-mountain-state/" ["post_modified"]=> string(19) "2017-07-24 12:48:53" ["post_modified_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-07-24 12:48:53" ["post_content_filtered"]=> string(0) "" ["post_parent"]=> int(0) ["guid"]=> string(42) "http://inthekitchenwithbronwyn.com/?p=4378" ["menu_order"]=> int(0) ["post_type"]=> string(4) "post" ["post_mime_type"]=> string(0) "" ["comment_count"]=> string(1) "1" ["filter"]=> string(3) "raw" } [1]=> object(WP_Post)#238 (24) { ["ID"]=> int(4364) ["post_author"]=> string(1) "8" ["post_date"]=> string(19) "2017-07-09 08:00:04" ["post_date_gmt"]=> string(19) "2017-07-09 08:00:04" ["post_content"]=> string(7729) "

In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world.

door

Last winter I discovered something I've been captivated with ever since: duck & rice farming. In a beautiful expression of naturally symbiotic relationships, Erik, of Vermont Rice, has brought this ancient Japanese method to Vermont.  The mechanics are very simple: ducklings don't eat rice, but they eat bugs! They also keep weeds from sprouting by paddling around the rice paddy and shoveling their bills along the bottom. Ever since hearing about Erik's operation, I have been obsessed with seeing it in action; and last week, I finally did!

Close up

Erik happened upon rice farming after he realized the farm he bought was extremely wet. Eager to grow organically and sustainably, he went straight to the source: Japan. After numerous trips to Asia, Erik honed his duck-rice farming skills and has been modestly expanding since he began seven years ago. With the help of a couple of UVM student assistants, he now maintains five acres of rice paddies in a valley between the rolling hills of Monkton and Vergennes.  By digging a pond, Erik is able to moderate the water levels in his paddies and capitalize on the valley's tendency to collect water.  Despite using ancient techniques, he uses modern machinery.  After recently investing in equipment only available in Japan, Erik would love to create a farming community of shared machinery and methods. A true visionary, he imagines a Vermont where more farmers begin using his system. Clearly passionate about his venture, he is not possessive of his knowledge or his equipment. 

ducks in paddy

Once the ducks are in the paddies, Erik and his team's responsibilities are minimal until harvest: they ensure the paddies maintain proper water levels and the ducks are safe. New this year, they built a three-storied duck house as a safety feature for the ducks at night. Otherwise, nature does its work the way it does best: naturally!  The ecosystem of the paddies feeds the ducks, and the ducks protect the paddies.

tractor

To fill five acres starting from seed required 730 seedling trays, planted in 6 rows of low hoop houses spanning a space of 36'x56'. Using his new motorized Japanese transplanter and a partner to load seed trays, Erik was able to transform days of backbreaking work into a half-day ordeal. Clearly pleased with his new contraption, Erik hopped on and showed me the machine in action. Arguably, his favorite feature is the row marker, which drags a line through the ground next to the row being planted. On the next pass, by aligning a rod on the front of the tractor with the line on the ground, he easily creates perfectly spaced, evenly planted rows.

me

The ducks, though, are the real stars of the operation. Erik brought me to his paddies, and asked, "wanna see something cool?" Ummm...hell yes I do! Then he started singing. Yes - singing! The ducks immediately reacted. They flocked from across the paddy, squirming each other out of the way as they fought to get out of the water to follow him. It was like Snow White's singing luring little forest creatures; except Erik is a robust, barefooted, bearded, Vermont farmer. Though to meet him, you'll discover his disposition is as gentle as the Disney character he channels. Each year he trains his ducks with a different song. The effect is enchanting! I found myself randomly humming the duck song for the rest of the week!  I was caught up in the moment, but I did happen to capture a quick video.  Click here to watch it!

duck whisperer

Erik's rice is a hot commodity, and despite his growth, each year's demand is greater than supply.  To reserve rice now and pick it up on his farm (you'll be glad you did!), visit his website at www.vermontrice.net. Prices start at $4/lb.  If you're feeling adventurous, you should also buy some duck eggs, which happen to be one of my favorite foods. You can also find his rice under the label Boundbrook Farm at local farmers markets. 

