The Vermont Public Radio program "VPR Cafe" recently spoke to reporter Sally Pollack about value-added agriculture in Vermont, a discussion that included featured DigInVT places Morse Farm, the Intervale, and Queen City Brewery.
Value added agriculture transforms raw agricultural product into something that has greater value in the marketplace - turning milk into yogurt, milk into cheese, apples into ice cider, and so on. It’s a key part of Vermont’s farm economy. A new internship program at the University of Vermont this summer connected students with work in value-added operations, a focus that is expected to continue with their new food systems degree.
Queen City Brewery turns farm inputs into, of course, beer. The Intervale is home to a range of farms with value-added components, the one mentioned on VPR was The Juice Bar farm (the vegetables go into a mobile juice bar). Morse Farm is unique in how it has diversified both the value added to their food products, and also the value to their land by adding agricultural tourism components for both visitors and local residents. It’s a popular stop for tour buses in foliage season searching out maple creamies, food gifts, and a chance to feed the goats, but it also offers mountain biking trails and cross country ski trails. In the winter it becomes a popular destination for 26 kilometers of groomed cross country skiing. This summer it became an events venue for the first time with the Eat More Kale music festival on the front lawn.
Farms all over Vermont have creative ways to make the most of their land and the products from that land, and more enterprises start up every year. A great way to get a sense of the different projects Vermont farmers have undertaken is to check out the last of the summer farmers’ markets (most go into October or November), or some of the Food Markets that offer a selection of local products. Check the events page, as well, for harvest festivals that bring together multiple vendors.
- A Summer Weekend in Montpelier Trail
- Burlington Beer Trail - from Vermont Brewer Association (including Queen City Brewery)
- Juice for the People in a Parking Lot (The Juice Bar Farm) - Burlington Free Press
- UVM Students at Work (Next Generation Value-Added Internships) - Burlington Free Press