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

eggs

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Entry A mile or so from the Trillium Hill Farm stand, on the other side of Hinesburg Road, the Donegans keep a mixed-breed herd of 33 cows.  James kindly offers to lend Bronwyn boots to trek through the muddy field to visit his cows.  It's calving season, and a young calf named Bridget dances around, her body language pure excitement as she bounds over to greet us. It's self-serving to think she is actually excited to see us.  Instead, Bridget's mother passed, and she expects we are there to bottle feed her.  The rest of the herd is mellow, mildly curious, but mostly undisturbed by our presence.  I love the smell of cows, but none of them allow me to get close enough to touch them.  Except Bridget, of course, but she is so high energy there is no way I can get my nose close enough to smell her.  If you think this is weird, maybe it is, but don't knock it til you've tried it.  If you happen to get close enough to a cow, get your nose right into their neck and breathe.  It's glorious. in the truck Ruby has a unique attachment to the cows.  She names them, usually by theme.  Last year was space themed with names like Orbit and Star; but my favorite is Sir Taco.  However, she knows perfectly well they get butchered.  She talks about them both lovingly and with a detachment I associate with an understanding that the cows are not pets. Cows James's herd is happy and healthy. He describes to us the competitive nature of setting a slaughter date.  I had no idea it was such a process; there are butchers with an 18-month wait list!  He hopes that as he gets more efficient at scheduling butcher appointments, they will begin to see a profitable margin.  They have been tending cattle for five years now, beginning with 19 cows.  They sell a variety of grass-fed beef options; you can pick up a pound of grass-fed ground beef at their stand for only $7.50, or upgrade to a premium-cut filet for $20/lb! I am saddened to hear it is not a profitable part of their business, and I hope they will see growth more growth soon. Winter Entry James was generous with his time, and Ruby's!  We kept her up well past bedtime, which leaves me feeling a little guilty.  You can tell she is tired, much less social and willing to interact with us strangers at the end of our visit.  I am grateful for the gift of time he has given us.  Bronwyn and I poke into the farm stand for some last minute shopping.  Among other things, Bronwyn chooses a $2 piece of art Ruby painted.  For each piece sold, all proceeds go to the local Food Shelf. I love knowing people's stories, any way I can digest them: books, podcasts, live storytelling events, I love them.  Knowing what I know now about James and his family, I am proud to be a part of their story: by sharing it here and shopping at their farm stand.  I hope you, too, will become a part of their story.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Shed Trillium Hill Farm first captured my attention at the Farmhouse Tap & Grill in downtown Burlington, where they are listed as one of the local suppliers. I was pleasantly surprised to discover the farm is practically in my backyard in Hinesburg! Perusing their farm stand, I marvel at the thoughtful selection of local foods and goods.  It is maintained by a young family: James, his wife Sara, and their five-year-old daughter, Ruby. Winter Swing Bronwyn and I had the chance to spend a beautiful spring evening with James and his darling daughter. When we arrived, James is pushing Ruby on a swing hanging off the barn attached to their farm stand.  Although there are chickens and garden beds within view, these belong to his uncle who owns the property with his sister (James's mom) and four brothers.  The land has been in the family since 1795.  With quiet pride, James shares with us that they are related the fifth family to move to the town of Hinesburg! Hoop Houses James and Ruby escort us along a path through the woods to where James and his family have been growing food for 12 years. The soft dusk light filters romantically through the trees with such beauty I want to capture it in a photo, but I know a picture will never do it justice. When the trees clear, we find ourselves in a meadow gridded with hoop houses and garden beds. James is a gentle teacher, informing me that hoop houses differentiate from greenhouses because they are not heated. FullSizeRender (9) Ruby has started cherry tomatoes and pie pumpkins to sell at the farm stand later this year. Clearly pleased with her progress, she proudly shows us her young plants. Though she sometimes resents the farm activities and the attention they take away from her, she frolics through rows of growing plants, showing off her farm knowledge by pointing out different crops. Most of the space is devoted to greens: kale, spinach, and salad greens, which are what drive most of their business.  These crops they sell wholesale to the Farmhouse Group and Lantman's Market.  Also on the farm is garlic, potatoes, herbs, tomatoes, beans, squash, among others. Downhill

James and his family use sustainable organic farming systems such as rotating crops to keep the land fertile and using composted plant scraps to feed his plants.  Although not certified organic, he assures us they grow organically; becoming certified is a relatively expensive process, and due to their small scale and minimal wholesale business, they have held off becoming certified.

Bronwyn comments on the recent trend of young farmers, moving to/or back to Vermont, to take over family farms.  It is a trend we both embrace; keep the trend strong by supporting families like the Donegans with Trillium Hill Farms.  Visit the farm in Hinesburg at 10643 Rte 116.  The farm stand is open during daylight hours from mid-March through Thanksgiving and is self-serve.

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

map

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project I don't mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer's Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the "challenge of the Vermont food world."  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task. Setup Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form. Bed 1 Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts...I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows. Red Wagon I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic. Nursery Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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In the Kitchen with Bronwyn welcomes Corrie Austin, new to both Vermont and to the excitement and challenge of the Vermont food world. She’s jumped in with both feet, a transplant from another great food region, Portland, Oregon. And, it is no surprise to this writer that she trained as an architect before falling in love and following her Vermont-born husband to our green mountains.

Final project I don't mean the grocery store, or even the Farmer's Market, I mean before that.  There is a challenging and beautiful process that brings food to our tables.  My brother asked what Bronwyn means when she describes the "challenge of the Vermont food world."  Any grower (even one as new as myself) in Vermont knows these challenges: late frosts, unpredictable weather, and a short growing season, all make producing a thriving garden no simple task. Setup Like many Vermonters, I spent my Memorial Day Weekend transplanting my vegetable starts into their permanent home.  Tuesday and Wednesday were full of cleaning the dirt out from other my nails and worrying over my plants through our dynamic Vermont Spring weather.  Coming from the City of Portland, where community gardens have three-year wait lists, I am pleasantly surprised at the mass quantity of folks here embracing the space we have by cultivating a garden.  Pretty much everyone I ask has a garden of some shape or form. Bed 1 Personifying my plants, I equate their health and vibrancy with happiness.  All but my lettuce are happily adjusted to their new environments.  I gave up my traditionalist desire to start everything from seed as I bought lettuce starts...I bought my starts at Red Wagon Plants off Shelburne Falls Road.  They provide an extensive collection of edibles and flowering plants.  With a steady stream of seed starts from February to August, their goal is to provide Vermonters with the resources necessary to have a bountiful garden for as long as Vermont weather allows. Red Wagon I love learning how farms embrace the naturally symbiotic circle of life.  Red Wagon Plants is a perfect example of this phenomena  Beginning with living soils and composts from the Vermont Compost Company, they create a dynamic living environment for both bugs and plants, allowing them to work together in a micro ecosystem.  With the exception of plants started from clippings from conventional nurseries, almost everything they sell is certified organic. Nursery Admiring my own tiny plants, I am in awe that in a couple short months they will feed me and my husband.  The entire process strengthens my existing appreciation for the accessibility we have to food.  Taking this curiosity to a whole new level, Bronwyn is writing a book on small farms in Vermont.  It is a celebration of the art of food growing; I eagerly await its release!  You should, too!

Until next time,

Corrie Austin

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